We’re Ruled By Assholes Because We Have Asshole Systems

by | Feb 1, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article:

It’s funny to think about how all our abusive, oppressive systems are only there because the people who benefit from them are able to keep everyone else too divided and distracted to notice that we vastly outnumber them and could literally just force change to happen anytime we want.

People have a fairly easy time accepting that things are fucked because we are ruled by corrupt assholes. They have a much harder time accepting that we are ruled by corrupt assholes because our corrupt asshole systems will always necessarily elevate corrupt assholes to the top.

It’s easier to blame our problems on oligarchs or the Deep State or a cabal of satanic pedophiles than it is to blame them on systems that we ourselves participate in and have lived our entire lives intertwined with and which have been continuously normalized within our culture. If the problem is just a few corrupt assholes then it’s not a very daunting problem, because all you have to do is remove those corrupt assholes and everything’s golden. If the problem is the systems around which our entire civilization is structured, it’s far more daunting.

It’s easy to imagine a future without corrupt assholes. It’s almost impossible to imagine a future where human behavior is not driven by profit for its own sake, where we have moved from competition-based systems to collaboration-based ones where we all work together for the common good.

In competition-based systems the most powerful governments will always be those who are willing to do whatever it takes to stay on top, the most powerful people will be those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get power, and everyone else gets crushed in the mad scramble. The fact is we’ll always be ruled by corrupt assholes as long as we have competition-based systems, because the best competitors will always be the most ruthless individuals who will do anything to get to the top. Get rid the current assholes and new assholes will necessarily arise to take their place.

It’s easy to say “Those assholes at the top need to go.” It’s much harder to say “Everything I’m familiar with needs to go.” It’s a giant leap into the dark of the unknown. But that’s the only way we’ll ever move toward health, and it’s the only way our species will avoid being driven to its doom.

Art snobs used to call you unsophisticated if you didn’t like and appreciate Abstract Expressionism, then decades later it came out that the CIA had artificially popularized Abstract Expressionism as part of its culture war against the Soviet Union. There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere.

People are making a major confession when they accuse you of having loyalty to Russia or China for criticizing US foreign policy. They’re admitting that for them it’s not about truth or facts, but about which government you’re loyal to. That’s why criticism looks like treason to them.

“You’re repeating Russian talking points” really only ever means “You’re criticizing US foreign policy,” and they only object to criticism of US foreign policy because on some level they believe it’s every westerner’s duty to advance the information interests of the US empire. Saying words based not on whether they’re true but on what government’s interests they serve is just being a propagandist. Someone who accuses you of being a propagandist because you criticized US foreign policy is actually admitting that they view themselves as a propagandist.

Blind conditioned loyalism is the only thing that can cause someone to meet criticism of the US empire not with the question “Are these words true?” but with a reflexive “Are these words sufficiently loyal to my government and its allies?” That’s what’s behind those accusations.

This exceedingly common tendency shows us that we live in a civilization guided primarily not by the search for truth but by blind loyalty to rulers, much the same as it was in feudal times. It shows us that western civilization is not at all what it pretends to be.

A future humanity that is actually guided by truth and facts will simply weigh claims and criticisms about important matters based on how demonstrably true they are in the light of currently available information, not on whose propaganda interests they serve.

Jimmy Dore just had a great antiwar rant on Tucker Carlson where he got the message “China’s not our enemy” across to the audience most sorely in need of hearing it, and people are on social media trying to act like that’s a bad thing. If a peace advocate goes on Tucker Carlson to promote an important antiwar message because other major outlets like MSNBC and CNN refuse to platform any antiwar voices, the very last person you should be angry at in that equation is the peace advocate.

If you actually opposed the US empire and its warmongering and nuclear brinkmanship, it would enrage you that liberal outlets refuse to platform people who criticize those things. That would be the focus of your outrage. It would never even occur to you to shriek at Jimmy Dore. If you’re angry at Dore for going on Carlson’s show instead of at the liberal outlets who refuse to platform antiwar voices, then your real objection isn’t to Tucker Carlson, it’s to antiwar voices getting a platform.

Nobody actually believes western proxy warfare in Ukraine is about saving Ukrainian lives. You don’t save lives by ramping up escalations, you save lives by negotiating peace, which would require concessions from the US empire. Empire simps just don’t want those concessions to be made.

The US could easily end this war by respecting Moscow’s security concerns and rolling back its war machinery and proxy ops from the region. The US won’t do this because it wants to use this proxy war to bleed Russia and facilitate regime change in Moscow. That’s all this is.

Once you get a penetrating insight into how much of our civilization is comprised of narratives people made up, it changes your view of everything. Politics. Government. The media. Money. The economy. Religion. Culture. Even your very self. Our entire species moves in accordance with made-up stories.

You might think a clear recognition that our entire society is made of bullshit would be a negative experience, and at first it can be, but what’s ultimately understood is something very positive: that if our entire civilization is made up, then we can simply make up something else. Something better. Something that works for all of us.

And then you notice something even cooler: that humanity is already unpacking this insight on a collective level. Longstanding beliefs about power structures and religion are being abandoned en masse. People are making up their own rules about money, gender, relationships, spirituality, etc. That’s what you’re seeing in these new ideas about cryptocurrencies, in the younger generations’ ideas about gender and sexuality, in rewriting the rules of what relationships, marriages and families are supposed to look like. People are beginning to replace the old narratives with narratives of their own making.

There’s a growing recognition throughout our species that the stories which have been guiding our collective behavior are made up — usually by the powerful, for the powerful — and they can simply make up something else. And sure it often looks awkward and messy right now, but it would have to look awkward and messy at first. These are baby steps.

More and more, humanity is collectively looking at the narratives out of which our society is woven and asking, “Why are we acting like this is true when it’s just a made-up story? Would our interests be better served by telling another story? Or dispensing with story altogether?” Which is fascinating, because if you look very deeply within yourself you will come to see that most of your suffering as an individual is the result of the mental narratives you believe, which you can then disentangle yourself from. Humanity is moving toward this same kind of insight on a collective level.

A healthy human is one who has shifted into a functional relationship with mental narrative where thoughts are experienced as tools to be picked up when they are useful and set down when they are not, instead of being believed and clung to and dominating our lives. A healthy humanity will look much the same.

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