In his book "The Developing Nations," Robert E Gamer says, "The fact that alienated people can be counted on to vent their spleen in ineffectual directionsby fighting among themselvesrelieves the government of the need to deal fundamentally with the conditions which cause their frustrations. It even relieves authorities ... of the need to minimally affect environment and attitudes to reduce alienation:" What does Gamer mean by this?

In "The Developing Nations," Gamer argues that when peoples are alienated, meaning they are left out of the social and economic successes of the world, they have the unfortunate tendency to misdirect their frustrations. Rather than identifying the forces or the actual agents of their oppression, they tend to seek easier targets, coming into conflict with other alienated people. Powerful classes are aware of this and have historically used it to their advantage.

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Ultimately what Gamer is making is a statement about humanity itself. The social sciencespolitical science includedare really a study of human behavior. Gamer's point here is similar to the infamous work of Machiavelli in that he wishes to reveal some truths about humanity in the social realm, even if those truths are things that most people avoid looking at directly.

Continuing for a moment with Machiavelli, the most meaningful thrust of his work and the reason it continues to resonate is that he was able to point out that there is a way in which we humans like to see ourselves, but in truth it is only a mask. Machiavelli pointed out that people will like a leader that is kind, but in truth they will only respect that leader if they also fear them. Kindness, fairness, and reason must also be present, but without fear that leader will not have the loyalty of those beneath them.

Whether people find it appealing or not; whether they are willing to admit that level of pragmatism or not; according to Machiavelli, this is a truth about humanity.

Gamer's opening premise is a statement of fact and another rarely-spoken truth about humanity. Specifically, this is that "alienated people can be counted on" to "fight amongst themselves" and otherwise to express their frustrations in ways that have no meaningful impact. They have no impact because they tend to point their frustrations in the wrong direction and at the wrong targets. This is a reliable human tendency that governments have used as a way of avoiding addressing inequalities or other social ills. In order to benefit from this tendency, governmental powers have, at times, quietly encouraged this division between peoples.

Almost never does this become an official policy (perhaps for obvious reasons), but, as controversial an observation as it may sometimes be, it has been relied upon extensively throughout history.

For example, England colonized Ireland early in its history, much to the dismay of the Irish, whose struggle against their oppressors is widely recorded. In order to mitigate and misdirect that force, England was successful in moving Protestant Scots into territory in Ireland and setting up a long-standing battle between Protestants and Catholics. Ironically, the Scottish were also unhappy with the English oppressors in their lands as well, but, by offering them opportunities in Ireland, the government could misdirect that force and turn the two groups of alienated peoples against each other.

The benefit was largely that England could then act like a false arbitrator between these forces, while also enjoying the fact that the Irish were no longer organizing effectively against English rule. Although it may be said that the tactic fooled no one, it was nonetheless successful for a long time in keeping the worst of Irish frustration from upsetting the existing order of English privilege.

Similar observations have been made about the tendency for racial or ethnic groups to turn on one another in inner-city America. Groups have tended to target their frustration on one another in violent form, when perhaps the frustration that they share would be more effectively targeted against an oppressor class of wealthy peoples. Again, while it is controversial, the argument has been made that this has at times been quietly encouraged by the powers that be within elite and powerful social/governmental circles.

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