Freedom Is A Myth: We Are All Prisoners Of The Police State's Panopticon Village

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche.... As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people's Villages, but we are all prisoners.

- Patrick McGoohan

First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner - a dystopian television series described as “James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka” - confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village.

The Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

The series’ protagonist, played by Patrick McGoohan, is Number Six.

“I am not a number. I am a free man,” was the mantra chanted on each episode of The Prisoner, which was largely written and directed by McGoohan.

In the opening episode (“The Arrival”), Number Six is told that he is in The Village because information stored “inside” his head has made him too valuable to be allowed to roam free “outside.”

Throughout the series, Number Six is subjected to interrogation tactics, torture, hallucinogenic drugs, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination and physical coercion in order to “persuade” him to comply, give up, give in and subjugate himself to the will of the powers-that-be.

Number Six refuses to comply.

In every episode, Number Six resists the Village’s indoctrination methods, struggles to maintain his own identity, and attempts to escape his captors. “I will not make any deals with you,” he pointedly remarks. “I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

Yet no matter how far Number Six manages to get in his efforts to escape, it’s never far enough.

Watched by surveillance cameras and other devices, Number Six’s getaways are continuously thwarted by ominous white balloon-like spheres known as “rovers.” Still, he refuses to give up. “Unlike me,” he says to his fellow prisoners, “many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment, and will die here like rotten cabbages.”

Number Six’s escapes become a surreal exercise in futility, each episode an unfunny, unsettling Groundhog’s Day that builds to the same frustrating denouement: there is no escape.

The series is a chilling lesson about how difficult it is to gain one’s freedom in a society in which prison walls are disguised within the trappings of technological and scientific progress, national security and so-called democracy.

As Thill noted when McGoohan died in 2009,The Prisoner was an allegory of the individual, aiming to find peace and freedom in a dystopia masquerading as a utopia.”

The Prisoner’s Village is also an apt allegory for the American Police State: it gives the illusion of freedom while functioning all the while like a prison: controlled, watchful, inflexible, punitive, deadly and inescapable.

The American Police State, much like The Prisoner’s Village, is a metaphorical panopticon, a circular prison in which the inmates are monitored by a single watchman situated in a central tower. Because the inmates cannot see the watchman, they are unable to tell whether or not they are being watched at any given time and must proceed under the assumption that they are always being watched.

Eighteenth century social theorist Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon has become a model for the modern surveillance state in which the populace is constantly being watched, controlled and managed by the powers-that-be and funding its existence.

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide: this is the new mantra of the architects of the police state and their corporate collaborators (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Instagram, etc.).

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

This is the electronic concentration camp—the panopticon prison—the Village—in which we are now caged.

It is a prison from which there will be no escape if the government gets it way.

Even now, the Trump Administration is working to make some of the National Security Agency’s vast spying powers permanent.

In fact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pushing for Congress to permanently renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows government snoops to warrantlessly comb through and harvest vast quantities of our communications.

And just like that, we’re back in the Village, our escape plans foiled, our future bleak.

Except this is no surprise ending, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People: for those who haven’t been taking the escapist blue pill, who haven’t fallen for the Deep State’s phony rhetoric, who haven’t been lured in by the promise of a political savior, we never stopped being prisoners.

So how do we break out?

For starters, wake up. Resist the urge to comply.

Think for yourself. Be an individual. As McGoohan commented in 1968, “At this moment individuals are being drained of their personalities and being brainwashed into slaves… As long as people feel something, that's the great thing. It's when they are walking around not thinking and not feeling, that's tough. When you get a mob like that, you can turn them into the sort of gang that Hitler had.”

We have come full circle from Bentham’s Panopticon to McGoohan’s Village to Huxley’s Brave New World.

You want to be free? Break out of the circle.


doctor10 Blue Steel 309 Tue, 09/19/2017 - 05:45 Permalink

Cash flow always determines that..

Traditional currencies really aren't worth all that much in a surveillance society -which essentially all big governments are today. All opportunity for arbitrage is stolen by the sociopsyopaths pre-occupied with going through everybodies bank accounts, real estate holdings, telephone and email records, tax returns, credit reports and medical records seeking "opportunity".

Not much business can be done profitably. At the end of the day its why interest rates -at least in 100% traceable accountable taxable regulatable and ultimately takable currencies are basically 0% give or take a few fractions of a percent-worldwide.

FWIW if you want to borrow BTC now interest rates can be 12-13%!!

