Government Control. Should We Obey or Rebel?

I have never considered myself to be a rebel.

I am not really a rule breaker, but neither am I a sleep-walker in this world. I am starting to find that the deeper one digs into the ‘truth’ behind the glossy images that we are fed, the harder it is to ignore the facts.

There comes a point when it is more uncomfortable to keep going along with things than to speak up and have the courage to do things differently.

The cognitive dissonance becomes too strong to ignore – and suddenly the temptation to break out of the routine is unbearable. This feeling of incongruence was illustrated clearly in the 2013 film ‘Obey’ which can be watched below. It was based on a book written by Chris Hedges, Death of The Liberal Class. Hedges is a journalist and winner of the Pulitzer prize.

The video, Obey, examines the growth of the Global Corporate State, and particularly the obedience of the everyday man within the system – despite obvious and constant inequality, environmentalism and globalisation.

It has been composed entirely of clips found online and was produced and narrated by StudioCanoe. Please be warned that it contains some material that could be disturbing to some viewers.

Obey from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” ― Augustine of Hippo

Why Are We So Obedient?

Why are we so obedient? What makes us turn a blind eye?

The image that came to mind when watching the documentary was that of the metaphorical frog in the pot of water. Gradually becoming hotter, without the frog really noticing, until it boils to death. Could that be what is happening to us?

Frog in pot
Frog in pot

Our lives are often filled with actions of habit and routine. We are distracted, always busy and even simply lying to ourselves that things are not so bad. These things make it easy to be obedient. We are not choosing to ignore the stark realities before us, but simply keeping are head down and getting on with life.

In general, we may not be expressly forbidden from behaving in certain ways, there are not too many laws controlling our every move, but there are unwritten boundaries. We are aware that there are certain things that are ‘just not done’. For now, that is enough to keep the majority of us ‘obedient’ so societal norms.

But what is happening in the corporate world is shaping our future, and it is not looking rosy. Gradually it is becoming somewhere that we won’t want to live.

Already power is enjoyed by companies over countries. Multinational corporations spread across the Globe, largely calling the shots. Brands and celebrities are the sought after and adored. Business is controlling government.

Are We Really Being Exploited?

Does this really matter? What could our future look like if we continue to go along with these changes?

Corporations learned how to control the masses in World War 2. That may sound ridiculous, but it was necessary during that time to get everyone working together for the greater good. To increase productivity and industry. To persuade people to give up their loved ones, and to sign up to fight.

How was this achieved? Through mass propaganda and focus on industry. With new insights into psychology it was possible to create a happy image of a factory working woman, waving of her hero husband. The result was enormously profitable to businesses – and they didn’t forget the lessons they had learned when the war ended.

One perspective is that big businesses have the ability to control employment, and by branching out into various states, they can hold power over the constituencies where their offices are located, through maintaining low levels of unemployment.

Policies are therefore created to benefit the corporations, who are enabling the government to save face, by keeping it’s people in jobs.

Meanwhile, community papers documenting local news stories and events are slowly losing popularity and dying out in favour of mass media. Everyone knows what Lady Gaga wore last night, but not the date of the local fundraising fair. Community life seems insignificant, somehow less glamorous than the global life we could be living on screen.

In this way everything is becoming more centralised and more commercialised. We are so used to seeing advertising on every inch of available space that we barely realise it now. Subliminal messages are seeping in constantly.

We travel the world and are unsurprised to purchase the same burger in the same packaging no matter where we are. And with that comes the same litter, the same pollution. Globally.

The number of large corporations that control virtually everything we read, see and hear – including our educational text books – is a ridiculously small….six.

Wind Up Men
Wind Up Men


It becomes worrying when we consider that these enormous corporations have more than just a suggestive hold over those in power. Many governments privatise substantial portions of their functions to outside business.

This means that our public facilities are owned and controlled by profit making corporations – whose first consideration is not the wellbeing of the people.

Governments are being run like companies. You can see this by the free movement of people move between politics and business. CEOs and politicians seem to need the same set of skills – which should be surprising to us.

Education is controlled by government budgets, and can be squeezed whenever ‘necessary’, leaving the Corporates to step in, offering funding, at what price?

The Deans of Universities are staggeringly well paid – these individuals shaping the next generation of powerful people. Could they be influenced by those Corporations paying their salaries and offering enormous donations to the schools? I don’t think it is a stretch to say that it is likely.

‘Obey’ calls this current system ‘Inverted Totalitarianism’.

Inverted Totalitarianism

What exactly is that? According to the documentary, it is a system of control with no one charismatic leader or set of rules at the top. There is no obvious players, no clear shackles – but they are there none the less.

The Corporate States are largely faceless and anonymous, and from their glass towers they can still corrupt and manipulate what is happening.

Consider Monsanto, who own the seeds, the pesticides to control the seeds and the medicine for those who become sick as a result of the pesticides….and who knows what they may have ready for the side effects that come of eating their chemically enhanced crops.

Through ‘necessary’ Corporate sponsorship they also have control of projects – deciding what will and will not succeed.

The narrator says that these corporations do not care for our wellbeing. They simply exploit, pollute, repress, kill, lie and impoverish us and the planet.

They let the uninsured die, make families homeless, start wars for profit, pollute the ecosystem, and worship money and power.

A Better Tomorrow

For the most part we allow everything to continue as it does because we have hopes of a better tomorrow and a brighter future. That is what we are promised. It is the 21st Century – we are in the information age, surely things can only get better.

I would agree that this is true, but not while we continue to bury our heads in the sand. With people trying not to rock the boat, wanting to stay moderate and work within the system, things could become progressively worse while we try not to look.

Inaction is the easy option in the short term.

The good news is that we can change the tide. These corporations couldn’t run without our liberal great minds at the helm.


We can stop allowing ourselves from being distracted by celebrity and gossip and look at the reality around us. We can use the internet to build a tribe of likeminded, passionate and wide awake individuals who can start to make changes in how they live.

While the spiral of poverty and desperation starts to take hold we can find ways to live a more frugal life, to turn away from the devastating trap of debt. We can speak up against privatisation of water and seeds. These two vital life giving elements, that are being bought up by companies for profit.

This way we will not have to live in fear of the State. For when they decide that there is no more credit, and the price of water and seeds rise…that will be a scary time.


No wonder so many people are becoming self-sustaining. Going off the grid and living in eco-homes, where they don’t need to rely on any government or corporation.

We have the moral capacity to say no when things cross the line, and to stand for what is right for the good of all of us. We need to start to see the implications of choices that are being made for us, and begin to take a stand and resist.

What will you do? Obey? or Rebel?

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