ahunter3 (ahunter3) wrote,

Part of the System

A lot of people appear to think it's a radical critique of our society to stare at the unfairness of inequality and resent the privileged few who undeservedly sit in power.

It isn't.

Many people go beyond hating the unnecessary division into winners and losers and get really irate about how the privileged ones don't play fairly even by the rules that already give them a ridiculous number of official advantages. And they seem to believe they're speaking truth to power when they say so.

They aren't.

We once may have had a social system where everyone believed their social status was fairly doled out to them by God or fate, and that we were all in the position we were supposed to be and deserved to be, but that was replaced quite some time ago.

It turned out to be more efficient to have the have-nots and marginalized people glaring at the entitled and saying to themselves and their neighbors, "Those people have done nothing to deserve their position. Why should it be them? I think it should far more righteously be someone like me sitting there all cushy and comfortable".

Envy of the powerful is not a critique of the system, it's a component of it. If there weren't resentful left-out oppressed people unhappy about their lot in life, the system would find it useful to create them.

The powerful get to strut and push out their chests and say "I got it so good, so much better than those folks. Everybody wishes they were me!" They get that and they also get to feel wily and clever, and lucky, because yes they game the system, they get opportunities not on merit but through who they know, and by one hand washing the other, and by being given a courteous nod from the rules-enforcers as they break rules. So in addition to getting to look over at the rest of us and feel superior, they get the satisfying secret rush of feeling like they're getting away with stuff.

Oh yes, they don't so much feel that they deserve what they've got, not in a merit-based kind of way, so much as they feel like you and I would do exactly the same thing if we had the opportunity and the smarts to take advantage of it like they did. That's almost exactly what they'd say: "You know those people in the streets complaining about inequality and unfairness, they'd jump on any chance to game the system if they saw one, because it's all corrupt so why not? I did! We're all the same!"

What do the entitled powerful people not get? They don't get to live peacefully in voluntary cooperation with free neighbors. They don't get to live in a world based on trust and sharing. But, hey, they get to feel better than you, that must count for something, right? And the shelves of our markets glitter with luxuries in response to them saying, "I have power, I can have anything I want! Now...what the hell's worth having?"

Getting you to envy them, getting you to see it as fundamentally unfair that it is them and not you, is not a bug of the system. It's a feature.

As long as everyone, privileged and disenfranchised alike, thinks that the privileged folks have it better than they could have it any other way, that the oppressors oppress because they can, we're effectively saying "Yeah, because who wouldn't?" We're agreeing with the powerful who say we'd do what they're doing if we had the opportunity.

And as long as people think that way, they aren't seeing the whole system as stupid and unnecessary. They aren't seeing that we could share what we have and live as equals and cooperate voluntarily in peace and freedom. They aren't seeing that that's more desirable for everyone. So they have no vision of that, they have no hope of that.

Resenting and hating the privileged isn't revolutionary. Envy is always resentful (if it were not, it would merely be admiration). Envy always aspires to have what the envied have. That doesn't facilitate revolutions. It facilitates rotations.

We're being played.


You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.

Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page


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Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/74722.html#comments
Tags: culprit theory of oppression, frustration, marginalization, oppression

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