Welcome to The Management of Reality
The Management of Reality is a system of articles of historical and investigative research covering topics in politics, foreign affairs, corruption, the fight for democracy, etc., connecting to behavioral science anchored in social-learning adaptations and the study of culturally evolving social systems. There is a strong focus on documenting and explaining the mechanisms employed by powerful actors to manage our reality for their benefit. The focus is on the West, and most strongly on the behaviors of the power elites in the United States, because their power is crushing and global. Our forte is not to report events immediately as they happen but rather to build historical context on structural trends, to help us build better models of the structure and evolution of our political and geopolitical systems. Once in your toolkit, our models will help you interpret events as they happen. Eventually, you’ll do that so well that you’ll grasp something we haven’t noticed yet, or that we got wrong. Please let us know.
Is this conspiracy theory?
Imagine if Niccolò Machiavelli had been educated to think that whoever proposes Machiavellian hypotheses is crazy. We wouldn’t have The Prince, one of the most important political analyses ever written. Yet that’s what university students learn today: that Machiavellian hypotheses—or conspiracy theories—are all crazy. Machiavellian hypotheses are taboo within the halls of academia. This makes it impossible for a true science of Power to flourish there. We must therefore build that science outside of the university as a citizen project. If we don’t, then we may lose democracy altogether. My purpose here is to help us build that citizen science by explicitly pitting Machiavellian hypotheses against each other and against more innocent explanations so that we can all reflect on this question: Which hypotheses best explain the evidence of political and geopolitical behavior? Yes, we are indeed evaluating and also proposing some conspiracy theories. And there is nothing wrong with that.
The management of reality
Astronomers cannot see most of the Universe—they must peer at it through telescopes. In other words, their perception is mediated, and the instrument creates the image. Astronomers therefore need a science of optics—a science of the instrument—in order to correct for optical illusions, optical distortions, and even smudges in the lens. Students of politics and geopolitics cannot see the systems they study—they peer at them through a different instrument: the major media. The media create reality. Here, too, we need a science of the instrument. But we lack one, because certain questions one might ask about the major media fall in the category ‘conspiracy theory,’ and those are taboo in academia. Result: a poor understanding of the distortions our instrument might be creating. Is our reality being managed? How? And to what end? To discover this, we must—free of taboos—build better scientific models of the major media. This is one major aspect of the work published on MOR, from which its name.
A model of the Western system
But we cannot stop at modeling the media. We need a scientific model of the entire Western system in which the major media are embedded. And we need a model of the world system, for we have globalized. Many independent researchers are trying to produce such models—I know. And I hope we can all enrich each other. But I would place our investigations on a sounder footing. Many independent researchers seem to perceive that the news media and other democratic institutions were corrupted recently; what has in fact happened, I believe, is that the system’s powerful controllers only recently shifted into high gear the process of moving us from what I call ‘sloppy totalitarianism’—a simulated and corrupted democracy, with its many real benefits—into what I call ‘tight’ or ‘frank totalitarianism,’ where they’ve always meant to bring us. The democratic simulation is ending. I can show that the major news media were already one, centralized, and tightly controlled system by the year 1938 (see here and here), and that there were serious problems long before that—in fact, even as far back as the pivotal moment: the revolutions of 1848. In order to help us appreciate all this more clearly, I am laying out a historical model of how the Western system was put together and how it has been evolving, with special attention to the role of the major media. The model, two decades in the making, is itself evolving. It always will be.
Structure of presentation
Every MOR piece can be read as a stand-alone, self-contained piece on a targeted topic that nevertheless gives you a kind of ‘fractal’ glimpse of the whole system structure we are describing. Each MOR piece gives rise to questions that are answered in other, linked MOR pieces; conversely, each piece attempts to answer the questions that will naturally arise in readers’ minds from reading other pieces. The relationship between MOR pieces is therefore a kind of tribute to the structure of the system itself. Every piece is as good as any other as a point of entry—it all depends on what you are already interested in. Any path followed eventually connects to all others and takes you to the same understanding of the whole structure.
Why this effort?
The promise of the modern West is that via parliamentary politics—rather than civil war—our institutions and laws can be progressively edited to make our societies better for all of us. To continue on this path, Westerners must survive the present Great Challenge as a collection of modern, peaceful, democratic peoples. But, for that to happen, We The People must take back our democratic societies. This will require a New Enlightenment: Westerners must open their eyes, of a sudden, to the onslaught now unleashed against any possibility that we will live in democratic societies. For unless they can see the structure arrayed against them, and understand its shape, they won’t know what to fight for, or how. MOR is my effort to open eyes.
An important caveat
The system cannot be reformed unless those now running it are given amnesty. This will be unsatisfying. A lot of emotional pain will have to be swallowed. But any other path is suicide—for all of us. Let that be our guiding principle, then. And say it loudly. We must communicate in advance our forgiveness. Peace and Reconciliation. That is the way.
