22 November 2020

Utility of legitimacy

One of the obvious things about COVID-19 has been the clear demarcation between "people will act collectively" and "people won't act collectively" societies; the former do vastly better handling infectious disease outbreaks.


People ascribe legitimacy to a government which, minimally, does not frustrate their purposes.  Ideally, it will advance their purposes, but in generally it's sufficient that it not frustrate their purposes.

I think it's obvious that societies where people won't act collectively don't ascribe much legitimacy to their governments.

There's three reasons for that.

  1. Illegitimate purposes, all of which reduce to enforcing a prescriptive norm.  People who derive social standing and personal power from defining the prescriptive norm detest the ability of a central government to prevent them from doing so, and even though this is much more de jure than de facto at present, both the mere idea and the apparent strong demographic swing against the practice of having prescriptive norm at all have produced a war-of-extermination response among the people used to have that social power.
  2. Information contamination, where people who recognise their loss of agency under conditions of mammonite wage slavery social organisation then blame the wrong -- frequently fictional! -- actors, rather than those actually responsible.  Any government not suppressing the fictional bad actors is obviously in favour of the loss of agency, and therefore illegitimate; it's frustrating the purposes of the citizenry in general.
  3. A complete absence of even the pretence of uniform justice.  The justice system is utterly mammonite to the point of creating and enforcing caste systems.  Since the great majority of people do not have enough money to get anywhere near the mammonite elect, this also frustrates their purposes.

All of these things are systemically fixable; it's possible to get back to a general legitimacy of collective effort, which we are certainly going to need.  Nobody is going to do any better on climate change than they did with COVID-19, and COVID-19 isn't an existential threat.

None of these things are fixable in a mammonite social context.  And since the mammonite elect have effectively all the agency, this does present serious logistical challenges.

Less than agriculture breaking without a backup plan in place, though.

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