At some point, the average responsible voter feels squeezed. One side wants to use them as a funding pool for every incompetent in our society, and the other side wants to limit the chaos of society by imposing rules — rules which may be inconvenient to the individual.
In reaction, the voter decides to embrace a political theory of no-theory. Anarchy and libertarianism fall into this category: we either impose no rules, or impose as few as possible and let society regulate itself.
Although to an experienced observer this seems to reverse the implied social contract itself, by which we sacrifice some individual will in exchange for the benefits of collective action a/k/a civilization, these people do not see it that way. To them, they’re seeking “freedom” and avoiding an oppressive system.
They have made two logically fatal assumptions.
In fact, we might say that these beliefs — anarchy and liberalism — are only possible because of the advantages of civilization, and by reversing that advantage, negate themselves. (Advocates compensate for this by talking about “freedom,” which somehow rarely includes mention of being accountable for event moderately distant consequences.)
There are elements of each that appeal to us. Few people want a police state; most of us want to live by the idea that if we’re doing no harm, we get left alone — even if what we’re doing looks weird.
But individuals are notoriously, meaning the rule rather than the exception, for shutting down their thinking past the immediate consequences of what they’re doing. “I’m only selling guns in the park during a political protest, anything that happens after that point isn’t my fault.”
That example makes little sense, but we can find more extreme examples of short-term thinking in the news every day. People want to live in clean, safe, upward-bound cities and towns, but are wary of the sometimes fascist laws required to ensure such things exist.
They’d rather go into the solipsism bubble and say, “I’m managing my own behavior and I’m doing OK for the next two weeks, so what I’m doing should be considered OK for eternity.” And worry about what others are doing? That’s harshing on our “freedom” buzz, man.
But the fact remains that throughout human history, people have existed who are incompatible with civilization — and not in the interesting way Vikings were. In the lugubrious, mundane, pathetic way that petty career criminals are: always chipping away with theft, violence, vandalism and passive aggression.
Such people exist because nature rolls the dice with every generation. If we have ten logical possibilities for genetic recombination, nature will get as close as possible to trying all ten. And since for any adaptation, including perhaps “civilization,” there are more wrong answers than right, this means that some of the batch aren’t going to do so well.
In our well-meaning (and vote-soliciting) crusades, of course, we take said people and protect them from themselves, not just with a welfare state but with endless warning labels, regulations, bureaus and nagging finger propaganda. By protecting idiots, we encourage more idiots.
And as we expand the genetic base of each society, we encourage more and exciting — yet tried before — combinations that in turn create unknowns, more than ever before as genetic recombination must take many more factors into account because of how disparate the populations involved are. We mix and match over class, ethnic, racial and regional lines, not realize that we’re exponentially increasing those dice rolls each time.
Yet somehow we never address this question. We like to talk theory about government and how distant bureaus will implement our Good Ideas and save us from our inner decay. But we forget that civilization is two levels:
People quality affects outcome more than anything else. Maybe cramming millions of people into small areas for anonymous living does nothing but bring out the lowest common denominator. Especially if we’re unwilling to point out that many people are broken, bunglers, idiots, incompetents or sociopaths, especially if they act passively in their destructive roles.
You know passive: “I didn’t try to kill him. It was just an accident that the equipment I half-rigged, cutting costs wherever I could, blew up on him. It also wasn’t my fault that I forgot to return the things I borrowed, or that the crack pipes I sell next to the community center helped empower a wave of addiction. Most importantly, the idiotic movies I sell that encourage simplistic thinking, and the pipe dream rock ‘n’ roll and narcissistic glamor magazines, those don’t directly hurt anyone — they have to help hurt themselves. So it’s not my fault.
Libertarianism and anarchy both construct themselves around the idea that without centralized authority, we can escape the parasites, and we will be “free” — but both equally ignore these passive consequences and the reality that, if civilization is to exist, we all pay for any screwup. True, each screwup is just a tiny payment, but when you put them all together, your tokens — whether money, energy, time, resources, people, whatever — get depleted and you won’t be able to spend them on forward growth. Instead you’ll be paying it backward, always compensating for the same people who are like meth-fueled demons busy “innocently” spreading havoc through your civilization.
Right now, the American voter is fairly pissed. The ones that aren’t living in the true modern dream world — urban apartments, easy service industry jobs, too much media and socialization — are uneasy because they just saw some random corrupt Chicago politician waltz into the White House with the vaguest campaign platform ever run in American history.
Further, they saw in the people who supported him a complete disconnect from known reality, and now they’re seeing the handout culture of quasi-socialism come streaming from Washington. Like his virtual mentor, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama knows how to make a good public appearance, write a handout into the law and then depart before the situation can become a quagmire.
These voters are looking for answers, as are many of the people who have awakened from the intoxication of hope and change and stuff, and now are wondering how they got fooled. This guy is business as usual with a few classic left-wing drum-beater issues (socialized medicine, token environmental legislation) thrust out front for the other guys to shoot down as the whole thing gets bogged down in political process. They’re seeing that hope and change are the leftist equivalent of “they hate our freedom” or “they are Hitler” or whatever the weaker Republicans are trying to sell us on paranoia of late.
Unfortunately, the American right — which is mostly moderate liberal, if you look at what they’re trying to accomplish — is probably not going to offer any answers. The Republicans are neurotic because the last guy to tackle problems like a responsible human being got so demonized people aren’t even paying $7 to see him speak in London. George Bush, for all his failings, tried to fix problems with long-term solutions — and while the media profited from the mania they whipped up, and Hollywood stars finally had something to talk about, the few people who can still think saw this vast crowd form that demonized GWB because what he did was inconvenient.
They claimed it was wrong, or made us look bad internationally, or was ignorant, but really what pissed them off was that he was demanding we fix problems. That means that someone wins, and someone else loses. Crowds become aggressive in order to avoid internal aggression; it’s like a form of surface tension. The crowd that opposed Bush were assembled on the basis of a political fashion that says pacifism, handouts and placating public pandering are better solutions than nuts-and-bolts fixes. But their basic motivation was to avoid engaging in activity that was inconvenient for their lifestyles.
As a result, the Republican party is unwilling to take on any difficult truths, which is why they’re trying to sabotage Democrats (much as Democrats sabotaged Bush at every turn) while preaching “freedom” like cows given unlimited roaming rights on a ranch, in a binge that ends at the slaughterhouse. The voters in turn are not buying this, and many are turning to the Ron Pauls of this world, or his leftist counterparts the anarchists, in order to rid themselves of the parasitic handout culture — or so they think.
The truth is however that as shown above, doing that will only encourage parasites to get more passive, and they will kill your civilization with a death of a thousand cuts. Work slows as resentment spreads. Resentment doesn’t require reason; the crowd loves to preach that only it avoids conflict through equality, and in contrast, notice your neighbor has something you don’t.
Never mind that for you to have it, you must divide it by the number of people in the crowd. Just focus on the emotion and how bad you feel at not having that. Then join the others in the zombie march, bleating angry slogans, with no solution in mind.
While we all detest the crowd, the way to beat them is not to turn our backs and hope our profits and independence will protect us from their resentment. It won’t. The way to beat them is to force resolution of issues, to force ourselves to make conclusions and to get over our constant division by picking a solution and making it stick for each of the things that divide us.