John is a retired teacher trying to understand his new role and himself.
What is Passive Management?
We are taught to be passive managers. If there is a problem, we immediately look for the nearest external-to-ourselves “fix” instead of seeing that problem as an opportunity to reflect upon our circumstances, to install personal change, to think creatively in improving our lives, or maybe to further our education. We are afraid to admit weakness because of the emotional pain and change effort involved, not realizing that doing so helps provide us the freedom and energy to overcome the weakness.
Why are We Passive Managers?
It's much easier to pretend that we are not causal agents in our own lives, to hold other people, institutions, events, and gods responsible for our happiness, instead of looking "inward." We are taught that if something is wrong in our lives, we should find an organization advocating for whatever the fix for the “injustice” is, and then we must protest so the government can fight the “oppressor” and pay reparations to us. It is a habit-forming demeanor. If we are overcome with negative emotion, sick due to bad habits, or have dysfunctional relationships, the most quick, effective drug or medical procedure, or even just a tirade of complaining and accusing and yelling for retributive legislation is what we grab onto. If we don’t have enough to “make ends meet,” we claim we are victims of a society rooted in inequity instead of getting educated for better work opportunities and budgeting our expenses. Instead of embarking on the more difficult habits modifications “ship” as an opportunity to become a more wholesome person, we protest the gains of others as though they stole from us or were unfairly afforded some advantage. We enlist the government to legislate taxation so income can be redistributed with the globally accepted vehicle of social justice, thus “rectifying” the consequences of our shortcomings. Because it’s not our fault. But, as Michael Jackson admonished us in his song, Man in the Mirror, making the world better requires individuals to do the difficult work of installing change in themselves.
We are Victims and Experts
We are a society of victims and experts. The solutions to our problems are often espoused by opportunists called experts. The recipients are called victims. The victims are a venerated group; they are not just people with personal management problems (who have the ability to address those problems), but they are also people who’ve been “sold” on the idea that someone else is responsible for giving them happy lives. Maybe a pill or treatment or reparations or recreational drug legislation or emerging technology they must have and so then, they need money for food and rent. "It’s only fair!” They say. The experts claim that the victims deserve this free stuff and that this is justified by the principle of equity, that not all people “start at the same place” and have the right to take from others to repair the inequality.
The Sticky Thing Between the Experts and the Victims
The experts have codified and cemented the idea that various historically marginalized groups of people will forever be the underserved, underrepresented and under-respected due to hidden, silent, secret racism or genderism or ethnocentrism, or some other systemic “ism.” The experts need these voting blocks of victims to divert resources towards them and their candidates. Under the auspices of “standing up for the people” this public money enriches the experts while not really improving living circumstances for the victims. How? These various groups of victims are managed and manage themselves using the same passive, entitled lifestyles which slowly degrade them into frail, hapless, fearful beings resigned to purposeless lives, with the mentality of having to scrounge or fight or sign up for what they can grab. Vultures do that, but you’d think the experts would have higher aspirations for their cadres of victims. Nope. The experts must keep their shills in a perpetual state of victimhood so the cash keeps rolling in. And, of course, there is never enough; human nature is such that we always deduce that “there must be more where that came from!”
The Experts' Slick Moves
Therefore, the experts say, a re-weaving of the social-economic fabric is in order. They wrangle public money their way and often get it. The victims are provided with support programs and other resources, placing them into permanent passive positions. Now on sale from the Experts is socialism, the economic system of forcing some to serve others, because some of us have needs and others of us have abilities, as though we have a right to the product of someone else’s labor. We are fine to become dependent on others for our well-being, while giving nothing in return because we are the victims of “silent,” “unseen” discrimination and that’s what social justice is all about. And the experts have a nice river of public money flowing into their coffers!
