The federal election in my country Australia got me thinking quite a bit. Not that I love them by any means, but credit where due the labor party’s plan was the most expansive and forward-looking in a quarter of a century.
And that plan got absolutely curb-stomped by the status-quo and fears/hatred of minorities.
There was a time not too long ago when liberal democracy and universal suffrage were the utopian future. When they were implemented, people thought that people would agree, debate logically and implement rational policy based on the best people and ideas naturally rising to the top.
I think everyone, pretty much regardless of point on the political compass knows how bullshit that is now. And yet you hear the same things coming from leftists who think that if somehow radical, direct democracy is implemented, people will magically think like them. That they are the rational position, and the only thing holding people back from agreeing with them is the current system.
This is purely wishful thinking, as pretty much all of history and practical experience tells us. I mean, even amongst us leftists, no one can bloody agree on strategy. We’re people with the same goal, the same values, the same empathy, similar readings, usually shared history and mutual respect and *even we* can’t agree on jack shit. The hell makes you think everyone else who doesn’t care will?
Now don’t get me wrong, the current system gets people on some *bullshit* but bullshit is not endemic to capitalism or industrial civilisation or whatever convenient target you hold to be a problem.
People aren’t corrupted by capitalism, with some primordial bullshit-free nature like a secular garden of eden story, people are and have always been somewhat trash. The current system may exacerbate it but it does not create it.
This becomes obvious when you look into the historical record too. I hear a lot of people pulling out the “99% of human history was hierarchy free ™” crap, but it is just that- crap. To be extraordinarily brief, behaviourally modern people didn’t even exist until around 50000 years ago. Before then we have very scant evidence of any social formations, and any assumptions around social formations at the time are pure speculation (and useless as a datapoint because behaviourally modern humans didn’t exist).
What we do know is that pretty much as soon as humans developed the capacity for symbolic thought and had even the scantest of economic surpluses, material inequalities and societal ranks become obvious and entrenched. And before anyone pulls out *that* response, no this was millennia before farming became the primary mode of production.
Do non-intentional hierarchy-free societies truly exist? On some level yes they do, but they are
a) frequently besotted by non-material inequalities such as religious roles, sexism or homophobia
b) by no means the default state of humanity and
c) not something people can be assumed to be able to easily and en-masse return to
People suck, people are idiots and bigots, and history is random not linear.
There are no permanent gains, all there is is the Sisyphussian struggle.
If you want to make the world better, become resolute and pliable. Hold no assumptions of success, only goals. Do your research properly and update your views frequently with new information. Never rest on your laurels.