by Phillip D. Collins ©, March 10th, 2006
On the February 13, 2006 edition of MSNBC’s Live and Direct, Rita Cosby examined the growing street gang known as La Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 (no pagination). This criminal enterprise is transnational in scope, stretching from “El Salvador to Honduras to Guatemala to New Mexico, and now on U.S. soil” (no pagination). Infamous for their exceptionally violent methods, MS-13 has ascended to a prominent position in the criminal underworld. Rita Cosby elaborates:
The majority of MS-13 members are foreign-born and are frequently involved in human and drug smuggling and immigration violations. Like most street gangs, MS-13 members are also committed to such crimes as robbery, extortion, rape and murder. They also run a well-financed prostitution ring.
This notorious gang, best known for their violent methods, can now be found in 33 states, with an estimated 10,000 members and more than 40,000 in Central America. The FBI says MS-13 are the fastest growing and most violent of the nation’s street gangs. So much so, even other gangs fear them. (No pagination)
The gang’s membership also boasts a vicious array of skills:
What makes MS-13 so deadly is their skill with the machete, and most have had extensive military training in El Salvador, making them a double threat. The machete, typically used for cutting crops in El Salvador, is now the weapon of choice for this fearless gang. (No pagination)
Clearly, MS-13 is more than the average gang of thugs and miscreants. It is literally a terrorist network, peopled by skilled warriors and equipped with a paramilitary auxiliary. MS-13’s growth and development is hardly some inexplicable social phenomena. Reader’s Digest writer Sam Dealy reveals the chief facilitator of MS-13’s ascendance: “This is a problem that the federal government actually created” (no pagination). This is a very interesting claim. Just how did the United States create this burgeoning gang crisis? Dealy explains:
Our default policy throughout much of the past decade has been simply to, when you catch these guys, deport them. And they head back to Guatemala, or El Salvador, or Honduras, and weak states back there can’t control them. (No pagination)
MS-13 is a threat fostered by America’s own impotent immigration policies. No doubt, many categorize this situation as an instance of bureaucratic ineptitude. In a world ruled by the accidentalist perspective of history, this is a common explanation. However, it does not account for the factors that weakened America’s border integrity in the first place. In this era of globalization, the public has been bombarded by talk of enacting open border policies. Many of those voicing this contention occupy lofty positions in the Establishment. It comes as little surprise that members of the ruling class would endorse such policies. Vanishing borders are a correlative of vanishing national sovereignty. This gradual subversion of the nation-state system is integral to the power elite’s plan to establish a socialist totalitarian world government. Yet, the criminal culture resulting from this plan is hardly some unintended byproduct. MS-13 and other criminal enterprises produced by globalization are integral to the statist blueprint of a global scientific dictatorship.
Paradoxical though it may seem, deviance provides the power elite with an element of stability. This contention is premised upon the functionalist theories of sociologist Emile Durkheim. Durkheim believed that “deviance is not only normal but also beneficial to society because, ironically, it contributes to social order” (Thio 157). According to Durkheim, deviance serves four important functions. The first of these four functions is the enhancement of conformity (157). This function is premised upon the paradoxical notion that otherwise abstract concepts of criminal law can only be illustrated by their violation. Durkheim contends that, by committing crimes, the deviant tangibly enacts principles that are antithetical to the law. In so doing, the deviant supposedly makes the law “real.” Once incarcerated and properly punished, the deviant is sacrificed on the altar of conformity for the education of the public. Because the letter of the law must be consistently reiterated for the common citizen, society requires an inexhaustible supply of deviants to act as examples.
The second function served by the deviant is the reinforcement of solidarity among “law-abiding” individuals (157). The deviant “promotes social cohesion” (157). The “collective outrage” generated by criminals unifies the citizenry and facilitates the stability of society (157). Thus, deviance, in the words of Durkheim, constitutes “a factor in public health, an integral part of all healthy societies” (qutd. in 157). In other words, society requires an enemy. There is no better example of this contention than the nationalistic fervor following the September 11th attacks. Bin Laden became the proverbial boogey man, a chimera invoked by the power elite to justify the erection of a garrison state. In this sense, deviance is analogous to Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate.” It is an instrument for demonizing a nebulous adversary and apotheosizing the cult of personality.
