Author Topic: Chaos in the Wings - The need for scientifically engineered social control  (Read 2272 times)

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Online TahoeBlue

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Written over 25 years ago...

Published: January 13, 1981

THERE have been exhilarating discoveries during the past year about the ultimate nature of matter, the destiny of the universe, the structure and nature of the human animal. And yet the new year, beset with relentless economic decline, growing threats of war and other bad news brings little cheer.

If science tells us anything about social trends, it is that things are bound to get worse if they continue to drift out of control. A new United Nations projection says that by the year 2000, roughly 80 percent of the human race - 4.8 billion people - will be living in the poorest countries of the world, the countries deemed most likely to spawn global conflict and economic collapse.

The Pakistani-born Nobel laureate Abdus Salam and many other scientists argue that rich nations must urgently provide the education, equipment and stimulus needed to develop science in poor nations. They argue that the need goes far beyond satisfying the material and technological needs of the poor.

If progress is to be sustained, scientists suggest, the people of a society in general as well as its scientists and political leaders must learn to observe and interpret rationally, and to devise innovations. This process is at the heart of the scientific method.

But the scientific method is poorly nourished in poor countries, and not merely for lack of schools and expensive laboratories. People living at the subsistence level expend all their energy surviving one day at a time, with little strength left for the effort of disciplined thought and innovation.

Malnutrition has a proven long-term effect on intellect. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology project found, for instance, that three generations of well-fed rats remained mentally impaired because they descended from 20 generations of starved rats.

Political theories purportedly based on scientific method do not in themselves seem to insure success. Marx's ideal classless state foundered in Moscow's black markets.

But despite history's failures, an immense body of knowledge has accumulated over the centuries about how masses of human beings react and interact.

Economists believe that controlling the money supply controls inflation; sociologists know that selfishness can be used to actuate people for the common good;

market analysts know that the techniques used to sell deodorants also work in selling ideas and candidates.
Scientific game theory and computer modeling are helping to refine and test theories of mass human behavior and to suggest mechanisms for making society run more smoothly.

The Pentagon, for instance, traditionally plagued by the problem of communicating its commands effectively at all levels of military society, is using computer models to develop new strategies of communication. The physicist Ilya Prigogine is applying his revolutionary scientific innovations in the theory of thermodynamics to reduce traffic jams, both automotive and human.

But all the tools provided by the scientific method for shaping society entail social control to one degree or another, and in general, people don't like perceiving themselves as controlled.

Up to a point, we have learned to live with some legal and social controls. In an enlightened, self-governing society, in which population density permits a little elbow room, existing constraints may be enough. But there is reason to believe that social cooperation and reason may not operate very effectively in the crowded decades ahead.

The future seems to promise a vast oversupply of people and an ever-dwindling store of necessities - a situation that led more than one defunct society into savagery and cannibalism.

Scientific technology, of course, potentially offers a last-resort arsenal of methods a totalitarian government could apply to save the race from itself. These could conceivably include mass sterilization, behavior modification by drugs or surgery and even the genetic engineering of personality traits.

Orwell's nightmare of 1984 has not materialized, and the cooperative efforts of human reasoning may yet head it off. But without some major changes in present global trends, we may find ourselves facing a choice between chaos and a degree of scientifically engineered social control the world has never known. Malcolm W. Browne

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

Online TahoeBlue

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So we must be "educated" as to what the "rules" are.... Watch TV...
Fear, pain and starvation are the easiest methods of control.

Avenues of research:

Social control refers to social mechanisms that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliances to the rules of a given society or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control mechanisms used to prevent the establishment of chaos or anomie. Some theorists, such as Emile Durkheim, refer to this form of control as regulation. Sociologists identify two basic forms of social controls

Internalization of norms and values, and
The use of sanctions, which can be either positive (rewards) or negative (punishment).[1]

Social Control Theory proposes that people's relationships, commitments, values, norms, and beliefs encourage them not to break the law. (conform to model)

Applications of social control theory
According to the propaganda model theory, the leaders of modern, corporate-dominated societies employ indoctrination as a means of social control. Theorists such as Noam Chomsky have argued that systematic bias exists in the modern media.[4] The marketing, advertising, and public relations industries have thus been said to utilize mass communications to aid the interests of certain business elites. Powerful economic and religious lobbyists have often used school systems and centralised electronic communications to influence public opinion. Democracy is restricted as the majority is not given the information necessary to make rational decisions about ethical, social, environmental, or economic issues.

In current theories the deviant is seen either as autonomous or as a pawn of broad social and cultural forces. Most interpretations tend to reify the categories of authority and “criminal” and to draw the line between them too sharply. They miss the interdependence that may exist between these groups and the extent to which authorities may induce or help others to break the law, be involved in law breaking themselves, or create false records about others’ supposed law breaking. Conversely, the extent to which those engaged in illegal activities may be contributing to social order is also ignored. Here I focus on some neglected aspects of the role of authorities in law violations.

Deviance and Social Control

Everyone, everywhere is subjected to certain norms

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5