by Teal Mensch

Liberalism has failed. It tried to remove censorship on free speech, but instead put that censorship in the hands of the mob. It tried to remove caste systems, but instead changed their basis from bloodlines to wealth. It tried to let people figure out what’s true for themselves, but instead replaced Biblical scholars with news anchors. It tried to create a stable basis for morality, but instead replaced the whims of kings and popes with the whims of hippies and politicians. In short, it didn’t get rid of authoritarianism, it decentralized it.

One thing it has succeeded in, though, is destabilizing everything. In the past few centuries, we’ve swapped out the governments of most countries, destroyed vast portions of nature, and come close to wiping out humanity with nuclear war. What we need is a return to stability. We need to bring back centralized authoritarianism. But this time, we can do it better than ever, thanks to liberalism’s only positive effect: modern technology. With access to a country’s phones and computers, and with proper planning, a government can strongly influence the thoughts and feelings of its people without ever having to lay a finger on them. Old centralized authoritarianism’s main weakness is that people hate to feel like they’re being controlled or forced; this new system will sidestep the issue entirely.

One major advantage of modern technology is the ability to control what people think is true. In the past, a government wishing to bend the truth would have to override information coming from word of mouth and replace written records. Now this bending of the truth is done on a daily basis. It’s done in a decentralized way by the news and by websites like Wikipedia. With centralized control of technology, the government could choose how the truth is being bent, and steer it in the right direction: towards a worldview that’s pro-government, pro-unity, and pro-stability.

In addition to controlling the truth, the government can also control people’s attention using online recommendations. In the past, the government couldn’t control people’s attention except in very broad strokes (e.g. controlling the political attention of the masses through propaganda). Nowadays, by changing, for example, what videos get recommended, the government could choose which videos people will pay attention to and which they’ll ignore. They could bring attention to content that supports the right ideas, and away from content that supports the wrong ideas. By extension, they could eventually change people’s values and opinions through exposure.

Law enforcement becomes much easier with control over technology. The government can identify possible criminals before they commit crimes by looking at their technology use. It can then steer their opinion in the right direction, i.e. away from committing crimes. Still, some people won’t be deterred and will commit crimes anyway. The government can influence public opinion so these criminals get ostracized. Finally, for repeat offenders who still aren’t deterred from committing more crimes, the government can encourage vigilantism: ordinary citizens can be riled up into killing the criminal, in the vein of the modern-day idea of “punch a Nazi”.

The severity of the response can be adjusted according to the crime with more flexibility than we have right now, but in all of these cases, the government can deal with the problem without taking any direct action; no police will be necessary. This removes the possibility of police abuse of power. It also makes the government far less intimidating, by removing a prominent symbol of government coercion. In the eyes of the public, the people will be policing themselves, with the government being an advisor rather than a military presence.

The economy can be controlled in a similar way. The government can steer the right number of people towards the jobs that need to be filled by showing those jobs in a positive light and other jobs in a negative light. The government can encourage people to work hard by making work ethic a main societal value, and by causing the laziest people to be ostracized, like the homeless are nowadays. Eventually, money can be phased out as the main incentive for work, and consumerism can be phased out as the main goal of the economy, leading to an economy that prioritizes public good and innovation over luxuries, and to a population that doesn’t have to worry about job loss or recessions.

You might note that laziness is dealt with in the same way as crimes. This is intentional. The “discourage -> ostracize -> vigilantism” strategy can be used to deal with many other destructive actions that aren’t considered crimes right now, but really ought to be, including politically incorrect thoughts and antisocial behavior. Of course, some people will be chronically dissident. These people can still be accounted for: they can be ostracized (so that they don’t pose a bad influence to the well-behaved population), and the especially stubborn ones can be dealt with by vigilantes.

But if our new society is to succeed, we’ll need more than just implementation details: we’ll need foundational ideas. For liberalism, these ideas included objective truth, freedom, and the equality of all people. By indoctrinating kids with these ideas, liberalism has managed to keep the support of nearly everyone in the US for a couple of centuries, avoiding obvious criticisms against it. For our new ideology, I suggest these main ideas: doublethink, bellyfeel, and the hivemind.

