The fundamental argument for the women’s movement and the family revolution was the overriding imperative of independent self-expression. Yet, where in history is self-expression found as a basis for society? The power of the self-expression movement came largely from the extraordinary sense of self-importance held by the post-War generation. This broad generational sense of self-importance was a form of national hubris which was in sharp contrast to the experience of historical societies. After all, most people do not have the capacity to need freedom of self-expression independent of existing social behavior norms? All societies provide freedom for self-expression which is usually sufficient for most people since they must function within that society. For those few individuals needing or desiring more freedom, ability to function within the social structure is tenuous and they are often expelled, exiled or ostracized.
Societies generally provide structures and patterns for individuals that enable them to function efficiently so that they don’t have to recreate most knowledge, behavior and judgment, although some may see this as restricted freedom. Western societies since the Enlightenment have increasingly emphasized individualism, but for most of the period this has been a limited individualism built on the edifice of established society. However, in the United States, individualism now claims almost all of the social space, creating great inefficiencies and risking social anarchy. This is a more serious threat to the society because even persons with limited capacity for individual expression are encouraged to develop that capacity which they may not naturally have and in some cases it would be a borrowed individualism. Not only does this create stress and expose confusion in individuals, but it also undermines the foundations of society, by removing the primacy and legitimacy of social guidance and support.
Traditional American society is a framework culture of a complete society that assumes minority groups will fit within the society “and only deviate to a limited extent”. The American “myth” in hubristic contrast assumes that American society can safely allow “full freedom of expression” to alien cultures, interests and investments, and those alien cultures, interests and investments will somehow limit themselves voluntarily to a harmless space within American society where there would be no risk of distorting or destroying common and traditional American institutions and thinking. This fallacy has been promoted by globalist intellectuals and misfits concentrated in cities along with the various rights movements as a type of “unity of disunity”.
Race, sexuality, gender and other rights movements have now become internal aspects of American society based on the assumption of “unity of disunity” and limited deviation. Manipulated in the right way, these movements involve sufficient population numbers to easily split the national society into unmanageable sub-groups. This is made even more inevitable with the broader self-expression movement that further breaks up each of these increasingly conflicting rights groups. The CRM, sexual, gender and self-expression movements essentially destroyed the structures of moral (having the status of accepted authority) social and cultural leadership. With the loss of this leadership there has also been the loss of the corresponding “followship.” With the loss of leadership and followship, and hence unity, there was only one way that society could be managed – through manipulation and force of raw power.
This raw power for manipulation is different from the legitimate power that comes from society and culture. It is a statist power with the sole purpose of control and aggrandizement. It is difficult to institute statist power directly because of the resistance of at least some of the people whose freedom, status and assets may be threatened. Using classical warfare strategy the best approach is to avoid direct attack and use subterfuge. In the case of the most modern democratic states this has often been done by increasing distance between issues, deliberation and decisions, otherwise known as reduced transparency. Ironically, this has often been achieved in recent times under the guise of empowerment. This false empowerment essentially diverts the attention of the public to issues and procedures that have no meaningful impact on core decisions. Examples are the establishment of small government units for citizen participation despite the fact that fundamental decisions are only made at higher levels, and where extensive public consultation procedures are implemented only for the purpose of reporting and process rather than as actual decision making inputs.
As long as basic government and management issues were practical and understandable to the common man it was possible to organize political issues so that debate and battle could be focused and accessible. Actually there were few perennial political issues other than taxes and economic rights (although from time to time new major issues such as slavery, suffrage, war, etc. came up, but these were also mostly, on their face, simple and straightforward). The limitation on political issues was due to the limited size of and expectations from government. There were many other issues, but those by and large did not enter into the political sphere and remaining within the family, community and larger cultural group. Starting with the FDR New Deal programs, government began to take responsibility for most aspects of individual lives. This was due to the presumption by the ruling elites (or wannabe ruling elites) that individuals could not manage their own affairs because of broader forces beyond their control. Of course there is some truth to this in the face of long term growth of cultural mixing, population sizes and urban concentration. As a result, the challenges resulting from the Great Depression (a simple economic crisis) were used as an opportunity to expand government into aspects of life which had otherwise been independent of the American (or other) political economy.
Over several decades the “emergency” activities of the New Deal created bureaucracies and management structures which operated at higher strategic levels beyond the local community and required specialized experience and training. This brought new demands on colleges and universities to specialize in management and management-related areas rather than traditional and classical liberal arts. All subjects eventually became analytical, technical and managerial rather than judgmental. This is well explained by Immanuel Wallerstein in his writings on world systems analysis. The result was broad and extensive. The influence of traditional values, history and culture was excised in favor of a pseudo-scientific technical structure for most subjects. Not only did this remove the possibility to understand even common subjects from the average man, but it also created a community and culture-free class of educated “technocrats” who could migrate like carpet baggers to almost any place and work without any need to have any relationship with or values in common with the community. The range of work requiring such “technocrats” has expanded massively to the point where almost all “professional” jobs are filed by such persons. As a result of affirmative action and anti-discrimination rules, “professionalized” jobs now require national profile representation that often actually requires the jobs to be filled by individuals alien to the community who were often already similarly selected through the educational process.