"value" is anonymity and privacy in conduct, thought and action-one of the consequences of which is enhanced ability to keep the fruits of your own labor. It also is the ONLY means through which individual productivity can increase-and thus increase productivity across an entire nation.

Electronic/digital currencies actually fulfilling those needs will be the most valuable-there is yet to emerge one that clearly does so.

Ask East Germany and the Soviet Union exactly how well a surveillance society worked out during the 20th century. The 21st is no different in that regard-except that surveillance is cheaper and more intrusive and consequently more deleterious to all of society and all of us.

In reply to by Blue Steel 309

BobEore SafelyGraze Tue, 09/19/2017 - 01:49 Permalink

McGoohan was a much more trenchant observer of late-stage talmudic-capitalist culture than this piece would let on. Indeed...

in some ways he served as adjudicator for the final scourging of the western peeples... witnessing not just the arrival of full-fledged kabbalist talmudist "revolution" in the form of the 60's tsunami of "JerryRubin/BobbyZimmerman/Ginsburg/Hoffman cultural warfare designed to degrade Merikans into low-intelligence drug addicts and stockholm syndrome Patty Hearsts...

but also as prophet and precursor to the Orangemans' final betrayal - of "his base"... hahaha... the ultimate episode(FallOut)in the long campaign to disillusion and demoralize the subject population prior to their (voluntary)suicide...(appearing on your screens in 'live time' now, as occidentalists agree to be transformed into soul-less golems in exchange for some made in china "I"- trinkets and the keys to a late model vehicle)

Six is revealed to be in fact No. 1 hisself in that final episode. Was McGoohan laughing at his fan base... or preparing them for the ordeal which would follow over the next half century, with its denouement of the current moment? Culture hero of the western peeples, or ultimate cynic? Of course, he took answer with him to the grave... some will say!

Not at all. Drumpf is Lanksy. Lansky was always "NumberOne"." Pulling off Obamas' monkey mask revealed his visage stamped on every POTUS since "Grassy Knoll"... laughin hysterically at the rubes.

In reply to by SafelyGraze

HRH Feant2 Tue, 09/19/2017 - 00:07 Permalink

Huge fan of John B. Wells and as he is the person that introduced me to this show.

The panoptican. I learned about this in some of my philosophy courses. Apparently the French were masters at spying. The current system in the US makes the world drool.

Who is John Galt? Where is Galt's Gulch?

