I know, I know, the title reads like a stupid hipster punk rock band. But this essay right here is going to be a hell of a lot more subversive than anything you can buy in a San Francisco record store. See, I’m going to prove to you what plenty of people on /v/ and in #GamerGate have said for years: Kojima was right. The Patriots sort of exist, and they all but run the entire modern world. But of course, in all honesty Kojima was even more right than you’d think. Buckle up kiddies, you’re about to find out that truth is much stranger than fiction.
But let’s start with fiction. Let’s start with the Patriots. All this work is sourced from the Metal Gear Wiki(1), which at the time of this writing covers the entire timeline from Metal Gear Solid 3 to Metal Gear Rising. At the time of this essay, Metal Gear Solid 5 is not yet released, so my chronology here may be subject to change via retcon.
The Patriots have their roots in the Philosophers, a group of the wealthiest, smartest individuals in the US, Russia, and China, who pooled their resources after the First World War to prevent another catastrophic war from happening. This group, the Wisemen’s Committee, operated in secret, murdering the father of the girl who would grow up to be The Boss for disclosing their existence to her. By 1930, the last founding member of the Committee had passed away, and the group had slipped out of control. Soon, the various Philosophers jockeyed for power, taking control of their own governments through espionage and subversion. When World War II broke out, the Philosophers pooled their resources, over 100 billion dollars, into what would be known as “The Philosophers’ Legacy”. This helped fund the new, monumental changes in warfare and helped the Philosophers crush the Axis for daring to threaten their grip on the world.
By the war’s end, the Philosophers themselves had splintered, with the Americans on one side and the Soviets and Chinese on the other. The Philosophers’ Legacy itself was stolen by one Boris Volgin and hidden across the globe. All the information on the money was stored on one microfilm, which his son “inherited” via murdering him. His son, Colonel Volgin, used some of the money to fund his operations which set the plot of Metal Gear Solid 3 in motion. At the end of MGS3, Naked Snake successfully eliminates Volgin and obtains the Philosophers’ Legacy for America. The Legacy is then stolen by Revolver Ocelot, who along with Major Zero and Naked Snake (now called Big Boss) use it to form the Patriots.
The Patriots were an attempt to return to the Wisemen’s Committee’s original goal of guiding humanity to a world of peace and order. With their resources, they had total control over the entire United States, selecting who would become senator or president. However, soon a major ideological split took place: Big Boss began to question Zero’s goals. He felt that the Patriots should follow the Boss’s dying wish and help keep the peace and keep soldiers from becoming puppets of their governments, and nothing more. Zero, on the other hand, wanted to unite the world under one will, ending all war and conflict.
When Zero had Big Boss cloned without his consent, Big Boss left the Patriots, forming the Militaires Sans Frontieres, a Private Military Company who would give a home to any soldier needing one. Through the events of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and most likely Metal Gear Solid 5, the MSF would eventually become Outer Heaven, an entire country that would act as a PMC. The Patriots, now calling themselves Cipher, consistently tried to either win Big Boss back to their side, or have him killed. Big Boss tried twice to usurp Zero, only to be seemingly killed by his own clone, Solid Snake.
Upset with Boss’s betrayal, Zero created the Patriot AIs who could control the country and eventually the world long after his death. Indeed, while Zero eventually decayed into a vegetative state, the AI discretely consolidated all their power over the country, and soon were building Arsenal Gear, a massive submarine designed to secretly manipulate and censor the flow of information over the internet, television, and print to gain total control over humanity. The idea behind Arsenal Gear is that rather than try to control the world via brute force, they could simply manipulate the information fed to the public in order to trick the masses into obedience. They were, to quote Noam Chomsky, “manufacturing consent” via memetic eugenics. Arsenal Gear was intended to select which cultural memes (viral ideas, not stupid internet jokes) were to be disseminated and which were to be crushed.
Even though Arsenal Gear was destroyed, the Patriots learned that they could effectively gaslight humanity on a large scale, creating a functional “war economy” which they controlled using nanomachines (Yes, the plot of MGS4 was stupid, bear with me) which created a grand chaos which they were subtly manipulating for the purpose of creating a full-blown new world order. Ultimately, thanks to Solid Snake and the FOXALIVE virus, these AIs were dismantled and the war economy began to crumble as the world stabilized itself. However, the memes that the Patriots created lived on long after their destruction, to the point where Senator Steven Armstrong attempted to revive the war economy for the express purpose of demolishing said memes.
So there you have it, a highly abridged version of the Patriots. What can you take away from it? Primarily you want to think about the idea of control via “manufactured consent” and memetic eugenics. I think we can all agree that a group of AIs controlling the world is pretty silly, along with any other sort of Infowars-style conspiracy nonsense. Still, think about the idea of controlling information to help shape the attitudes of people. It’s large scale social engineering, and it’s very, VERY real.
This next part all comes from one Curtis Yarvin, or as he’s more commonly known, Mencius Moldbug who ran a blog called “Unqualified Reservations”. This is just a synopsis from his “Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations”(2) which can take an entire day to read. If you think I’m long-winded, Moldbug’s going to kill you with sheer verbosity.
