The Deprogrammers


There is a brilliant episode of the 1990s revival of “The Outer Limits.” It’s called “The Deprogrammers.”

I highly recommend watching it, because I feel it reflects my perspective of the “populist uprising & rejection of the political elite” argument of the European Referendum exalted by some parties.

“The Deprogrammers” centres around an Earth which has been conquered by aliens: humans are brainwashed, servile, borderline-vegetative slaves who obey their masters without question or hesitation. Evan is one such slave: he caters to “Milord’s” every whim, in a science-fiction twist on the aristocracy which has blighted human history for millennia. One night, Evan is liberated by a mysterious figure, Trent Davis. He says he is a member of an underground resistance movement who retain their freedom and their minds. To begin with, Evan is silent: unresponsive, unthinking, unfeeling. No reaction to questions, shouting, or even violence.

Davis is determined to awaken Evan. Day by day, he tries to reactivate Evan’s dormant brain, synapse by synapse. He tells Evan about his childhood, his career, his family. He is even reunited with his wife, who has also joined the resistance. In time, Evan recovers his memories, his mind, his freedom. He is outraged by what the aliens have done – in particular, his own master, who he is told was responsible for the slaughter of Earth’s children. His own daughter was among them. Davis tells him that the only way to free humanity – to take back control, to regain their sovereignty, to become independent once again – is to rise up.

Evan becomes a fervent follower of the resistance. He returns to his mansion, and kills his former master. He takes the alien’s severed head back to Davis. Evan and his wife are overjoyed. We have done it, they think. We have taken back control. We are sovereign. We are free.

They were all so happy… “Especially Milord,” Davis smiles. Another alien – the rival of Evan’s dead master – steps in.

There was no resistance. There was no “taking back control.” There was no independence.

But there was hope. Evan was reprogrammed. His wife was too. But while Evan became the docile automaton he was at the start of the episode, his wife showed signs of defiance; of resistance; of hope.

Despite everything, hope remains. It took a while for the devastation I felt after the No vote to lift, for the colour to come back into my life, to see a way forward. 16 million voters throughout the United Kingdom will be devastated, as well as the untold millions who couldn’t vote at all. But there is always hope. We in Scotland have have one option. Northern Ireland has one too. But even though England & Wales voted to Leave, that doesn’t mean you have to prescribe to any politician’s agenda. If you can reject Cameron and Corbyn, then you can reject Farage and Johnson too.

The Leave Campaign portrayed itself as a triumph of the common people against the political establishment. You can still prove it.

2 thoughts on “The Deprogrammers

  1. […] From Right to Far-Right: Gerry Gunster, the US analyst who ran the Leave campaign; Arron Banks, major UKIP donor & co-chair of Leave.EU; Donald Trump; Nigel Farage; Andy Wigmore, major UKIP donor & Director of Communications for; and Raheem Kassam, UKIP leadership hopeful & Breitbart London Editor in Chief. Many of these individuals have been on UK news programmes multiple times in the past few days: Farage, Gunster, & Kassam were all on yesterday, while Trump dominated the news. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. […]

  2. […] society – business, civic, government – insofar as they are different from the “usual” predatory elites. What seemed to be grandiose conspiratorial fantasy is fiendishly difficult […]

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