As a result of this professionalization of work, city planners (of whom I may be one), lawyers, educators, social workers, medical practitioners, even engineers (trained in sub-disciplines such as so-called value engineering, etc.) could be from anywhere, even outside the United States, as long as they had the sanction of their guild or met diversity goals. It became almost impossible for the common man to question or oppose them, since they were comfortably paid and sanctioned to advance their professional work while the common man taxpayer was busy at work and home. Since the common man could generally not have access to the privileged and often arcade professional tools and assumptions he would have to question decisions only on the basis of his non-scientific subjective preferences. As a result, technocrats have become culturally and operationally separated from the regulated public. This chasm became even more pronounced when government and private management also integrated affirmative action and other unrelated agenda in their management decisions. Beyond this, decisions such as long term investment in energy and future planning have moved away from a focus on current residents (constituents) to unknown and hypothetical future beneficiaries (clients) who must be represented against the current residents and whose interests are defended by the technocrats.
The result was not only an intrusion of government into provision of services (hardly present for most of the country’s history), but ultimately also into regulation of all aspects of life. This was not just a cultural regulation such as requiring a certain number of years of schooling and teaching of certain subjects (with government chosen textbooks), but also practical regulation of implementation procedures and techniques. The best example of this practical regulation is that of zoning. One of the basic freedoms and rights of Americans is property ownership. However, ownership means freedom to use property as one wishes and for one’s personal gain. However, government in most places has long since usurped this power through zoning and management by, most often, non-local technocrats. Before one starts to imagine that property rights can only be infringed by a socialist conspiracy, it should be noted that the actual result of technocratic capitalism is the concentration of property rights in the hands of a limited number of developers/property managers who can work the regulatory system and meet government and professional standards. Hiring the architect, zoning lawyer, planner, engineer, etc. that are required for most successful zoning applications is too expensive, complicated or risky for the common man. As a result, a higher scale of business organization and operation is needed to collaborate with the government technocrats, who have in essence become development partners.
This process can be observed in all areas of the economy and aspects of society. Government, insurance, banking and professional regulation of medical charges, licenses and business operations may at first sound reasonable and beneficial. However, the real purpose and result of this regulation is control – not only by the operators of business, but by unaffected salaried (and sometimes commissioned) technocrats. This overregulation has come to mean that an individual must use a “guild” judgment and not his “personal” judgment. As a result, “personal” word or “subjective” assurance cannot be honored within the technocratic system. The direct and visible individual is no longer the holder of power, rather it is the invisible guild. As a result, the trust authority and legitimacy basis for transactions and methods – the essence of Common Law – no longer exists and is replaced by simple, hidden, supposedly objective, but often disguised power.
In the same way that Wallenstein observed in the false technocraticization of the social sciences, job standards have also been increasingly guildized to create a false standard of professional and performance quality. This has ultimately lead to a warped use of rules and law instead of practical objectives and logic. Moreover, valid discussion and conflict been suppressed and replaced by impersonal assignment of gains and losses – the so-called cost-benefit and alternatives analysis in which the advocated position almost always wins because the rules and analysis are controlled by the advocates.
It is not liberal or conservative, government or big business, or ownership, but technical, regulatory and management control that is the prime feature of this technocratic guild environment. Daniel Bell observed in his “The Coming of Post-Industrial Society,” that the Soviet Union and the United States shared more and more features of regulation and control that brought into question the practical meaning of their professed ideological differences. In the Soviet Union industry was government managed and regulated, while in the United States is mostly privately managed, but government regulated (and in India large industry was government planned and regulated, but implemented by private oligopoly business).
The key point here is that technocrats (read: outsiders and misfits) found skills and an environment to empower themselves over traditional social and political structures. This has been done from the smallest town to the largest agencies in the federal government. In Coming Apart and Bobos in Paradise some examples of the types of jobs and individuals who have claimed these opportunities are given. However, both books focused more on the top elite rather than the broader job structure. If we look more carefully at that broader structure we find that the staffing of county or town planner positions follows the same pattern at a lower level as that of Goldman Sachs alumni who float between the Department of the Treasury, boards of major universities and corporate management. That pattern is the aggregation and transfer of power and rights away from the experience of the core society and common man to a super-experiential control of ideas and the decision making process by technocrats. As this system developed the energy needed to create and empower the technocrats was achieved and the energy needed to remain a technocrat has been reduced.
