Subjected Under the Guise of Freedom

Any disciplinary power that expends effort to force human beings into a straitjacket of commandments and prohibitions proves inefficient. It is significantly more efficient to ensure that people subordinate themselves to domination on their own. The efficacy defining the system today stems from the fact that, instead of operating through prohibition and privation, it aims to please and fulfill. Instead of making people compliant, it endeavors to make them dependent. This logic of neoliberal efficiency also holds for surveillance. In the 1980s, to cite one example, there were vehement protests against the German national census. Even schoolchildren took to the streets.

From today’s perspective, the information requested therein— profession, education levels, and distance from the workplace — seem almost laughable. At the time, people believed that they were facing the state as an instance of domination wresting data from citizens against their will. That time is long past. Today, people expose themselves willingly. Precisely this sense of freedom is what makes protest impossible. In contrast to the days of the census, hardly anyone protests against surveillance. Free self-disclosure and self-exposure follow the same logic of efficiency as free self-exploitation. What is there to protest against? Oneself? Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has formulated the paradox of the present situation: “Protect me from what I want.”


People freely subject themselves to oppression in return for satisfying their addictions. Because the oppression is not overt, like in a police state, people blame themselves and not the system for their dissatisfactions.

Folksonomies: society social media panopticon

/law, govt and politics (0.880623)
/law, govt and politics/politics (0.856446)
/society/unrest and war (0.828446)

Conceptual art (0.922626): dbpedia_resource
The Streets (0.700437): dbpedia_resource
Jenny Holzer (0.655717): dbpedia_resource
Time (0.628264): dbpedia_resource
Present (0.615225): dbpedia_resource
Human (0.572947): dbpedia_resource
Protest (0.560700): dbpedia_resource
State (0.556738): dbpedia_resource

 Why revolution is no longer possible
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Han, Byung-Chul (2015-20-13), Why revolution is no longer possible, Retrieved on 2021-12-16
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  • Folksonomies: social media panopticon