Times of Neoliberal Autocracy. Truly strange bedfellows

Nothing can breed violence like scarcity

It is the bellwether of uprising. 

An increasing divide between the have and have nots.

Hungry – for food, for access, for good education and health care, for affordable housing, for rights balanced with responsibility.

It is the reason autocracy can and does work until it doesn’t.

Good parenting in the beginning is an autocracy. It needs to be. A two-year-old has little capacity to make choices about their own safety and the safety of others. A seven-year-old might be able to discern higher levels of personal safety but is unlikely to register consequences. (Indeed many adults fail to consider consequences.) As children get older, with good parenting that provides strong structures and boundaries that adapt as the child grows, autocracy shifts to democracy in the family home, until ultimately the child has sovereign choice for their life.

We fail to recognise that sovereign choice is not an atomised state. It lives in a field of community. This is why we have government. Because left unchecked, people in their-do-what-they-like-state will drive on roads as they please, add alcohol and texting to the mix, as they drive, smoke as used to happen everywhere and anywhere. Companies will continue to care-less about externalities like the downriver pollution or destroying 40,000 year old artefacts.

We all need checks and balances. We all need an Integrity Council. We all need boundaries. Individual and communities both.

The question always lives in the domain of how much is too much, and how much is too little. This is the age-old battle of left and right. Like most things, we vaccinate between the poles. 

When the individual neoliberal view runs riot, and scarcity rises to polarising states, a reset is inevitable. Add to this mix in unprecedented times we have a squeeze of rights based on collective health. We might call it a neoliberal autocracy. Truly strange bedfellows. Squeezed tight on one hand, a lawless impulse on the other.

The illusion of freedom is that it lives without boundaries. Even chaos has structure. 

A beautiful life has boundaries, including the ultimate ones of birth and death. An individual adult gets to choose their own boundaries. Citizens get to choose the boundaries of community thrnough voting and active engagement. 

If we seek to change the boundaries, we need to get into the arena of change. Throwing rocks from the sidelines is cheap and shows little commitment to real change. Becoming part of the change at the community or policy level is where the greatest lever is.

Photo taken February 12th 2017

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