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We are in the midst of the most explosive development in all of human history. Humanity is experiencing a simultaneously opposing and conflicting geopolitical transition, the likes of which has never before been anticipated or experienced. Historically, the story of humanity has been the struggle between the free-thinking individual and structures of power controlled by elites that seek to dominate land, resources and people. The greatest threat to elites at any time historically and presently is an awakened, critically thinking and politically stimulated populace. This threat has manifested itself throughout history, in different places and at different times. Ideas of freedom, democracy, civil and human rights, liberty and equality have emerged in reaction and opposition to power structures and elite systems of control.
The greatest triumphs of the human mind whether in art, science or thought have arisen out of and challenged great systems of power and control. The greatest of human misery and tragedy has arisen out of the power structures and systems that elites always seek to construct and manage. War, genocide, persecution and human degradation are directly the result of decisions made by those who control the apparatus of power, whether the power manifests itself as intellectual, ecclesiastical, spiritual, militaristic, or scientific. The most malevolent and ruthless power is that over the free human mind: if one controls how one thinks, they control the individual itself. The greatest human achievements are where individuals have broken free the shackles that bind the mind and let loose the inherent and undeniable power that lies in each and every individual on this small little planet.
Currently, our world is at the greatest crossroads our species has ever experienced. We are in the midst of the first truly global political awakening, in which for the first time in all of human history, all of mankind is politically awakened and stirring; in which whether inadvertently or intentionally, people are thinking and acting in political terms. This awakening is most evident in the developing world, having been made through personal experience to be acutely aware of the great disparities, disrespect, and domination inherent in global power structures. The awakening is spreading increasingly to the west itself, as the majority of the people living in the western developed nations are thrown into poverty and degradation. The awakening will be forced upon all people all over the world. Nothing, no development, ever in human history, has posed such a monumental threat to elite power structures.
This awakening is largely driven by the Technological Revolution, which through technology and electronics, in particular mass media and the internet, have made it so that people across the world are able to become aware of global issues and gain access to information from around the world. The Technological Revolution, thus, has fostered an Information Revolution which has, in turn, fed the global political awakening.
Simultaneously, the Technological Revolution has led to another unique and unprecedented development in human history, and one that is diametrically opposed, yet directly related to the global political awakening. For the first time in human history, free humanity is faced with the dominating threat of a truly global elite, who have at their hands the technology to impose a truly global system of control: a global scientific dictatorship. The great danger is that through the exponential growth in scientific techniques, elites will use these great new powers to control and dominate all of humanity in such a way that has never before been experienced.
Through all of human history, tyrants have used coercive force and terror to control populations. With the Technological Revolution, elites increasingly have the ability to control the very biology and psychology of the individual to a point where it may not be necessary to impose a system of terror, but rather where the control is implemented on a much deeper, psychological, subliminal and individual biological manner. While terror can prevent people from opposing power for a while, the scientific dictatorship can create a personal psycho-social condition in which the individual comes to love his or her own slavery; in which, like a mentally inferior pet, they are made to love their leaders and accept their servitude.
So we are presented with a situation in which humanity is faced with both the greatest threat and the greatest hope that we have ever collectively experienced in our short human history. This essay, the third part in the series, The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom, examines the ideas behind the global scientific dictatorship, and how it may manifest itself presently and in the future, with a particular focus on the emergence of new eugenics as a system of mass control.
Free humanity faces the most monumental decision we have ever been presented with: do we feed and fuel the global political awakening into a true human psycho-social revolution of the mind, creating a new global political economy which empowers and liberates all of humanity; or… do we fall silently into a brave new world of a global scientific oppression, the likes of which have never before been experienced, and whose dominance would never be more difficult to challenge and overcome?
We can either find a true freedom, or descend into a deep despotism. We are not powerless before this great ideational beast. We have, at our very fingertips the ability to use technology to our benefit and to re-shape the world so that it benefits the people of the world and not simply the powerful. It must be freedom for all or freedom for none.
What is the Scientific Dictatorship?
