|I keep telling myself I need to get back into LJ rather than Facebook, as the conversations here are much more useful. This, of course, requires I actually do something with LJ rather than think about doing something about LJ.|
So here's a contribution, based on some discussion elsewhere.
Several folks in the other discussion commented that names elided philosophies only work in small groups. Well, yes. Communism, objectivism, theism, etc, also work just fine in small groups, as do a lot of other systems. The necessary component for them to work in those groups is that all members of the group have bought into the core tenets to such a degree that they will not leave the group, and they will blame any failings of the tenet on failures of the individual – including themselves, if necessary.
When the group becomes large enough and/or interaction with the rest of the world cannot be avoided the group collapses, or become monstrous isolationist tyranny, or strikes out to impose their model on the world. There are very few models that are flexible enough to avoid this trap.
Conversely, there are a surprising number functioning, peaceful, reasonably free societies (countries, governments) in existence. As imperfect as they are, they are proof that such things are possible. They're possible, but they messy, mistake-prone, and sometimes downright ugly. Still, compared to the isolationist groups or the governmental tyrannies we see, they're a big win. That win is one of the reasons why even though modern politics often makes me nuts, I'm reasonably happy with the world. The mess is why I still occasionally stick my fingers in the fan.
When one gets frustrated enough to think the world has to change, it's easy to forget the price of purity of vision. It's OK to think you are a master race, or have the one true religion, or know the one true governmental/social/economic system. But the attempt to impose that belief on others will wipe out every benefit you think will be obtained, and ultimately leave your system alongside so many others in the dustbin of history.
Politics, government, economics and philosophy are messy. We'll never have a perfect answer for any of them. What we can and should do is continue to strive to minimize those evils without inadvertently creating more evil. It's not exactly a glowing vision of the future, but hey, it works.
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