The third function of deviance is the provision of a “safety valve” (157). Crime is a necessary cathartic exercise, allowing people to avenge themselves against the dominant social order (157). Fragmented deviance is a viable alternative to civil unrest. From the perspective of the power elite, individual criminal acts are far more desirable than movements unified by common dissent. Criminality effectively atomizes society, stultifying grass roots opposition to the oligarchs. The rationale underpinning this third function inverts the classic mantra, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Division becomes central to societal stability. Deviance, which fractures the social body by promulgating fear and paranoia among its members, becomes an agent of stability.
The fourth and most significant function of deviance is its role in the inducement of social change (157). Through shock and trauma, crime makes populations more tractable. Again, September 11th stands as a prime example. The WTC attacks provided the pretext for the introduction of the draconian Patriot Act. Traumatized as the population was, the post-911 cultural milieu began to entertain the legitimacy of omnipotent surveillance programs. America has come under the “normalizing gaze” of panoptic mechanisms like Echelon, Carnivore, and the Promis surveillance software. Public acquiescence to such authoritarian measures was made possible, in large part, by the perpetuation of deviance.
Durkheim’s functionalist perspective on deviance seems to significantly influence the American legal system, a contention reinforced by the revolving doors of criminal justice. Murderers and rapists serve shorter sentences than non-violent drug offenders. They are subsequently unleashed back upon society. Members of radical organizations like MS-13 are temporarily incarcerated and deported. The same individuals eventually return to the United States with more initiates, drugs, and guns. Evidently, a cyclical pattern is taking shape.
The L.A. Riots: A Case Study in the Function of Deviance
Ultimately, Durkheim’s functionalist criterion for social order facilitates the dialectic of mass criminality followed by authoritarian state control. This fact is illustrated perfectly by the 1992 L.A. riots. With racial tensions exasperated by the Rodney King beating, a pretext for the invocation of martial law and the further erosion of civil liberties was not difficult to concoct. In fact, several reports claimed that Police Chief Daryl Gates intentionally “held back his officers, some of whom literally cried as they watched the ensuing chaos” (Hoffman, no pagination). One such report surfaced in the New York Times:
“Emerging evidence from the first crucial hours… provides the strong indication that top police officials did little to plan for the possibility of violence and did not follow standard procedures to contain the rioting once it began.…
The police… violated the basic police procedure for riot-control by failing to cordon off the area around one of the first trouble spots and not returning to that area for hours. Police 911 dispatchers attempted to send squad cars to the scene of the first violent outbreaks, but were repeatedly ignored or overruled.” (Qutd. in Hoffman, no pagination)
Commenting on the inaction of hundreds of police officers and National Guardsmen, one Deputy Chief confessed to the Los Angeles Times: “This is alien to everything we’re supposed to do in a situation like this” (qutd. in Hoffman, no pagination). With the chaos already in progress, all those in power needed to do was sit back and watch. Shortly thereafter, a curfew was imposed and heavily armed federal authorities lined the streets. As Los Angeles burned, so did the Constitution.
The L.A. riots graphically illustrate the centrality of deviance to the oligarchs’ plan for a scientific dictatorship. All of the functions encapsulated within Durkheim’s functionalist model were met. First, the aftermath of the riots witnessed the imposition of a curfew and the deployment of heavily armed federal authorities in Los Angeles. With these draconian elements in place, the populace quickly conformed to a totalitarian climate. Meanwhile, the rioters were swiftly rounded up and indicted during televised court sessions. For the sake of conformity, an example had to be made.
Second, there was an ostensible sense of solidarity among the “law-aiding” citizens, albeit a unity motivated by fear and paranoia. Citizens were joined in their support of the absolute State, which masqueraded as a savior from social upheaval. Third, the L.A. riots provided a “safety-valve” for the abatement of growing urban unrest. It allowed the inner city inhabitants, which was growing more and more dissatisfied with the corrupt LAPD, to cathartically expel their anger. Fourth, the L.A. riots induced social change. The event represents a major precedent in the invocation of police state mandates. Since then, law enforcement has become increasingly militaristic in nature. Within the Petri dish of society, a bacillus of totalitarianism was starting to grow.
Sociology: The Science of Control
It comes as little surprise that the operation protocol of the power elite is derivative of sociological theory. Historically, the social sciences find their proximate origins with technocratic theoreticians and sociopolitical Utopians. These thinkers would develop several of the theoretical constructs upon which socialist totalitarian machinations are premised. Sociology was predisposed to such authoritarian applications from the very beginning. Ever-present throughout sociological theory is the theme of a scientifically managed society. This deeply embedded theme is a direct corollary of the field’s technocratic heritage.
