Industrial Society and Its Future
Most individuals are unable to inﬂuence measurably the major decisions that affect their lives. There is no conceivable way to remedy this in a technologically advanced society. The system tries to “solve” this problem by using propaganda to make people WANT the decisions that have been made for them.
The concept of “mental health” in our society is deﬁned largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.
THE ’BAD’ PARTS OF TECHNOLOGY CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM THE ’GOOD’ PARTS.
Success can be hoped for only by ﬁghting the technological system as a whole; but that is revolution, not reform.
Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed, modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect, antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise ﬁnd intolerable.
Entertainment provides modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television, videos, etc. , he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction. Many primitive peoples, when they don’t have work to do, are quite content to sit for hours at a time doing nothing at all, because they are at peace with themselves and their world.
In the future, social systems will not be adjusted to suit the needs of human beings. Instead, human being will be adjusted to suit the needs of the system.
Generally speaking, technological control over human behavior will probably not be introduced with a totalitarian intention or even through a conscious desire to restrict human freedom. Each new step in the assertion of control over the human mind will be taken as a rational response to a problem that faces society, such as curing alcoholism, reducing the crime rate or inducing young people to study science and engineering. In many cases there will be a humanitarian justiﬁcation.
Will public resistance prevent the introduction of technological control of human behavior? It certainly would if an attempt were made to introduce such control all at once. But since technological control will be introduced through a long sequence of small advances, there will be no rational and effective public resistance.
It would be hopeless for revolutionaries to try to attack the system without using SOME modern technology. If nothing else they must use the communications media to spread their message. But they should use modern technology for only ONE purpose: to attack the technological system.
With regard to revolutionary strategy, the only points on which we absolutely insist are that the single overriding goal must be the elimination of modern technology, and that no other goal can be allowed to compete with this one.
In the United States, a couple of decades ago when leftists were a minority in our universities, leftist professors were vigorous proponents of academic freedom, but today, in those of our universities where leftists have become dominant, they have shown themselves ready to take away from everyone else’s academic freedom.(This is “political correctness.”
The leftist is motivated less by distress at society’s ills than by the need to satisfy his drive for power by imposing his solutions on society.
The leftist is oriented toward large-scale collectivism. He emphasizes the duty of the individual to serve society and the duty of society to take care of the individual. He has a negative attitude toward individualism. He often takes a moralistic tone. He tends to be for gun control, for sex education and other psychologically “enlightened” educational methods, for social planning, for afﬁrmative action, for multiculturalism. He tends to identify with victims. He tends to be against competition and against violence, but he ofte ﬁnds excuses for those leftists who do commit violence. He is fond of using the common catch-phrases of the left, like “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” “capitalism,” “imperialism,” “neocolonialism,” “genocide,” “social change,” “social justice,” “social responsibility. ” Maybe the best diagnostic trait of the leftist is his tendency to sympathize with the following movements: feminism, gay rights, ethnic rights, disability rights, animal rights, political correctness. Anyone who strongly sympathizes with ALL of these movements is almost certainly a leftist.
If a society needs a large, powerful law enforcement establishment, then there is something gravely wrong with that society; it must be subjecting people to severe pressures if so many refuse to follow the rules, or follow them only because forced.