The Mad Minority

Without getting too much into the subtleties of the thing, a democracy functions on the will of the majority mediated by legal design. In a “fair” and practical democracy the majority protects its minority members with laws designed to protect behaviors without recourse to the majority or minority status of the actor. However, since the majority on any one issue can “win” in both legal terms and often in power terms, minorities create ways of coping with their lower power status; that is, all minorities save one: the wealth addicted, including certain other forms of social pathology and the “society” of privilege that forms around them. They reject the lower power status inherent in being a small percentage of the population by creating ways of controlling the political process with other means than openly stating their interests and having them judged by the body politic.

It is an obvious strategy: if you are only 3 to 5% of the people and you have competing interests, then doing whatever it takes to get a 51% measurement of the vote is clearly a primary route to political power. When the 3 to 5% have an outsized percentage of the wealth, they 1) can hire enough voices in all the right places to appear of outsized importance, 2) can convince themselves of their own importance and 3) can let the “especially worthy” into their ranks of privilege as reward and a way of encouraging a public view of accessibility.

What is not clear, and intentionally so, is that everything – everything – done to advance the cause of the 3 to 5% among the majority has to be a lie. I am using the rather archaic conception of “lie” as the communication of something that is known to be false in its direct content or its effect. Our language has been so manipulated by the hired agents of this minority that “lie” requires that you admit that you have intentionally made self-serving and untrue statements (and even this is not called a lie, but rather an apology). Anything short of this is called a misstatement, a greater truth or blamed on some version of the Devil.

Winning and losing is different for a group comprising only 5% of the population, but who must appear to represent 50% to be listened to. Compare: if a true majority is being represented, then losing a vote means that those that you represent have rejected your ideas. If you comprise only 5% of the population and your candidate or initiative is rejected, it means that you did not present your option in a way that would attract enough votes (or didn’t steal enough): you know that it is not the wishes and the needs of the 5% that have been rejected, since they were never presented, but the packaging designed to bring together 51% didn’t work. The values and interests of the 5% are never presented or questioned; what matters is not truth, but how to get into an office or initiatives on the books that support those interests.

This means that there is no symmetry between the Democratic and the Republican parties. In the simplest view, the Democratic party purports to represent the majority lifestyle and interests; the Republican party actually does represent the lifestyle and interests of the economic elite. There should be no electoral contest ever! The 5% position, if openly and honestly stated, would lose every time. But openness and honesty are not the currency of political communication.

All of this (and I mean ‘all of this’) is difficult to talk about since the language has been, if not controlled, greatly influenced by a way of relating to material and service exchange in a completely insane way. The accumulation of excess has historically gone from a socially frowned on habit that raised doubts about a person’s ‘goodness’ (Neolithic societies); to an activity allowed to Gods and demigods, but not to regular folk (early “civilization”); to making the 10:1 threshold of excess as acceptable, but much beyond that questionable socially and of questionable utility (spread of mercantile classes); to everyone should get as much as they can and to do so is not only a right, but good for the economy and the world. In fact, the inhibition of acquisitiveness is now the suspect position (a version of today’s utter Madness). In such an environment, the possibility of a reasoned, responsible discussion of these issues beyond a narrow number is difficult. Imagine trying to discuss Revolutionary War history in a room of crazy people all of whom believe themselves to be either George Washington or King George!

As long as the insanity of the wealth addicted and the special forms of social pathology that have come to underpin the economic elite and politically powerful are the models for social and economic behavior, the 3 to 5% will attract a following. This following will try to emulate this mad minority’s easily observable, often manufactured, qualities. In a rational world (one at least somewhat founded in biophysical reality) these behaviors would be a category in the DSM and have some treatment paradigm, but not be the standard for proper human action.

Of course, the Democratic party doesn’t represent majority lifestyles and interests, though it has the responsibility of seeming to, and could be made to if there were ways to communicate and coordinate the mutual concerns of the multitude. Worker’s organizations of all kinds are the best source for such coordination and are thus the first to be attacked by the mad minorities minions.