In 1932, Aldous Huxley wrote his dystopian novel, Brave New World, in which he looked at the emergence of the scientific dictatorships of the future. In his 1958 essay, Brave New World Revisited, Huxley examined how far the world had come in that short period since his book was published, and where the world was heading. Huxley wrote that:
In politics the equivalent of a fully developed scientific theory or philosophical system is a totalitarian dictatorship. In economics, the equivalent of a beautifully composed work of art is the smoothly running factory in which the workers are perfectly adjusted to the machines. The Will to Order can make tyrants out of those who merely aspire to clear up a mess. The beauty of tidiness is used as a justification for despotism.
Huxley explained that, The future dictators subjects will be painlessly regimented by a corps of highly trained social engineers, and he quotes one advocate of this new science as saying that, The challenge of social engineering in our time is like the challenge of technical engineering fifty years ago. If the first half of the twentieth century was the era of technical engineers, the second half may well be the era of social engineers. Thus, proclaims Huxley, The twenty-first century, I suppose, will be the era of World Controllers, the scientific caste system and Brave New World.
In 1952, Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, historian, mathematician, and social critic wrote the book, The Impact of Science on Society, in which he warned and examined how science, and the technological revolution, was changing and would come to change society. In his book, Russell explained that:
I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology. Mass psychology is, scientifically speaking, not a very advanced study… This study is immensely useful to practical men, whether they wish to become rich or to acquire the government. It is, of course, as a science, founded upon individual psychology, but hitherto it has employed rule-of-thumb methods which were based upon a kind of intuitive common sense. Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called education. Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the Press, the cinema and the radio play an increasing part.
What is essential in mass psychology is the art of persuasion. If you compare a speech of Hitlers with a speech of (say) Edmund Burke, you will see what strides have been made in the art since the eighteenth century. What went wrong formerly was that people had read in books that man is a rational animal, and framed their arguments on this hypothesis. We now know that limelight and a brass band do more to persuade than can be done by the most elegant train of syllogisms. It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment.
This subject will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship.
Russell went on to analyze the question of whether a scientific dictatorship is more stable than a democracy, on which he postulated:
Apart from the danger of war, I see no reason why such a regime should be unstable. After all, most civilised and semi-civilised countries known to history have had a large class of slaves or serfs completely subordinate to their owners. There is nothing in human nature that makes the persistence of such a system impossible. And the whole development of scientific technique has made it easier than it used to be to maintain a despotic rule of a minority. When the government controls the distribution of food, its power is absolute so long as it can count on the police and the armed forces. And their loyalty can be secured by giving them some of the privileges of the governing class. I do not see how any internal movement of revolt can ever bring freedom to the oppressed in a modern scientific dictatorship.
Drawing on the concept popularized by Aldous Huxley of people loving their servitude Bertrand Russell explained that under a scientific dictatorship:
It is to be expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Fichte laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished… Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so.
Russell explained that, The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy. Russell later proclaimed in his book that, a scientific world society cannot be stable unless there is a world government. He elaborated:
Unless there is a world government which secures universal birth control, there must be from time to time great wars, in which the penalty of defeat is widespread death by starvation. That is exactly the present state of the world, and some may hold that there is no reason why it should not continue for centuries. I do not myself believe that this is possible. The two great wars that we have experienced have lowered the level of civilization in many parts of the world, and the next is pretty sure to achieve much more in this direction. Unless, at some stage, one power or group of powers emerges victorious and proceeds to establish a single government of the world with a monopoly of armed force, it is clear that the level of civilization must continually decline until scientific warfare becomes impossible that is until science is extinct.
Russell explains that eugenics plays a central feature in the construction of any world government scientific dictatorship, stating that, Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.
In a 1962 speech at UC Berkeley, Aldous Huxley spoke about the real world becoming the Brave New World nightmare he envisaged. Huxley spoke primarily of the Ultimate Revolution that focuses on behavioural controls of people. Huxley said of the Ultimate Revolution:
In the past, we can say, that all revolutions have essentially aimed at changing the environment in order to change the individual. Theres been the political revolution, the economic revolution . . . the religious revolution. All these aimed as I say not directly at the human being but at his surroundings, so by modifying his surroundings you did achieve at one remove an effect upon the human being.