Sir Francis Bacon was one of the first theoreticians to formulate the concept of a scientifically managed society. Allegedly, Bacon was the Grand Master of the secret Rosicrucian Order (Howard 74). In turn, this organization was closely aligned with the Masonic Lodge (50). This organizational association is made evident by Bacon’s own literature. In 1627, he published The New Atlantis, which was replete with Freemasonic symbols (Howard 74). The title itself alludes to a mythological civilization that holds esoteric value for Masonry and its allied secret societies. The paradigmatic character of the Atlantis myth is inherently scientistic, emphasizing scientific progress and the cognitive powers of man as the sole facilitators for humanity’s salvation. Not surprisingly, variants of this scientistic myth have underpinned every sociopolitical Utopian program throughout history. Within the context of sociopolitical Utopianism, science is synonymous with gnosis. It is an instrument wielded by the revolutionary, who amounts to little more than a secular Gnostic. Through the sorcery of science, the revolutionary hopes to eventually immanentize the Eschaton and create heaven on earth.
The New Atlantis presented Bacon’s hypothetical framework for an effective scientific dictatorship. Author Frank Fischer provides a most elucidating description of Bacon’s “Utopian concepts”:
For Bacon, the defining feature of history was rapidly becoming the rise and growth of science and technology. Where Plato had envisioned a society governed by “philosopher kings,” men who could perceive the “forms” of social justice, Bacon sought a technical elite who would rule in the name of efficiency and technical order. Indeed, Bacon’s purpose in The New Atlantis was to replace the philosopher with the research scientist as the ruler of the utopian future, New Atlantis was a pure technocratic society. (66-67)
The novel “describes the creation of the Invisible College advocated in Rosicrucian writings” (Howard 74). This Rosicrucian mandate for an “Invisible College” was realized with the formation of the Royal Society in 1660 (Howard 57). The creators of the Royal Society were also members of the Masonic Lodge. According to Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln in Holy Blood, Holy Grail:
Virtually all the Royal Society’s founding members were Freemasons. One could reasonably argue that the Royal Society itself, at least in its inception, was a Masonic institution derived, through Andrea’s Christian Unions, from the “invisible Rosicrucian brotherhood.” (144)
The Royal Society was an epistemological cartel, selectively bestowing legitimacy upon those scientific paradigms that proved politically and socially expedient to the wealthy oligarchical dynasties of the time. Among one of the many theories promulgated by the Royal Society was Darwinism. A central feature of Darwinism is natural selection. Ian Taylor observes that “the political doctrine implied by natural selection is elitist, and the principle derived according to Haeckel is ‘aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word'” (411). Of course, such a political doctrine provided the rationale for the perpetuation of the elite’s hegemony.
Bacon’s most immediate successor in the development of technocratic theory was Henri de Saint-Simon. Fischer states: ” . . .Saint-Simon’s work can be interpreted as a prescription for Bacon’s prophecy” (69). E.H. Carr characterizes Saint-Simon as “the precursor of socialism, the precursor of the technocrats, and the precursor of totalitarianism” (2). Saint-Simon’s philosophy was pure scientism and his vision for a Utopian society was premised entirely upon scientistic precepts. Fischer explains:
In his [Saint-Simon's] view, a new unity based upon an all-encompassing ideology had to be forged. Only a belief in science and technology could replace the divisive ideologies prevalent at the time, particularly those of the church. In short, priests and politicians–the older rulers of Europe–had to be supplanted by scientists and technicians. (69)
The technocratic character of Saint-Simon’s philosophy becomes evident in his “physiological” analysis of society and governance. Saint-Simon believed an effective social order was analogous to a living organism. Thus, society could be regulated according to the same “physiological realities” that purportedly underlie human thought and behavior (Billington 212). This physiological approach to governance is a theme echoed by various socialist totalitarian regimes. It provided the theoretical groundwork for Marxism. Billington explains:
Believing that the scientific method should be applied to the body of society as well as to the individual body, Saint-Simon proceeded to analyze society in terms of its physiological components: classes. He never conceived of economic classes in the Marxian sense, but his functional class analysis prepared the way for Marx. (213)
Saint-Simon’s physiological analysis of society also inspired the scientific dictatorship of Nazi Germany. Ernst Haeckel, the famous evolutionist responsible for Hitler’s introduction to social Darwinism, openly espoused this physiological view. He contended that each cell of an organism, “though autonomous, is subordinated to the body as a whole; in the same way in the societies of bees, ants, and termites, in the vertebrate herds, and in the human state, each individual is subordinate to the social body of which he is a member” (qutd. in Keith 157). Herein is the central theme of all socialist totalitarian regimes: the subordination of the individual to the collective. Yet, there is always an “elite” that occupies the developmental capstone of the physiological state. For Haeckel, it was the mythical Aryan that exhibited “symmetry of all parts, and that equal development, which we call the type of perfect human beauty” (qutd. in Keith 85).
