While founders like Thomas Jefferson argued that the only way to ensure justice, fairness, and prosperity is to distribute power and voice among all the affected people; enemies of democracy, fairness, justice, liberty for all, and shared prosperity have always argued that human nature is evil, that democracy therefore becomes a horrendous “mob rule”, and that the best solution is a wise and benevolent ruling ‘elite’ managing a system that keeps wealth, power, and voice away from the majority of the people lest anybody but members of the ruling class (*cough* *cough* ‘elite’) get a say in anything. I just wonder... if human beings were indeed inherently evil, where would that wise and benevolent ruling class ever come from?
Life has taught me two truths that completely contradict the libertarian/authoritarian/plutocratic/oligarchic argument against democracy:
- Human beings have both a dark and a light side within them. They are not inherently evil or good, but both — with the good side (collaborative, compassionate, caring, social, fair...) actually being stronger than the evil one.
- In steep dungheap societies and narcissistic ‘elite’ bubbles, however, the evil side wins. Those experiencing a dog-eat-dog society at the bottom become convinced that in our world they can trust nobody and are all on their own. They learn to fight each other over scraps and adopt a kowtowing slave mentality that edifies authority and “strong leaders” since survival is all about dominance and submission when the law of the jungle prevails (which is why they can be susceptible to fascism, by the way). Those at the top completely lose their hold on the good human side, spending all their time on narcissistic, hedonistic activities and power gaming among themselves — the people who get to suffer from all this being completely out of their sight and mind. These ‘elites’ are like spoiled children in grown bodies. Meanwhile the people in between decide to do anything to protect their own limited privileges and thus uphold the status quo. As a result, such a mis-constructed society brings out the worst in people which, in turn, makes them prop up or even worsen this warped system.
In other words, it is not an overwhelmingly evil nature of human beings that creates a “naturally” evil system we must accept as unavoidable. Rather it is our evil system that brings the evil out in so many of us and thereby self-perpetuates the evil system in which the majority of us suffers greatly. To misrepresent the cultivated evil as an inborn human quality and use it as a justification to maintain the evil system that creates it makes absolutely no sense. It’s like when a terrorist exploded a bomb and we would all go: “Oh, look! We live in a world of bombs. Let’s all make and explode more bombs!” It’s like moving into an old building full of trash and bad smells and concluding that this world is by nature full of trash and bad smells and using this myth as a justification to poop all over the place instead of cleaning it up.
If anything, human beings are not inherently evil but inherently leaning towards stupidity. That’s where education comes in. We all have a duty to educate each other out of stupid memes and mantras that hold our minds and vision in shackles. We have a need to overcome the incessant brainwashing, propaganda, and long-cultivated false narratives promulgated by an evil bunch settled at the top of a steep socio-economic pyramid that we shouldn’t have or tolerate in the first place.
Our self-perpetuating Hell on Earth is man-made. It would suit us much better to make a Heaven on Earth.
Here is the link to a video clip from Thom Hartmann which inspired this little article of mine: Book Club: Threshold - The Progressive Plan to Pull America Back from the Brink - by Thom Hartmann
And if you doubt my claim that we humans are not all born evil through and through, but rather turned evil or supportive of an evil system by the influence an evil social environment exerts on us, you may reconsider when taking a look at a research documentary about our distant cousins in the wild — baboons typically known for cruelty who turn out to be likewise shaped by their pre-existing social setup: Why hierarchy creates a destructive force within the human psyche (by dr. Robert Sapolsky)
Dirk Droll is the publisher, main writer, and senior editor of Beanstock’s World where many of his articles found here originate.