How to face the issues we are now confronting? What policies, what politics, what action? People generally seem to think that the right idea will save the situation. But real history is always the playing out of forces, aided by ideas, in conflict where the outcome has gone to the stronger. This implies that we need a system of give and take, not violent but expressive, arguing, convincing, until a path emerges. This has been the hope of the humanist side for a long time.
Adam Smith (in Gavin Kennedy’s Adam Smith a moral philosopher)
He believed in working through the governing arrangements of society. In a passage remarkably relevant for today, he called on those ‘prompted by humanity and benevolence’ to ‘respect the established powers and privileges even of individuals, and still more those of great orders and societies, into which the state is divided’ and suggested that a reformer be contented ‘with moderating, what he often cannot annihilate without great violence’, and above all to remember that ‘when he cannot conquer the rooted prejudices of the people by reason and persuasion, he [must] not attempt to subdue them by force …’.
Greg and Paul Davidson in the book entitled Economics for a civilized society asks simply for a balance between conservative or a liberal principles worked out through a political process.
But by the hurricanes in the Gulf and Asia we are being pushed by climate change amplified by through human decisions made over a long time period, perhaps the whole of human existence, to take on a more authoritarian approach because the normal process of politics in a quasi-democratic society is too slow.In the past we could always afford a more conversational, diplomatic and non violent approach – even though we often took violence as the solution,
I sense that under the pressures from Trump within politics and the effects of climate change coming from nature we are squeezed and time is not on anyone’s side.