The people always want to be free but they are their own worst jailors. If everyone can do what they want in their own best interest, a ruthless race to the bottom is assured. If we know others face no restraint we won’t exercise restraint ourselves in the lifelong competition for food, shelter, money, mates, and prestige.
The information age has outstripped the ability of traditional social technologies to limit individual choice in ways that yield a net benefit to everyone. It is now too easy for individuals to circumvent the customs and soothing myths that create an illusion of harmony. They can get very accurate real-time information to optimize their self-interest whether in the job market or the dating market.
When everyone has access to networks, no one wants to be the 5 that settles for a 5 in life and so all the rest is a game to outmaneuver and sabotage one’s way to a better spot in the great game of musical chairs as society falls apart. Instead of getting things done, most energies are devoted to finding out who has to jump on the grenade and take one for the team. Then arises even more social strife when the despised loser nominated as grenade jumper refuses to jump.
It is impossible to reinstate rules that no one really wants to practice in real life. Nor does acting as if older customs still existed do anything to resurrect them. These systems existed by being airtight constructs that very few could successfully defect from. With that seal broken, they are imaginary fancies.
So the question lies in how to adapt to the problems of modernity in an efficient and realistic manner.
Policy in most other areas of public life suggests we need to arrest the relentless race to the bottom at strategic points.
Without safety nets like EBT cards, soup kitchens, shelters, and minimum wage there would be bread riots and people working for less than a dollar an hour to be able to afford just enough white flour and rice to keep them alive. Desperate people with nothing to lose would force anyone with surplus wealth to live in compounds guarded by private armies.(aka the 3rd world)
Without solid rules, there would be no 40 hour work week with a cushy weekend for those lucky enough to have jobs. There would be no holidays, paid vacation, or benefits. Many would be simply be worked to death. The marketplace would have no use for useless old people sticking around.
Without free association and strict controls on real estate, bidding wars impoverish even the highest paid workers, ensuring they never have kids and their high IQ breed goes extinct.
Without land forcibly set aside for parks, every urban area would be an unbroken sea of grey and all old buildings would be demolished to make way for cookie cutter tenements.
Without force itself, there would be no taxes, nor any polity at all.
The best kind of rules aren’t heavy-handed, stupid rules no one wants like forcing all American women to wear hijabs or banning plastic straws.
The rules that work best are those that force people to do what they’d like to do anyway by using the authority of the state to make sure everyone else has to do it.
No one could afford to pay taxes if the IRS didn’t maintain an airtight seal with extreme aggression and precision. Otherwise any sucker who paid up would live at a disadvantage to everyone else.
The state is truly legitimate when it becomes not just a parasitic occupying army but a broker that relieves the tensions in the endless struggles between humans. Without such an intervention, the natural state of man is Malthusian squalor. Hobbes was right.
We can see that the legitimacy of our present system really went into steep decline right as it broke the back of the old labor left that Bernie Sanders tried and failed to resurrect. The negotiation between labor and the state ended, and with it their role as a broker sustaining balance for the average worker.
Ever since, there has been a wasteland of open borders, free trade, corporate welfare, and parasitic wars to enrich the military industrial complex.
I am critical of corrupt unions and of the borderline communists who did their part to bring a hostile reaction down on them, but the “cure,” I think, has proven far worse than the disease. When the duty of easing tensions is not fulfilled, a swelling volcano cone rises up under the ruler’s feet.
The result of these modern pressures is both sides of the political spectrum now demand a return to authoritarianism. Most people, whatever their politics, understand intuitively that their freedom and empowerment have enslaved them to one another more than ever, the great game board a terrible gridlock of collective checkmate further than the eye can see. It has become self-evident that any kind of modern society requires the intervention of a strong state at carefully chosen points.
When everyone has excellent information and mobility they are forced to beg for a legitimate ruler to mediate between the people on earth and the powers of heaven.