Our oligarchs walk a tightrope because leadership is an exercise in high hypocrisy. It is the ultimate in multitasking: saying one thing and doing another; condemning and approving the same thing at the same time; building what one is destroying.
Stability and order are prime examples of this creative hypocrisy.
One the one hand, our oligarchs are obsessed with them. They want a return to the gray conformity of the Fifties. Of course, they forget that this conformity was as much a media event as a reality. Back then, you had three networks and a handful of magazines, dominated by the good people at Time-Life, all singing the same song and giving the impression that the nation was singing along with them. In truth, there were many different songs but they were muted by the one meta-song that drownsed out all others. These disparate songs found their voices in the sixties.
At the same time, our oligarchs must encourage a spirit of hedonistic rebellion for a number of reasons.
A hedonistic lifestyle guarantees political apathy. The bigger the home entertainment centers, the more the synapses of the brain are neutralized. In the darkness of the club, the glow of the play station and the throbbing beat of indie rock is the quest for “self actualization.” And in this quest, community perishes.
There are two types of community. There is the bottom-up, organic community that is a threat to the corporatist state. This is what must be destroyed to be replaced by the synthetic corporatist community marketed from above. Successful marketing depends upon fragmentation. Organic communities resist this fragmentation. Destroy them and the leader is left with a massive vacuum waiting to be filled by noise and toys. Self absorption kills the critical facility; rebellion always morphs into conformity.
On the surface, hedonism appears to be rebellion, but it always shows up for work on time because there are rent and car payments to be made. Rebels make the best drones because they are too self absorbed to realize they’re being exploited. They are so wrapped up in their toys they don’t even feel the screws being tightened.
Modern oppression resonates with a desire for the good life.