“Tough” Society (continued)
Fear and insecurity are natural enough in ruling class society, but sometimes the masses become hardened to their effects simply because they have come to accept “the way it is”, or they have internalized tough society as reflected in the individual’s behavior and judgmentalism. This state of society must be diligently maintained.
A loss of fear among the masses scares the daylights out of the ruling class. At these times a ruling class society needs a good dose of fear-mongering. Like unnecessary booms and busts of the economy, fear-mongering is a manufactured periodic and needless pretext to further the ruling class agenda. Fear-mongering is an elixir to the hardening attitude toward authority, just as booms and busts are a transfer of wealth from the masses to the ruling class.
This works well with Our capitalist profit ideology. Terror, profit and domination support each other thanks in large part to the tough cult. It has a direct symbiotic relationship with the mostly for-profit fear industry and government agency budgets. They feed off each other. They are part of the culture of profit. Power and fear share a natural union in ruling class society. While defending the rationale for a fraudulent terrorist sting operation, FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes told Kade Crockford of the Massachusetts ACLU:
If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive.
The tough society pays big dividends. The Preservation Society believes this demonstrates the ruling class nature of capitalism. Symbiosis is always a give away to compatibility. But toughness, like Frankenstein’s Monster, can get out of control and endanger the status quo that created it. The tough cult, through the Establishment, encourages the lack of strength and discipline to control one’s emotions and to stand up for the unpopular facts. Internal weakness abets the external tough guy. One does not very often hear of the violent being referred to as weak.
Interestingly enough, one can see a symbiotic relationship at work in ruling class society’s direct antagonist, nature. If one works with nature and respects it, nature will reciprocate. Compared with that relationship, one can see how treacherous and tricky is ruling class society. One cannot simply do the right thing and have peace of mind.
We may speculate that humans formed society because they are social animals and they found strength and efficiency in numbers. Comforting. Social groupings mitigated the necessity for individual toughness. But with those growing technological societies came the increasing dangers of a potential Minority class, that is the ruling class.
What was gained in social groupings was lost with the appearance of the higher orders. The occasional dangers and uncertainty of nature were replaced by the constant dangers and duplicity of the human through his ruling class. This is the story of the universal Fall of Man. Here’s Our take on it.
The masses are punished because they have allowed themselves to be enslaved, and their anger and frustration is compounded by their denial. The good herd shakes its head and says “you don’t know how good you have it”. They say this without a clue. Well insulated by the privilege and Establishment, these individuals think it will be this way forever. They seem to believe that serious, critical and “objective” thinking about the issues are not necessary to their liberty.
The masses indulge in the comforting labels they have learned identify with. They don’t seem concerned at all that their absence from chicken house politics is going to allow the ruling class fox to have its way. They don’t realize the obvious crumbling society around them wrought by the fox and their own chicken neglect. And though they might have heard of the horrors and destruction involved in making it “good”, the well bred individual will completely blot out such things when preaching and extolling the status quo.
These angry and insecure individuals feel powerful when they express their anger. They claim to have the right to be angry! But they don’t realize they don’t have to be so unpleasant. This is the same culture that calls obesity a life style choice. Several of Us at the Preservation Society are what one might call robust and it would be a slander to this venerable institution to deny that Our robust members could use a bit of slimming. We are devoted to truth for the ruling class’s sake, and that means accepting ugly things.
The ruling class has learned to disarm the masses’ self defenses, and then erect a hard wall around it to fix its ideas to within colonized limits. Information is strictly managed. This causes “friction” with the ego’s own tendencies. A certain amount of toughness is required to deal with it. The well bred herd individual adapts well and learns to like or defend this “friction”, and the ill-adapted, the weaker ones who can’t bear it become angry and violent.
By perpetuating difficult circumstances on the masses, the ruling class ensures the need for toughness for a majority of the masses. But not every body is tough. Those who are not physically tough retain the callousness, anger and judgmentalism of the tough cult.
Toughness also replaces emotional maturity. The threat of violence allows the insecure to hide their human vulnerability. Modesty becomes foreign to the tough, and a false pride sets in that is easy to manipulate. The thugs who beats up individuals because they don’t like what their victims say are weak individuals who express themselves through violence. Society calls these individuals “tough guys”, not “weak individual who can’t even control their own emotions”.
A word or gesture from a nonthreatening individual can set off a tough guy. If one is to have a tough culture, isn’t it tougher to not to be threatened by mere words? One would think that in a true tough society that tough individuals would have the luxury of not engaging in violence because they are mentally strong and secure. Why court extra trouble?
An individual doesn’t have to develop mature character if they wield their toughness around. These are the same species of individual who can’t handle an attack on their own views, who don’t have the courage or discipline to confront their own errors. Indulging in anger and toughness make one less intelligent. They make for easy voluntary prey for the ruling class. Witness:
As a woman was burying her son, a worthless old crone came up to her and said: ‘You poor woman, what a misfortune!” “No, by the two gods, a piece of good fortune,” she replied, “because I bore him so that he might die for Sparta, and that is what has happened, as I wished.” Plutarch on Sparta.
This is a stark example, but We wish to draw out the point here. What woman really wants to give birth to a son and deliberately wish he would be robbed of his life at a young age? It’s barbarity, we would say today. Note that common sense is portrayed as a worthless old woman. In this way, toughness is learned stupidity.
