“… remoteness and seclusion, while they give safety, provoke suspicion.”
It is frequently opined that we should live in an open society, and indeed, the societies in which we live have never been more ‘transparent’. Yet, this openness is the very thing that may end up destroying us.
James Scott in masterful Seeing like a State spoke of the state’s need for legibility, for the attitudes, actions and possessions of its citizens to be visible to it.
In the 21st century, this same legibility is increasingly being demanded by shadowy global actors unrestrained by affection for a particular jurisdiction.
‘Big Tech’ has enticed almost the entire population of the globe to allow them to know where we are, and what we are thinking, in real time and with potentially perpetual archiving capability. The smartphone is a curse to the privacy of the home, or the ability to have a private conversation with a friend.
And we subsidised it. We wanted the latest xPhone whatever. And fancy that… having purchased it, we discovered we couldn’t live without. Stuff being a normal member of society: we now have eyes only for these small black boxes!
But why? This stuff is obviously totally destructive for family life and society more generally. The incessant promotion of it must be in aid of some higher agenda.
I don’t buy the critique that it’s all about enriching a few already super-rich people. Sure, the combination of robust patent law and the legalisation of addiction is always going to represent a highroad to riches.
But there’s something else going on.
The financial returns aren’t the primary reward for those standing behind Big Tech.
The openness is.
Our societies – closed, inscrutable, polylingual, weirdly structured, marching to the beat of their own drum – have been transformed into patients “etherised on a table”, just waiting for the surgeon’s knife.
States too have increasingly being encouraged to be transparent, to put everything in the public domain. This allows those who seek to control their activities, but not live under their jurisdiction, to “monitor” and “pressure” them into conforming to the new global norms.
Large states are particularly effective tool of these open society advocates. ‘Restoring American Leadership’, an FOS report from 2005 – that not entirely unexpectedly has become the headline title of the Biden transition website – was about leveraging America’s position of global hegemony on behalf of this shadowy elite.
Openness requires standardisation. It requires the destruction of diversity and choice. It is the enemy of tribal councils that don’t recognise the jurisdiction of the sovereign state, or the mountain community that doesn’t fill submit tax returns, or rogue world leaders that believe in doing things their own way. Their sins are ever being amplified.
Populations, societies and states that are open and transparent are capable of being controlled externally. The fuel of population control is population-related data: opinion poll data, financial data, statistical data, internet browsing history data. Data are becoming the paramount commodity of the twenty-first century. Without them, the population control begins to break down. We start thinking for ourselves, rejecting the propaganda and dominant narratives, building real and lasting friendships, developing our own systems. To counter this, our every activity must be legible.
Needless to say, that this openness is a one-way street. A Soros has the courtesy of telling us his game plan, but most global elitists are not so candid. Try finding out what’s really going on at Davos, or behind the scenes at your local education department or university council, or in dark sites or secret courts. It’s openness for us, and closedness for them.
Perhaps our new year’s resolution this year should be… to embrace insularity… to contribute to communities that are closed or illegible… to develop systems that are not interoperable… to go offline or develop your own networks… to publish paper-only content… to take real photographs with film and develop them in your home dark room… to go off-grid for energy… to discard your devices… to get rid of wifi… to campaign against 5G or public wireless networks… to begin with the premise that propaganda should not be believed until proven conclusively to be correct… to develop independent capacity… to learn a dying language… to oppose any technology or system that increases the legibility of your society, community or state…
Edited 3 January 2021.