Auguste Comte was the “principal disciple” of Saint-Simon (Fischer 70). Building upon the scientistic concepts of his mentor, Comte developed ideas that:
proved to be very influential in the rise of modern sociology. Many call him the father of the discipline, a fact that also underscores the technocratic origins of modern social science itself. (71)
The technocratic character of sociology is illustrated by the field’s inherent scientism. Comte contended that societies experienced three developmental stages: religious, metaphysical, and scientific (Thio 9). Comte asserted that the religious and metaphysical stages were marked by a “reliance on the superstition and speculation” (9). Of course, such thinking is consistent with materialism, which precludes the existence of supra-sensible entities. It also synchronizes with nominalism, which promulgates anti-metaphysics by rejecting man’s inherent ability of abstraction. All that remains is the ontological plane of the physical universe. The stage is set for the metaphysical claim of “self-creation” and its corresponding Gnostic claim of “self-salvation.” This theme underpins the philosophy of almost every contemporary sociopolitical utopian.
Remaining true to Saint-Simon’s scientistic heritage, Comte bestowed epistemological primacy upon the scientific stage. This last developmental stage would witness the rise of a technocracy where “sociologists would develop a scientific knowledge of society and would guide society in a peaceful, orderly evolution” (9). Comte called this new social order a “sociocracy” and promoted it as “religion of humanity” (Fischer 71). Astute readers will automatically discern echoes of Saint-Simon’s “New Christianity.” That a new theocratic order would be preceded by a secular one is hardly a consequence. Again, secularization is merely a segue for the installation of new religion and a new religious authority. According to Comte’s utopian vision, the social scientist constituted the inner priesthood of the new religious authority. Fischer explains:
Sociologists were to identify the principles of this new faith and to implement them through a “sociolatry.” The sociolatry was to entail a system of festivals, devotional practices, and rites designed to fix the new social ethics in the minds of the people. In the process, men and women would devote themselves not to God (deemed an outmoded concept) but to “Humanity” as symbolized in the “Grand Being” and rendered incarnate in the great men of history. (71)
Thus, guided by the ecclesiastical authority of sociology, humanity would continue its evolution onward and upwards. In the “Grand Being,” one may discern echoes of the Masonic concept of the Great Architect. It also reiterates the monistic ideas of Jung, Hegel, Wells, and others. All of these represent variants of evolutionary pantheism. Like classic pantheism, evolutionary pantheism depicts God as an immanent force pervading the fabric of the physical universe. However, evolutionary pantheism marries immanentism with Darwinian transformism. The resulting religion is a scientistic faith in progress. God becomes the emergent deity of man, who gradually migrates towards apotheosis through the process of evolution. Not surprisingly, sociologists like Emile Durkheim and Herbert Spencer advanced similar monistic theories.
Sociology’s inherent scientism reached fanatical levels during the 1920s. This period witnessed the rise of “scientific” sociology, which was also called “objectivism” (Bannister 3-4). Predictably, objectivism was preoccupied with quantifiable entities and empirical observations. “Objective” sociology restricted its inquiries entirely to “the observable externals of human behavior, thus carrying to a logical conclusion the strict inductionism of sensationalist psychology” (3). Sociologists were increasingly supplanting traditional metaphysics with an “ideology” premised on sense certainty. Robert Bannister expands on this anti-metaphysical approach:
Epistemologically, it [objectivism] rested on the conviction that experience is the sole source of knowledge; ontologically, on a distinction between objects accessible to observation (about which knowledge is possible) and those not accessible (about which there can be no knowledge). (3)
Naturally, the reduction of man’s every thought and emotion to physical sensations is accompanied by the physiological interpretation of society. After all, if the purely sensate man is but a microcosm of the social whole, then it is reasonable to assume that the macrocosm is governed by the same physiological principles. Thus, human civilization became the “social organism.” The individual became little more than a cell, biologically subordinated to the physiological whole. Obviously, this collectivistic depiction of society underpins the philosophy of every contemporary scientific dictatorship.
