Boundary Control

Boundary control is an important function in open social systems says Marc Galanter in his book Cults. It works to protect the group from dangerous outsiders. Groups that carry views deviant to the outside world are very aware of how important boundary control is in preserving their social group.  This applies to people, but especially to information.

Right now our Prime Minister is taking over our public broadcasting corporation.1 Eight of the eleven board members that run the CBC have donated to the Conservative party and I believe many of them are members of the Con party. 2,3

Our scientists are muzzled and cannot have interviews with media about their findings and being hindered from publishing.4.  Exorbitant amounts of public tax money are being used for a PR campaign in the US and other countries to promote the unsustainable expansion of the tar sands and tarnish dissenters, especially scientists. 5,6  There is also an extended campaign to overwrite our own self-image of peace-loving activists to militant soldiers.7 To make sure opposing ideas are silenced, even our librarians have been told not to share their opinions with people about the government in their own time.8  WTF?  

Harper is using boundary control.  He and many in the high ups of his government are from strict religious groups where boundary control of information is also common place.

In many religious groups, new converts are seen as especially vulnerable.  They must have their old ideas unfrozen, introduce the new ideas and then refreeze their thinking.  Until the refreezing has happened, they are often isolated.  Sometimes they are encouraged to not contact their families.  

When ‘the Spirit broke’ at the beginning of our church movement, there was a prophesy warning the people there not to contact friends and family.  Instead of seeing this as warning sign, they saw it as a sign from God about how special this was.  They became afraid of what people on the outside would say about what they were doing and so became afraid of people on the outside.

I think Harper is trying to run Canada like a religious cult.  He can’t scare us into not to talking to our friends and family, but he is trying to stop us from talking to scientists and making moves to control the country’s most listened to media station.  However, as Galanter points out, when a group gets aggressive with its boundary control, it often gets aggression targeted back at it.  





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