The Techno-Corporate State is Cheney’s “New Normal”

“Homeland security is not a temporary measure just to meet one crisis. Many of the steps we have now been forced to take will become permanent in American life. They represent an understanding of the world as it is, and dangers we must guard against perhaps for decades to come. I think of it as the new normalcy.” – Vice President Cheney Delivers Remarks to the Republican Governors Association

With the recent revelations, thanks to Edward Snowden, of the extensive surveillance operations of the NSA, it has become pretty evident what the “New Normal” is. When former Bush Administration Vice-President Dick Cheney introduced the world to his “new normal” in the speech quoted above, he was basically advising everyone that the “techno-corporate state” earlier anticipated by constitutional law expert Arthur Selwyn Miller in 1968 had now become the new political and social reality.

I think that most people probably failed to understand the implications of this “new normal”, and perhaps thought of it as an enhancement or augmentation of the “old normal” — a new and improved version of reality.  But what it announced, in truth, was an uprooting of the old norms and values. In broader terms, it was an uprooting of the democratic model of the state.

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it, sir”

Cheney’s “New Normal” seems to have answered in the affirmative the question posed earlier by another neo-conservative, Robert D. Kaplan, who in 1997 put the question of the viability of democracy in an Atlantic essay entitled “Was Democracy Just a Moment?“. Kaplan, who has himself some fascistic leanings, implied the answer to that in his own question by using the past tense “Was…” as if the demise of the democratic model was already a foregone conclusion. Mr. Cheney merely seconded that response with his “New Normal”.

The “New Normal” is what Miller earlier described and anticipated as this “techno-corporate state”, and it is not democratic. It is The Hive. For a while yet, though, it may preserve the trappings of democratic process merely as hollow ritual and empty ceremony. But, essentially, the old Tree of Life has been uprooted. Many people probably intuitively felt that or suspected it anyway.

The question that needs to be put to this regime of “the new normal” is this: what are the implications for the principle of the free development of the personality? I consider this the very core value of the democratic model, while the other three principle liberties — freedom of speech, of association, of assembly — are but secondary branches which derive from this one root and buttress it.

As readers of The Chrysalis will know, I consider the practice of “perception management” to be one of the great evils of our time — a deliberate violation of awareness, a corruption of reason, and a debasement of truth. With programmes like Total Information Awareness, PRISM, and Boundless Informant (amongst others), a major step has been taken towards implementing a total technology of social, psychological, and political control, one that will make George Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World look absolutely primitive and clumsy by comparison.

Big Brother is WatchingBut even this “eye” of Big Brother is still too warm, too human, too alive. The “eye” of the techno-corporate state is not a human eye. It is the dead machine eye of total objectification, which reduces the human to the total object.

Machine EyeSuch an eye is not “neutral” in its effects. It is deadening. It transforms all it sees into an “It”. The eye of even Orwell’s panopticon is till too human an eye. It still sees “he” or “she”. Still objectified, to be sure, but not yet an absolute “It”. The machine eye is the eye of total nihilism.


One response to “The Techno-Corporate State is Cheney’s “New Normal””

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    The universe is a place of infinite complexity and no “Created” entity can obstruct the universal intent from unfolding. Yet, it’s quite possible that our species is rapidly heading toward a dystopian existence. At the same time, something as worthy as an “integral consciousness” would probably not emerge without a path through great suffering. The example of the life of Christ comes to my mind.

    “Was Democracy Just a Moment?” was an outstanding essay. Thank you for linking to it. Here are some excerpts I found particularly worthy:

    “Despotism, Tocqueville went on “is more particularly to be feared in democratic ages,” because it thrives on the obsession with self and one’s own security which equality fosters.”

    “The democracy we are encouraging in many poor parts of the world is an integral part of a transformation toward new forms of authoritarianism.”

    “Enlightened despotism is thus favorable to democracy” Of course, this one of Kaplan’s remarks refers to contexts where the people and the civil institutions for a flourishing democracy are not yet ready or even established.

    “Surveillance, too, will become more important on urbanized planet.”

    “A rule of thumb is that your wants are determined not by what liberal humanists wish but rather by what business people and others require.”

    “While we preach our version of democracy abroad, it slips away from us at home.”

    “But what many do not realize is that life within some sort of corporation is what future will increasingly be about.”

    “Whereas the liberal mistake is to think that there is a program or policy to alleviate every problem in the world, the conservative flaw is to be vigilant against concentration of power in government only — not in the private sector, where power can be wielded more secretly and sometimes more dangerously.”

    “THIS rise of corporate power occurs more readily as the masses become more indifferent and the elite less accountable.”

    “The more possessions one has, the more compromise one will make to protect them.”

    “This willingness to give up self and responsibility is the sine qua non for tyranny.”

    Regarding the question of “What are the implications for the principle of the free development of the personality?” it seems to me that one can say with certainty that “Orwell’s panopticon” would not be detrimental to it; this I say in light of what I have been able to understand from the work of Seth. It would not be detrimental to it in any way, but that the personality will experience and grow and expand in ways that otherwise would not be possible. The consciousness of a mother in Somalia, for example, who has little to no control over feeding and protecting her children from the elements of the harsh environment in which she lives will experience and grow in ways that the consciousness of queen Elizabeth II would be lacking. Our consciousness, individually, has its own plans for growth and expansion and if the turn of events in this world are a mismatch for those plans, our consciousness will simply not bother to objectify itself in this plane of reality, and it will go on to experience and materialize its plans in other planes of reality.

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