The Overheating Establishment Engine

The Overheating Establishment Engine

The Overheating Establishment Engine

This was originally an old blog post I wrote about corruption in the institutional church. I simply used a find-and-replace feature to replace the words “pastor and religious elite” with “corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich,” “religion” for “politics,” “sermon” with “media” and so on. I did very little editing, because so little was necessary. What is the significance of the fact that corruption in the institutional church has a twin problem in the “secular” world? I’ll leave that to readers to decide (for the moment).

Power in Political Systems

In politics, there’s a strong relationship between power and the news media. The news media is a social communication tool that, given the right set of circumstances, can influence one’s desires or beliefs. In other words, group A, usually corrupt politicians and a handful of the obscenely rich, can use the news media to create a framework of perception that directly influences group B’s ability to know and understand certain things. And since people base their decisions and actions on what they know and understand, group A can essentially exercise a form of control over the decisions and actions of group B in such an indirect way that group B actually feels as if they are acting in their own best interest.

It’s not that there’s some conspiracy among corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich. They don’t sit in conference rooms making villainous plans with evil grins on their faces. It just happens, because they are fallible human beings in a system that brings out the absolute worst in those who get caught up in it.

Corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich regularly exercise powers that limit not only the ability, but the desire of the public to speak or act in opposition. How does this happen? The short answer is language. But the short answer, just one word, doesn’t hold much weight all on its own. Speaking, writing, and communication in other forms are all expressions of language. It is crucial that the public methodically examine not only discourse, but the hegemonic structure of information management within the media establishment.

Corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich control the media, and can decide what to talk about or write about, and when to speak or publish content. They determine subject matter, emphasis, and delivery. They also control speaking or writing roles subordinates can have, the content of subordinate discourse, and when subordinate speaking or writing can take place, if at all. In other words, discourse is not seen by the public as legitimate communication unless it has a stamp of approval from the media. And corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich will only give that stamp of approval to (i.e. share power with) those who understand and comply with their subordinate roles.

Why Corrupt Politicians and the Obscenely Rich Manage Information

Information management is a crucial function of corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich for many reasons, but one common denominator among the reasons is power. Information management is opinion management, and opinion management ensures the power of persuasion, which is the primary power corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich use to prevent a subordinate person/group from acquiring power.  There are other methods to maintain power, such as selective funding or budget control, hiring and firing, etc. but these methods always stay within the context of information management.

Information Management Is Opinion Management

Because power structures can be altered through real, organic, uncensored communication, the control of information, its production, and its distribution is essential to maintain opinion management. Think about it. Corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich not only decide whether a topic is relevant, but manufacture a schema of perception for values. This schema of perception is built on materials/information consistent with the values and interests of the leadership, including:

  • Daily or Weekly Broadcasts
  • Press Releases and Coverage
  • Publications (bulletins, newsletters, flyers, booklets, etc.)
  • Educational Materials (textbooks, workbooks, videos, etc.)
  • Entertainment (books, movies, etc.)
  • Websites and Moderated Forums
  • Favorable Press (advertisements, articles, interviews, etc.)
  • Official Personal Communication (conversations, emails, texts, phone calls, etc.)

All of these threads work together to create a web of consensus, a solidarity of agreement, a constructed “feel-togetherness” for people in the Democratic and Republican parties that serves a very powerful purpose…

Opinion Management Ensures the Power of Persuasion

Any judgments, beliefs, or attitudes of independent voters, party members, or grassroots politicians that do not fit neatly within the schema of perception are deemed by other party members as backward, abnormal, defective, deficient, or even unpatriotic. Opinion management enables corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich to gain the power of persuasion through fear of nonconformity. They don’t have to say or do anything to provoke this fear, because “public opinion” does it for them. How? Through an unspoken agreement of party members that objection = dissension, disagreement = sabotage, protest = insurrection, and the like.

