Some people believe in fate, others don’t. I do and I don’t. I may seem at times as if invisible fingers move us about like puppets on strings. But for sure, we are not born to be dragged along. We can grab the strings ourselves and adjust our course at every crossroad, or take off at any little trail into the unknown. – Thor Heyerdahl, Kon TikiThe future is the goal.
Hegemony, a word popularized by Antonio Gramsci, was later described by Jennifer Daryl Slack in "The Theory and Method of Articulation in Cultural Studies." She called it “a process, by which a hegemonic class articulates (or co-ordinates) the interests of social groups, such that those groups actively ‘consent’ to their subordinated status.” The powerful take part in the constructing the interests of the people, while the people actively approve of being influenced. In Frank Cunningham’s “Twilight of the Modern Prince,” published in the Journal of Social Philosophy, hegemony goes as follows:
The successful prince, according to Machiavelli, is part beast, part human, where only one dimension of the beastly part— that characteristic of the lion— involves domination through violence and threats. Equally important for Machiavelli are the fox— guile and cunning— and the Centaur's human dimension, which crucially involves inspiring respect as well as fear and exhibiting qualities of mercy, kindness, forthrightness, and piety as long as these do not convey weakness to subjects or impede decisive action. The lesson Gramsci took from this orientation is that hegemony is more than domination; it also requires leadership, which includes moral and intellectual dimensions.
Cunningham, Machiavelli, Slack and Gramsci form a plethora of hegemonic understanding. Many aspects of hegemony should be stressed and reiterated. One, that “hegemony is more than domination; it also requires leadership, which includes moral and intellectual dimensions.” Two, that constructs or interests of the consenting, subordinate class are “articulated or co-ordinated” by the hegemonic class. Three, that the guile and cunning fox, resembles the human part of the centaur that is involved in “inspiring respect as well as fear and exhibiting qualities of mercy, kindness, forthrightness, and piety as long as these do not convey weakness to subjects or impede decisive action.” And four, that from these human characteristics rise the beast, characteristic of the lion, who dominates through violence and threats.
Violence and threats are anything hegemony does in its coercion of its citizens our foreign subjects. Only now instead of great nationalist wars, resembling the interaction of the older interstate system, we fight a prolonged chain of small conflicts in world. And we do this with a coalition of the powerful versus the ‘other:’ militant, insurgent, fifth columnist, terrorist, and so on. The ‘other’ concept was published in International Organization by Alexander Wendt in “Anarchy is What the States Make of It.” The basic idea behind “the other” is that it is a social construction of political identity: how we feel about “the other.” Wendt is currently the Ralph D. Mershon Professor of International Security at the Ohio State University, and he is currently arguing for the inevitability of a world state, and investigating the possible implications of quantum mechanics for social science.
Nevertheless, in terms of a coalition of the powerful versus the “other,” one might see value in how the socially constructed “other” benefits hegemonic intent. Hegemons rally social, economic, and political power through a public that subordinates to the hegemon either through consent or coercion, and via hegemonic classes. The inferior classes dissociate their lives from hegemonic power, yet continually consent to hegemonic constructs. In their struggle they consent to the hegemons intent: world domination. The irony is that many disagree, but in their hypocrisy, they remain organs of the a totalitarian, hegemonic world order. Albert Einstein similarly said, "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." The remaining war to be fought is hegemon versus those that do something. This illustrates that hegemonic military intervention is irregular and transnational. Instead of state verse state, we have a hegemon verse dissenter, man verse beast world; e pluribus unum— out of many one— verses the 'others'.
Consider a deck of cards. The jack, queen, and king make up the hegemon, the ace. They are a hierarchal system of social (jack), economic (queen), and political (king). Ultimately, these cards form a substantial military might (ace). The remaining ten numbers form the people’s social, economic and political indifference which in due course the hegemon makes use of. Taxes are a prime example of this due course. In turn, tax revenue is used extensively in the Department of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, otherwise known as DARPA.
P. W. Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC. In his book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Military Conflict in the 21st Century he explores the implications of this tax link.
Between 2002 and 2008, the U.S. defense budget rose by 74 percent to $515 billion, not including the several hundred billions more spent on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq…. The result is that a significant military robotics industry is beginning to emerge. The World War I parallel is again instructive. As a report by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) noted, only 239 Ford Model T cars were sold in 1908. Ten years later, more than a million were.
This connection between our inferior public and our superior, technologically advanced government makes sovereignty more multifaceted. Whether or not our future public will be free and independent will be determined by social, economic, and political constraints in that environment. Using Slack’s idea’s of hegemony, we can take her thinking further: In our future, as the robotics industry significantly grows, individual sovereigns will consent in using new instruments to strengthen their ability in society, whilst supporting the intent of the hegemon, which is absolute and totalitarian in nature. A totalitarian hegemony is synonymous to the hegemony that encompasses the world now and is what will intricate itself into the complexity of our futures.
The future is the goal.