Doublethink means having two contradictory ideas and considering them both true, switching when convenient. At first, this seems like a silly idea: if you can believe contradictions, you might as well throw all of logic out the window. But really, who needs logic and all its rigidity? Logic has been a great model for figuring out the simpler details of nature, which might imply that nature is, for the most part, undoublethinky. But as a basis for describing philosophy, politics, or our thoughts, logic has failed miserably. Our search for objective truth where there is none has caused disunity and anger rather than any increase in knowledge. An acceptance of doublethink will lead to acceptance of different people with diverse beliefs, as well as a better recognition of the truth.

At first, doublethink might seem a bit unrelated to the government I’ve been describing, but in fact it’s necessary for the society to work. Without it, the government couldn’t control what’s true and what’s not without running into philosophical resistance and cognitive dissonance. With doublethink, the government can say, for example, that a political opponent has been killed by vigilantes, but can change this story later if the need arises, claiming that the person never died (in the vein of the Mandela effect). The people would only accept such truth-changing if doublethink is a core value.

Doublethink also provides good rebuttals to the core ideas of liberalism. Liberalism claims to be supported by logic-based ideas like economics, utilitarianism, and laws. But economics is based on people being rational, which they aren’t; utilitarianism is based on the idea of some measurable objective happiness, which doesn’t exist; and laws are based on the idea that there’s a knowable objective truth, which there isn’t. We know all of this at heart, but pretend not to because of our love affair with logic. Doublethink provides a basis for finally rejecting these key liberal ideas.

Finally, doublethink’s denial of objective morality and truth allows for our next foundational idea, bellyfeel, to fill the void.

Bellyfeel is the idea that if something feels right, it probably is right (both when figuring out truth and when figuring out morality). Evolution has honed our instincts for millenia, but liberalism has encouraged us to ignore our instincts, and instead listen to so-called “scientific facts” (an oxymoron: science doesn’t even claim to be able to find absolute truth). In effect, this means that we should still listen to academic authority figures, but with more conviction and at the expense of our own instincts. Bellyfeel would undo this.

As for why bellyfeel is necessary for the government to run, I think the need is pretty obvious. By controlling the media, the government controls bellyfeel. By extension, it can control what people think is true and what people think is moral. Without bellyfeel, the people have nothing to base their decisions on (other than logic, which we’ve already dismissed).

Combining the ideas of bellyfeel and doublethink, we notice that the government can very openly use rhetoric to control bellyfeel, and a populace properly accustomed to doublethink can recognize that this is rhetoric, but simultaneously think that they’re not being deceived. Government transparency and government control of truth no longer would have to be mutually exclusive.

The Hivemind. Despite liberals’ talk of individualism, we all have a need to fit in, and to be a part of a larger whole. Loneliness and disunity are huge problems right now. So instead, we should look for extreme unity: the hivemind. Everyone would think correctly, share their whole lives, and have a need that they fill perfectly. Everyone would be content, and live a peaceful life. Wars and protests would no longer be a constant worry, and everyone would be free to enjoy what really matters in life. Of course, a perfect hivemind will never be fully achieved, but we can try to get closer and closer. It gives everyone a goal to work for, a collective dream.

As well as being a future goal, the hivemind serves an important role in the present as a justification for the government and its actions. The government will be seen as good, because it protects the security and stability of the hivemind. Criminals will be seen as bad because they work against the hivemind. Doublethink will be seen as good, because it helps with unity, and by extension helps the hivemind. Bellyfeel will also be seen as good, because it helps people become more in touch with the hivemind.

Now we have an ideology, painted in broad strokes at least. We have a motivation for change, an idea of how the new system will work, and a new set of values to replace the old ones. Now let’s figure out how we get from here to our ideal world. I think a gradual process, rather than revolution, is the best way, especially since a core value of our ideology is stability.

First, we need to create content. We should cater to a wide audience, but especially focus on tech workers, since they’re needed for the next part of the plan. Tech workers should be the easiest to convince, since our ideology recognizes that they could create and run a better society if we just let them.

Next, some tech workers with a good understanding of the algorithms being used should tweak them so that our content is favored. This shouldn’t be too difficult to cover up if done carefully, given how complicated these algorithms are.

Once the algorithms are tweaked, public opinion will be gradually swayed until a critical mass agrees with our ideals. They will demand that the tech industry takes over from the old government, implementing our ideal society. Tech leaders will be all too happy to oblige.

Finally, we’ll have to convince the old government to cede power, slowly but surely. We’ll have the public on our side by now, so this should just be a matter of electing the right people. Once the old government becomes essentially powerless, we will have won. We will finally have unity and stability, and we can begin our journey towards a perfect hivemind.