Whenever accusations of “social oppression” pop up, in any milieu— business, political, or cultural— there is an immediate rush to deny that it could ever happen in our free and oh-so-benevolent society. Some respond by attempting to diminish the validity of the claim by implying that it happens to everyone, not just to the victim being discussed. That’s the old “it goes both ways, suck it up buttercup” argument. But one should never try to disempower the victimized through correlation with their victimizer.
Some people can’t hear anyone make a complaint about ANYTHING without trying to include themselves in the subject being discussed, either to generate false empathy (“you and I are the same”) or to shift focus back onto themselves (“this topic is totally about me, too, you know. In fact it’s actually COMPLETELY about me and not you.”)
If you happen to be a legitimate victim of systematic oppression, being subjected to either of the above approaches seriously sucks. It’s bad when you know you are being treated unfairly— and worse when no one seems willing to honestly consider your complaints or take you seriously. The ability to dismiss the complaints of the downtrodden in a particular society is one of the most glaring signs that the society has solidified into two categories— those who “matter,” and those who “don’t.” When the law no longer defends all equally, and those of a certain social class (or lack thereof) lose their collective voice in the process whereby their society is run, then democracy quietly fades and oligarchy settles back in atop its well-worn throne, inching ever closer to the disastrous closed-system of hereditary monarchy.
From my lifelong study of history, I don’t think it’s wrong to say that the system of hereditary aristocracy has definitely produced more losers than winners.
Which is why it seems so weird that so many Americans (and Westerners in general) continue to fantasize about an idealized monarchism in which all are happily governed by a just, worthy, and munificent leader— Tolkien’s King Aragorn, Arthur’s Return, Bran’s Awakening— and wherein all happy social classes toil merrily in service to the great and proper “order” of things. The medieval “chain of being,” as it were.
We complain about government overreach, but dream about fairy tale kingdoms topped by magic royalty whose rule is ordained by “destiny.” We laugh in the daylight because the Emperor has no clothes, but our entertainment media is awash in barely-veiled metaphors of princes and princesses, and royalty by birthright. All anyone needs do is spend a few minutes flipping through TV channels to notice that your average American is a closet monarchist with daydreams of a perfectly static and benevolent society. It doesn’t really work like that, and never has. But the unspoken underside of the American experiment has always been deeply rooted in ambitious dreams of entitlement… of becoming the new oligarchy somewhere beyond the reach of the Old World.
It seems obvious that at any given time, the current political powers-that-be are deeply invested in using our stubborn vestigial anti-democratic leanings against us. How successfully? That depends on how long the corrupt ruling class can keep playing bait and switch with parties and politicians, and keep convincing lower class Americans that their votes can punish the guilty by sending them out of office to be replaced with better options.
Subvert any movement toward actual revolution into a “voter revolution” or party change. Every time you do that, you buy yourself another 4 or 8 years until people figure out nothing has changed except the faces at the podium.
If you do that three times, you’ve won 12 years. The fiery young zealots have been lulled into complacent middle age, and a new batch of angry young idealists will arise. Do it again— turn over the parties to convince voters progress is being made— and by the time they realize the status quo is the same, again, the generation will have rolled over to new unenlightened would-be reformers.
The news served to us by the commercial media— like the hate-fueled harangues of federal government punditry— is mostly a sham, a distraction, a show put on for our entertainment to lull us into waiting for the next election cycle by perpetuating the fiction that there are two parties, rather than one two-headed governing party of the super rich.
And they all lived happily ever after. Not.