Decoding the Language of Social Control

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” — Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, 1981.

“It’s not the government’s money, it’s the people’s money” — George W. Bush, stump speeches, 2000.

“I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s…” “problems” (welfare), “kids” (public schools), “medical” (health care).

The social programming language of capitalist authoritarianism seeks to activate personal greed, intellectual insecurity and visceral racism as motivators of guided popular political reaction. The Pavlovian logic to this scheme of social manipulation is that all human beings are possessive, gullible and fearful.

Don’t think this last generalization too extreme. Rare are the people who are as unconcerned about their survival and possessions as were Diogenes of Sinope, the Greek “cynic” philosopher of the 4th century BC, and Ry?kan Taigu (1758-1831), the hermit Zen monk poet and calligrapher. Similarly, rare are the people, without organic brain disorders, who do not have some fear of being made fools of when matching wits with more polished, more educated, more experienced, more charismatic or simply a luckier class of people. Lastly, we are all racists. As highly evolved monkeys, we instinctively identify with our monkey troop of people with similar appearance, existential outlook, language, culture, place of origin, the economic neighborhood we imagine we deserve a place in, and the socio-political fantasy we have been imprinted with and trained to take as the thread of history that expresses us.

As we become more self-aware, more experienced and better educated, we can see through many of the racist concepts and attitudes of the past. But, it is self-deception to imagine that we have ever individually “gone beyond racism” in our visceral responses to the instants of daily life that erupt before us, or that we will never have a sudden emotion, thought or fear that is completely above the muck of primordial racist reaction. It is intellectual pride, and false, to assume we can consciously will ourselves to transcend the psychological reactions of our paleo-mammalian brains. Instead, it is psychologically much healthier to realize that our common human nature assures that any behavior humanly possible, remains humanly possible for each of us as well. C. G. Jung made this point about Nazism, that those people least likely to act like Nazis and Nazi collaborators were those who knew they had no special immunity to Nazi psychology (not assuming they were too “intellectual”, “moral”, or “religious” to be swayed), but instead actively countered its influences to their behavior. A similar attitude operating out of the cerebral cortex is needed to manage the unthinking motivations arising out of our deeper-set limbic system, our reptilian brain. Racism is a burst of raw emotional energy whose emergence is to be detected and redirected intelligently, while within the individual.

People whose self-awareness, of the type described, is weak and under-developed can be manipulated more easily. “There’s a sucker born every minute” (pre-1898, attribution uncertain). People who are keenly aware of this psychology, and devoid of moral principles, like the fictional Elmer Gantry and the all-too-real Joseph Goebbels, can manage the herding of a mass of people to give up their power — in every sense of the word — to a driving elite. The few rule the many by persuasion. The levers of direction are the popular flaws of character.

We the People.

In theory, the many governments (federal, state and local) in the United States of America are democracies: assemblies of elected representatives of populations of citizens, and officials appointed by the elected representatives to execute specific tasks in the public interest. In this model, government is the apparatus designed to implement the popular consensus about the management of the shared material existence of the citizenry. Identifying and prioritizing the specifics of the popular will are supposedly accomplished by the concentrating and winnowing effects of competitive electioneering, and parliamentary debate. The regulation of markets and trade, the upkeep of public infrastructure, the provision of emergency services against natural disasters, and the prudent maintenance of defense forces are all examples of publicly shared concerns governments are created to manage. The education of children till they reach adulthood, intellectual maturity and a self-sustaining professional competence, as well as the health care of the citizenry are enduring publicly shared concerns that are ideally suited for management by functionally dedicated government apparatuses.

When Ronald Reagan said “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” he was saying that we the people were the problem, since our government is the democratic abstraction of our shared existence. So, if we are “the problem,” then whose problem is this? Why would “our” President disown the apparatus of our common will, whose implementation he had been entrusted to lead? Certainly, one could understand “our” President saying that there were problems in the government apparatus limiting its responsiveness to our needs, and effectiveness in achieving our goals: “my purpose as your President is solving the problems our government has in meeting all its obligations to the public.” Note however, this last quote is fictional.