Today, we are faced, I think, with the approach of what may be called the Ultimate Revolution the Final Revolution where man can act directly on the mind-body of his fellows. Well needless to say some kind of direct action on human mind-bodies has been going on since the beginning of time, but this has generally been of a violent nature. The techniques of terrorism have been known from time immemorial, and people have employed them with more-or-less ingenuity, sometimes with utmost crudity, sometimes with a good deal of skill acquired with a process of trial and error finding out what the best ways of using torture, imprisonments, constraints of various kinds . . .
If you are going to control any population for any length of time, you must have some measure of consent. Its exceedingly difficult to see how pure terrorism can function indefinitely, it can function for a fairly long time; but sooner or later you have to bring in an element of persuasion, an element of getting people to consent to what is happening to them.
Well it seems to me the nature of the Ultimate Revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: that we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques, which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and will presumably always exist to get people to love their servitude. This is the ultimate in malevolent revolution…
There seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of Ultimate Control, this method of control, by which people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy; the enjoyment of servitude . . .
I am inclined to think that the scientific dictatorships of the future and I think there are going to be scientific dictatorships in many parts of the world will be probably a good deal nearer to the Brave New World pattern than to the 1984 pattern. They will be a good deal nearer, not because of any humanitarian qualms in the scientific dictators, but simply because the brave new world pattern is probably a good deal more efficient than the other. That if you can get people to consent to the state of affairs in which they are living the state of servitude if you can do this, then you are likely to have a much more stable, a much more lasting society; much more easily controllable society than you would if you were relying wholly on clubs, and firing squads and concentration camps.
In 1961, President Eisenhower delivered his farewell address to the nation in which he warned of the dangers to democracy posed by the military-industrial complex: the interconnected web of industry, the military, and politics creating the conditions for constant war. In that same speech, Eisenhower warned America and the world of another important change in society:
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
In 1970, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote about the gradual appearance of a more controlled and directed society, in the technetronic revolution; explaining:
Such a society would be dominated by an elite whose claim to political power would rest on allegedly superior scientific know-how. Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control. Under such circumstances, the scientific and technological momentum of the country would not be reversed but would actually feed on the situation it exploits.
Many sciences and large social movements are directed by the same foundations and money that financed the eugenics movement in the early 20th century. The Rockefeller foundations, Ford, Carnegie, Mellon, Harriman, and Morgan money that flowed into eugenics led directly to scientific racism, and ultimately the Holocaust in World War II. Following the Holocaust, Hitler had discredited the eugenics movement he admired so much in America. So the movement branched off into forming several other social engineering projects: population control, genetics, and environmentalism. The same foundations that laid the foundations for eugenic ideology the belief in a biological superiority and right to rule (justifying their power) then laid the foundations for these and other new social and scientific movements.
Major environmental and conservation organizations were founded with Rockefeller and Ford Foundation money, which then continued to be central sources of funding to this day; while the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was founded in 1961 by Sir Julian Huxley, Aldous Huxleys brother, who was also the President of the British Eugenics Society. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands became the organizations first president. Prince Bernhard also happened to be one of the founders of the elite global think tank, the Bilderberg Group, which he co-founded in 1954; and he was previous to that, a member of the Nazi Party and an SS officer. Sir Julian Huxley also happened to be the first Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). In 1946, Huxley wrote a paper titled, UNESCO: Its Purpose and its Philosophy. In it, he wrote that the general focus of UNESCO:
is to help the emergence of a single world culture, with its own philosophy and background of ideas, and with its own broad purpose. This is opportune, since this is the first time in history that the scaffolding and the mechanisms for world unification have become available, and also the first time that man has had the means (in the shape of scientific discovery and its applications) of laying a world-wide foundation for the minimum physical welfare of the entire human species…
At the moment, it is probable that the indirect effect of civilisation is dysgenic instead of eugenic; and in any case it seems likely that the dead weight of genetic stupidity, physical weakness, mental instability, and disease-proneness, which already exist in the human species, will prove too great a burden for real progress to be achieved. Thus even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for Unesco to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable…
Still another and quite different type of borderline subject is that of eugenics. It has been on the borderline between the scientific and the unscientific, constantly in danger of becoming a pseudo-science based on preconceived political ideas or on assumptions of racial or class superiority and inferiority. It is, however, essential that eugenics should be brought entirely within the borders of science, for, as already indicated, in the not very remote future the problem of improving the average quality of human beings is likely to become urgent; and this can only be accomplished by applying the findings of a truly scientific eugenics…
It is worth pointing out that the applications of science at once bring us up against social problems of various sorts. Some of these are direct and obvious. Thus the application of genetics in eugenics immediately raises the question of values what qualities should we desire to encourage in the human beings of the future?
