Pyramids of power
by Mary W Maxwell
Gumshoe editor Dee McLachlan does not buy newspapers. She goes to a coffee shop where they are freely circulated and takes selfies of the headlines. Yesterday she was beside herself about the Murdoch press’s headline THERE IS NO DEBATE regarding vaccination.
Clearly the headline meant: DON’T YOU DARE DEBATE VACCINATION. So let’s pause for a minute to ask: What is a newspaper? What podium is Rupert Murdoch speaking from, and why does he want Australians to get super-vaccinated?
The first question is easy to answer. He speaks from the podium of mass media. He got there by coaxing legislators to get rid of laws that put limits on concentration of media. For instance, not long ago Oz very sensibly forbade the owners of TV stations to hold huge market share in other media such as newspapers. (“Cross ownership – out!”)
Rupert Murdoch, a man of no particular charisma but shrewd business sense, saw to it that he gained a position from which he could influence people massively and easily. Let’s postpone the question about vaccination to ask: Why did the various media moguls emerge? In particular, what drives Rupe?
The Maxwell Sociobiological Approach
In early parts of this series I pledged my allegiance to sociobiology, particularly as put forward by William Hamilton (on kin altruism) and Richard Alexander (on group selection).
Sociobiology is a science dealing mainly with non-human animals, but it fits Homo sapiens very well.
I see us as being in a mess today because of our evolved traits. They were “designed” to suit an ecological situation that is very different from the modern person’s environment. EO Wilson, the maestro of sociobiology, has said (in his 1978 book, On Human Nature) that we were “jerrybuilt on the Pleistocene.”
I think we have two hard-wired traits that are bring us into disaster today. Both of them can help explain the Rupert Murdoch phenomenon. One is the trait that causes male hierarchies to form. The other is the human way of grouping together against an enemy — and being willing to stop at nothing to defeat that group. It explains war and genocide.
Chickens in a barnyard have a pecking order. If you drop a new chicken into the group she has quickly to find a place in the pecking order. Among mammals, the hierarchy may culminate in an alpha: one top dog can control everyone.
How can he do that so easily? (Note: I say “he,” but in some species the alpha is always a female.) I think it’s obvious that the reason he can do so is the same reason for each chicken to “maintain her station.” It’s better to have a place than not.
It is better, overall, for there to be a structure, with some individuals being higher or lower than others. The alternative would be pretty unpleasant: to have to fight anew everyday against your competitors. Pecking orders and hierarchies are provided for in the DNA and they are here to stay.
I suppose I am entering politically incorrect waters here, by not declaring that equality is what we need. Well, I love to be politically incorrect. (I assume that the political correctness of the left wing was invented by someone who, far from hoping we would end up with equality, was trying to confuse us, for the sake of his boss, the alpha. Betcha betcha.)
Just trust me for now: we humans can’t help being hierarchy-oriented. It is biologically hard wired in each of us.
Rupert’s Place in the Hierarchy
Many human males are ambitious. They have great drive. Perhaps if you put a hundred people on a desert island, one or two would emerge as the acknowledged ‘boss.’ I mean it is natural to strive for top-ness in general.
Vanity can help but is not essential. Some bosses are in love with themselves, some are not. I don’t think of Rupert as vain, do you? So what is he striving for?
It is well known that Rupert Murdoch is a man of focused ambition, willing to destroy any competitors. Soon after I arrived in Adelaide (1980), I was told that Murdoch had bought up all the printing presses and ink so no one else could get off the ground with a newspaper that might challenge his Advertiser.
So, as I said, our traits can get a society in trouble. It’s bad for all of us when someone controls the news even just in one city, right? And ol’ Rupe didn’t stop with Adelaide. He went on to capture much of the media in Britain and then in America, his most recent acquisition being the Wall Street Journal.
We used to hear of his tête-à-tête’s with Margaret Thatcher. It’s not clear who was the boss in that duo. My best guess is that he and Maggie both were working for the same boss. They both ass-kissed, even though the public does not know who’s ass is getting kissed. Who the hell is on top?
The Group/Group Competition Thing
My claim is that two human traits that evolved during the Pleistocene are lethal in the contemporary world. The first, as discussed, is hierarchy. The second is group-to-group competition. Again, it is hard-wired. Culture may seem to shape it a bit, but every human has the makings of going out and killing the offending enemy.
