↑ comment by Viliam_Bur ·
2013-12-24T14:25:09.925Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
The "who would prefer to return 50 years back?" argument is interesting, but I think the meaning of "winning" has to be defined more precisely. Imagine that 50 years ago I was (by whatever metric) ten times as powerful as you, but today I am only three times as powerful than you. Would you describe this situation as your victory?
In some sense, yes, it is an improvement of your relative power. In other sense, no, I am still more powerful. You may be hopeful about the future, because the first derivative seems to work for you. On the other hand, maybe the second derivative works for me; and generally, predicting the future is a tricky business.
But it is interesting to think about how the time dimension is related to politics. I was thinking that maybe it's the other way round; that "the right" is the side which self-identifies with the past, so in some sense it is losing by definition -- if your goal is to be "more like yesterday than like today", then tautologically today is worse according to this metric than the yesterday was. And there is a strong element of returning to the past in some right-wing movements.
But then I realized that some left-wing movements have this component too. I remember communists emphasising that millenia ago humans lived in perfectly egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies (before the surplus value was taken by the evil slavers / feudal lords / capitalists), so when the true communism comes, this ancient harmony will be restored. Similarly, some feminists (maybe just a small minority of them, I don't know) have stories about how exactly the ancient matriarchal societies were organized, so overthrowing patriarchy would kinda restore this ancient order.
At this moment my working hypothesis is that "returning to the perfect past" is simply an universal human bias, and the main political difference is where exactly is your Golden Age located. Then it would seem that the right wing puts the Golden Age in the more recent past, while the left wing prefers prehistorical societies.
That makes it pretty likely that in its heart, the left is about returning towards our hunter-gatherer instincts and abandoning as much as possible of our disappointing civilization, while the right is about insisting on some specific adaptations to scarcity. Something like what Yvain said, with the connotational objection that the category of danger does not include only zombies, but also criminals or dysfunctional bureaucracies, which are everyday reality for some people. Generally, as we improve economically, we can afford to remove some of the adaptations to scarcity; the trade-offs that are no longer necessary. But sometimes while doing so we fuck up things horribly and the scarcity returns; often in a way that university professors don't notice, simply because it does not happen to them.
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↑ comment by [deleted] ·
2013-12-24T16:37:58.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Imagine that 50 years ago I was (by whatever metric) ten times as powerful as you, but today I am only three times as powerful than you. Would you describe this situation as your victory?
I would describe it as me playing very well for the past 50 years and the game going my way.