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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

The Educated White Slave’s Future

“Keep you doped with religion, sex and tv/and you think you’re so clever and classless and free/but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see” – John Lennon, Working Class Hero

Debt is the modern form of slavery. When you are in debt, someone else owns you – your time, effort and labour – and calls upon you to make whatever sacrifices necessary until the debt is serviced on terms they dictate. (Upon a moment’s reflection language reveals much which is hidden – we “service” debts. Servants give service to their masters. Mortgages, literally, are a contract signed “on death terms.”)

How the system works to enslave the Educated White Slave

“Well you get what you pay for/And freedom’s real high priced” – Axl Rose

So they tell you that to escape a future of menial labouring tedium, you need an education. And to get an education, you need to go to university. And unless your family is rich and your parents generous, that means getting a loan, often committing to $30,000+ of debt before you have the faintest fucking idea what debt means.

However, that qualification you are getting into debt for is itself merely a qualification to become a cog in someone else’s machine. As Bill Gates noted frankly when speaking to a graduating class at an Ivy League university, they were never going to be as rich as him. They had wasted years of their lives training to become his employees. He had spent those years of his life starting his own company out of his garage.

Anyway. Once you have the loan, and whether or not you are lucky enough to graduate, you will need to get cracking on paying off that loan.

That right there is where your loss of freedom becomes apparent.

They’ve got you.

Instead of leaving university, fresh faced, full of bright ideas about how to do awesome things and effect positive change in the world, and eager to get out and make a difference (as we might hope would occur when our brightest hopes for the future leave institutes of higher learning), you need to get a job to pay off the loan.

The Squirrel Trap

An education grants access to a job with a certain level of comfort and lifestyle attached. As a young member of the elite, with no dependents and more money than you’ve ever seen in your life, life seems pretty sweet. You can buy new clothes, DVDs, big TVs. You can eat out every night and drink away your paycheck every weekend. You can plan a few weeks jaunting in South Asia or somewhere cheap and interesting, even while chipping away at your debt. Years of noodles and baked beans fade from memory. Your flat becomes shiny, modern and impersonal, instead of mouldy, run down and charming.

That thump was the trap closing behind you. Soon you will forget anything exists outside of the box, as they repeatedly tell you that this is “the real world.”

Fuck them.

Comfort is the enemy. You can have all the trappings of success. Only too late will you realise you are no longer willing to live without them. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

What is key is you are forced to give up your freedom. At the very point you should be choosing the direction to head in your life, the choice is made for you.

Conformity Pressures

Humans have evolved as social, tribal creatures. We face massive conformity pressures. To survive it is vital to maintain group affiliation and membership. (For an analysis of these pressures, see the work of Howard Bloom.)

In Foucault’s analysis of the prison, he notes how we have internalised discipline – we no longer seek to control and enact revenge on the body, we seek to control the mind, and restrict the allowable range of behaviour. The system has gotten very good at this over the past hundred years. We meekly obey.

Inside the box trap, you lose your intellectual freedom. You cannot think for yourself. You are a cog. The cog’s role is not to think. It is to obey and turn the wheel. Serve the company’s interests. Subsume your individuality to the culture of the government department. The rat pushes the lever and gets the reward.

To keep your job, you cannot rock the boat. You must conform, or at the very least, give the outward impression of conforming.

If you doubt this, try going against the system in any meaningful way, and see what happens. Ask enough questions and refuse to go along obediently long enough, and you will likely be defined as “mentally ill.” Since what is “normal” varies between cultures and countries, mental illness is a completely culturally relative designation.

Under the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), checklists are provided outlining what needs to be present for a specific illness to be diagnosed. The only element common to all is the requirement that the combination of symptoms be somehow severe enough that the person cannot function in society.

In practice, this means the ability to go to work. The system doesn’t care care how damn miserable you are, so long as it can pump you full of pills that keep you able to go to work and service your debt. (You will doubtless be able to confirm this among people you know.) Not only that, financial ties between the pharmaceutical companies which make the drugs prescribed for an illness and the psychological bodies responsible for defining the illnesses and their treatments – a corrupting conflict of interest – are a known fact.

As an eloquent piece of graffitti chalked on upper Cuba St many years ago asked, “What does it mean to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?”

What all this means is you cannot look at the world around you and apply your newly minted and trained intelligence to the creative application of working out what is going on, and how it could be different and better. That’s not how it works. Because if you rock the boat you lose your job, and if you lose your job you can’t pay your debt. And if you can’t pay your debt you face imprisonment or bankruptcy. So you have to conform to a bullshit system.


The past century has seen the rise of a sophisticated industry of human manipulation – originally called propaganda, now called public relations and advertising – which changes with each updated psychological model of how human beings work, growing ever more accurate and powerful in the ability to control our actions unconsciously while allowing us to think ourselves free (see, for example, Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff, or the superb BBC documentary Century of the Self).

Once you are in the box trap – actually, your entire life – you are bombarded with images and messages designed to influence your action. These influences do not have your best interests at heart, but instead those of the influencer.

We are under massive pressure to live a certain way, look a certain way, maintain certain standards. All of which are external, artificial, and motivated by someone else’s desire to get rich. Happiness is presented as ownership of products. Identity is presented as being defined by the products we purchase. Group membership and identity are mediated by cultural signifiers which take the form of possessions.

