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by Dictator Watch
Saturday, Mar. 09, 2002 at 11:44 PM
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Contact: Roland Watson, 1-202-258-8511, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ROOTS OF DICTATORSHIP
We are a long way from accomplishing our social goals, and there are many reasons for this. However, a basic linkage exists, which we can understand and which we must confront, as follows:
1. Life conditions: The fundamental forms or conditions of the life experience are that it is in many ways unknown; uncertain; regularly a difficult struggle and full of pain; unfair; and, ultimately, in one way at least, everyone loses. Every living thing dies.
2. Personal selfishness: These conditions lead to personal selfishness. The evolutionary form of our genetically-programmed instincts is to seek to minimize our struggle and to ensure survival, both for ourselves and our family. Hence we view everything in the context of this, our own self-interest. Further, personal selfishness leads to group selfishness, all the way to species selfishness.
3. Competition: Self-interest generates competition, since our self-interest is often in, or it seems to be in, conflict with the self-interest of other people and species.
4. Conflict: Competing self-interests are regularly resolved through conflict, either because there appears to be no other option, or because one individual perceives an advantage and initiates a conflict to promote his or her self-interest and to defeat the others.
5. Social structure: Individuals form groups, since there is strength in numbers, to gain the aforementioned advantage. (This is natural law: the strong dominating the weak.) Through this interpersonal competition and conflict rise to all levels of society and forms of social organization, including between all manner of groups.
6. Social values: Society glorifies this competition and conflict, and its winners (but not the losers), and through this reinforces personal selfishness.
7. Inequality: In competitions and conflicts there are winners, a few, and losers, often many. The sum is regularly not even zero; it is negative. Because of this, inequality is created.
8. Winners and losers: Winning a competition or conflict may be due to merit, but in many cases it is due to other factors, foremost among them chance or that the competition is rigged in some way. Further, winning in one competition increases the chances that you will win in the next. You learn how to win - you carry forward technical advantages (and rewards) derived from the prior competition; and you take pride in being a winner - you feel a strong compulsion to defend this. Likewise, if you lose this increases the chances that you will lose in the next competition. Indeed, losing itself can be addictive.
9. Dictatorship: The advantages that winners of prior competitions carry into new ones can reach the point or take the form where they - the winners - are able to dictate the terms - the rules - of such new competitions. They are in a position to guarantee that they will win. In other words, it is not even a competition anymore. The inequality created by the initial competitions is perpetuated, and leads to structurally-ingrained dictatorship.
10. Determinism: A final life condition is that we are born with free will. We have the ability to shape the circumstances of our lives. (This is the source of merit.) However, when our lives are reconfigured by society such that we become the subjects of structurally-ingrained dictatorship, with no possibility of winning or even of just opting out of the game, we effectively lose this will. It is taken away from us. We become determined. Also, we are led by the dictators to believe that such determinism is itself a basic, immutable condition of life.
This is unacceptable, and it must be fought. We therefore need to attack the weak points in the chain. Also, we must understand that the clarity which derives from the above discussion will not be present when we actually confront society and attempt to get it to change.
Society is rarely clear. Rather, it is vague and ambiguous. And much of this is purposeful: it is the intentional outcome of the tactics which are used by the leaders of our social institutions. On the other hand, ambiguity also arises as an unintentional consequence of this
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