So much of the modern era analogizes to the crisis of the public restroom. Since no one must personally clean it and they only need to use it once within their awareness of time, they “treat it like a toilet” and leave a mess. You can usually locate a public restroom olfactorily from quite a distance for this reason.
In a state of maturity where humans think analytically and impersonally like AIs, people would treat public restrooms entirely differently. That is, they would see them as emergency equipment that needs to be kept in top shape in case it is suddenly needed, at which point unpleasantness would be an obstruction.
We can all see how we could be the guy who just drank a case of beer after consuming a dozen Taco Bell menu items, at which point we see the utility in having nice public restrooms. But for most, projection only works in victimhood scenarios, so they would rather be victims of the bathroom than keep it nice.
When these issues come up for a vote, the voters do what they always do, which is opt for the bourgeois option: force someone else to clean it up, shift the cost to someone else, and cut expectations when this proves insufficient. Thus the understaffed and under-funded public restroom comes into play.
Any time you hear people talking about “equality” it pays to remember what they are really saying: we enjoy it, you fix it, someone else pays for it. Equality is the idea of having the benefits of civilization without the burdens to the individual, and it happens as soon as pioneers create a new society. The parasites arrive.
With this mentality, the public restroom gets farmed out to a staff designed for efficiency. They do not stay near one public restroom, but move between them, cleaning up according to a checklist and doing the minimum because no one expects anything good. The public restroom gets ickier with this approach.
If someone gets elected as a reformer — the voters hate this, but the ultimate taboo to We The People is the notion that voters (not politicians, not corporations) ultimately hold the power in democracy, therefore voters are to blame for all of its problems — they will take a “new look” at the problem.
Usually people of this nature crack the whip. They may privatize the cleaning service, or run it more like the military. Usually they cut down complexity until the public bathroom is as in Asia, Africa, or Ohio simply a series of holes in the floor with a hose coiled on a peg on one wall to power wash the mess later.
Sometimes you get a true blue pragmatist. They realize that the public restroom will never be a good thing, so the real winner is to drive people toward a private industry alternative and then buy that stock. They reduce the public restroom to holes cut in plywood over a trough filled with maggots, then get rich.
In any case, the public restroom never gets better and even when it improves slightly, it only does so in some areas, and therefore never becomes good. Maybe someone adds soap, or puts handles next to the holes above the plywood. You never get a nice bathroom because no one really owns this.
In private homes and businesses, of course, someone is paid to clean the bathroom and will get fired if the job is done poorly enough. A small group of people comprises most of the use, and they use it daily, so they keep it in top shape so as not to inconvenience themselves.
These bathrooms have leaders. Someone is responsible for it but even more, can get ahead by doing a good job of keeping it nice. With a public restroom, no one can win the game. Whether it is done well or not, the voters will simply enwrap themselves in the flag of victimhood and wave the bible of equality, complaining loudly.
There are a few exceptions to this brutal grinding progress toward decay. If enough people share a culture, which requires they share an ethnic (not racial) group, they will see others as their brothers and keep the toilet nice so that their extended family in the nation is not grossed out by an excretory wasteland.
Religion does not really work; it sort of works, because the audience is selected for those who are afraid of God and therefore they dare not risk sullying His bathroom, but also because in every volunteer organization lots of work falls on the few people who actually care.
Charging people can sort of work. You make it a public bathroom, but demand a token amount of cash. Most people will then demand a higher service and be skeptical of those who abuse it; enough of them, however, will figure they paid for it so they might as well defecate directly onto the floor, ceiling, mirrors, and walls.
Sometimes military discipline works, when you have a panoptican to enforce it. Anyone caught urinating on the seat will be shot immediately! You catch a few, march them to a field and make pointilist spatter art with their heads, and then assume the rest will be scared into compliance, until they find out when you are watching.
In the modern democracy, the public restroom thrusts the fundamental question of denial upon us. We either admit that we hate it, and having adopted this unsociable and unfashionable opinion must grit our teeth and dwell in silence, or the human mind flips and goes the other way to start praising it.
A public restroom that presents a horror to the human olfaction and aesthetic sense can be a powerful political token. Praise the bathroom, and you defend the public, therefore become their champion and sweep away all those people complaining about the public bathrooms. You can still make a huge profit with book sales.
All of us actual victims of Late Stage Democracy find ourselves in this position. Our societies have become horrors, but saying this out loud means that we die impoverished and alone. Instead, people find ways to praise the rotted public bathroom, or at least (like most Republicans) fetishize its horrors in order to feel good about the status quo.
Tags: democracy, ownership, public bathroom