Personal responsibility to discover truth
The SSAF view.
While it is indeed the responsibility of the citizenry to be "alert and knowledgeable", the citizenry must have the means available to them to fulfill this responsibility. SSAF provides this in two ways.
First, a program of personal development is provided where the individual can acquire the understanding of the real state of the social order and how it functions. Through this program the citizen also acquires the skills necessary to perform the social engineering tasks such as reviewing and evaluating the state of the society, determining if the society is functioning according to the social contract, determining actions and executing on plans which result in producing verifiable changes to the social order.
Second, by working together in an organized fashion, individuals can support each other in making the changes necessary to free themselves from the insidious systems of control which the oligarchic supported institutions apply to the general population.
At the end of the day, only the creation in the general population of an alert and knowledgeable citizenry who are free from the mental, emotional, and physical manipulations of the oligarchs will result in a new society.
a society where the general population, not just a small group of oligarchs,
exercises effective control over their social order, the responsibility to
understand what the structure of the society is, how the society functions,
what the mission and goal of the society is, what the social contract is
between the government and the citizens, and monitor events in both the
political and non-political areas is the responsibility of very citizen.
Exercise of political power when the citizen has little or no understanding of the social situation and context is like giving a car to someone who has no idea how to drive. This is especially true in a representative republic like the united states. When the citizens do not understand the social order in which they live and are not effectively monitoring the activities of the people who administer and control the social institutions e.g. governments, corporations, religions, etc., then individuals with psychopathic and criminal characteristics can easily exploit, take advantage of , and cause misery and destruction in the society.
The danger of the inability of the general population to control the institutions which exert such profound influence over their lives is described very well by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address: ( emphasis - bold text - added here to call out the areas pertinent to this discussion )
"..This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded..."
Warnings of this danger are not recent events. President Abraham Lincoln provided a similar warning in 1864, over 145 years ago.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” 1864, Abraham Lincoln only a few months before his death
Unfortunately what President Lincoln feared has come to pass.
· Democracy is a system in which the key decisions are basically monopolized by the "leading sectors of the business community and related elites" (Noam Chomsky) and the public are only "spectators, not active participants" (see Chomsky's What Uncle Sam Really Wants for a useful informal discussion of this)
· The public is best off spending most of their time in depoliticized atomization and alienated isolation, focusing mainly on local, personal and family matters and leaving the big policy decisions and politics in general to supposedly expert and benevolent masters- people like the shameful George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. We non-elites are supposed to keep our mouths shut and stay out of the "elite's" hair by not interfering in the public arena, where we don't belong (again, see Chomsky).
As President Eisenhower said "Only an alert and knowledgeable
citizenry can compel
the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense
with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper
The problem is that the citizenry is prevented from being alert because they spend the majority of their time and energy just trying to make ends meet, being distracted by the entertainment and commercial advertising industries, being manipulated into unnecessary conflicts among themselves e.g. racial, gender, age conflicts which are artificially created and continually aggravated through the media systems, and seeking to fulfill their artificial need for more and more material goods. This leaves the average person no time or energy to spend on being "alert" to what is really going on in their society.
Additionally, the citizens are "educated" in the school systems which are supported by and serve the interests of the business class. People receive a type of education which prepares them to "get a good job" and "be a good worker". The focus is on providing labor services to the business class, not on acquiring skills in how to understand and control their social order. The student learns history which has been slanted to represent the interests of the oligarchs who control the wealth and political power in the country. The scope and breadth of corruption, exploitation, and abuse of power in history is played down, glossed over, or simply not communicated. The result is that the "knowledge" of the average citizen is not based on reality but on a cultural mythology where most citizens have the belief that the institutions that control the society e.g. government, corporations, religion, etc. are in place for the good of the general population, which is completely untrue, and that the average citizen really has no effective control of the society, which is very true. Hence the average citizen does not seek to understand what is really going on and is demoralized and discouraged from trying to find out or do anything about it if they do find out.
The result is that the concepts of "free speech" and exercising political power through voting are simply charades that serve to give the average citizens the illusion of independence and freedom with the added benefit of providing an emotional buffer against their natural aversion to the reality of their enslaved condition.