The reward structure is clear. Hannity, Limbaugh, M. Reagan, Liddy, O’Reilly, Gibson, Ingraham, Malkin, Beck, Hewitt, Buchanan and many more have tailored a presentation, content and style, to the message of the mad minority. While some may actually believe some of what they present, it is more likely that most are moved by success and economic motives, motives easily in the control of the mad minority.

Even in so small a part of the world as I inhabit, I feel the pressure to certain phrases, certain positions, certain arguments that I understand will excite the interest of those who can decide if my efforts are acceptable — it goes far beyond the quality of the writing. I can only guess at the pressures on those who aspire to aspects of the madness in the first place. The pressure to suck-up and not to fuck-up must be huge especially as the “communicator” finds their way into the very heart of the wealth and propaganda machine.

The capacity to control the measures of success and social acceptability has come more and more into the hands of the 3 to 5 % mad minority. The consolidations of media/entertainment companies have let the many hours a day of media contact be designed by more and more centralized sets of goals. There are thousands of films, TV shows and stories that glorify consumption — even a presentation that attempts not to has to sell itself in consumption terms and language.

And yet! The vast majority of people, the real species still with some intimations of sanity, realize that there is something terribly wrong. Unless the 3 to 5% mad minority maintain a full court press the incipient sanity of the multitude always threatens to break through. Such sanity, of course, has no place to go in the present world, and so quickly loses its power like a single wave washing impotently up a beach. We see this in the election of Obama. He was elected against the limitations of prejudice, and being an unknown, by the hope of the multitude for some sanity in their lives. But he was also supported by many of the 3 to 5% and will be swept away by them unless the great thirst for sanity begins a movement.

We live in a vast and complex ecology of these forces, many levels of idea and action mediated by all the forms of human motive, capacity and madness, but the multitude is still potentially the human animal, grounded in their daily biology and natural sanity. We must begin to use those capacities first to save our personal selves and then possibly more beyond ourselves. The mad minority will lead the earth’s people to ruin as they attempt to save themselves from the ecological and economic disasters of their design. It is not populism to see hope in the multitude, it is simply that they are the only source of sanity left.

James Keye is the nom de plume of a retired academic and small businessman living with an Ecological Footprint of 1.6 earths. He can be reached at Read other articles by James, or visit James's website.

15 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. bozh said on December 15th, 2008 at 9:53am #

    money or its misuse is root of much evil. in modern times, it even causes some of the floods, cancer, diseases, storms.
    on internat’l and interpersonal levels, misuse (or exccessive greed/pride) of money causes deceiving-lying-killing-divorce-cheating, etc.
    yes, i agree, it is the people at the top who do most damage to any society.
    the ‘elite’ (the worst among us) comprises advertisers, ‘stars’, ‘educators’, army echelons, clergy, journalists, medical profession, politicians comprise possibly 10-15% of the pop.
    their grip on power can be loosened or eradicated once for all by education.

  2. bozh said on December 15th, 2008 at 10:33am #

    there is one aspect of reality that i have thus far not oft thought of to mull over: the avoidance by psychologists (remember everything is connected w. everything else) to study honestly why the populace everywhere yearns so deeply to be led; ie, have leadership.
    study of causative factors for wars r also not studied. it may be that the psychologists don’t study the causes of warfare; or if they do, they don’t share their findings w. working class, because wars r causeless; ie, not justifiable for any reason.
    people love to trust their ‘leaders’ and r oft in deep denial ab their trust being abused.
    it’s just like a beaten woman. husband repeatedly beats/apologises to her.
    she continues to hope/trust. only w. caring/loving help can she extricate self from ill-conditioning. she fianlly realizes husband cannot ever change.
    so amers need deep love/respect that may guide them to finally realize that the ruling class will never change. and organize; resist passively; teach own kids, and who knows what else can be done
    i’v been there and am still there. thnx

  3. Don Hawkins said on December 15th, 2008 at 10:53am #

    The Matrix is a 1999 film about a computer hacker who learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.

