Thus, the real psychological immune system must be the one that causes us to go out and fix the problem. Guilt motivates us toward reparative altruism, unhappiness toward efforts to improve our lives to diminish the unhappiness, laughter to appreciate the logical absurdities in life, and so on. Self-deception traps us in the system, offering at best temporary gains while failing to address real problems.
==The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life (Robert Trivers)
‘What’s it going to be then, eh?’ There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither.
The mere proposal to set the politician to watch the capitalist has been disturbed by the rather disconcerting discovery that they are both the same man. We are past the point where being a capitalist is the only way of becoming a politician, and we are dangerously near the point where being a politician is much the quickest way of becoming a capitalist.
—G. K. CHESTERTON
“If the 19th [century] was the century of the individual (liberalism means individualism), you may consider that this is the ‘collective’ century, and, therefore, the century of the state.”
Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism” (1932), translated by Barbara Moroncini.
Where goes the 21st century? Until recently, it could be said that, with the defeat of fascism, in 1945, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union about a half century later, that we had seen the demise of what the Italian dictator Mussolini envisioned as “a century of authority.” But, now, liberalism’s global triumphal march, as was so brazenly predicted in some corners just two decades ago, seems to have slowed, and may even be going into reverse.
Increasingly, authoritarian regimes are rising around the world, led by a pesky, resource-rich Russia and a new full-blown superpower, China. Today, few regimes are becoming more democratic, and many, such as Turkey, are evolving toward one-party, voter-blessed, autocracies. These regimes, like their fascist and communist antecedents, often show a kind of contempt for the messy work of pluralistic decision-making and constitutional restraint……
It turns out that technology is not liberating by itself and can be corralled just as easily for authoritarian purposes. The media’s emphasis on young people posting on Facebook in places like Egypt, Iran and Russia gave us a false impression of how those societies operate. Governmental suppression and organized violence subsequently proved more powerful than digital technology. Smartphones, the Internet and the increasing reach of information technology are not sufficient to spawn conditions for pluralistic democracy. As anyone who spends time in China can attest, great things can be achieved without fundamental individual freedom.
The sad truth is that we may be entering an era where classical liberalism – market capitalism, freedom of speech and safety from government intrusion – may be somewhat in retreat. As during most of world history, pluralistic democracy remains a fragile achievement that thrives only in a relative handful of places. For that reason, we need – more than ever – to cherish it.