[cryptome] Re: Brutal Ageism of Tech

  • From: Ryan Carboni <ryacko@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 02:02:34 -0700

apologies, forgot the most important part:

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of
the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change
places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim--for it
is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed
by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside
their daily lives--is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in
which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is
the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods
the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always
comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their
capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the
Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they
are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their
objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of
servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group
splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the
struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never
even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an
exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of
a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human
being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no
advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has
ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of
the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the
name of their masters.

On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 12:32 AM, Ryan Carboni <ryacko@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Excerpt from 1984's book within a book: (it's a pity that people read a
> book of several hundred pages, and conclude "surveillance")
> It was only after a decade of national wars, civil wars, revolutions, and
> counter-revolutions in all parts of the world that Ingsoc and its rivals
> emerged as fully worked-out political theories. But they had been
> foreshadowed by the various systems, generally called totalitarian, which
> had appeared earlier in the century, and the main outlines of the world
> which would emerge from the prevailing chaos had long been obvious. What
> kind of people would control this world had been equally obvious. The new
> aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists,
> technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists,
> teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose
> origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the
> working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of
> monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their
> opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by
> luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what
> they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last
> difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the
> tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups
> were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to
> leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be
> uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church
> of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason
> for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its
> citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however,
> made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio
> carried the process further. With the development of television, and
> the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit
> simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every
> citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching,
> could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police
> and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of
> communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete
> obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion
> on all subjects, now existed for the first time.
> After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties, society
> regrouped itself, as always, into High, Middle, and Low. But the new High
> group, unlike all its forerunners, did not act upon instinct but knew what
> was needed to safeguard its position. It had long been realized that the
> only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege
> are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called
> 'abolition of private property' which took place in the middle years of
> the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property in far fewer
> hands than before: but with this difference, that the new owners were a
> group instead of a mass of individuals. Individually, no member of the
> Party owns anything, except petty personal belongings. Collectively, the
> Party owns everything in Oceania, because it controls everything, and
> disposes of the products as it thinks fit. In the years following the
> Revolution it was able to step into this commanding position almost
> unopposed, because the whole process was represented as an act of
> collectivization. It had always been assumed that if the capitalist class
> were expropriated, Socialism must follow: and unquestionably the
> capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses,
> transport--everything had been taken away from them: and since these
> things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be
> public property. Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement
> and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in
> the Socialist programme; with the result, foreseen and intended beforehand,
> that economic inequality has been made permanent.
> But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go deeper than
> this. There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power.
> Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that
> the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented
> Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and
> willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule
> all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could
> guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately
> the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.
> After the middle of the present century, the first danger had in reality
> disappeared. Each of the three powers which now divide the world is in
> fact unconquerable, and could only become conquerable through slow
> demographic changes which a government with wide powers can easily avert.
> The second danger, also, is only a theoretical one. The masses never
> revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are
> oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of
> comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed. The
> recurrent economic crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are
> not now permitted to happen, but other and equally large dislocations
> can and do happen without having political results, because there is no
> way in which discontent can become articulate. As for the problem of
> over-production, which has been latent in our society since the development
> of machine technique, it is solved by the device of continuous warfare
> (see Chapter III), which is also useful in keying up public morale to the
> necessary pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore,
> the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able,
> under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and
> scepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational.
> It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the
> directing group and of the larger executive group that lies immediately
> below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in
> a negative way.
> Given this background, one could infer, if one did not know it already,
> the general structure of Oceanic society. At the apex of the pyramid comes
> Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success,
> every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all
> knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue
> directly from his leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen Big
> Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a voice on the telescreen. We
> may be reasonably sure that he will never die, and there is already
> considerable uncertainty as to when he was born. Big Brother is the guise
> in which the Party chooses to exhibit itself to the world. His function is
> to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which
> are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an organization.
> Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party. Its numbers limited to six
> millions, or something less than 2 per cent of the population of Oceania.
> Below the Inner Party comes the Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is
> described as the brain of the State, may be justly likened to the hands.
> Below that come the dumb masses whom we habitually refer to as 'the
> proles', numbering perhaps 85 per cent of the population. In the terms
> of our earlier classification, the proles are the Low: for the slave
> population of the equatorial lands who pass constantly from conqueror
> to conqueror, are not a permanent or necessary part of the structure.
> In principle, membership of these three groups is not hereditary. The
> child of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party.
> Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the
> age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination, or any marked
> domination of one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of
> pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party, and
> the administrators of any area are always drawn from the inhabitants of
> that area. In no part of Oceania do the inhabitants have the feeling that
> they are a colonial population ruled from a distant capital. Oceania has
> no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody
> knows. Except that English is its chief LINGUA FRANCA and Newspeak its
> official language, it is not centralized in any way. Its rulers are not
> held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine. It is
> true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on what
> at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far less to-and-fro
> movement between the different groups than happened under capitalism or
> even in the pre-industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party
> there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure
> that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious
> members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise.
> Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The
> most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent,
> are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated. But this
> state of affairs is not necessarily permanent, nor is it a matter of
> principle. The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does
> not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there
> were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be
> perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of
> the proletariat. In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a
> hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind
> of Socialist, who had been trained to fight against something called
> 'class privilege' assumed that what is not hereditary cannot be permanent.
> He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical,
> nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been
> shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church
> have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years. The essence of
> oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of
> a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon
> the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate
> its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but
> with perpetuating itself. WHO wields power is not important, provided that
> the hierarchical structure remains always the same.
> All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that
> characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of
> the Party and prevent the true nature of present-day society from being
> perceived. Physical rebellion, or any preliminary move towards rebellion,
> is at present not possible. From the proletarians nothing is to be feared.
> Left to themselves, they will continue from generation to generation and
> from century to century, working, breeding, and dying, not only without
> any impulse to rebel, but without the power of grasping that the world
> could be other than it is. They could only become dangerous if the advance
> of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly;
> but, since military and commercial rivalry are no longer important, the
> level of popular education is actually declining. What opinions the masses
> hold, or do not hold, is looked on as a matter of indifference. They can
> be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party
> member, on the other hand, not even the smallest deviation of opinion on
> the most unimportant subject can be tolerated.
> A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought
> Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone.
> On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 4:44 AM, John Young <jya@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> True. But with a backlog since the beginning of humans,
>> a huge counterbalance is needed, not just ending it. The
>> prejudice disease erupts repeatedly, all too often during
>> crises, real or imaginary.

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