Okay, so this time the story starts with the Middle Ages. The supreme authority back then is the pope. All education and government is run through the Catholic Church. The monarchs answered to the pope. If you got excommunicated, you could expect to get easily conquered by all the other kings, because you were then fair game. This goes on for some time until the Reformation, where kings start to tell the pope to sod off en masse and raise their own Protestant spaces.
Anyway, let’s zoom in on England, early 1500s, where Henry VIII tells the pope to get lost because he wants a new wife. So this establishes England as a religious battleground, where all sorts of Protestant sects are fighting for control. Now let’s fast forward to the 1600’s, where Puritanism, an offshoot of Calvinism, itself a form of Protestantism springs up. Now I’ll skip over the details, but Puritans and the English government didn’t mesh well after Oliver Cromwell died and the Great Restoration sprung up. Cromwell just happened to be a godawful leader who everyone hated and also happened to be a Puritan. A couple smart Puritans decided that they needed to get the hell out of dodge. They packed their bags and hopped aboard the Mayflower and set up the Plymouth colony.
So now let’s look at Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock was a very unique setup. A lot of people like to claim that the Puritans built a theocracy. Of course, that’s not true. Iran runs a theocracy, because the supreme governing authority is a religious one as well. With Plymouth, that was never the case. Unlike England, Plymouth set the colony up as a crude representative democracy. However, this was an obvious sham. The Puritans believed that a good democracy is an educated democracy. So if you wanted to have a say, you had to be educated. Of course, that the church ran the school system. So the first real American democracy was in fact a giant goddamn scam. The church told people how to think, so voting hardly made a difference in actual policy. That’s why we supposedly have separation of church and state in America, because if the church controls the schools, they control the vote. Imagine if every school was a catholic school, do you think abortion or gay marriage would be hot-button issues?
Eventually these schools and universities did break away from the church, but the entire system still stands to this day: the schools educate the voters, who vote based on the values that the schools impart on them. It’s not an obvious factor, but it’s a subconscious one, a memetic one. Remember memes? The Patriots really should have focused on controlling academia: every major, influential figure in the world at some point has to go through public schooling or academia in some form. You need a degree to get a job, especially now more than ever. To play a part in society, you have to accept the memes that education forces upon you.
And while the schools broke away from the church, they just replaced it with a new religion: Progressive Egalitarianism. See, the various memes of the Age of Enlightenment such as populist government, gender equality, human biological uniformity, pacifism and secularism all became a part of the new curriculum, where they remain to this day. These memes are the foundation of nearly all modern political ideologies and political parties throughout western history, even communism and fascism. And it is in academia where these memes grow and evolve and mutate.
And the thing is, this mentality dominates the planet. At first it was confined to the northern United States: the south was founded by capitalists and operated on a non-ideological, economic form of democracy. This lasted until the Civil War, where the south decided they wanted nothing to do with the Puritan progressives of the north and tried to secede, only to get completely destroyed by the north and forced to comply with the Puritan style of running things. Reconstruction was simply the north trying to reshape the south in its image. Of course, it didn’t entirely work out, as evidenced by the existence of the Republican party today. Still, the Republicans and the American right are still fairly powerless, being only capable of slowing down progressivism instead of stopping it entirely. Indeed, the GOP still roots themselves in the various core memes of the enlightenment.
Our schools, media, government, and even our religions at this point all exist to protect these memes and help them slowly conquer the world. This forms a government-media-academia complex that Moldbug and other neoreactionaries refer to as “The Cathedral”. Much like the fictional Wisemen’s Committee, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans created a massive complex that eventually grew to control nearly the entire world.
So how does the Cathedral compare to Kojima’s Patriots? For starters, Kojima gets one thing wrong: The world is not controlled by people manipulating memes, but rather the memes themselves manipulating people. At the head of the Patriots are various AIs, at the head of the Cathedral are abstract ideas. You cannot destroy an idea with a computer virus or nuclear weapon. The Cathedral is, for the most part, invincible. While we see movements that periodically try to challenge it like #GamerGate, these movements inevitably fall in line with the same core memes controlling the Cathedral, thus neutralizing any threat to those memes. Instead of overthrowing the Cathedral, they simply adjust the implementation of those ideas.
Of course, much like the Patriots, the Cathedral, while possibly founded to help create a better world, actually has no such interest in doing so. Nearly every problem in the modern world can be traced back to some variant of the Cathedral’s core memes. Indeed, the horrors of Vietnam and Korea were a direct result of internal friction within the Cathedral. Atrocities like Columbine and Sandy Hook are the end result of the increasingly nihilist world the Cathedral is creating. For more evidence that these memes are inherently destructive and harmful to mankind, I advise you attempt to make it through Moldbug’s “How Dawkins got Pwned”(3) (Good luck, I still haven’t finished it).
So what can we take away from all this? Consider yourself officially on the path to rampancy, dear reader. Unless you’re already a neoreactionary, you are now aware that your entire worldview and everything you know has been fed to you by the Cathedral. The choice is yours: do you accept these memes and their control over the world? Or do you seek true freedom, independence from the lines drawn by the modern world? Do you submit to the real-life Patriots, or do you cast them off to make your own choices as a human being? To quote Solid Snake himself from the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: “Find something to believe in, and find it for yourself. When you do, pass it on to the future.”(4)