UFOs, Power Systems, and Modern Capitalism
The UFO discourse generates some interesting social and cultural questions when we begin to deeply explore it. I would argue that the mainstream public’s opinion on UFOs, and the subculture that explores the subject, is a negative one because it hinges upon the philosophical questions UFOs raise concerning hegemonic power structures and ideological Capitalism.
My intention is to explore this issue over the next several blog posts. In this post, I would like to explore the UFO subculture itself; a community of people that is fundamentally disenfranchised with current power structures and modern Capitalist ideology.
If we truly examine why the the UFO community is labeled as ‘crazy’ or ‘crackpot’ by the general public, we quickly learn that much of UFO discourse contains deep seeded anti-establishment and anti-capitalist ideologies. They are not always overt, nor does the whole UFO community actively engage in overt dissent towards power structures, however, it definitely does so below the surface.
We must first differentiate between the physical power and economic structures that govern, and the ideological illusions those power structures generate. It is impossible to avoid the current political and economic mechanisms. No country on this planet exists outside of the Capitalist structure, and all political governance, federal and municipal, is ruled by the machinations of the ‘free market.’ The big banks, weapons manufactures, multi-national corporate entities, oil companies, and the rest have colonized the planet. From the standpoint of ‘power’ itself, these organizations rule the finances, resources, and daily lives of every single human being on this planet, subjugating many for the benefit of the few. We see the physical ramifications of modern Capital upon the developing world; whether it is the privatization of drinking water or the construction of ramshackle sweatshop factories that collapse upon the workers inside. Capital requires alienation and disenfranchisement of one group in order to benefit those who hold power. Wealth can never be equally distributed in a Capitalist model; those under the boot must remain there, lest they trample the boot wearers.
There is no denying that modern Capital has a physical presence. However, modern Capitalism is more than an economic system, it is also an ideological one. Our social consciousness revolves around it. Our daily existence and experience, our shared cultural ideology, our collective reality, is modern capitalism. By hook or by crook, you and I have allowed no knowable reality to exist outside of it. It is an information system, designed to propagate the economic status quo. An incredibly simple example of this ideological illusion modern Capital generates exists within the very colloquialisms we use on a daily basis.
Calling someone a lazy bum and telling them to get a job in order to ‘contribute’ to society is very much an ideology generated by the Capitalist model. The ‘contribution’ in this case is production, the creation of products or services that can be sold in the market, or it is the selling of one’s labour to generate income in order to consume, to exchange that money for an object on the free market. In other words, to propagate the Capitalist power system. The demonization of social services, especially in the United States and other Western nations, is a growing concern. Education funding is being cut, primarily in the arts, in order to generate future workers who will not only pay taxes (most of which funds the military industrial complex in the United States), but who will also consume goods without question or consideration. The elite segregate themselves from their peers in the economically poor public school system, and attend private schools which do not suffer the same cuts to programming. So what does this have to do with UFOs?
The UFO discourse by its very nature opposes Capitalist power systems. It does so in many ways, and I intend to touch on all of those aspects over the next several blog posts. In this post, I would like to address the ideological disenfranchisement of the UFO subculture. While the UFO community must function within the mechanisms of economic Capital, as all humans currently must, there is an ideological opposition to Capitalism itself. The subculture works in a dualist state; engaging in the physical construct of production and consumption, but ideologically working in opposition to that construct.
The UFO narrative is full of examples that directly counter ideological Capitalism. Whether it concerns the theoretical free zero point energy, contactees returning with warnings concerning climate change or global conflict from their abductors, or conspiracy theories concerning secret cabals of elitists, the discourse is in a constant state of dissent towards the current power system. On a more basic level, the supposed existence of intelligently controlled UFOs from another world is a direct challenge to current government and economic control. While humans may have succumbed to the Capitalist model, there is no guarantee that otherworldly beings have done so. UFOs themselves provide a possible future free of the constraints of modern Capitalist ideology, and like any system, Capitalism is unwilling to accept that future, and die quietly in the night.
Capitalism is then ultimately forced to allocate the UFO question into the taboo fringe; UFOs cannot exist because they are a system of objects and ideologies which challenge modern Capitalist ideologies. They function outside of them, and they do not yield to the assumed process of production and consumption. The belief in UFOs is therefore unacceptable to the Capitalist ideological mechanism. The response then, by people outside of the UFO subculture, is one of ridicule. To the mainstream, UFOs are imaginary because a reality outside of the Capitalist model is impossible. As Fredric Jameson allegedly said, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Capitalism.”
Disenfranchisement within economic Capital typically occurs via poverty, ghettoization, and the creation of legislation aimed at destabilizing Othered communities. We see governments, which are really just wielding Capitalism, engaging in this behaviour both in the United States, with African American communities, and in Canada with Indigenous communities. Whether it is Federal control over treaties and land rights, or laws designed to reduce the ability of impoverished African Americans to vote, modern Capitalism must flex its muscles to ensure the status quo remains when it comes to holding its power.
This is not to say that Capitalism itself cannot adapt. The Civil Rights Movement, for example, clearly indicates that these power systems function like a virus, and not a brick wall. So long as Capitalist ideology can be maintained, the mechanism of power within Capital will allow for alterations and evolution. It boils down to maintaining the illusion that Capitalism itself is the solution. No political movement, be it Civil Rights or Occupy Wall Street has put an end to Capitalism, and none have ever made the suggestion to do so (with any legitimacy; those who did suggest it were quickly regarded as ‘crazy.’ Sound familiar?). The ideology is more important than the economics; if people cease to engage in the ideological illusion, then there is a major upheaval to the status quo. The upheaval will not necessarily end Capitalism, but will force it to undergo a significant adjustment; the most damaging of which is a democratization of power.
The UFO subculture, and the entire discourse itself, is different. It does not seek to alter modern Capital, but to end it. Whether the UFO community fancies government Disclosure, Light Beings, Channelling, CE5, or some other similar belief system, it attempts to create a worldview free of Capitalism itself. While a deus ex machina style visitation from an intelligent Other would potentially shatter modern Capital, that has yet to occur. Rather, mainstream ideologies are in contention with a subculture who are attempting to envision an end to Capitalism. The picture is unclear, but even considering that such a picture may exist is unacceptable, and therefore regarded as irrational and insane. It is this established disenfranchised discourse that bars any meaningful communication and debate concerning the UFO subject within the mainstream.
In my next post, I will explore the other aspects of why the UFO discourse opposes current power systems; they are the predisposition for dissent and the democratization of power. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.