Below are a few excerpts from an article elsewhere, that sort of illustrates some of what we're referring to, here. Somebody is looking for a chance to get out of the house, and is discovering that "freedom" isn't always everything it is advertised as being."Yes, I've tried the campus. Every time something starts to function as a central meeting place for students, even as a meeting place for the students of one department, the administration gets rid of it. The forum, the little circles at the top of the walkway, the table in the hallway in ECSW. Gone, gone, gone. The last, after (name deleted) of the theatre department informed me that he didn't like seeing HIS students just lounging around and talking, and he was going to do something about it. Not that this made him intolerant. Nooooo. As for staying in the dorms, and meeting people there, forget it. The University has a rule on its books prohibiting the presence of more than three people in a dorm room at a time. But you're still free to have parties. Just as long as no more than three people attend.
* snip *
As for meeting people in the great outdoors, say in one of the many parks that dot the city, one would have to stay around long enough for people to come by, and maybe stay a while. Won't happen, though. The ever vigilant Chicago police force will drop by, and enforce the anti-loitering ordinances, and ask you for a permit to assemble if too many people are hanging around. I still remember one guy who was hauled off for creating a public disturbance. His crime had been playing a game of charades in public. But, he'd already been warned about talking to strangers, so the patrolman saw no alternative, but to take him in, and pat down the rest of us for weapons. I had no idea that people took the game so seriously around here..."
... and that's pretty much what social engineering is. The subversion of individual freedom, through the manipulation of the environment in which social interaction occurs. For example, let's say that you and your friends, as modern day robber barons - I mean, captains of industry - would like to see a more docile workforce, one that's willing to work 80 hours per week. But gosh, people have lives, and they would like to keep it that way. No problem. Just make it a matter of standard operating procedure that your employees will be involuntarily relocated to other parts of the country once every few years, so they have no chance, ever, to set down roots, or establish a network of relationships outside of work.
So much for those competing institutions of the extended family and community. Work, if they cave in, will be their whole lives. Stand up to their employers? Unlikely. To lose one's job is to lose every connection to humanity one has, almost. It's unthinkable. Now, fire anyone who refuses to relocate and get your friends and peers to enact identical policies, so that your slaves - I mean, employees - have no choice BUT to cave in.
Combine this with an urban environment in which opportunities to interact with one's neighbors are limited and almost invariably take place in tightly controlled environments (such as work, church (*), etc). See to it that alternatives having been shut down, either by periodically uprooting the small businesses that provide them so often as to keep the clientele from becoming established and comfortable enough in its location in order to allow for spontaneous interaction - or have been eliminated by fiat, by those one who entered office with the help of one's contributions (eg. the loitering laws). For good measure, see to it that the ideas discussed there have been introduced to them by media franchises held by one's friends or allies (note the hostile takeovers of media conglomerates).
Do these things, and one can have the illusion of freedom without the troubling, messy, reality of having it actually mean anything, or creating any real danger that many people will start questioning the status quo. It'll never occur to them that any alternative might exist that might have been worth exploring, any more than they'll remember well enough what it was to free, for them to be able to notice that they no longer are.
One may like to think that the non-corporate institutions in our society might serve as a counterbalance, but, in fact, none would. Most mainstream denominations do, in fact, preach against self assertion, and have never been known to offer more than a token objection to abuses of financial power. The universities, as illustrated in the above excerpts, in fact, have been pioneering many of the very sort of abuses that those in the business community seem rather fond of, when one speaks to them. As for government ... since when has government EVER been a champion of individual rights?
No, if we, as a people, wish to stand against efforts to guide us, as if we were a flock of sheep, we'll have to create new institutions, in order to oppose the old.
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(*) Especially handy, if the churches they go to, with social approval, preach docile submissiveness as a virtue.