Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Whit Blauvelt

    May 31, 2023 at 10:25 pm


    It’s not that I don’t get your metaphor. Nor do I doubt there are gangsters in the world, in your broad sense. Nor do I dismiss the seriousness of their challenge to civilization. My difference from you is in seeing some regions of the Earth, and of our societies, as civilized beyond such bullying regimes. Your very use of profanity here, however, is bullying. That’s okay. I’ve seen worse.

    As The Dawn of Everything documents, there have been both egalitarian and authoritarian societies since … well, the dawn of human societies. Each also often defines itself as not being the other. What are virtues in the one’s view of the world are vices in the other’s. There have also been better and worse versions of each — by any definition of virtue.

    Being of egalitarian leanings myself, I have to observe that there are a lot of us around. As I’ve many ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, at least one great grandfather who fought in the Civil War (for the North), and a father and his brothers who fought in WWII … and all of my extant relatives aside from my conspiracy-laden kid brother being both good and egalitarian, I reject your claim that every bit of human society is corrupted by gangsterism. Not even every part of the Republican Party is. Van Galbraith wasn’t. When I worked for the Washington State Secretary of State, who was Republican, he wasn’t. I’ve met each of Vermont’s recent senators several times for discussion. Definitely not gangsterish.

    It’s not that I’m taking this personally. It’s that I have personal experience of the world that provides evidence that your thesis of total gangster domination (in your metaphoric sense) doesn’t entirely hold up. Sadly, there are many places where it’s true. But not everywhere. And it’s the gangsters who would have us believe it’s simply true everywhere, so that we see no hope and surrender to their dominance. In painting a picture of the world as you do, you risk serving their interest even as you are motivated to oppose it.