Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wither the Enemy?

I've been dropping in on Occupy Seattle from time to time, and I don't know if I understand what it is they're really fighting.

Oh, I understand perfectly well what they think they're fighting. They're perfectly clear about that, if you can stand the marijuana smoke and tune out the mentally-ill homeless hangers-on long enough to listen in for a while. But I wonder if the problem doesn't go deeper, much deeper, than that.

Humanity, in my humble opinion, simply doesn't scale up well. The sorts of small communities in which it more or less doesn't matter what sort of government (or lack thereof) that is in place have to remain small, or things start to go off the rails. We see it time and again. Put enough people into a place, and factions start to form, as people begin to conclude that there simply isn't enough to go around. Combine any given faction with a lack of overall accountability and you have a surefire recipe for problems. It doesn't matter what sort of institution you create. Governments, churches, corporations; they all start looking for ways to secure themselves at the expense of those that they aren't accountable to. Direct accountability only goes so far, and indirect accountability takes more work than it seems that we're ready, willing or able to put into it.

And that's a much harder phenomenon to fight.

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