Social Fragmentation Suits the Powers That Be

Ours is an Age of Fracture (the 2011 book by Daniel Rodgers) in which “earlier notions of history and society that stressed solidity, collective institutions, and social circumstances gave way to a more individualized human nature that emphasized choice, agency, performance, and desire.”

A society that is fragmenting into cultural groups that are themselves fracturing into smaller units of temporary and highly contingent solidarity is ideal for Elites bent on maintaining political and financial control.

A society that has fragmented into a media-fed cultural war of hot-button identity-gender-religious politics is a society that is incapable of resisting concentrations of power and wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.

If we set aside the authentic desire of individuals for equal rights and cultural liberation and examine the political and financial ramifications of social fragmentation, we come face to face with Christopher Lasch’s insightful analysis on The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1996 book).

“The new elites, the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension…. Middle Americans, as they appear to the makers of educated opinion, are hopelessly shabby, unfashionable, and provincial, ill informed about changes in taste or intellectual trends, addicted to trashy novels of romance and adventure, and stupefied by prolonged exposure to television. They are at once absurd and vaguely menacing.”

Though better known for his book on the disastrous consequences of consumerism in an era of economic stagnation, The Culture of Narcissism:American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations, Lasch’s The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy is the more politically profound analysis, as it links Elite dominance of the media, higher education and cultural narratives to the erosion of democracy as a functioning institution.

Extreme concentrations of wealth and power are incompatible with democracy, as Elites buy political influence and promote cultural narratives that distract the citizenry with emotionally charged issues. A focus on individual liberation from all constraints precludes an awareness of common economic-political interests beyond the narrow boundaries of fragmenting culturally defined identities.

In a society stripped of broad-based social contracts and narratives that focus on the structural forces dismantling democracy and social mobility, the Elites have a free hand to consolidate their own personal wealth and power and use those tools to further fragment any potential political resistance to their dominance.

The Elites have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power, and now the unprivileged, unprotected non-Elites are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be outside the privileged Elites that dominate our society and economy.

As long as the American public chooses to focus on individual liberation and consumerist expressions of “freedom,” the Elites will have a free hand politically and financially.

The Powers That Be excel at claiming they are busy reforming a broken system,even as they co-opt, water down or outlaw any real reform that threatens their concentrations of wealth and power: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.

Precisely what does individual “liberation” mean in a neofeudal society of indebted financial serfs?

My new book is #4 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book’s website.

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  • jo6pac

    So true and it is the cia manifesto. It works well in other nations and since cia takes orders from the elite it works well with Amerikas sheeple.

    • Folleron

      Instead of covering the ongoing reality show called “Presidential Elections” why this blog doesn’t discuss the consequences of a currency crisis in the US: people who live on fixed incomes, specifically retirees, senior citizens, pensioners, the disabled, and persons chronically dependandant on government welfare will be the most affected by a true loss of purchasing power…just remember, on 10/01/2016 China’s Renminbi becomes officially a reserve currency and most central banks from all over the world are already diversifying their reserves in order to lessen their exposure to the US Dollar.

      You will need to familiarize yourself with the following terms (google search) in order to understand why a currency crisis is unavoidable:

      Ask yourself, why mainstream media and the political elites do not talk about this issue…perhaps willfull ignorance or maybe because they do not want to deal with informed audiences.

      • jo6pac

        It does if your playing attention.

        • Brockland A.T.

          Folleron may have a point; the vast majority of readers are likely casual readers, and breaking up the stream of hard articles with fluff may leave the impression that hard news isn’t followed up on often enough.

          Steady readers may question going ‘off-topic’ from what they hold as important for any reason. The science of repetition in establishing a narrative has been understood since before Beowulf.

  • Lynn Walker

    “Precisely what does individual “liberation” mean in a neofeudal society of indebted financial serfs?”
    Dont’ ask CHS, he doesn’t know the answer. This author’s books are riddled with self-imagined solutions with little to no merit. For instance, one of his prime discussion points is the systemic instability of centralized hierarchies. Then in typical dim-witted, mental-speculator fashion he decides that the solution is a distributed networked style of management. Typical mistake for a theorist. The truth is centralized hierarchies are not implicitly doomed to failure and distributed networks aren’t guaranteed to succeed. The key to any system is the consciousness of the participants and no where in any of his writings does Mr. Smith touch the topic of individual or collective consciousness and how this actually determines the success or failure of a system.

    While the title dropping suggests CHS is well read, I haven’t seen any title to suggest that his readings developed his intelligence. Information glut is an epidemic today, everyone has access to more information than at anytime in history, yet no one can make sense of it and come to a rational conclusion. We just get whack jobs like this idiot, spouting meaningless nonsense as if it was gospel.

    • Mildredmcraft4

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    • Brockland A.T.

      So you’re saying he’s representative of what he’s talking about?

      The false dilemma fallacy is fairly common.