Just outside the entrance to La Cueva del Oso, Oso El Ingeniero Social is sitting at the small table he has set up, in order to enjoy a breakfast of bacon – lots and lots – and a few dozen eggs. Needless to say, he is as hungry as a bear…
As an exercise in masochism, as he downs his third or fourth pitcher of Juan-Valdez-personally-picked coffee, he peruses – as his wont – the electronic pages of the Tired, Old Grey Lady. The limp photons scarcely jump off the screen, and barely penetrating his thick skull, hardly make an impression on his unimpressionable mind. ‘Hmmm,’ he sagely hmmms.
‘The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket, as they say,’ he says. ‘Just look at this,’ he mutters, more to himself than to anyone else who might happen to be passing by. ‘Troubles everywhere you look, and even where you don’t look.’
He scratches his head, too lazy to get up and scratch his ass.
‘Wars here, there, and everywhere. Debts and bankruptcies; greedy corporations and rich folk picking at the bones of the poor (and mighty slim pickings at that, we would guess). Greedy corporations corrupting innocent young politicians barely out of kindergarten. Dear and glorious leaders brought to their knees by recalcitrant legislatures. And the Koch Gang, once again arisen from the grave and up to its old tricks. And hot – it’s so fucking hot we can barely breathe! We are choking on our own gases (with this thought, Oso El Ingeniero Social manages a slight smile, as he lets a ripe one loose).
And so he is forced by his own bodily ingenuity to rise and seek another spot in which to reflect upon disturbing world events, as chronicled by the Grey and Tired Old Lady (or something like that). And where better than the Pool of Deep Reflections?
He – Oso El Ingeniero Social – lies down beside the still waters, and in spite of the several gallons of coffee and because of the 112.372 pounds or so of bacon, begins to drift off into a late morning siesta. And visions begin to appear:
‘If we were a Dear & Glorious Leader – if we were all-powerful and omnipotent – if we ran the world, here’s what we’d do…we’d send all the bad guys down to the zoo…
If we were a Dear & Glorious Leader, we would stand over the land and command: And the sick and the infirm would be made whole again; blathering idiots and AGW deniers would be turned into Krug-like intellectual giants; and the 99% would arise again – as if from the grave – lifted from their Koch-induced state of desperation and poverty, shouting Hallelujah and heaping praises upon the Great Black Hope: We are saved – we are saved at last!’
Suddenly, he brought out of his pleasant reveries by a dose of reality, as a passing owl lets fly a big, wet dump, right onto on his face. ‘I’ve been droned!’ he growls out.
And as he washes off the bird shit in the Pool of Deep Reflections he reflects: What is it that they say about power? It corrupts?
‘And what else is it that they say: There are many ways to skin a cat – assuming you wanted to skin a cat – and have a cat to skin…
‘And there are many ways to power – that holy grail of those who would Command & Control. And Social Engineering is but one of those ways…’
Oso El Ingeniero Social rises up on his two hind legs and stretches.
‘This is a difficult matter and will require more than just some reflection.’ With that he decides to head up to Ponderation Point.
He ambles along in no apparent hurry to get to the Point (and all that bacon still making its way through his gut).
‘No doubt all of us conscious and sentient beings would like to see a better world: But a better world for whom? The squirrels would like all of the trees in the forest to be oaks. Trout would like a world full of flies. The cows want meadows, and the mountain goats want more mountains. And the vultures – what if the ruling class were composed of vultures? What kind of world would we have? (Yes, we know, we have posed a merely rhetorical question to ourselves…)’
With that he leans back against his favorite rock and looks out over The Forest of a 1000 and One Names.
‘Let’s see, how does that go: To the victor go the spoils? History is written by the winners? I am from the government, and am here to help you? Hmmm? Help – yes, that’s it – in order to help we have to break a few eggs. And if we break a lot of eggs, we will need a lot of help…’
- · Cuo Bono? – That is always a good place to start when attempting to understand people’s motivations.
- · The State – It is like the Terminator, single-minded and unstoppable in its quest to command and control, always seeking Obedience and Submission to Authority from its subjects.
- · The Parasites – The Bureaucrats, The Lawyers, The Experts and The Economists, The Crony Corporations, like vast armies of greedy rats feeding off the living carcass of Civil Society.
- · 1001 Crises – AGW, for example, can induce the proper amount of Fear in the populace.
- · Rights & Entitlements, Social Justice and Victimology – Rationalizations of action leading to Moral wrongs.
- · Statutory Law – Every law is an attempt at Social Engineering.
- · The Common Good – The raising of the chimera of The Collective over the Sovereign Individual.