My (short) bio
I am Francisco Gil-White, a political anthropologist with a strong focus on the population-level consequences, in human societies, of our cognitive adaptations for social learning. I am trained in evolutionary theory, on the one hand, and in sociocultural ethnography and social theory, on the other. I perceive no contradiction in that.
I began life as an academic social scientist after finishing my bachelors degree in music composition at New England Conservatory of Music. A big switch. As a bridge into my new life, I first did the Master of Arts Program in Social Science (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago, where my thesis—which defended the importance of combining evolutionary perspectives with traditional social science in the study of human behavior—won the Earl & Esther Johnson Prize.
Then, following my own advice, I did a Ph.D. in both biological and sociocultural anthropology at UCLA, completing 14 months of ethnographic work in the far western outback of the Republic of Mongolia, working with Torguud and Kazakh nomadic pastoralists. My Ph.D. thesis, which focused on explaining the evolution of the cognitive mechanisms that make us vulnerable to racist political entrepreneurship, won the Best New Investigator Prize from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.
The same thesis—in fact, a draft of it, and a whole year before I earned my Ph.D.—got me a job at the University of Pennsylvania’s famous psychology department. The job was waiting for me if, in the remaining year, I turned my thesis in. To make sure that I did, the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict—created at UPENN as a joint effort of the psychology and political science departments—gave me a year’s worth of scholarship. Oh, and I became a fellow, also, at the Asch Center.
From the looks of it, I was going to have a stellar academic career. Then I got in trouble.
After 9-11 happened, I began investigating in earnest the institutional behavior of Western governments and the media, adopting from Jared Israel (The Emperor’s New Clothes) the hypothesis that Western institutions were being decisively influenced in particular directions by clandestine forces acting entirely outside of democratic channels.
At the same time, the Arab-Israeli conflict increasingly became interesting to me. I began investigating the history of the Zionist and Palestinian movements. That’s when I learned, digging in the library, that the founding father of the Palestinian movement, a man by the name of Hajj Amin al Husseini, had been a top leader of the German Nazi Final Solution—a fact that had not been mentioned anywhere for decades and that apparently nobody remembered. After the war, Husseini had created the antisemitic terrorist group Al Fatah, which later swallowed the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), keeping its name.
Most people today probably know PLO/Fatah as the ‘Palestinian Authority,’ the name it took when the government of Israel—under intense US pressure—allowed this antisemitic terrorist organization inside its borders to become the government of Arabs living in the disputed territories. In this simple fact was the structure-shattering epiphany: the supposed ‘ally of Israel,’ the United States, had force-squeezed into the Jewish State a terror-group created by the exterminator of the European Jews.
How was that move politically correct? It was only so because the media had not mentioned Husseini’s crimes or his connection to PLO/Fatah for decades. People didn’t know about this.
I thought they should. This seemed to me like a relevant fact for anyone wishing to interpret the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was also relevant, I later realized, for anyone wishing to build a model of the modern media. Because we all keep hearing that ‘the Jews’ are supposedly very powerful in media—but then why the silence on Husseini? To keep PLO/Fatah permanently out of Israel, the media just needed to yell about Husseini—and it didn’t.
So I ran a test. The sort of test that one does in what is now called systemic-action research: I poked the system and then observed its reaction, hoping for clues about its structure that might allow me to test various hypotheses.
This is what I did: I published a history of the Arab Palestinian movement, including all the juicy details about Husseini and the Shoa (Holocaust), and also Husseini’s postwar creation of Al Fatah. And I published it on Israel National News (I later updated that material here). The system did not disappoint. After heated exchanges and threats with my bosses at UPENN, I was removed from the tenure track. Effectively, I was fired. And this, despite the fact that my bosses conceded my documentation was “impeccable.”
These developments were fascinating to me, because everything my superiors did was in violation of UPENN’s own regulations to protect academic freedom, and in violation, also, of my 1st Amendment constitutional right to free speech, which is supposed to be sacrosanct (you may peruse all the gory details here). Why such a violent reaction? Had I found the system’s kryptonite? What was this system, then? I needed a model that would answer the question: Why can’t the Nazi roots of the Palestinian movement be discussed?
My quest for a proper model has spawned 20 years of research on the political and geopolitical structure of the modern West. It started with my earlier (and now abandoned) website Historical and Investigative Research, which still exists as an archive.
As I went down the rabbit hole, searching deeper and deeper in history for causes, I eventually produced: The Collapse of the West: The Next Holocaust and its Consequences, a rather large work projected to be ten tomes that covers 2500 years of Western history. I began publishing it some years ago and so far the first five tomes are out (in Spanish). My pessimistic prognosis, which my title doesn’t hide, is that clandestine forces acting on Western history—unless effectively opposed—will soon bring about a fresh wave of totalitarianism.
And now there is MOR.
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