If, for some reason, a party member does not respond to social pressure, opinion management still serves a very powerful purpose…

Using the Power of Persuasion to Prevent a Subordinate Person/Group from Acquiring Power

When corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich feel that an individual or group is a threat to power, their response, however hostile, can be reconstructed within the schema of perception as a benevolent, gracious gesture. The language of corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich, in many ways, conceals the true essence of their intentions, that is, to control mutiny. Explicit enforcement of power, in the eyes of the public, can backfire on them, so it is disguised by the language of “recommendations,” perhaps in the form of a simple request or a little bit of sympathetic advice. This is how American citizens, who have every right (and some might argue, obligation) to object, disagree, or protest, may be labeled spoiled brats or contentious if they do not quietly comply.

Behind the curtain, corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich can act like little gods who can’t be questioned, minimizing or dismissing concerns without consequence. In the public eye, they use their schema of perception (see the bullet list above) to offer politically manufactured responses that limit understanding and use their high status as a safeguard against justified criticism.

Information Management: A Basis for Other Methods to Maintain Power

When recommendations, requests, and advice fail, maintaining power becomes difficult, but still possible, with good information management. If the offender financially benefits in some way from corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich, termination of those financial benefits may be used to maintain power. If the offender does not financially benefit from corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich, threat of losing status or influence in the political party may have the same effect. With offenders who just won’t go away quietly, a media blackout or blacklist can be a last resort. The problem with these and other methods is that corrupt politicians and the obscenely rich are only powerful in the political and financial world systems. Real life happens in spite of those systems. Even for people who are fully assimilated into the schema of perception, real life happens, and they sometimes spot broken threads in the web of consensus. They begin to wonder whether the voice of consensus is actually just the voice of their political master  leader and his/her bouncers beneficiaries.

In this situation, the small, power-holding group becomes especially vulnerable, and information management becomes extremely critical.  In the past, this unwanted development in power-maintenance was not very difficult to manage. As long as unfavorable information could be eliminated or severely restrained, the web of consensus would be repaired, and the schema of perception would eventually be strengthened.

But we are no longer living in the past.

We are living in a time of pervasive and shared information. With free access to information on the Internet and social media opening the lines of communication, Americans, and in fact, people all around the world are beginning to form a true schema of perception where consensus is not manufactured and carefully maintained, but experienced as our souls are knit together in love. Some of us see this as God’s love (myself included). Others not so much. Regardless, the love, good will, and positive intentions are there. Opinion can’t be as easily managed by corrupt politicians and a handful of obscenely rich families.

They may clamor about and make panicked suggestions like “No. We just can’t trust the American people to make those types of choices … Government has to make those choices for people,” but opinion is beginning to form in a new way. Perception is not so easy to control when most of the embarrassing facts are put on the table under the light of scrutiny. We can more accurately discern the gas guzzling, overheating political engine and the growing pile of discarded bodies behind it.

Power Isn’t Out There… It’s In Here

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, that He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory, with might to be strengthened through His Spirit, in regard to the inner man, that the Christ may dwell through the faith in your hearts, in love having been rooted and founded, that ye may be in strength to comprehend, with all the saints, what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled to all the fulness of God; and to Him who is able above all things to do exceeding abundantly what we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him [is] the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.

  • Mary Vanderplas May 5, 2016 at 5:00 am

    I agree that the media are largely a tool of the party power-brokers and that they exert considerable control over the public’s perceptions and decision-making. And I agree that those who do not go along with the stated views of the party elite, and with their tactics for maintaining power, too often are victims of subtle efforts to silence the expression of their views and prevent them from challenging the status quo. Often they disappear as a consequence of the neglect of the media and the hostility of the elite.

    I don’t disagree that, in this age of information-sharing and open discourse, people are less likely to be influenced by the efforts of the power-brokers to control public perception and opinion. But I don’t think it can be assumed that there is a consensus of opinion among the American people that will emerge and carry the day in terms of public policy outcomes. Truer to reality is that there are real differences between people in different political camps in their perceptions of what is in the best interests of themselves and others. While the idea of everyone being “knit together in love” certainly carries appeal, it seems to me that this is highly unrealistic when talking about politics. I suppose it can be argued that it can’t hurt to dream, but I doubt, frankly, whether gridlock in Congress and division among the populace would go away simply because the hold of the powerful on the system and on communication is broken.

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