transition from a society of plutocratic pluralism to conventionalism.
Let’s examine a bit more what that transition will look like, what to expect, and why it is needed.
In truth, it’s already begun. One of the tell-tale signs is the public’s general distrust and dissatisfaction with their political system. This has already been going on for quite some time. Some argue that in the United States, this began with the Vietnam War and President Nixon’s infamous Watergate scandal. However, it is becoming markedly more concentrated. The general public in the Western democracies tends to view their government as the antagonist in a socio-political drama, keeping secrets and acting in contrast to the will of the people and in its own self-interest. This is not paranoia, it’s true.
Much of Europe, for example, has been racked with sustained protests, particularly in Greece, Britain, Portugal, Italy, and Spain. The Greek and British protests have been especially violent. They protest what they see as a government that is misrepresenting what it can offer to the people.
The public was told that they would receive a wide array of benefits from health care to retirement or even cash and food if required. However, policies mandated by international institutions and globally-centralized banking organizations have resulted in
sweeping austerity measures. People can’t afford to address their health concerns, their homes are taken from them, and they go hungry--and all of this in the “developed world.”
It is no wonder people are protesting or even revolting. (Refer to the previous blog, “What it is That People Want” for a discussion of the public’s mistake in these matters. Don’t fall into the trap of pointing fingers.)
Governments and similar institutions, much like living organisms, are instilled with a strong survival imperative. If they feel threatened, they will fight back. An economic calamity and the subsequent popular uprising (and we’re talking millions of people taking to the streets) will only result in more and more desperate attempts by government officials to retain power. On one hand, they will pass sweeping legislation in hopes of appeasing the people, probably overcompensating. An example might be where there was little regulation over financial institutions; these institutions would quickly become over-regulated to the point of paralysis. On the other hand, they will take desperate measures to control the population. This is already happening, of course. Examples in the U.S. include the Patriot Act and now, legislation has been passed that will give the U.S. military carte blanche to detain citizens indefinitely without access to due process if they are considered “terrorists.” Unsurprisingly, the definition of what is and what is not a terrorist is quite vague. American totalitarianism is not a metaphor.
It will go far beyond this though. A short list of likely actions: increasing invasion of privacy, identity control, restriction on movement, censorship, limitation of the press, a banning of public demonstration, the creation of special police forces with ever-increasing power leading eventually to martial law, hyperinflation, forceful prevention of access to banks, and much more. This becomes even scarier when one realizes the range and scope of information technology.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the public will also fight against a collapse of their government despite the fact that it is clearly not working and their governments are antagonizing them outright. (For more, refer again to the previous blog, “What it is that people want”) The reason for this is that all endeavors exist within the current psycho-social reality. Everyone’s hard work (or lack of hard work) is based on the existence and functioning of their socio-political system. If it collapses, then what? Essentially, everybody wants a piece of the pie and how do we get it if there is no pie? Beyond that, people fear change, they fear the unknown. A transition is both of these things. By this point, however, the events unfolding are beyond anyone’s control.
The only thing that will effectively give the public and the politicians the incentive to realize the need for real change is an epic socio-political-economic disaster. This is indeed a frightening prospect for all but is absolutely a necessity--and it will surely be a dark period in human history. However, when the people working in the (then-failed) government’s enforcement agencies realize that they too have been hoodwinked, when they realize that they are in the same boat as the people that they find themselves at odds with and the smoke clears, Western democracies will find themselves in Stage 5: Conventionalism…….
- Tom Kershaw
- Hi! I'm Tom and I am a full-time writer, student, and papa to a firecracker of a four year-old named Amelie. My wife and I lease our house and cars from her in hopes that her considerable talents of mess-making, princess-impersonation, and stuffed animal-whispering will pay off and fund our eventual retirement in the south of France.
- ▼ 2012 (52)