As touched on in Coming Apart, the higher level technocrats have developed their own culture and survival strategy, but largely do not promote this as a valid example for non-technocrats. In Coming Apart, Charles Murray chooses to limit his assessment of this behavior. It is not just their personal and family behavior that technocrats generally do not promote and evangelize (in contrast to their political ideas, such as those discussed in the previous sections), but their ethnic, regional and traditional cultural identities. The much deeper significance of this is that the technocrats at all levels have pulled away from their origins and communities so that they no longer have a local rather than professional or class identity. This can be seen from their marriages, religion (or lack of it), adopted children, residential segregation, and general distance from the communities from who they sprang.
The consequences of this structural change in social terms are huge, but so too are the economic and political impacts. The change greatly reduces local community linkages for upward mobility, aspiration, morally uplifting guidance, and the flexibility that creates opportunities for individual genius and initiative. Thus, the conditions that made America’s great development possible before the 1970s are no longer present. Gradually increased social benefits had given away the American labor cost advantage. Then international education and aid gave away Amercian technical advantages. Technocratization of management removed the power of the common man from design. Finally only the power of the US Dollar as the international reserve currency was left, but as the world changed and become much more competitive that too is declining. Other than the consumption and social welfare benefits derived from the US Dollar as the international reserve currency technocratization may be the only structural cultural and historical product of Post-War America.
In his classic book, The Leisure Society, Thorsten Veblen spoke about the masses imitating the elite and is remembered for his idea that shielding ones skin from the sun was fashionable since it indicated freedom from manual labor until the elite discovered tennis and stylish suntans. It is too bad that that Veblen is not here today to update his ideas on status behavior. Certainly things have changed drastically since the 1960s. Prior to the CRM American society enforced some degree of behavioral and value conformity and aspiration with deference to the power of the ruling elite. That deference was essentially a type of civility.
As a result of the statist technocratic structure which has taken over in the latter part of the 20th Century with its socially and culturally alien and sometimes adversarial technocracy, social misfits and radicals not bound to communities and tradition have become better qualified as technocrats, wise men and respected elders. As a result there has been a dramatic increase in the number of homosexuals, women, recent immigrants and others in the technocratic/elite structure. The odds of this revolution occurring naturally are very low. The odd lyrics and slogans of the radicals and outsiders are now taken as reality and scripture while the Bible is distorted and defamed. The aggressive, disruptive and disrespectful have become the leaders and role models. Ultimately it is only those technocrats who have no traditional or community cultural values that are taken into the power structure, but what is the basis for their judgment and truth? The ultimate answer is their guild knowledge.
Conservatives often blame the reduction of personal liberty on “liberals,” but it is more accurate to point the finger at the socio-cultural “misfits” who have become technocrats. This class often dislikes or hates traditional and mainstream society, and wants to destroy it or at least to render it powerless to impose its values. These technocrats can be either democrats or republicans, and may be conservative or liberal on different issues. Illegal, fraudulent or ill-advised immigration has further diluted the national identity, consensus and social contract making it easier for clever misfits to be successful despite their conflict with local communities by further ensuring that there are no standards in behavior, education, history, language, and family values. This has created an environment where technocrats in all sectors can “break free” from the masses. The last bastion of freedom from technocratic rule is state’s rights which support local self-rule, but both Federal Government and United Nations supporters are continuously working to destroy this structure and freedom.
Most technocrats and technocratic organizations no longer truly “fit in” with any traditional group. Instead they use and manipulate the various groups for their interests. An interesting example of this at the political level is the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Obama had no local base and used various unrelated “vote banks” such as the heretofore unknown “swing” racially/culturally non-identified to win the Presidency. Indian politics has long relied on piecing together numerous unrelated “vote banks” for its elections and America has now adopted the same approach, but America’s vote banks are entitlement lobby groups rather than ethic and cultural groups as in India.
The election of Barack Obama marked a high point where American society removed itself from de Toqueville’s local government reality to live in a fantasy world of systems and procedures. The US Dollar as the international reserve currency, technology and technocracy with a highly developed system of rules and decision making techniques have alienated decisions and consequences from the mass public. The absence of any means for the common man to enter public policy discourse, or influence social and community standards due to the structure of technocratic rule is itself a type of violence for social control. It is not surprising that the final tool left to the common man for redress – physical violence (starting from corporal punishment of children to ownership of firearms to physical intimidation) – is greatly opposed by the technocrats and elites because they seek to control without effort or opposition. The statist system with its regulation and obfuscating standards claims to reduce social risks, but by the reduction of opportunity and freedom.