- · War – Every war is a bloody project in social engineering.
From some hidden orifice Oso El Ingeniero Social draws out his laptop, the newest model Sophocles 1001, and firing it up, begins to write:
‘Even before the advent of social engineers there was social engineering. War is a violent form of social engineering, one might say, a de facto form of engineering: Behave or die. Taxation, duties and tariffs were and are a de jure form of social engineering, forcing individuals to act against their own self-interests, or be fined or imprisoned.
With the advent of the ‘modern’ Nation-State, came the advent of the modern social engineer, hard on the heels of the physical engineers: If man can design a locomotive, then he surely must be able to design a society where they – the locomotives – run on time. And if the perfect society depends on perfecting the perfect individual – an individual mechanical in nature: A robot – then so be it. Carlos Marx was the genius inventor of his day.
That famous progressive, Bismarck introduced social engineering into German society in order to help his subjects by increasing their dependency upon the State. And Statists have been chugging along, full steam ahead, ever since.
The twentieth century saw such eminent social engineers as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler: All of them using their superhero powers to drag their subjects out of the dreck, kicking and screaming into modernity and The New World Order.’
More contemporary New World social engineers were Teddy (no relationship), Woody (no relationship), and the traitor – to real engineers everywhere – Hurlbut Heever. And the Mother-of-all-MFing social engineers: Frankie the Roo.
It is no small coincidence that all of these characters, from Bismarck to Frankie and Joe were the Summum Ducem of their respective kingdoms. (What was that again – about power?).
And unfortunately, in these modern times in which we are privileged to exist, things haven’t changed much. Those who wield power must continually demonstrate to the populus just who is in charge.
And the intellectual parasites that rationalize these massive public works programs, domestic and international?
What are the effects on the subjects of these experiments in social engineering?
Independent individuals become domesticated. They are no longer accountable for their own actions. The State assumes the responsibility to assure the common good. None shall go hungry. None shall go without shelter. None shall sicken and die. None shall be ignorant. None shall suffer the insults of bigots and louts.
As there is no such thing as a free lunch, all of the above is purchased for the insignificant price of Loyalty & Obedience to The State.
But promises of free lunches are easy to make. Can they be easily kept?
We ask ourselves – apart from the question of ‘should’ – can The State provide all of these things. Can it create jobs for all? Can it plan and construct highways and bridges and super-duper fast trains? Can it successfully pick and finance the technological advances of today and tomorrow? Can it control the climate? Can it decide the economic decisions of millions upon millions of individuals? Can it make a health care system (‘system’?) run on time?
And internationally, can the State change other States from sows’ ears to silk purses by dropping humane bombs on them, invading them, destroying their infrastructures, their cultures and their populations all in the name of progressive idealism?
What is ‘social engineering’ but interventionism in the affairs of private individuals? What is the prohibition on smoking weed but Mr. Politician telling you that he knows better? What is the prohibition on discrimination but some people – with the force of the law – telling you with whom you must associate and do business? Ah, but discrimination per se is not immoral if The State does it, passing legislation favoring Industry X over Industry Y. But who should expect consistency from power-grubbing politicians?
We know why politicians love social engineering: It is a good excuse to exercise power.
We know why the parasites love social engineering: To plan, from top to bottom, the new society; for status, to be able to advise, and associate with the powerful, to obtain lucrative grants, government jobs, and academic positions and honors.
We know why the media love social engineering: It creates infinite possibilities for social and political conflict, and therefore, creates the news.
We know why corporations love social engineering, especially of the bellicose kind: Money.
But what of the idealists who simply want a better world, a peaceful world, a world devoid of poverty, disease and hunger. Why do they love social engineering?
Perhaps it is because they see the world through the eyes of children: There is day, and there is night. There is rain and there is sunshine. There is good and evil. It is all very simple – simply wave a wand and all the bad things will disappear. Pass a law and the broken will be made whole. The right leaders will make the right decisions, for all of us, for the common good. And then we will all be able to out and demand our free lunches, as is our right.
[From behind his curtain in the Great White House in the Great Imperial Capital, the Great Black Hope gives a sardonic grin: If it weren’t for useful idiots I would be back on the streets of Chicago, hustling and conning…]
Oso’s battery is starting to run down, as is Sophocles’.
He realizes that he is now faced with a difficult decision:
‘I am faced with a difficult decision. How should I file my essay on Social Engineering – under ‘Screeds, Oso’ or under ‘Blatherings, Oso’ or under ‘Blathering Screeds’ or perhaps even Screedy Blatherings?’
He gets up and gives a big bear sigh, scratches his ass and starts to head for home: ‘I need a beer, or maybe even two or three…’