The tough and angry provide Us with the means to oppress the masses. In a society dominated by the tough cult oppression is interpreted as anything but actual ruling class oppression. It is as a small cabal of scheming men, or the works of an evil indiviudal. Oppression is often interpreted and internalized as “duty to country” or “god”, or even one’s family. The truth is most activities in a ruling class society is for the benefit of the ruling class.
Tough Cult In Modern Times
We’d like to think that modern conveniences have made our lives better. For those in the working class and higher of the First World there is no doubt that toughness and violence has been toned down, at least Establishment-wise. The rule of law reigns as opposed to warlordsim. Yet abundant First World society is still unnecessarily troublesome and anxiety-ridden for its individuals. The biggest accomplishment of the First World, however, is not the lessening of violence and “injustice” so much as sweeping it under the rug.
The tough cult runs right through to the present day and for all the creature comforts the couch potato culture has, it also has the DNA of thousands of years of the tough culture. We, today, don’t understand nor recognize the adverse changes we’ve had to make to accommodate the human condition for the benefit of a modern ruling class society.
This was noticed by neurologist George M. Beard in 1884. He wrote an important book on neurasthenia. In it he compares the nervous system to a machine under strain. It was an image in keeping with the times of fast innovating technologies. The advent of technology mechanized toughness. Organisms are soft, machines are tough. We also point out that organisms are intelligent, while machines have no brain.
Patriarchal society has always emphasized mechanics over nature because it was something the individual had command of. Nature represents the challenge to dominate it by means of mechanics and technology. But in the mid-nineteenth century machines began to adversely alter the human condition. In The Incorporation of America, Alan Trachtenberg comments on what Beard wrote in 1884 pioneering book:
“Modern nervousness,” he explains, “is the cry of the [nervous] system struggling with its environment,” with all the pressures exerted on striving Americans by the telegraph and railroad and printing press. Simply to be on time, Beard argues, exacts a toll from the human system.
The modern marvels of technology brought incredible efficiency and convenience, which benefits humanity somewhat but never to its full capacity in a ruling class society. This same efficiency and convenience, from a ruling class perspective, meant the prospect of far greater profits. It meant the masses had to be mobilized and their actions scheduled and regimented. Thus comforts had advanced but not liberty.
Gradually the human element had been extracted from business and with it flexibility and replaced by standardized working. A slower pace of time gave way to one of time schedules and appointments. The tough cult passed seamlessly into this state. One now needed toughness to deal with modern life, to compete, to get up and go, and tough it out while climbing the ladder — quintessential American. In fact, this new nervousness was so associated with American life it was called Americantitis.
Did anyone among the masses stop to think about that? That abundance and increased efficiency and convenience would bring untold problems? If there was no ruling class wouldn’t these benefits go to society as a whole? But Beard is far from challenging an increasingly unhealthy way of life. Trachtenberg:
A treatise on causes of the breakdowns, distemper, anxieties becoming more common among the urban middle classes, Beard’s book reveals yet another cause, social and cultural rather than technological, or of a genuine nervousness the author himself shares. He explains that by American he really means only “a fraction of American society,” the “four million” salaried “brain-workers,” those educated few who strive for “eminence or wealth” and wrestle with dilemmas of religion in an age of science. Excluding “muscle-workers,” the “lower orders” who may succumb to insanity of the incurable kind” but not “American nervousness,” Beard makes nervousness a badge of distinction.
To stick it out instead of demanding better is deemed laudably tough. Wanting better is just the complaints of a lazy whiner. Thus the status quo is desirable even to those who suffer by it. Beard cannot sympathize with workers because that is their station. Tough.
The classes hate each. It is in the nature of classes. It is fundamental divide and conquer, and Beard follows the prescribed path by demonizing the working masses. He is fatigued, perhaps full of ulcers and painful regrets but he goes on because it is honorable. He is a hard working middle class individual. He is only to happy to be miserable. The lower, orders on the other hand, have no excuse to make and can only succumb to their fate, for they are beasts of burden, a wholly different animal. This is part of the cult of social toughness.
The labor instabilities raging in the late 1870s on was another explanation of middle and upper class nervousness. Beard:
All our civilization hangs by a thread; the activity and force of the very few makes us what we are as a nation; and if, through degeneracy, the descendants of these few revert to the condition of their not very remote ancestors, all our haughty civilization will be wiped out.
He wasn’t the only one. David Wells, an economist and friend of bankers and railroad presidents who boldly advocated for laissez faire, was equally horrified at the reactions to the policies he championed. Trachtenberg writes:
For David Wells, writing in 1885, such popular disturbances as the agitation for an eight-hour day and talk of socialism “seemed full of menace of a mustering of the barbarians from within rather than as of old from without, for an attack on the whole present organization of society, and the permanency of civilization itself.”
We say again, with all this increase in efficiency and convenience, and ruling class minions still feared relatively minor adjustments to the system. This is all a product of the tough cult of ruling class society. The ruling class minion every frightened of the “tough and rough” masses they created.
A modern liberal society certainly takes the edge off a bit. Pills, drugs, television, sports and such, help the individual tough it out, or even succeed in giving the impression of happiness. The corporate owned government creates fears to keep them alive and profits high. The tough society makes it easy to mobilize the masses against targeted groups and scapegoats.
This is the society Liberals and Conservatives, and other loyal herd animals follow along. The tough cult and its ever present militarism encourage us to die for our country and shuns those with the courage to stand against it. This is the society the ruling class prefers, like a fat diabetic kid goring on candy. The chickens are coming home to roost and all the “tough” guys in the world can’t stop it, only an unflinching acceptance of the facts and reality. For this, the masses will have to summons up their inner true toughness.