The Victims Don't Think Anything's Wrong
We can't experience the joyful freedom of personal responsibility if we choose others to govern our lives. And that's what passive management relegates us to. We don’t understand that when we indiscriminately relinquish personal responsibility, that we are constructing our own prison. Replacing personal responsibility with “support systems” or illicit drugs is the same as signing up for the zombie club; we become aimless wanderers. Support systems, while helpful in some situations, are like opioids: they take control of our lives and slowly destroy them. We don't have an opioid epidemic as much as we have a passive management epidemic!
Having responsibilities and acting on them is a crucial part of the beauty of life. It cements our value to ourselves and to other human beings and grows our self-respect and respect from others. While we have true value as individuals, as beings free to pursue meaningful lives based on our values, we are also part of the collective of humanity which requires that we play an active role in supporting the goals of our group memberships. Having support programs means others are doing tasks to support inactive people. Inactive people contribute nothing to society; they are a drain on its well-being. Yet, ironically, they are not grateful for being allowed to be inactive; instead, like victims, they were indoctrinated to believe that they have some “collective-based-injury” right to the spoils of society. And then like addicts, they expect more and more of it, not realizing that they are victimizing themselves as well as society at large.
The Great COVID Passivity Parade
An example of having responsibility removed from us was the management of our recent pandemic. It was not really pandemic in the sense that the Black Plague was, with COVID-19’s estimated 1%-3% death rate. The Black Plague, by contrast, had a 30-60% death rate! Yet, the experts, seeing a chance to grab some power, would not let this crisis slip from their opportunistic grasp. They insisted on the stage props of masks and vaccines and closures, not realizing that it was their political ideologies guiding them and not necessarily a balanced framework including opposing ideologies and probabilistic science. As a result of the experts' prolonged and over-restrictive management of the COVID crisis, our society became unstable. Lost livelihoods, damaged commerce paths, mental health difficulties, childhood educational setbacks. All for a disease with a very low death rate. But even worse than that, our leadership gave us the "tools" to embrace passivity, that living without thinking and without enacting personal causation is just fine.
Crisis Response Should Not Passivize the People!
When a society has a crisis, resources should be provided to the people at most risk and the rest of society should be allowed to continue unimpeded. With COVID, that could have been delivered meals, priority remote shopping, welfare visits, crisis education, free virtual counseling, etcetera. But the victims in a healthy society must still play an active role in acknowledging and taking action on their own situations; it's called personal responsibility. That the experts' mandates did not seem to reflect this idea, is disheartening. Progressives seem to think that any public crisis means that everyone must give up being causal agents in their own lives and hand over control to the government. Apparently, we have some "moral" duty to live for the benefit of others who are not necessarily being asked to bear their share of the responsibility. Because many of us like it when someone else takes over with promises of "better." It is that simple.
The Beauty and the Danger of Life
It is not only said that life is beautiful and dangerous, but that beauty "needs" the danger and danger "needs" the beauty. We can't have one without the other. The beauty and the danger of life means that we assume risks individually to benefit from the rewards of our labors. The rewards of our labors benefit ourselves as well as others in our free-market society. It's what working people do every day. This is the mechanism that makes our society work! Having an external authority tamper with the risk-reward feature of the human condition hampers the decision process, slows communication, ruins income flow and thus damages the free-market "engine" of our society! An example of this is the COVID-mandated shutdowns of private and public organizations. These mandates were not analyzed for the damage they would cause to society, but only that the mandates would "look and feel good" to an uninformed populace and be great "training" for the passivity with which leadership hoped to impregnate and control our society. Appearances are everything to them. Claiming that one will catch a cold because one does not wear warm clothing, which is not true, is an example of appearance-based decision-making. There would have been nothing wrong with masks, distancing and gathering for business or pleasure, being a personal decision. Educate people and let them decide. And inferring that people don't know what's good for them as a rationale for serving up totalitarian-flavored dictates is a reprehensible attitude. Basing public mandates mostly on collective "feel and look good," "moral intimidation" politics while hardly considering individual choice and personal responsibility was much more hurtful to a society than the danger of the COVID virus was.
