“This ready-made character of life comes from what Foucault calls disciplinary power or govern-mentality …As I pass through all of the institutions of (schools, workplaces, households, government agencies, doctors’ offices, entertainment venues etc that give form to my life, I find myself caught up in an intricate web of compulsion and choice, desire and necessity, interacting with experts and authorities who are there to help me become a well-adjusted, happy, healthy productive member of society … central to this is the way it focuses attention on me, you, and everyone else as an object of both control and knowledge … not governed in a way that represses or oppresses but in a way that feels best for me.”
– Edward McGushin (Foucault)
“There is much too much sugar and sorcery in those feelings of “for others”, of “not for me”, for one not to have to become doubly distrustful here and to ask: “Are they not perhaps – seductions?”
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Social Control – Selfish Altruism
Take note, those readers who still may be making up their minds as to whether they are free or whether they are in fact dominated by subtle powers exerted from above, powers whose only interest is protecting their own wealth and position. This small paragraph may help you to decide. The working-class family had all but disappeared in the nineteenth century. Wealthy philanthropists were stung into action by the perceived threats posed to the wealthy by the “dangerous classes”. The wealthy had to protect their wealth and status then and into the future from what they considered to be a disease. The only good cause they were interested in was securing their future for that time and forever.
I hate the way they hid their true intentions behind charitable acts. How would they achieve their difficult task? They decided that they would provide financial aid, but only attached to conditions as to the future conduct of the recipients. They demanded a reconstruction, and in most cases initial construction, of the working-class family, as family life had been virtually unknown previously. Assistance was conditional upon marriage, good housekeeping, sobriety, moral supervision of children, and the search for wage labour, which often, conveniently, they were able to supply. They enjoyed an instant return on their investment. The family was to be used as the primary method of social control. Is this still the case?
Power eventually extended from the ruling classes to public government of the physical, moral, and mental capacities of working-class citizens. The autonomy of the working-class family was not to be totally destroyed, as they would not stand for that. Changes had to be subtle and virtually unnoticeable. The family needed to believe changes were for the well-being of the unit and would modify and enhance the family machine. Maybe now it is easier to understand why governments need the family unit to remain popular, even though for many now it is an oppressive, outdated institution, particularly for women. Social control depends on the obedience of the family unit. Are there other institutions that serve a similar purpose? These often walk hand in hand with family values, as if it is impossible to have values outside of the family or religion. It is not. Ask any unmarried spiritual atheist.
To summarise, Nietzsche stated that “every superior human being will instinctively aspire after a secret citadel where he is set free from the crowd, the many, the majority, and he may forget the rule ‘man’.” Maybe seeing themselves as superior, these philanthropists are seeking to install themselves and their future generations in such a secret citadel, free from the threat of the dangerous classes. Do we blame them? Is it still happening? My argument is that it is now considered so normal that we do not even notice the prison bars.
Once again, you may be thinking I am a brick short of a full load. Maybe I am, but if I have got you reflecting on your life, and who you are, and how you came to be here, and why you are doing what you are doing, then that is all I can expect to achieve.
Lets move on to how our children are targeted so they can become model citizens – with never a clue as to what is happening. In most cases even grateful for the opportunity to be programmed for life. The fact is there are no choices unless they suit the powers that be and ultimately control the masses. We are just too comfortable to be anything but indifferent to it. The normal reaction to the ideas as stated here is exactly that – COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE – YAWN! – Read on.
Tamed: Targeting the Children
“Schools serve the same social functions as prisons and mental institutions- to define, classify, control, and regulate people.”
― Michel Foucault
As we saw above, with the reconstruction of the family unit, wealthy philanthropists were not above protecting their futures no matter what the cost. In the nineteenth century, a class of dangerous children became visible to them. The wealthy bourgeoisie, religious organisations, and social statisticians located the source of the problems in the home and the moral environment encompassing it. A number of different projects sought to turn the home into an area of moral restraint upon adults and to instil morality into children.
As an example, the formation of infants’ schools was more about removing children from potentially evil home environments at crucial developmental stages than about any more noble causes. Once placed in these institutions, they could be indoctrinated with the morality of religious and ruling classes. It would be much easier to control them once they stopped thinking for themselves. Childhood became a period of conditioning, where habits could be laid down that would have a lifelong influence. Those in power believed it was the failure of parents to teach morality, along with the bad habits picked up in city life, that was at the root of criminality and vice. No change there. There was no mention of a lack of resources, privileges, or possibilities in working-class city life – or, for that matter, the immoral behaviour to be found amongst the ruling classes and religious organisations. “Do as I say not as I do.” It would seem that if you were poor, it was totally permissible that your life and family could be an experiment, whether you wished it or not.
So-called industrial schools even helped to increase the wealth of many considered bourgeois. Cheap labour – “but it is for their own good.” Through these processes, either “normal” or “abnormal” children were produced. Parents and teachers became charged with producing normal children. The family inadvertently had taken on board the business of the production of normal subjects. Normal, as usual, was decided by the ruling classes for the benefit of social control. And still is by way of highlighting and stigmatising any minor difference – our kids are being labelled more than any other time in history. And of course, given drugs and protocols to make them normal. Normal is construction it is not even a thing outside of human inventions.
That is where we are today, more or less. Bringing up a child can be seen as aiding society in the production of little robots, all labelled and measured, that will develop into full-grown conformist robots, all in the name of social control. Maybe next time a child asks why, and one doesn’t have an answer apart from “Because I say so”, we should think a bit harder. Could the answer be “Because it is all part of how you have to behave, part of your programming, part of your introduction into the human herd? There is no place for individuals.”? And the goal is …? An ideal child in the ideal family, just as we see on the television. Always happy and always successful. Is that real? I believe that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. What do you think?
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