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In my youth I used to be a sort of Hegelian believing that politics is like a pendulum - if it swings a long way in one direction, it will swing a long way in the opposite direction sooner or later. The assumption was that there was a natural state of equilibrium somewhere in the middle.

As I grew older, I realised that the centre, too, could move, and there was no telling how far it could move in one direction or the other. It was like Jews in Germany in the 1920's and 1930's thinking "how bad can it get?", on the assumption that sooner or later a central equilibrium based on human decency would re-assert itself. After all, they were on such good terms with their neighbours.

Now my advice to those who say it has to get worse before it can get better is "just don't go there". There is no guarantee things will not just get worse and worse and there are virtually no depths to which the collective human psyche cannot sink. Even atrocities get rationalised and normalised if they happen often enough.

So you will often find me here advocating for slow incremental steps in a better direction, not only because they are better in themselves, but because they can build a positive momentum and make more incremental improvements more likely in the future. At worst they can stop any momentum in the opposite direction.

Not very exciting, I know, and very far from the flights of idealistic fancy of my youth, where the assumption was that if you break things up, things can only get better. They can, but unfortunately the opposite is often more likely, especially if you disturb the human beast of anxiety, insecurity, fear, anger and felt deprivation.

We may laugh at them now, but the Tory Brexiteer idiots may soon become the new normal, the new moderates, to be displaced by something far more dangerous. The EU is built on a lot of these realisations. Unfortunately the generation which learned those lessons the hard way is fast dying out.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 06:03:17 PM EST
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