Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
So even I with my tendency towards extreme hermiting have noticed the rampaging schadenfreude permeating some circles as this year’s WorldCon organizers demonstrate that their primary qualifications lean more to parroting the approved point of view than to actually, you know, organizing anything. Honestly, it’s not surprising.
The best that can be said for the people who are currently scrambling to cover their anatomy is that it is possible they are merely the deluded and ineffectual well-meaning sorts that fall for revolutionary manifestos only to fall to those same manifestos once they cease to be useful to the Glorious Revolution. Or whatever it’s calling itself this time around.
The actual revolutionaries tend to be either true believers, who are deluded and dangerous; or power-chasers who are using the revolutionary thing to further their own aims. Invariably, the latter win, usually after a great deal of bodies and blood.
At least in publishing the blood is mostly metaphorical.
What it comes down to is that for most people fitting in with what is perceived to be the norm matters more than pretty much anything else. Even we Odd types tend to try to fit in with those around us, not least because it saves hassle. It’s where the phrase “go along to get along” comes from.
There’s also a rather large proportion of humanity who are quite content with someone else telling them what they should be thinking and believing – and nobody goes to the effort of figuring everything out for themselves. We can’t: we’d be paralyzed by the sheer amount of choices we have to make every day.
So we appoint ourselves oracles of a sort, trusted authorities whose advice we follow and whose words we trust. As often as not, we’ll wind up letting their authority in some areas leak into others where they aren’t qualified to speak. Which makes us vulnerable to a plausible demagogue and has a lot to do with why people follow someone who is obviously bad news.
People who never question their personal oracles and never stop to look closely at whether their beliefs stand up to reality (and a hint for the confused who drive by here occasionally but have issues following my writing style: if your beliefs are not supported by the evidence of your senses, your beliefs are at fault unless you have a provable sensory input disorder) are nothing but useful tools for the power hungry.
Worse, the power hungry usually can’t actually run anything. They mistake the trappings of rank for the ability to do things that earn rank. Like a strangler fig, their parasitical nature strangles the thing they’ve claimed, until the only life is the twitching caused by the parasites feasting on its rotting corpse.
And that, fellow Mad Geniuses, is why we can’t have nice things.