On the 20th of January, 1981, the new President of the United States was telling us that “we the people” were in somebody’s way, a somebody who actually was represented by the power and authority he now held, and which he intended to use to destroy the deposed government that was “us.” A coup. In the light of subsequent history, a reasonable characterization. Twenty-nine years and one day after Ronald Reagan came to power, the U.S. Supreme Court made it plain, by issuing its Dred Scott decision of the 21st century, elevating corporate rights above those of individual flesh-and-blood human beings. Now, every legally recognized person — real or corporate — is equally entitled to spend as much as they have, to influence political debate. Clearly, because political access is so precious, it must be metered out on the basis of wealth.

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France: Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault 1844-1924)

“It is true that liberty is precious, so precious that it must be rationed.” (Attributed to Lenin: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov 1870-1924)

Yes, we the people are certainly in somebody’s way, unless our consumption, labor or demise lards a corporate bottom line. Think of yourself as a unit in a statistical ensemble of metabolic form virtual property, an advanced concept of slavery that transcends the 13th Amendment and the unitary static materialist concept of the lump-of-flesh slave; a human herd whose collective activity in a spectrum of markets exudes profitability like the methane clouds that flatulate up from bovine concentrations. The free market system strikes a match to the gas, charges you for the heat and leaves you with the ashes, if not a scorched rump. We are herded by the owners of the markets we are counted in.

One example is health care; our medical needs are not the prime concern, but instead preserving the profits of the parasitic medical financing business carried on by the insurance industry, which is interposed between medical providers and patients. So, our medical market owners, the insurance industry, must herd us to its best advantage, not ours. When we the people try to fashion a public health care system that does meet our needs, by cutting out the middleman (the essence of good business practice), we immediately find that “government is the problem.” In fact democracy is the problem. If democracy is not strictly rationed, the whole herd might stampede and any number of markets tossed over and sunk, like the bales of tea dropped into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.

It’s All About The Money

When George W. Bush said “It’s not the government’s money, it’s the people’s money” during his campaign speeches in 2000, he was broadcasting coded programming language designed to activate resentment over personal inadequacies, and have the resulting shame-based anger projected onto a victim population. The purpose of such social programming is to train the indoctrinated population to maintain its unthinking visceral obedience to the directing ideology, and so provide political support to an oligarchy that simply exploits its trained masses shamelessly.

When you hear people say “I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s…” “problems” (welfare), “kids” (public schools), “medical” (health care), you hear the internalized programming. With blissful obliviousness these political automatons will allow their economy to wither, and dispatch their tax dollars to fund the gold-plated war-waste of the Pentagon system and the many outrageous corporate subsidies (“bonuses”) that remain protected by the “tax cuts” that are so liberal to corporate wealth, so measly for the suckers, but do bump those “welfare cheats” off the dole most satisfactorily to both the duped and the malevolent.

The great con-job here is in training a large population into accepting that property has more rights than people. Since under democracy there is always the threat that popular consensus could place some restrictions on “property” (the “right” of money to do as it pleases), then property — as it is understood today: wealth protected by the legalistic über-persona of corporate structure — must destroy democracy. Democracy is communism.

A History Of Social Control

How did the corporate ideology social programmers manage to peel back a million years of human evolution to produce the “Tea Party” sideshows where people act at their limbic level, like monkey troops howling over the invasion of their banana groves? Let’s skip through history to piece together an answer.

The European white man used a divide-and-rule strategy to control the native populations of the many countries he colonized in the Western Hemisphere, Asia, Africa, the Pacific and the Middle East. Tribal rivalries stoked by the white overlords could keep the natives distracted from coordinating a united opposition to colonialism. Selected native groups and individuals could be educated and trained to become the local managers and enforcers of the white man’s rule. They internalized the white man’s culture up to a point, sufficient they hoped to “elevate” them out of native society and into some respectable place in the white man’s social hierarchy, and along with that add to their wealth and prestige. These were the compradors, native-born agents of colonial interests in Asia, and the native troops deployed by white colonial management to control the native masses. Successors in the role of native collaborators with white social control are the racial and ethnic tokens deployed by U.S. corporate and political management today; some are quite polished, prominent, and well-paid.

The management of today’s masses in the United States evolved out of the mechanisms for managing the natives that began with Christopher Columbus and the European Conquest of the Americas. Native and slave management in early colonial times evolved into race management after the Civil War, and then to the economic and social class management of the present day. The entire mentality of social control is that of colonialism.