Of course, the animal of society requires a zookeeper. This was precisely the role that the sociologist was designed to fill. While social engineering is hardly an American invention, the concept gained substantial political and social capital in the United States. Lester Ward, who is considered the founder of American sociology, believed that sociology was far more than a “fact-gathering” enterprise (Bannister 13). He contended that “its goal is a radical ‘sociocracy,’ not the palliatives that pass for social reform” (13). Ward’s “radical ‘sociocracy'” began to take shape shortly after World War II. Deviance is contributing to the erection of this radical sociocracy. In the mind of the oligarch, deviance is a natural physiological function of the social organism. Mass criminality is merely a part of the power elite’s ongoing experiment in social engineering.
The Rise of the Carceral State
Mass criminality is an instrument of cultural deconstruction. It facilitates the extension of the carceral system to the whole of the social body, creating a carceral culture. Just as prisoners require wardens and guards, a carceral culture requires a carceral state. As crime has steadily risen, society has witnessed the mass diffusion of what the late philosopher Michel Foucault called “panoptic schema.” Derived from Jeremy Bentham’s carceral model of the Panopticon, the panoptic schema is a mechanism that allows for complete surveillance of the subject (pan=all, optic=seeing). Originally a hallmark of the prison system, the panoptic schema can assume numerous forms. It can be the security camera, the barbed wire fence, and the armed guard. However, it does have much more subtle manifestations.
Panoptic schema can also be bodied forth through the rigid timetabling of activities, which allows for the effective chronemic regulation of a subject’s day. It is tangibly enacted by the observational design of specific types of architecture, which readily lend themselves to the spatial regulation of the subject. Finally, it is within the mind of the subject himself, who has internalized all of these machinations of control and now monitors his own behavior.
Commenting on the metastasis of the panoptic schema, Foucault observes that it:
is polyvalent in its applications; it serves to reform prisoner, but also to treat patients, to instruct schoolchildren, to confine the insane, to supervise workers, to put beggars and idlers to work. It is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one another, of hierarchical organization, of disposition of centres and channels of power, of definition of the instruments and modes of intervention of power, which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops, schools, prisons. Whenever one is dealing with a multiplicity of individuals on whom a task or a particular form of behaviour must be imposed, the panoptic schema may be used. (205)
According to Foucault, the elasticity of the panoptic schema allowed for its mass diffusion throughout society: “The panoptic schema, without disappearing as such or losing any of its properties, was destined to spread throughout the social body” (207). With the metastasis of the panoptic schema, Foucault observes that “its vocation was to become a generalized function” (207). The final result, Foucault observes, is a virtually mechanized society:
We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism (217).
The concept of the “panoptic machine” synchronizes very comfortably with Weishaupt’s society of Maschinenmenschen. Ever-present is the machine motif, which was also a hallmark of the technocratic movement of the early thirties. It comes as little surprise that the Bush administration, which is governed largely by the technocratic neoconservatives, would develop panoptic machinations like the Patriot Act and the Total Information Awareness program. It is even less surprising that the ascendancy of these panoptic machinations was facilitated by the so-called “War on Terror.” The WTC attacks, which really amount to larger criminal acts with higher degrees of coordination, facilitated the rise of the present carceral state. This is the ultimate function of deviance. It is an element of stability within the emergent scientific dictatorship.
- Baigent, Michael, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York: Delacorte, 1982.
- Bannister, Robert. Sociology and Scientism. London: North Carolina UP, 1987.
- Billington, James H. Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith. New York: Basic, 1980.
- Cosby, Rita. “‘MS-13′ is one of nation’s most dangerous gangs.” MSNBC 13 February 2006
- Fischer, Frank. Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1990.
- Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon, 1977.
- Hoffman, David. The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror. 1998.
- Howard, Michael. The Occult Conspiracy: Secret Societies-Their Influence and Power in World History. Vermont: Destiny Books, 1989.
- Keith, Jim. Casebook on Alternative Three. Lilburn, GA: Illuminet Press, 1994.
- Taylor, Ian T. In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order. Toronto: TFE Publishing, 1999.
- Thio, Alex. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 2000. New York: Pearson Education, 2005.
About the Author
Phillip D. Collins acted as the editor for The Hidden Face of Terrorism. He has also written articles for Paranoia Magazine, MKzine, News With Views, B.I.P.E.D.: The Official Website of Darwinian Dissent, ACL Report, and Conspiracy Archive. He has an Associate of Arts and Science. Currently, he is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Wright State University. During the course of his seven-year college career, Phillip has studied philosophy, religion, and classic literature. He also co-authored the book, The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship: An Examination of Epistemic Autocracy, From the 19th to the 21st Century, which is available online here. He also moderates the Yahoo discussion group “Panoptic Age.”