Society has problems that need fixing.
The people we ostensibly put in charge of fixing society’s problems have a great deal of power to enact their proposed solutions.
The perceived problems faced by society, which it’s assumed need to be addressed by those in charge, include such items as: the unjustified claiming of “free money” by those who haven’t proved themselves to deserve it; long-term unemployment; and criminal behaviour by juveniles.
Popular salves for these maladies include, respectively: imposing benefit sanctions for transparently idiotic reasons; forced placement on full-time, unpaid workfare schemes; and solitary confinement of children, a practice widely regarded as torture.
I talk semi-regularly about aspects of our society that I truly believe will be looked back on with horror, disgust, and bewilderment in a century or so, and I want to explore that in some more depth.
Even people who haven’t experienced it directly will be familiar with the racist grandparents trope. People who grew up in a different era often don’t have the same sensibilities to certain issues that we do today, and maybe they can’t be expected to. It doesn’t make them bad people, but they were raised with a certain set of attitudes being strongly normalised, and it’s not always easy to see, decades later, why the way you’ve always acted is suddenly so offensive to people, or so drastically needs altering.
It can be hard to articulate to someone behind the curve just why it’s important to adapt like this. “Just don’t be racist” doesn’t seem like it should need spelling out; and yet if something was “just the way things were” seventy years ago, it may not be obvious that the world has changed for the better.
I’d be amazed if there weren’t things that my generation’s grandkids end up being impatient for me and my peers to adapt to, but which we struggle embarrassingly with. The thing I particularly imagine them wondering about us is:
Was that really the best you could do?
All that technology and productivity and abundance and capacity to do amazing things together, and you couldn’t find any better way to induce better behaviour in kids, or deal with supposed “freeloading”, without shitting all over thousands of other people who were just trying to get by?
You really didn’t have any better ideas for how to help lift up the lowest among you, and give everyone a chance to thrive?
There was really no interest in picking a military strategy that didn’t involve the useless mass murder of random foreign civilians?
Were you guys actually, really, honestly trying as hard as you can to not totally fuck everything?
When they get around to asking us that, I’m not sure what our answer is going to be.
But maybe I’m just projecting, because I’ve already been asking it for so long myself.