As a society we prey upon the weak and the vulnerable, writes Michael Topic. How has it come to this?
I don’t like authoritarians. I think they’re unwell. I also think that the outcomes, for most people, of a predominantly authoritarian society are extremely poor. So, it was with despair and alarm that I read the analysis contained in this article; ‘Neoliberalism’s War on Democracy‘.
The article, which I believe is, in fact, the introduction abstracted from a whole book on the matter, makes its points with such accuracy, lucidity, truth and honesty, that I found it excessively difficult to read on.
The article’s thesis is that we are being deluged by lawmakers and corporations that are leading us toward an undemocratic, authoritarian life. We increasingly, as a society, prey upon the weak and the vulnerable. We blame the victims. We consign whole sectors of society to disposability, based on their ethnicity, immigration status, skin colour, age or economic misfortune. There are some elites calling the shots, who have bought and paid for the entire project to hoover up the world’s wealth and call it their own, while saying screw the rest of us. We are increasingly dancing to the tune of the corporate-military-industrial-national security complex. We’ve succumbed to a brutal, cruel, uncaring, selfish, merciless regime of governance.
Now, this is not a new phenomenon. Adolf Hitler’s project had the same hallmarks. So did Napoleon’s and Alexander the Great, not to mention the Mongol hordes, the Plantagenet dynasty, the Crusades and any number of empire building projects of previous centuries. In each case, the weak and the vulnerable, the innocent and peaceful, were crushed under the wheels of a conquering machine, in the name of selfish enrichment and the accumulation of power and wealth.
What nobody has ever done, to my knowledge, is analysed whether or not all of this was sane and hence, whether the present course of events is sane either.
Last night, on one of the channels on my television, it was ‘Psychopath Night‘.
The show presented a series of investigations into and portraits of psychopathic people and their telltale characteristics. Some argued that we need psychopaths, because they “bravely” rescue people under certain circumstances, but this apology for their generally highly antisocial behaviour neglected the fact that a psychopath doesn’t do anything for other people’s benefit. They only appear to be the brave hero, if it means they gain something, usually material, for having done so.
What you begin to see when you juxtapose the article on Neoliberalism’s war on democracy with the telltale characteristics of the psychopath is that the leaders of Neoliberal policy and thought are, in fact, acting psychopathically. Let’s call it out for what it is. These people are not sane. They’re dangerous and have diseased minds. They want everything for themselves and don’t care who they crush to get it. The weaker the victims, the easier it is to take what’s theirs.
Worse than that, though is the fact that the Neoliberal project is actually a means of turning us all into psychopaths. At every confrontation with this authoritarian skein of thought, each of us must react. We can either save our own skin or stand up to it. Our choice is that we can either comply with or resist this sweeping, epidemic contagion of psychopathy coming from the authoritarian top. We either help the psychopaths get what they want, which is, in the final analysis, total domination and ownership of everything and everyone, or we hinder their progress.
Unfortunately, as in all previous centuries, there are legions of willing accomplices, who imagine themselves as James bloody Bonds or Gordon frickin’ Gekkos that are only too willing to chime in and support the psychopathic project. They want a piece of the action and they’re prepared to act psychopathically too, because they have been authorised to do so. They’re only following authoritarian orders, after all. They’re complying with the authorities. They don’t need to heed their personal consciences, ethics, morals or empathy for other human beings. That can all be suspended, because they have license to act like unconstrained psychopaths, just like their heroes.
In other words, the authoritarian, neoliberal, political project, which appears to be in the ascendency in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and to a large extent in the European Union, is actually a means of unleashing and spreading universal psychopathic behaviour. Every last man, woman and child gets to stab (metaphorically or physically) any opponent or obstructer, for personal profit. Is that really what we want? Is it even what a majority of people really want? Would we want it if we had the ability to think through the consequences, even personal consequences, of following such a path? Sadly, people have become not so much stupid as authentically lacking the ability to think clearly and critically. This has been by design, of course. Authoritarians like it this way. It preserves their project.
However, think of the gut wrenching remorse and heart breaking regret suffered by the German people after the Second World War, when they seemingly snapped out of their collective psychopathic states. Or perhaps there was no genuine remorse. Who can say?
Only the artists and academics can save us. Only the people still capable of critical analysis and thought, of imagining better alternatives, of articulating different, innovative choices and the problematic nature of widespread psychopathic behaviour, who can see things for what they are and see things differently to the authoritarian thought leaders, can guide the rest to an awakening and an awareness of the horrendous project many are blindly, blunderingly signing up to propagate.
The authoritarians, for their part, will do everything they can to shut them up.
Under authoritarianism, ‘everything they can’ becomes ‘anything they want’.
What choice will you make?
Categories: Social Justice