honestann HRH Feant2 Tue, 09/19/2017 - 02:45 Permalink

I'm sure you've read my posts here in ZH before.  So you won't be surprised to learn that I did that decades ago when I was extremely young (as in age 4).However, unlike the rest of you Galts that I know of, I took it further... all the way to the physical.  I tried for years... about 10 years in fact... to find collaborators to create an enclave of individuals who insist upon personal liberty.  Didn't work.  Okay, I'm the world's worst "promoter", probably because I hate the very notion of promotion.  Nonetheless, it didn't work.  Not even one collaborator.And so, I created my own.  I found an awesomely gorgeous place 125km from the nearest human being and about 250km from the nearest small town, and created my own self-sufficient place to live.  Doing so took quite a lot of time, effort and 90% of my life savings.  As it turned out, I was lucky as hell, because this project forced me to liquidate 90% of my gold and silver in 2011, mostly close to the very top and just before the predators-that-be went all-in to crash prices.  Whew!!!  For the record, I did not liquidate "at the top" because I knew prices would fall.This project would have been a lot easier if spread across 2, 3, 5 individuals.  That's why I tried a collaboration to create our own Galt's Gulch first.  Got a fair bit of interest (more than I needed), but when push came to shove (time to act), they just couldn't make themselves do it.  Family.  Friends.  Pets!  Jobs.  You name it.  Excuses to do the wrong thing are easy, aren't they?  Yes they are.Fortunately for me, I have been making "bizarro" decisions since I was a little kid, so I was not afraid to go it alone.  Also, I had previously lived alone for 7 years at a self-sufficient (except food) remote mountaintop research station in the boonies (though not as far "out there" as I am now).  So I understood how the physical systems work, how to fix them when they break (usually), and I knew living the life of solitude is wonderful, awesome, fabulous.I designed the components of the place I live to be modular so no piece was bigger than could be put on the back of a flatbed truck and hauled away.  My place is way in the middle of nowhere in the southern hemisphere where fortunately for me, regulations are few (and/or ignored) and thus some people are willing to do things for money that would be very difficult elsewhere (you'd have to do it yourself).  In my case, I had to construct a seriously nonsensical crossing over the narrowest (10+ meter) part of a slot canyon of sorts so the trucks could go across (one set of wheels on each "plank" so to speak).  I did not have to encourage them to go slow and careful!  Or sweat profusely during the process.  Hahaha.  Once all the big pieces where here, I removed the crossing and hid the pieces where nobody can see or find them (on my side).  And so, no land vehicles can reach my digs.I assembled the pieces myself.  As it turns out, I now realize I could have designed this place with much smaller parts, which would have made the whole process a lot easier (at the beginning).  Hell, the weather here is so awesome that even a big tent would have been sufficient as a "structure".  As it is, this is a life of "simple luxury", and unlimited peace and quiet.  And zero human predators.  My place is invisible from every direction, though I suppose a slow moving helicopter at very low altitude could notice there is something here.  But nobody flies at low altitude around here, and nobody knows anything is here.  Even if they did, it would not look interesting and since not accessible by land vehicle, definitely not worth checking out.  For me, however, very convenient.  I haven't owned a land vehicle since I moved here ~5 years ago, but one reason this place cost me so much is the fact that 40% of the budget was to buy a brand-new tiny 2-seat high-tech, super-efficient airplane to make this place convenient.  It can land and take-off on a dime (well under 80 meters at most, fully loaded), fly 6500 km without refueling with its "extreme range tanks" (an option I paid through the nose for), and gets better fuel economy than any car I ever heard of (about 75mpg at economy speed == 220kph ~ 240kph (but only about 40mpg at cruise speed (290kph) or 30mpg at top speed (just over 300kph).  And so, when I want to go somewhere... no problem.  I can always find a place to land within 100 meters or so of anywhere I want to go.  And unlike the "west", nobody cares or objects when I land somewhere odd (to go shopping or whatever).  Of course, I stay away from anything remotely resembling a "city", which I call "uncivilization".I've never been happier.  I've never had a better lifestyle.  I've never even seen a nicer environment... anywhere.  So, to say "no regrets" is the most huge understatement ever.  I do regret that so few individuals give it a shot.  I always think that others are so much better at making contacts and organizing collaborations.... so others could create even better enclaves than mine.  And mine is fabulous!  Got water.  Got solar-panels.  Got batteries.  Growing/Raising my own food.  Got lots of spare parts, duplicates and backup supplies.  I'm literally self-sufficient.  I would be fine for the rest of my life if every other human vanished from the universe.  Except for ZH and a little internet browsing, I probably wouldn't notice the difference.  Ever.Nice to know there are some other Galts out there.But... I worry that when the SHTF... you may very well learn the hard way that "Galts Gulch is more than a state of mind".  To be sure, that state of mind is crucial and primary.  But predators will be predators, and when the SHTF, probably 99% of humans who do not immediately become prey... will become predators.  At that point, I fear a great many individualists who imagine "Galts Gulch is a state of mind" will realize... too late... that there was an extremely good reason the fictional Galts Gulch was hidden in the middle of nowhere and physically self-sufficient.Not sure what you mean by "stay grey".  But I advise individualists to stay "outta site, outta mind".  So... maybe that's what you mean?

In reply to by HRH Feant2

Jo A-S honestann Tue, 09/19/2017 - 04:35 Permalink

Interesting, very interesting.  I like the idea.  I, like most people I suppose  who say we've left the rat-race just become (eg) expats in the sun.  In my case (and my wife's) we've moved to Lesvos.  My idea was to have some land also but........  One kow-tows to one's wife, I suppose.  Take care and good luck - we all need some luck.

In reply to by honestann

honestann 1 Alabama Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:13 Permalink

Actually... not.  Or to admit to the part where you're correct, the first year or so of creating my new digs was quite a bit of work.  The second year involved modest time and effort too.  However, by the time year three rolled around, I was quite nicely set up and fully self-sufficient.  Now everything I need to do to keep my place neat, clean, and extremely comfortable is... less than one day per week.How many people out there in the "real world" (which looks like the "unreal world" to me) can have a totally comfortable simple but luxurious life in a perfect, pristine, gorgeous environment... for a mere 1 day per week of effort?I'd venture to say... just about nobody.No, I made the correct choice.By a huge margin.PS:  I'm not a horse fan.  I much prefer my airplane for both fun and transportation.  Actually, I'm not much an animal lover in general, though I do enjoy seeing non-predatory species in their natural environment.  Some of them are quite pretty and interesting.PS:  Nothing wrong with ghost towns though.  I did look at a couple abandoned mines in Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina with already built "manager quarters" in some cases.  They would have been easier and cheaper to take over than what I did.  However, now that I'm finished the work, this is much, much more beautiful, comfortable, luxurious, clean, neat... and totally high-tech.  No "crude" here.

