People the world over are angry and fed up with their governments. They have it worse off than generations past and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way forward. From the alt-right movements occurring in nearly every western country to Brexit to the election of Trump, put frankly, people are pissed. Terrorism is rampant all over the world, the middle east is a hotbed of chaos, and core fundamental values are being attacked at home. The world appears to be headed for a shit show and people are responding appropriately.
They want change and they have elected it. The experiment in liberalism has failed and the trend towards it has failed so the thought goes, let’s go against current society and elect individuals who want to push radical change and take society back to a nostalgic past. It’s quite alluring. I’ll admit, I’m from rural America and its not doing good compared to the past. The town I’m originally from is dying. It hit it’s peak around 1900 and from then on has slowly eroded away from business after business closing doors or leaving town. I get it. Things are bad. People are suffering. Automation and outsourcing are killing jobs left and right and people are struggling.
Perspective. I always like to do a simple thought experiment to keep me appreciative of my life. Imagine a person with what I like to call a mall cart. Those vendors in the center walkway of the malls. He sells cheap knockoff jewelries. A lot of plastic and artificial gems. It’s pretty, but definitely not high quality. Take that guy and his mall cart, put him in a time machine, and push him back just 300 years or so. The year would be 1717. The industrial revolution is really just starting in Britain. In a technological sense, we wouldn’t have been much out of the middle ages. That guy with his mall cart of jewelry arrives and he instantly becomes fabulously wealthy because he has more jewelry than any royal in the world. No one can tell it’s of inferior quality. The technology doesn’t exist to differentiate it from the real deal. Back to the present day and take jewelry and substitute it with virtually any material good.
The average poor person in an industrialized country has it exponentially better off than the vast majority of humans throughout the entirety of history. Most people’s frame of reference includes only those people from their generation and the past on their own society. That’s how our metric of good and bad is established. Its localized to our social surroundings. Yes, you’re worse off than the last generation and therfore you percieve it as bad. The causes for this are many-too many for a blog post but suffice it to say that our violent time is a product of trying to shove liberalism and democracies down the throats of societies who weren’t culturally primed to have them succeed in the first place. That doesn’t mean that we should throw them out because of fear. Nay, we need to lead by example in order to prime these societies for democracies and liberalism. These systems, as evidenced by the natural cultures of cities, are the way to live peacefully in a multicultural world. We can keep swimming against the current, but the effort will ultimately be paid for in violence and blood.
My question is then, how do we go forward? How do we deal with a whole swath, maybe even a majority, of people who don’t trust society? Who don’t trust the information distribution systems of society. Who don’t trust anything society has to say even on history. How do we ensure that the system that has brought us the most peaceful and prosperous period in human history, the system that hundreds of millions have sacrificed their lives to create, doesn’t get torn down? It’s not through belittling and derogatory actions and rhetoric towards the downtrodden as it only serves to further disenfranchise the already disenfranchised. What commonality can we bring to the table to start to restore that trust? How can we reframe their view to get them to recognize how good they have it? How do we show people they have fallen for the gratest marketing ploy in human history? Orchestrated by natural human behavior, guided by the few, and believed by the many. These are the questions that need answered in order for us to keep moving forward. Anything less will result in war.