Taking my cue from Richard Alexander, I say that this instinct is so deep in us that it renders us incapable of having much “conscience” as to how we treat foreigners. We simply don’t realize how conscienceless is our decision to try to defeat a potential attacker.
Let’s look at hyenas, a species that practices genocide. Any member of that group can recognize that a group of nearby hyenas may be getting too big. Thus it calculates – without language, or knowledge of history – that the needed move is war. On a certain day they may attack the group whose size is threatening to them.
Note: when a hyena group sees a few of the enemy walking around unprotected it may kill them off then and there. This will be advantageous when the two groups finally meet, and anyway it is so easy to kill the loners.
My point for now is: Homo sapiens has instinctive ruthlessness toward member of its own species when they appear as enemies.
I say the advice to be universally good to all people is a bad joke. Our mental barriers prevent such a thing. If we ever want to deal with this issue, we had better own up to our mental barriers. This will take education. We need to learn evolutionary biology – it’s the key to everything. I realize I’m politically incorrect by saying that we don’t love foreigners, but deep down we don’t.
What Is Rupert’s Group?
So, we evolved to close ranks with our own tribe, and strike out at other tribes. Identifying which group to give your loyalty to was no problem — it was the home group. Natch. But in modern times one can belong to a group that is not one’s nation. For example, one may identify mainly with a group that sprawls several nations.
Importantly, within a nation, even one that has ethnic homogeneity, there can be social classes that see each other as the enemy — the rich and the poor. In his 1705 “Fable of the Bees,” Bernard Mandeville spoke of ‘Lady Justice’ in this way:
Yet, it was thought, the Sword she bore
Check’d but the Desp’rate and the Poor;
That, urg’d by mere Necessity,
Were tied up to the wretched Tree
For Crimes, which not deserv’d that Fate,
But to secure the Rich, and Great.
As for my question What Is Rupert’s group? the answer must be: those who are near the very top and who make plans for the entire species. Murdoch hangs around with Western leaders, but his marriage to a woman from China gave a hint of East-meets-West.
Probably Rupe’s main group (his in-group, opposing all out-groups) is “the circle of governments” or something like that. Certainly he is devoted to World Government, whatever that may consist of.
Ass-Kissing by the Powerful
Now to the crux of this article. The phone conversation between me and Dee this morning, that started out with her fury over the vaccination propaganda, led her to wonder how the plans get made.
Specifically, she queried: why would powerful persons plan for things that will occur only in a later generation? How can an individual be motivated to work for something so long-term?
A century ago, genocidal scientists put bad things into the vaccines. They knew the payoff would be very delayed (the illness caused to the patient could take decades to develop), so how did they feel abut that?
For that matter, it can be asked: how did the blokes such as Albert Pike, who supposedly planned three World Wars back in 1870, give a hoot about it all since he could never live to see its fruition?
The short answer from me is that I don’t know. I assume that Albert Pike was kissing ass, that is, trying to please someone other than himself. I have often thought the same is true of the first famous Rockefeller, the Oilman. Indeed, Eustace Mullins proved that The Oilman was but a front for Rothschild.
To me it looks as though a person such as Our Rupe has the standard human need to win a pat on the back, and thus works hard to please whoever it is that distributes those pats. But who is that? I don’t know.
Human Selfishness and Dependence
I am trying to persuade readers, in this sociobiology-based series, that we are all in it together. We have species problems. If Mr Murdoch is displaying a well-known human trait, you might as well say “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Perforce, if we want to overcome the lethal aspects of having such top dogs getting into position where they can reign unchallenged, we need to act sensibly.
Funny, I though John Locke, David Hume, and the rest of the critics had already done the maths on that stuff and come up with good political systems! Um, but then the alphas crushed such democratic arrangements.
Don’t let them crush us, OK? It is beyond stupid to “fall in line” under the guidance of such people as Murdoch.
Wise up. Think species. Think Pleistocene. Think of how these poor, pitiful alphas have to spend their whole lives being nasty, and controlling our culture, just so they won’t have a bad fall.
Help them fall.
Mary W Maxwell lives in Adelaide. She is preparing more articles for the Selfishness and Human Dependence series…