In reply to by 1 Alabama

TheEndIsNear HRH Feant2 Tue, 09/19/2017 - 04:07 Permalink

Thank you, but your avatar is more appropriate. The USA is definitely a dirty and faded image of what it once was and could have been.

Actually, there are physical places that are more free than others, but the feral government is gradually creeping in, much to my chagrin. Far to many f*cking federal employees. In my Galt's Gulch, children and dogs ride around in the back of pickup trucks without being hassled, children go out to play at night without fear, the local marshal and sheriffs officers actually help people instead of harassing them, seat belt laws are not enforced, and helmets for bikers are optional, deer come up to feed on my property frequently, and at least half the people in the area carry guns. No government permission is required. We have "Constitutional Carry" laws.

In reply to by HRH Feant2

honestann what happened Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:46 Permalink

I'm female, in case my photo isn't large enough to reveal.  I'm a 5' 5" 105lb wimp born in China to poor parents but became a hardcore scientist-engineer at age 4, escaped China fairly young, and made myself a good life by making a series of supposedly crazy decisions (according to everyone who knew me).The fact that I've been a self-employed scientist, engineer, inventor, product developer with great electronics and computer skills my whole life definitely made my journey to self-sufficiency in the extreme boonies easier than it would be for most individuals.  The fact that I've always loved solitude and extreme boonies also helped.  The fact that I've always been super-frugal also helped, because it took 90% of my life savings to create my current digs (including the price of my small high-tech, super-efficient airplane that's been my only transportation for years).I don't need to worry about neighbors.  The nearest human being is 125km away and the nearest small town is about 250km.  Nobody knows anyone lives here (where I am), and likely nobody ever will (other than the few other scientist-engineers who are also collaborators on the project I work on).I agree with you that when the SHTF, neighbors who formerly seemed "not so bad" or even "quite reasonable"... will go nuts and become predators and/or snitches.  That is a HUGE problem for anyone who lives in a fixed location and isn't far away from others and "outta sight, outta mind".  Oh, also, my place cannot be reached by land vehicle, so that helps too.  :-)Anyone even remotely near a city is toast... unless they have an absolute boatload of weapons and ammo, plus a fairly trustworthy gang of fellow predators to run roughshod on everyone else.  MAYBE someone with a truly secret, well hidden bomb shelter with 3 months supplies will survive in locations closer to uncivilization, because after 3 months I doubt many people will still exist, and those that do will probably have dug in somewhere with clean water and great sight distance in every direction.  Nonetheless, even they will need to flee to the boonies once they consume most of their supplies and need to come out to look for ways to survive the long term.

In reply to by what happened

honestann FreeEarCandy Tue, 09/19/2017 - 01:49 Permalink

Seriously.  Learn basic math.334,000,000 == population of USSAx       24,000 == your free handout---------------------------------$8,000,000,000,000 per yearThat is $8 TRILLION dollars per year.That is $8000 BILLION dollars per year.Do you understand what the total revenue of the USSA is?  A fraction of that.----------Yes, THEY want everything.And THEY are simply the most dominant human predators.And YOU and everyone else is their intented prey.THE DYNAMIC IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT.The only question for you and everyone else is... do you intend to let them make you their prey?Every half-hearted attempt to escape predators leads to the same result... you are bled dry, you are their prey.Only absolute intransigent refusal works against predators.For individuals, that means avoid, evade, escape... DO NOT OBEY.  DO NOT COMPLY.  DO NOT FEED THEM.For a society with 1% willing to fight to the death, that means exterminate them.  All of them.  No games, just end them.Since less than 0.0001% of individuals are willing to collaborate to eliminate the predators, their only viable choice is avoid, evade, escape.If you don't have the dedication to do that, accept your actual situation.  YOU ARE WILLING PREY.The choice is yours.

In reply to by FreeEarCandy

honestann FreeEarCandy Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:20 Permalink