The most significant Civil Rights legislation since the end of the Civil War was enacted during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson (Democratic Party):

— The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (extended voting rights and outlawed racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public),

— The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 (outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had caused the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans),

— The Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the “Fair Housing Act” prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing).

The combined tensions of desperation by white racists at losing overt social control, and the pent up rage of blacks over the slow pace of authentic relief of oppression and the opening of economic opportunities, erupted into many urban riots during the 1960s. Very prominent ones were: the Watts Riots of 1965 in Los Angeles; the 1967 riots in Newark and Detroit; and the 125 cities that erupted into riot during April and May of 1968 in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4th.

In 1968, Richard M. Nixon (Republican Party) used a “Southern Strategy”, a “law and order” play on Southern white racist resentment, to win the presidential election. Johnson likely assumed that Civil Rights legislation would bring a flood of black votes to the Democrats nationally, and perhaps compensate somewhat for the certain loss of Southern white racist votes; but, blacks are only about 12% of the population, and Nixon counted on there being more than 12% white racist resentment within the 75% white population — both in the South and nationally. He won by a landslide.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan tapped into the submerged bigotry that exists coast-to-coast, to call forth the resentful inner white Southerner (the inner Confederate) within much of the national electorate, and win the presidency. Reagan’s managers had learned from Nixon, and devised an expanded form of the Southern Strategy.

During George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign (as well as his two terms in office) economic class and “race” codewords were euphemisms for each other. The decoded programming message was: poor and unworthy people, like wasteful and lazy blacks, and dirty and ignorant Mexican (Latino) immigrants are taking “your” (deserving inner whites’) money by creating social welfare burdens that “your” government is now forced to pay, because of bad “give-away” legislation foisted on it by wrongheaded liberals (white snobs and non-white agitators). Your undeserved (because of your inner whiteness) increasing poverty is directly attributable to the drain on taxes by these unworthy, non-white-centered, strange-language populations. In voting for George W. Bush (and obeying his managing oligarchy), you put money “back” into the pockets of people like you, who deserve it.

All the language publicly broadcast by “conservatives” is pure lying to induce visceral obedience to the corporatist oligarchy’s political control, and allow it to continue bleeding the public like a swarm of elephant-sized ticks. Following are generalized decodings of the core instructions and their imprinted reflection.

The Hypnotic Message (“watch the watch…”):

You lack… stuff (money, brains, looks, youth, education, a nice location, a desirable mate, successful children), so you resent paying for others who get it free; others who are inferior, threatening, strange, unclean, unwholesome, wasteful, disrespectful of your importance (as a real American), and of your precedence in “our” traditional system of social rank. You resent these others polluting and degrading the system you expect to provide for you, to profit you, to honor you, to hold still and not progress beyond your capacity to understand, and to preserve the order of social rewards so no unworthy others pass you by and push you back. You must fight back, don’t let them have free things which your work has paid for, don’t let them have advantages that makes it easier for them to advance ahead of you, and makes it harder for you to maintain your superiority without learning anything new, without becoming smarter or richer on your own. Don’t let these others have advantages that crowd the places you expect to occupy as you move on in life; crowd them with more unwholesome unworthy competitors, whose increasing number threaten to diminish your standing, and end your way of life.

The Internalized Message:

I lack stuff, and it is these unclean others who have degraded the system that previously would have moved me up faster and more comfortably. So, I want to exclude these others, keep them from crossing “our” borders, and taking our advantages without paying as much as I did; even worse, creating problems my tax dollars have to pay for and which wouldn’t even happen if those people weren’t here, so I would have more of my own wealth. I have to stand up for the people like me who run for office and are willing to get the government to take care of the real Americans, who deserve the benefits that they paid for, and their parents and grandparents paid for; that will push out the unclean ones and ensure there are no extra moochers sapping our wealth, and bringing me down. Because I lack stuff, I don’t want to pay for other people to have stuff, and because I don’t want the government to take more of my money, I’m voting for the people who want to cut down the government, and cut down taxes. I’m voting to stop the give-aways, because the politicians who will do that care about me, a real American who makes a real contribution to the country, and deserves not to have it pissed away on wasteful others.

And so are fools serenaded into the abattoir.

MANUEL GARCIA, Jr., a former physicist at Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Laboratory, can be reached at


Manuel Garcia Jr, once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at