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02.03.2015

Review of “Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt”

Or: Is dystopia real?

Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt: Collectivism Exposed is a book written by Mikkel Clair Nissen, a man I have known through Facebook for two years and whom I value as an honest person and discussion partner. I wish I could say friend, but I have not met him yet. There will be a time for that.

Mikkel’s book touches upon a topic that has had great impact on my life: narcissism and the politics that a narcissist desires, namely a welfare state.

Political sentiments

In 2013, when I visited my father in Hawaii, one of the United States of America, I was a useless pessimist. When I came back, I was confident and positive.

My dad is a convinced libertarian. Libertarianism is a political philosophy that rallies for a free capitalistic market with a minimal state. Some great arguments supporting this view can be found in the short and well-written classic Economics in One LessonCapitalism, you may think, is merely a political concept, an economic system. Exchangeable at will. But search your feelings, Luke. Capitalism is despised in Germany, where I live. Talk to whomever you will, most people here will not even consider capitalism. Ask why? Because in capitalism, the rich exploit the poor. How does that happen? Nobody protects the poor from them.

I will not delve deeper into the matter right now; if you are interested in particular arguments, read the mentioned book above.

The United States of Arrogance

When I visited the United States, I was greatly surprised by the openness and friendliness of the people. Even in a supermarket, you would be greeted and engaged in a conversation by the cashier. People confidently greet and show their respect to soldiers.

Germans usually consider this behavior superficial and fake. Accordingly, Germans are somewhat cold and distanced. Life is hard, after all. But what is that realness they are so fond of?

An American chases personal success. No matter how little, he will be glad to be on his way. An American says “I want to be rich” and the European counters “You will probably never be”. What the European doesn’t understand is that the willingness to accept your dreams and go after them is enough to be content.

Danes are not the happiest people

I do not remember how I came into contact with Mikkel anymore, but I have followed his efforts to market his book since 2013 and have read at least three different revisions, always improving. We came together as our somewhat newfound enthusiasm about freedom was compatible. His book revolves around a very similar experience to mine that he made while traveling the world. He has been in Australia, Scandinavia, the United States and – of course – his homeland, Denmark, a country with a well-established welfare state.

Manipulism‘s main argument is the concept of a political system that spoils it’s citizens through excessive gifts – if you can call them that. Similar to a child spoiled by it’s mother, such a citizen will grow up dependent on the hand – Mother Denmark – that feeds it, never developing the incentive to pursue individual happiness. Such a person grows up with low self-esteem, without confidence and self-assurance. Consequently, such a person exhibit the symptoms associated with narcissism: envy, denigration, arrogance, et cetera.

Did you know that Dane students are paid to study? What the fuck. The book is full of these examples.

Is dystopia real?

Mikkel portrays the dystopia of a state that has complete control over the minds of it’s citizens. When you think about a totalitarian dystopia, you may think of deservedly famous novels like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or Orwell’s 1984. You may think of The Lives of Others. These pieces of art take us to dark places. Huxley does it in a rather humorous way. Orwell squelches your soul. The movie gives a bit of hope.

Reading Manipulism is like reading the description of a fictious place. It is like reading history books about the DDR or a novel about an evil superstate. Mikkel’s often repetitive and strongly judgmental language does, at first, make it hard to connect it with reality. Phrases like severe pathological narcissism keep being repeated as if to convince the reader of the sheer unbelievable monstrosity. Sometimes this is done in a distracting way, interrupting the reading flow to emphasize parts of the message while telling an otherwise captivating story. Generally, this seemingly forced judgment makes the book at times feel fragmented. Have you ever been in an argument with somebody who is very passionate about a topic? He will probably be knowledgeable, but bombard you with facts that you have trouble bringing into context.

The biggest weakness of Manipulism is it’s lack of structure. I would find it very hard to find a specific piece of information that I remembered. A glossary would be nice. Also, many terms are used seemingly interchangeably. If you aren’t very familiar with the terms socialism, Marxism, capitalism, communism, democratic socialism, Keynesian economics and others, you may find it hard to follow at times. To me, it is also not always clear why one word or the other is used. All in all, more consistency and a gradual introduction of information would do much good.

Recognizing the truth

That said, the reading experience did strongly improve for me after passing about the first half. The stories started to become more captivating and often very well illustrate the points Mikkel is making. With time, I also lost the initial antipathy against the condemning language and started to see the perspective from which this was written. It reminded me of my time in America and generally of a better time in my life, where I myself have felt strongly about the motivations behind political ideologies.

Manipulism reminded me of something I had once more lost – a kind of positivity and naivety to look at life and an innocent willingness to oppose evil. Yes, at times, the book captivated me and I saw, in a way, how society really is. I saw that the dystopia is real. I saw and felt the pressure society pits against the expression of one’s self; I remembered my time in school, now put into context as a propaganda central. I saw the limiting beliefs I hold, inherited from endless repetitions of people who don’t know any better.

Seeing the chances

Dystopia seems like a foreign, unreal concept. Our footage of World War II is black-and-white, after all? Surely the world must’ve been black-and-white back then. This is different. You look into the eyes of these people every day and it’s just normal – it’s not oppressive.

If you bring an open mind, you may see in Mikkels passion a vision of how things could be, should be and can be. And once you realize that things could be better, you will see how bad they really are. It is important to get this perspective. Lacking the insight into different cultures you are likely to fall into a state of they probably know what they’re doing. And it’s very understandable to expect for someone to eventually come and make you one of those who understand. To wait for an initiation. But that never happens. Manipulism may open your eyes to the possibility that the people you trust with your life and happiness don’t know any better than you. It may awaken in you the wish to think for yourself. And that is a great gift to make. Or rather, a great product.

The book’s suggestive intent to expose aims to bring you to a place where you recognize yourself as the victim of a bad mentality. If there was something I wished to add, it would be: Do not to stop there. While the status of a victim is itself a great weapon against guilt, it can make one lazy as well. It can make you the same monster that created you in the first place. All the people who prey upon you do so because they feel like victims. They feel righteous anger and don’t want to let it go. If you cannot let go of the pain something has caused you, you will further bring it into this world. And anger takes you nowhere.

Check out Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt: Collectivism Exposed by Mikkel Clair Nissen

Mikkel also organizes meet-ups for freedom enthusiasts. You may want to befriend him on Facebook and join in!

1 vote
  • Wald

    Interesting point you make about American. I may have to make a post on that soon.

    Wald

  • Lisette Muntslag

    Somebody told me about this yesterday…..interesting, time for Europe to wake u….!