On page 6 of the UNESCO document, Sir Julian Huxley wrote that, in order to carry out its work, an organisation such as Unesco needs not only a set of general aims and objects for itself, but also a working philosophy, a working hypothesis concerning human existence and its aims and objects, which will dictate, or at least indicate, a definite line of approach to its problems. While much of the language of equality and education sounds good and benevolent, it is based upon a particular view of humanity as an irrational, emotionally driven organism which needs to be controlled. Thus, the principle of equality becomes The Fact of Inequality:
Finally we come to a difficult problem that of discovering how we can reconcile our principle of human equality with the biological fact of human inequality… The democratic principle of equality, which is also Unescos, is a principle of equality of opportunity that human beings should be equal before the law, should have equal opportunities for education, for making a living, for freedom of expression and movement and thought. The biological absence of equality, on the other hand, concerns the natural endowments of man and the fact of genetic difference in regard to them.
There are instances of biological inequality which are so gross that they cannot be reconciled at all with the principle of equal opportunity. Thus low-grade mental defectives cannot be offered equality of educational opportunity, nor are the insane equal with the sane before the law or in respect of most freedoms. However, the full implications of the fact of human inequality have not often been drawn and certainly need to be brought out here, as they are very relevant to Unescos task.
Many of these genetic inequalities revolve around the idea of intellectual superiority: the idea that there is no equality among the intellectually inferior and superior. That inequality is derived from human biology from genetics; it is a human fact. It just so happens that elites who propagate this ideology, also happen to view the masses as intellectually inferior; thus, there can be no social equality in a world with a technological intellectual elite. So eugenics must be employed, as the UENSCO paper explains, to address the issues of raising human welfare to a manageable level; that the time will come where elites will need to address the whole of humanity as a single force, and with a single voice. Eugenics is about the social organization and control of humanity. Ultimately, eugenics is about the engineering of inequality. In genetics, elites found a way to take discrimination down to the DNA.
Genetics as Eugenics
Award-winning author and researcher, Edwin Black, wrote an authoritative history of eugenics in his book, War Against the Weak, in which he explained that, the incremental effort to transform eugenics into human genetics forged an entire worldwide infrastructure, with the founding of the Institute for Human Genetics in Copenhagen in 1938, led by Tage Kemp, a Rockefeller Foundation eugenicist, and was financed with money from the Rockefeller Foundation. While not abandoning the eugenics goals, the new re-branded eugenics movement claimed to be eradicating poverty and saving the environment.
In a 2001 issue of Science Magazine, Garland Allen, a scientific historian, wrote about genetics as a modern form of eugenics. He began by citing a 1998 article in Time Magazine which proclaimed that, Personality, temperament, even life choices. New studies show it’s mostly in your genes. Garland explains the implications:
Coat-tailing on major advances in genetic biotechnology, these articles portray genetics as the new "magic bullet" of biomedical science that will solve many of our recurrent social problems. The implication is that these problems are largely a result of the defective biology of individuals or even racial or ethnic groups. If aggressive or violent behavior is in the genes, so the argument goes, then the solution lies in biomedical intervention gene therapy in the distant future and pharmacotherapy (replacing the products of defective genes with drug substitutes) in the immediate future.
By promoting such claims, are we heading toward a new version of eugenics? Are we getting carried away with the false promise of a technological fix for problems that really lie in the structure of our society? My answer to these questions is "yes," but with some important qualifications that derive from the different historical and social contexts of the early 1900s and the present…
The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by the Victorian polymath Francis Galton, geographer, statistician, and first cousin of Charles Darwin. It meant to him "truly- or well-born," and referred to a plan to encourage the "best people" in society to have more children (positive eugenics) and to discourage or prevent the "worst elements" of society from having many, if any, children (negative eugenics). Eugenics became solidified into a movement in various countries throughout the world in the first three decades of the 20th century, but nowhere more solidly than in the United States and, after World War I, in Germany.
