My flimsy excuse for posting this on a writing blog is that one thing science fiction writers do, a lot, is invent strange cultures and describe how they change. And too often the changes are not convincing; they amount to everybody saying, “Oh, now that you explain it, I can see that how we’ve always done things is counter-productive. Let’s all revise our norms and expectations overnight.”
You know, the usual reaction is going to be more like, “But that’s how we’ve always done things.”
Consider three test cases.
I expect we’ve all seen pictures like this, illustrating stories about the Taliban’s series of decrees aimed at driving women – which means the whole of their society, really – back into the Stone Age. And I know there are some of us old enough to remember the pictures of girls in Western dress in Kabul circa 1970.
Now take Turkey. Kemal Ataturk was a national hero and he did his best to drag Turkey, kicking and screaming, into the modern world. It’s been sliding back into Islamism ever since he died.
What happened? It’s what didn’t happen. Changes that were imposed from the top never reached the mass of society. A few elites enjoyed a brief spring of freedom, but as soon as the politics changed, the societies oozed slowly back to where they were.
It’s depressing, if you think the changes were good ones and that the societies are worse off for rejecting them.
On the other hand…
I feel that normal people in the USA are now being battered by a series of changes demanded by a hysterical, clinically insane elite. And you know what? I don’t think that will last. The majority of people in this country are still sane. We don’t want our children sexualized or our communications censored.
Yes, it’s really hard to change a society by orders from the top. And sometimes that’s a good thing.