    James are you a rebel? I think you are sane and what you just wrote was very true. The system of these 3 to 5% will call you a rebel because you see the truth and use your mind for something other than profit.

    Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

    I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

    You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
    Remember, all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.
    You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.
    Welcome to the real world.

    James what you just wrote was one of the best. The truth knowledge is making some headway much more is needed and on the way.

  4. Petronius said on December 15th, 2008 at 11:09am #

    yup, the simile to the matrix film is very true and keyes touches on the underlying hope for sanity. nevertheless everything from language usage (vide the french movement of post structuralism to demystify language in france) to deliberate under-education is geared to defang the power of the masses. strength lies in solidarity, so in materialism everybody is isolated spiritually. that is the vacuum where elites can exert their influence. but the suspension of belief will come sooner or later (like in russia in 1917 and france in 1789) with resulting dire consequences for the status quo. en attendant godot….

  5. James Keye said on December 16th, 2008 at 7:52am #

    1) Neoteny is a process in evolution in which juvenile stages of development come to sexual maturity. This, of course, means that what was previously “adult” disappears in both form and behavior. The most obvious example is the domestic dog; they are more puppy-like and less cunning and self-possessed (adult like) than the wolves and their other possible wild dog progenitors. (A soldier stationed in Afghanistan told me that feral dogs would visit their outposts. They shot the ones that snarled at them and keep as “guards” and feed the ones that were subservient. It is easy to see how this would happen in Paleolithic camps.) There is no reason that we humans have not gone through a similar neoteny in our consciousness/culture adaptation. A major difference would be that the basis is “cultural” and not genetic, and thus, potentially recoverable. But the social definition of “adult” has come to be a mismatch with the biological adult in our species.

    2) The Matrix, while certainly related, gives a wrong impression of an omnipotent and omniscient power. The mad minority are filling a niche in the social ecology created by our vast numbers and technological power, and they are insane in the clinical definition: they do not form opinion or action based on (biophysical) reality. And while they have a number of advantages in maintaining their position, they are vulnerable to both mass movements regardless of reality and ultimately to biophysical reality when the bubble of power bursts. Biophysical reality is the ‘it is’ reality that we see in thermodynamics and neurons and the grand designs of biospheric order that we humans can only mess up when we act on them. We need to be part of an “in-action” movie and slow down our assault on the earth’s long developed order.

  6. Petronius said on December 16th, 2008 at 8:29am #

    dear dr. keye, thanks for your in fact quite funny response. human neotony indeed, but it is more apparent it seems in the new colonies of america than in the old countries of continental europe. is it maybe so that materialism will have a greater grip on our consciousness ? after all as piaget has hinted on, infants acquire a sense of self not only by reflection but by acquisition. as for the matrix movie, what it meant was the artificial consent of the ruled (shades of chomsky) and shows the blinders of conformity to which neo fails to respond. thus the elites (like royalty) are protected by an unspoken agreement. all shibboleths are kept ‘alive’ that way. biophysical reality is a threat to the social contract because the last is entirely artificial. that is why John Zerzan makes sense to me. respectfully, gary

  7. bozh said on December 16th, 2008 at 8:30am #

    james keye,
    in short, to nature success is mere survival? and to us humans success is titles, stardoms, expensive clothes, higher education, wealth?
    but, it is inexplicable to me that, us being part of nature, it has permitted us to be so excessive in our greed, lust for power, cheating, deceiving, etcetc.
    but if we wld evaluate that god(s) exists, then it is gods that permits such behavior.
    as for these dogs, wldn’t it have been better to have shot timid dogs and kept the brave ones?! thnx

  8. Petronius said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:05am #

    monod was correct then, human domestication becomes ‘second nature’. there is hope though, throwing shoes at someone in the moslem world is a sign of utter contempt, not aggression, a symbolism which is not understood here. and symbolism has a tighter hold even in the west, so though the elites know they have no power except by general consent, any act to unmask them (like with the wizard of oz) is radical.

