What Kind of World Do We Live In?

I actually believe this to be the single most successful technique for social control in the 21st Century, convincing those most eager for change that it can only come through thrilling and glorious action, a battle of pure good versus pure evil. “Why bother voting on this boring bond issue? I’m not leaving the house for anything less than a war to overthrow capitalism! And don’t ask me to hang out unless you agree, I don’t befriend class traitors.”

The truth that the system is so afraid of us learning—and that we’re happy to let them keep from us—is that actually changing the world requires a stunning amount of tedious, quiet work, of dry reading and learning and organizing and slowly changing obstinate minds. Mathematically, this includes engaging at least some minds you previously considered ignorant or hateful. And this persuasion occurs, not through flashy performative acts, but by slowly earning trust until your opponents want to agree with you.

The system wants you to equate tedious work with neutered slavery and to equate liberation with sexy drama because it knows the opposite is true, that if you restrict yourself to flashy and dramatic solutions, you will be exactly as useful to the status quo as any other sedentary daydreamer. There is a reason the system has no problem feeding you a steady stream of fantasies about violently overthrowing it.

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