You need money to buy this stuff, as well as pay off your lurking debt. In fact, you will probably get into more debt to buy this stuff.

But what does it matter if you get a credit card when you are already habituated to being in debt? It is a way of life. This is the real world, of course. There is no other way. And you have to buy the stuff otherwise you’re a loser! (The “feeling” of poverty is relative to your surroundings. We are all rich compared to over half the world’s population, but because of the artificially stimulated desires for possessions, we feel poor if we don’t have these things.)

And then there’s a house to buy, the ultimate trap, the ultimate debt. The mortgage, on death terms.

All of this is a fast track to a mid life crisis when you realise you have pissed away the best years of your life in the box trap instead of pursuing what you really want out of life. But never really had the choice, back when it mattered, because you were serving your debt. (We also “serve” prison sentences.)

The Nature and Meaning of Freedom, and How to Reclaim Your Freedom and Identity

The squirrel trap is easy. The path to it is lined with bait and the box is lined with cushions… but the box is a lonely and unfulfilled place, and a luxury prison is still a prison. What does the box trap have to do with you? With who you actually are inside, the free spirit, wild child, beautiful dreamer? With what you want to experience in your body and consciousness? With what you know to be right, and just, in a corrupt world where the leader of the “free” world is a dangerous moron who advocates unending war and torture on the basis of lies.

You need to get out of debt whilst retaining your freedom; figure out how to escape the squirrel trap and do what you really want. (Otherwise, enjoy your slavery.) Alternatives exist. They are more fulfilling and fun, but harder at first.

The system is designed around the nuclear family. A pair bonded couple with children are enslaved for the duration of their working life to pay for the house, then raising of their children (a prime source of economic manipulation).

One way to start your escape is by acting as an economic collective or cooperative. (Now, this needs trust and really good communication, and to not be dealing with munters. Choose wisely.) Get together with your tribe, your crew, the people you trust. Work out how you want to live and make it happen. Buy a house between ten people, not one or two. It will take a tenth of the time. Now you have a base. Then see what else you can do.

Yes, this will mean a different form of relationship between people. They will be the interactions of free people, not slaves. They will be unpredictable. However, the more who choose freedom create a new context, a new system. Where are these courageous ones to come from if not the educated elites? What is the responsibility of your position? The opportunities you have been given in this life by grace, luck and genetics?

[Next week: Billy the dancing moose tells you things that no one ever tells you about the economy, and explains the roots of the debt system of slavery.]

* Just getting your attention. While debt enslaves all regardless of skin colour, white males tend to be more ignorant of their slavery; if you’re a minority or female, you’re probably well aware how fucked you are.


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  1. Random says:

    That sounds wonderful now instead of having the “prison” of having a partner and a mortgage you now have yet another prison of a group of ten people who all co own a house, having to comply to their demands or face ridicule or being trapped unable to remove your capital from the collectives property. Therefore unable to exercise your freedom of choice and freedom of association, disagreements with the collective could see you with less freedom than living in a box by the street at least then you can take all your possessions with you and go somewhere else rather than negotiate your way out of collective agreements.
    There are other groups that live in collectives they are, Hippies, Quakers and exclusive brethren. sounds real free doesn’t it?

    While I applaud the authors attempt to wake up the readership regarding the nature of freedom, the only real way to gain freedom is to be smarter than all the rest of the pack and find your own path to it, there is not prescribed way of being free. For example I would consider owing my own enterprise free or owning a boat and living of the sea in international waters, however no matter what you do there are always limitations on your freedom these may be the society you live in, your ability, your wealth(or lack of), your resources, or the environment around you.

  2. Dan Cohen says:

    1. that is a poor reading of Foucault
    2. it’s laughably naive in every respect
    3. there are such things as real slaves, you know. I don’t think they’d feel much sympathy for your over-educated plight.

  3. j-dogg says:

    Fuck this is boring. It’s the same old rehash of the conformities of consumerism and the slavery career treadmill.

    I just love this line:

    “And then there’s a house to buy, the ultimate trap, the ultimate debt. The mortgage, on death terms.”

    As I come from a family that’s made a killing in property in the past 5 years this assertion is a joke. You’re just pissed you missed the property boom so just suck it in.

    And furthermore you want us to regain our freedom by living in a hippie commune? However I’ll grant an exception to a branch davidian style compound with my own heavily armed militia, underaged teenage brides and the worshipping of myself by my fanatical followers as the next christ. Other than that you can have your hairy women and homemade jam while I’ll kick back in my viaduct apartment snorting coke off the extremely large tits of ten thousand dollar a night hookers. i wish you could feel my pain but you probably never will. Later losers.

  4. Joey says:

    J-dogg: if you’re really so well off, why aren’t you off rooting those hookers instead of trolling on the internet?

  5. j-dogg says:

    What’s the point of wealth if you can’t rub it in the faces of poor people like you Joey. The reason why you’re still poor is becasue you stupid enough to ask question like this.

  6. Joey says:

    Heh. I’m far from poor. And if you are actually the rich little boy you pretend to be, from what you’ve said it’s your family’s money and not anything you were actually big, clever and capable enough to get for yourself.

    By the way, that’s a really lovely fantasy you have about being a heavily-armed kiddie-fiddling religious freak – I believe you when you say it would cost you ten grand a night to get laid.

    So just keep on dreaming of taking drugs with whores, kid. It suits you.

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