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Old 06-01-2019, 01:48 PM
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Default Hierarchies

I'm posting this knowing most people don't have much of a taste for debating these days, which is honestly pretty valid in the current political climate; it's a lot harder to stay detached and argue in good faith discussing politics like they're hypotheticals when they've been so consistently high-stakes and horrifying. People who seek out debates tend to be acting in bad faith, relatively unthreatened by the consequences of what they're talking about and mostly concerned with proselytizing.

That said, this specific topic is something I like thinking about and feel like is worth discussing, so.. I'm going to be hypocritical by proselytizing and welcoming debate and discussion.

While organization needs cohesion, and while hierarchies can give a sense of cohesion, there are issues inherent to hierarchies that lead to some pretty nasty problems (including class hierarchies- and I know it's anecdotal, but I really can't resist saying this- speaking as someone that's had multiple nightmare managers and landlords, been homeless, and had to get by on begging, especially class hierarchies). Any person put into a position of enforced authority has the ability to put their own wants above the needs of the people beneath them on the ladder, and it happens frequently. Artificial scarcity is a consequence of goods being withheld and even destroyed to maintain a stream of profits that only benefit a small handful of people. Despite the terrifying consequences for most people living on it, the entire world is collectively failing to prevent the worst of climate change because the minority of people who benefit from reckless industry would have to sacrifice wealth (which beyond a certain point is nothing more than a measure of power) to do so. There is enough housing for homelessness to not exist, but while giving away housing would greatly benefit society as a whole, it would end real estate as an industry- people who profit from selling property would lose money, people who bought houses purely as investments would lose money, and landlords would be less able to hold people captive to rent- so instead we see a quiet push for hostile architecture in cities all across the planet.

I want to make extra clear that my distaste for hierarchies is not coming from a place of right-libertarianism- anarcho-capitalism claims to be anti-hierarchical and criticizes the state as being oppressive, but ironically tends to have some strongly authoritarian undercurrents. It centers unregulated and ruthless capitalism at the absolute center of society- it is all about a zero-sum competition where society has powerful winners and powerless losers, putting hierarchies at the core of it as an ideology. I think those authoritarian undercurrents shift closer to being overtones when the slack left by nominal statelessness is expected to be picked up by private militaries, making it so whoever holds a significant level of wealth can easily throw money around to raise a personal army and rule as a petty dictator (though this is honestly an issue capitalism tends to have even outside of total anarchy- in America throughout the late 19th to early 20th century industrialists often would raise private armies and use them to brutalize workers into accepting atrocious conditions, with blood being shed fairly frequently until the New Deal started enforcing the very labor regulations that were being fought for over decades- and while it's a bit of an aside, it's also worth mentioning that the bulk of the New Deal was fairly short-lived; in response to the New Deal the business class was overriding democracy to replace the progressive vice president Henry Wallace, publishing openly racist news articles to bar him from politics entirely afterwards, drumming up the red scare to cut off most if not all effective opposition to their interests, and was possibly even considering a fascist coup against Roosevelt earlier on in his administration- which doesn't seem outlandish in my eyes considering that Henry Ford was printing and distributing mass amounts of antisemitic propaganda all the way up to WW2, to the point that he was given a medal by the actual German Nazis for doing so).

Total disorganization leads to people who are the most threatening holding the most power, but I don't think people tend to stay totally disorganized for long. For all the coercion and power imbalances society has now, there had to have been groups of people in the past self-organizing and working together to create society in the first place. There's exceptions (some people are legitimately miserable working with others), but I think people generally work better together than alone, even in the absence of a power structure taking away any element of choice.

Considering the nature of power is a necessary part of bettering society (and hypothetically building a new one). Personally, I think the ideal hypothetical built-from-scratch society would be structured where businesses are run with their employees acting as the leadership- democratically-run workplaces on a lower level that elect term-limited representatives to briefly serve on a wider level, who elect representatives of their own in turn, working up from a local level all the way to a level that encompasses all industries within this society (by putting them all in one group at the top, every industry is forced to work cohesively with the others). People unable or unwilling to work would be given an exact equal level of elected representation to prevent discrimination and mistreatment of people with disabilities, to make sure as much of society is heard and covered as possible, and to encourage positive reinforcement to bring people into work while forbidding outright coercion. Terms would be kept limited and brief to increase the range of people elected and to prevent both politicians and management from ever becoming an established class. Law enforcement would exist through a lottery in a similar manner to jury duty, with the logic behind that it being that it would both increase accountability (you're only holding some power temporarily, and any of the people you wronged could take your place next) and that people who seek positions of authority like that tend to be the last people you ever want in those positions.

I.. think I like anarcho-syndicalism the most? I think that's what that is, roughly. I can compromise on the specifics, but ultimately I just wish there were less arbitrary hierarchies like class. I wish there were greater accountability for people in positions of power, I wish relatively powerless people were treated more fairly, and I think hierarchies get in the way of that.

What are your thoughts?
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