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“The Drone Ranger” (8/26) is a quite accurate, if slightly grotesque, description of the American office culture. While things are often more subtle and less on the surface, the basics are as follows: Step out of line, displease the boss, mismanage perceptions, fail to accommodate to any falsehood—and you’re out. On the other hand, regurgitate all the right platitudes, be “a team player.” kiss ass, project happiness—and you might get
somewhere. Bleak, but true.
False camaraderie, mediocrity,and sycophantic behavior are enforced, tacitly but adamantly. And that should remind us: Obedience and conformity are the very notions the entire Third Reich mentality was based upon. The first and foremost thing Adolf Hitler demanded from the masses was obedience—a paramount Nazi quality, which, combined with robotic efficiency, severe discipline, bureaucracy, groupthink, socialism, and absence of humor, is a part of the German national tradition anyway. Obedience and conformity are also ingrained in many Asian cultures, whose influence on the American corporate environment, already quite palpable, is quickly becoming dominant, especially in technology. Corporations, it appears, demand automatons—the perfect nuts, bolts, and cogs in the machine—and these are supplied in droves. Try to get a job in the IT industry today and eight times out of 10 you’ll be interrogated by a smug Indian fellow or an icy Chinese with an atrocious accent and a name like Kate or Susan—which pretty much means your chance of employment is zero, unless you happen to originate from Bombay or Beijing.
It’s most unfortunate that America—that self-proclaimed primary purveyor of freedom and democracy on the planet—seems so eager to adopt such authoritarian values in its workplaces.