We Should Get Oscars for Our COVID Performances! Or not…
So COVID gave us practice in "new-world-passivity" living, and we played our parts fabulously with Act I: Take-One-for-the-Team legislated-selflessness via business-closures, Act II: You’re-Just-a-Putz-in-the-Collective identity-nullification via face-masking and Act III: Needle-Track-Tattoos-for-You virtue-signaling via vaccine-intimidation. Yes, a stage performance. But then our costumes came off and some of us wondered why we'd had them on in the first place! There are certainly questions as to whether all that COVID playacting we did was worth much regarding the experts’ vaunted goal of herd-immunity. What is definitely not a stage performance, however, is the storm of economic inflation, snowballing rates of depression and anxiety and an education system riddled with achievement holes which we are experiencing now. As just evidenced, government experts are not good “life coaches for society." The government should get its fame simply from protecting our rights and not manipulating its citizens towards ideological ends.
Installing Collective Passivity, No Accountability Included!
The idea that everyone must feel the pain of victims, because that is somehow ethically responsible, is corrupt. Similarly, special interests alone should not dictate the path a society chooses. Not everyone can be saved! If a person is at risk of some malady, they should not be allowed to demand that others in their sphere of influence give up their lifestyles in some unchecked manner of “protecting” that person. Legislating altruistic behavior from some citizens to other citizens, who think they have some victim's right to dictate the behavior of others, is a sure way to destroy a society. When freedom is compromised, society is wrecked.
Instead of carefully apportioning resources to people at highest risk and allowing the rest of society to continue normally, the COVID-19 planners transformed our entire population into a society of artificial victims. They shut us in our homes, and then paid us to be passive. The COVID-19 era was not a health crisis but rather a dress rehearsal for the New World Order production of Socialism: Equity or Else, put on for us by the experts and leaders in government who found a medical-crisis excuse for redistributing wealth and controlling citizens' behavior. They think they know what’s best for everyone and they seem inextricably ideologically linked to the ultimate experts in passive management: the Hollywood elite and captains of social media platforms and executives in certain other industries. And all the damage they caused comes with no accountability and thus no guarantee that it won't happen again in the next "crisis."
But to What End?
As more and more citizens fall prey to the passive-victim mentality, it becomes necessary to find cheaper and more convenient ways of providing for them since they are playing an nonproductive role and thus "overheating" the engine of society. Our leaders are very much enjoying that process because it gives them power and legitimacy in installing behavior modifications, whether that be plastic bag usage, electric cars, water restrictions, vaccine requirements, fossil-fuel rules etc., because they believe that only they and their constituents know how to build a healthy society.
As our society at large continues to slip into its new passive role assisted by the media’s fear-merchandising, there is a parallel phenomenon occurring. Technology is becoming more and more sophisticated and inexpensive. A huge part of our daily interactions are solely with electronic machinery. Virtual reality, social media, texting, passwords, online purchases, etc. Even the words on social media buzz and the content of online news are both edited facsimiles. Taking a self-help quiz online is completely managed by site programming, not real people analyzing your results. We have robots making more and more of our goods and before long there will be ubiquitous virtual reality occupying professional positions like teachers, psychologists, real-estate agents, and more. The realms of human passivity and “benevolent” technology are on intercept paths.
It is almost like we are stepping down from the possibility of vibrant, productive lives and getting ready to be persuaded, managed or even ruled by this technology. After all, real people are expensive and a pain-in-the-ass! Wouldn’t it be better to create a virtual agent who will be a custom fit for your personality, ambitions, idiosyncrasies and rituals? But who (or what) will control the technology? Not you! More likely the elite folks who know what’s best for everyone else. As found in the Roman poet’s Juvenal’s work, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This translates to, Who will guard the guards themselves? The movie Wall-E suggests this as passive humans of the future sit in mobility chairs, their lives managed by robots. Perhaps that would be a good life. Perhaps not.
© 2022 John Sebastian