While genetic traits such as eye colour and the like were proven to be hereditary, eugenicists were more interested in the inheritance of social behaviors, intelligence, and personality. Further:
American eugenicists also strove to disseminate the results of eugenic research to the public and to lawmakers. They supported the idea of positive eugenics [encouraging the best to become better], but focused most of their energies on negative eugenics [to encourage the worst to become fewer]. Eugenicists wrote hundreds of articles for popular magazines, published dozens of books for the general (and some for the scientific) reader, prepared exhibits for schools and state fairs, made films, and wrote sermons and novels.
American eugenicists, fully backed by the financial support of the major American philanthropic fortunes, passed eugenics legislation in over 27 states across the United States, often in the form of forced sterilizations for the mentally inferior, so that, By the 1960s, when most of these laws were beginning to be repealed, more than 60,000 people had been sterilized for eugenic purposes. As Garland Allen wrote:
For the wealthy benefactors that supported eugenics, such as the Carnegie, Rockefeller, Harriman, and Kellogg philanthropies, eugenics provided a means of social control in a period of unprecedented upheaval and violence. It was these same economic elites and their business interests who introduced scientific management and organizational control into the industrial sector…
[In 1994] we saw the resurrection of claims that there are genetic differences in intelligence between races, leading to different socio-economic status. Claims about the genetic basis for criminality, manic depression, risk-taking, alcoholism, homosexuality, and a host of other behaviors have also been rampant in scientific and especially popular literature. Much of the evidence for such claims is as controversial today as in the past.
We seem to be increasingly unwilling to accept what we view as imperfection in ourselves and others. As health care costs skyrocket, we are coming to accept a bottom-line, cost-benefit analysis of human life. This mind-set has serious implications for reproductive decisions. If a health maintenance organization (HMO) requires in utero screening, and refuses to cover the birth or care of a purportedly "defective" child, how close is this to eugenics? If gene or drug therapy is substituted for improving our workplace or school environments, our diets and our exercise practices, how close is this to eugenics? Significant social changes are expensive, however. If eugenics means making reproductive decisions primarily on the basis of social cost, then we are well on that road.
Genetics unleashes an unprecedented power into human hands: the power of unnatural creation and the manipulation of biology. We do not yet fully understand nor comprehend the implications of genetic manipulation in our food, plants, animals, and in humans, themselves. What is clear is that we are changing the very biology of our environment and ourselves in it. While there are many clear and obvious benefits to genetic technology, such as the ability to enhance ailing senses (sight, hearing, etc.) and cure diseases, the positive must be examined and discussed with the negative repercussions of genetic manipulation so as to better direct the uses of this powerful technology.
Debates on issues such as stem-cell research and genetic manipulation often focus on a science versus religion aspect, where science seeks to benevolently cure mankind of its ailments and religion seeks to preserve the sanctity of creation. This is an irrational and narrow manner to conduct a real debate on this monumental issue, painting the issue as black and white, which it most certainly is not. Science can be used for good as well as bad, and human history, most especially that of the 20th century, is nothing if not evidence for that fact. Incredible scientific ingenuity went into the creation of great weapons; the manipulation of the atom to kill millions in an instant, or the manufacturing of biological and chemical weapons. The problem with the interaction of science and power is that with such great power comes the temptation to use and abuse it. If the ability to create a weapon like an atom bomb seems possible, most certainly there are those who seek to make it probable. Where there is temptation, there is human weakness.
So while genetics can be used for benevolent purposes and for the betterment of humankind, so too can it be used to effectively create a biological caste system, where in time it would be feasible to see a break in the human race, where as human advancement technologies become increasingly available, their use is reserved to the elite so that there comes a time where there is a biological separation in the human species. Oliver Curry, an evolutionary theorist from the London School of Economics predicted that the human race will have reached its physical peak by the year 3000 and that, The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures. Such was the plot of H.G. Wells classic book, The Time Machine. Wells was himself a prominent eugenicist at the turn of the 20th century. While this would be a long time from now, its potential results from the decisions we make today.
July 15, 2010
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently studying Political Economy and History at Simon Fraser University.