Virtually EVERYONE could earn the equivalent of $24,000 per year... if they didn't have all the balls and chains around them to hold them back.  And $24,000 per year is plenty of money to live a pleasant, comfortable life... if you do not sucker for all the useless crap human predators convince you to waste your money on.  Hell, except when I built my place here in the extreme boonies (which was expensive... like $400K including my new airplane), I never spent as much as $24,000 in any year.Well, let me correct that a bit.  I've been a self-employed scientist, engineer, inventor, product-developer since... well... pretty much since age 4, though my first revenue was in junior high school when I sold my first truly worthwhile inventions (3 of them).  So I've always needed to invest most of my revenue on scientific, engineering and technical equipment and supplies to be able to design and develop my prototypes.  I don't count that as personal spending, otherwise I would exceed that $24,000 some years.  But spending on me, on products that regular people buy?  Never as much as $24,000... until I created my self-sufficient digs, which was damn expensive as I noted.  Though... I guess not that expensive compared to regular folks.  How much would you imagine a "regular folk" would spend to build a new self-sufficient home (much less in the extreme boonies), PLUS a brand new, high-tech, super-efficient, short takeoff/landing, long range (6500km) airplane?  Yeah, $400K was a bargain... but most of the gold and silver I had saved up to that point (2011).  In retrospect... good thing I sold then, because that was all near the top, just before the predators-that-be went hyper-active with their precious metals manipulation schemes.The problem isn't that people cannot produce $24,000 worth of goods and goodies to trade for other goods and goodies they want or need.  Virtually everyone could do that.  BUT... they are absolutely tied down by law, legality, convention, regulations... and most of all, their willingness to be bled dry by predators-that-be, defrauded by other [mostly corporate-semimonopolist] predators, and rendered just utterly and completely STUPID by everyone they ever meet (parents, family, friends, relatives, teachers, "government", media (including advertising).  Examples.  I'm a girl, but you know how much I've spent during my life for make-up?  Zero cents.  How about fancy clothes?  Zero cents.  Lifetime clothes expenses are probably a few hundred dollars (including lots of sneakers, which I wear out exploring the booneis).  I used to see "normal people" (especially girls) waste many thousand every year on absolute worthless garbage!  Now I don't need to cringe any more, because I don't see anyone do anything!  Hahaha.  What a relief.What humans really need is... independent brains!  Almost everything they do... they were programmed to do.  They think THEY chose, but they don't.  The most they do is make a slight difference in the choice of which human predator brainwasher to influence them a bit more or less.  At best.  Most humans have no freaking idea what kind of world this could be if everyone simply observed with their own eyes, thought with their own minds, ignored every attempt to influence them, and simply made every decision for themselves.  If that was the nature of human beings, reality would be more fantastic than the most amazing sci-fi show or movie.  But alas, humans are a totally failed species... because they let human predators run everything, including their own lives.PS:  About "earning".  For the past few years, I have earned zero (if measured in any currency).  However, my living expenses have been less than $500 per year since I become 100% self-sufficient.  You might ask why I need to spend $500 per year if I'm 100% self-sufficient.  The answer is, I don't want to raise cows, but I really do love to cook with butter.  Soooo... you get the point.  I can (and do) make my own oil with what I grow, but I love the taste of butter.  So I treat myself to about $100 to $200 worth of not-needed goodies when I go shop about once every 3 months.  It took me until one or two years ago to finally be able to produce all the fringe spices and such I like to cook with, leaving only butter (and random urges) to satisfy when I shop.  But I don't need any of that.Yes, I still spend money on my work projects.  I just finally, after about 6 years, upgraded my two main computers to a Ryzen 8-core CPU and a Threadripper 16-core CPU.  Wow, quite the difference!  I guess that's what happens when you wait so long!  Nice.  I also purchased a spiffy new big honking low noise CCD for my automated telescope.  But... not much else.Anyway, most humans have no freaking idea how productive they could be if not so badly influenced and [allowing themselves to be] threatened by others.  And, they have no freaking idea how little they need to spend if they stop wasting their money on unnecessary garbage, and make an effort to design a frugal, efficient but enjoyable and comfortable life for themselves.  The fact is, being willingly stupid is VERY expensive and VERY wasteful.

In reply to by FreeEarCandy

honestann FreeEarCandy Thu, 09/21/2017 - 05:25 Permalink

It took me a lot of money to become self-sufficient (as in $250K, not counting that $150K for the airplane).  I started earning income by selling my inventions in junior high school.  So the question is, if one lives frugally, how much must one save each year to accumulate $250K?  Answer: $10K per year for 25 years, or $25K for 10 years, or... do the math.  In my case, buying gold and silver at a few hundred per ounce and a few bucks per ounce and trading it away for my components of my self-sufficient digs at the equivalent of $1700 and near $40 also didn't hurt.I guarantee you almost everyone (outside of the poor region of China where I was born and very young), people everywhere I've been waste more than $10K per year on total garbage.  Anyone can do it... if they're willing to stop being STUPID sheeple.You cannot save others.  They refuse to be saved... or even be rational.SAVE YOURSELF.  THAT YOU CAN DO.

In reply to by FreeEarCandy