  9. James Keye said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:26am #

    To be a little serious for a moment: your excellent observation about the “juvenile” frontier; to wit: It is my argument that humans within their new adaptation (Consciousness Order) came into a new relation with environmental information. Other genetically based organisms are maintained in their species condition by a manifest genetic structure – environment ‘forms’ for them within those designs. The details of human life are largely formed by the environment within the Consciousness Order. What is especially important about this is that how this formation takes place was once a native product of the biological or Living Order. An analogy: eating sufficient calories insured an abundance of vitamins A, B, C, D, etc. and so the physiological pathways for their creation disappeared, thus making their ingestion essential. An essential biological ingredient of life was left entirely to the process of getting energy to remain alive – because it could. The process of giving order to human behavior and giving it structure in relation to our biology was dependent on a process of development in the native environment with all of its biophysical immediacies – and this was so because it could. But Consciousness Order contained the capacity to become self-referencing and there was no design in the system to tell the difference between an input that was imagined (the product of self-referencing) and one that was “reality.” We have long since become almost completely self-referenced. To your observation: the lack of even the social construct was not filled by any organized environmental process to mature those who “went west.” There was, however, often an affinity for the maturity of Aboriginal cultures that had not been too badly damaged.

  10. James Keye said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:31am #

    Even the timid dog would bark and the soldier boys had lots of guns. Plus they longed for the timid, there being plenty of the other all around them in the valleys of Tora Bora. I think my comment to Petronius relates to the other parts of your comment.

  11. Petronius said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:46am #

    Dr. Keye, thank you for this very interesting response. I agree and understand the self referencing, which I frankly would call mythology, while consciousness order is a basic survival strategy once cultivation
    of the environment entered the human equation. Again I feel that Zerzan has a good point in detesting culture (or rather civilization, though the last is such a realitive term that it cannot be analysed).
    I wonder though about the affinity as you write for aboriginal cultures, because the threat of their sanity runs all through early American records.

  12. James Keye said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:58am #

    Some of us are drawn to that which threatens, especially when part of the threat challenges our certainties. But, I was mainly referring to the devotion of those who entered and were accepted by those cultures.

  13. Petronius said on December 16th, 2008 at 10:13am #

    I understand and that what threatens makes us stronger 🙂 and
    indeed there should have been more Pocahontases. In the interim demystification of the mad 3-5% as you described them is imperative (in the best sense of the word).

  14. bozh said on December 17th, 2008 at 9:08am #

    i’l be very short and say that generally speaking and in a general way there was nothing wrong w. us ca 30Kyrs and before.
    every word our ancestors spoke had full symbolic value. as we now know, not any longer and for at least 10Kyrs.
    as for our true nature, it’s either a product of the nature or gods.
    and i’m not entering their ‘minds’ w. their intent/purpose, etc.
    so, what changed us?
    i say, clergy and some feral people. but i say we’r OK. we can go back to what nature originally made us.
    we’l possibly never live in an ideal world, but we can go back to being more gentle to one another, more gregarious/caring; become once again interdependent, etcetc.
    and let the feral people rule over us if they can’t wean selves of the vice.
    an done does’t need money; just admiration/care for our people/us. thnx

  15. James Keye said on December 17th, 2008 at 11:15am #


    I think that your observation is correct. The reason, I believe, is that our new adaptation has had the consequence of not only giving us speed of response for environmental change, but has resulted in referencing or basing behavior on our imaginings rather than on biophysical reality. This has caused great difficulties, but is part of the evolutionary process of working out the functioning of a new and very powerful adaptation. I think of our relation to consciousness order as the early gliders relationship to flight. In using consciousness order to discover ways to survive the coming troubles, we may discover how to live with this power as part of the ecosystem. The alternative would be for this biological design to fail.