A (21st Century) Modest Proposal10 May 2020
This is an unpublished op-ed. Here it is, published on my website.
We live in a society. It seems to be in a rather unfortunate state at the moment. Fortunately, I am here to propose a modest solution. The privileged elite enjoy the luxury of escaping to their summer homes when a break from normal life is needed, and perhaps, we could take inspiration from them and emulate our own break from normal life en masse. My suggestion is that we should break from the tragedy of civilization: although it has always been plagued with problems, I firmly hold the belief that now, with the interconnectedness that globalization has blessed us, it is the perfect time for all of us to agree upon returning to our natural state, throwing away all of our material possessions and moral standings, and existing as homo sapiens did before the rise of civilization.
Full and absolute abandonment of all government is a perfect, permanent solution to all of our political strife. American politics were once based on a simple, partisan left-versus-right system. However, a notion of a political compass, which gives the opportunity for individuals to also identify themselves on a vertical, libertarian-versus-authoritarian axis, has also risen in recent years, breaking up the one-dimensional spectrum that functioned so well for American society. The opportunity for individuals on the internet to form smaller, more specialized communities (crossing international borders on occasion,) surrounding specific politics is likely to blame, along with the rise of historically underprivileged groups globally over the course of the past century. The increasing number of political identifiers has created more ways for individuals to separate themselves from one another. This amplifies tension between individuals, especially as the personal becomes increasingly political, leaving no room for small talk, or even eye contact with a member of an opposing party on occasion. At least in the year 2020, we won’t need to, considering our dedication to video conferences. Fortunately, relieving ourselves of the burden of society would include a dismantling of all forms of institutional and systemized authority, which would prevent any societally-constructed ideological conflict, often fundamentally driven by a desire for control over others. Without politics, might is right, on a purely physical level: there are no guns in a vitalist society. America has been struggling with lowering their rates of gun violence, and this is the exact solution it needs.
It was the rise of postmodernism that made the notion of a social construct common in academic spheres during the mid-to-late 20th century; this notion is now increasingly becoming more cemented in the greater cultural zeitgeist during the beginnings of the 21st. Tragically, it seems like many are growing increasingly discontent with these constructs with their newfound awareness. However, through the abandonment of society as a whole, we gain the opportunity to escape these constraints. Gender, race, and ethnicity, all understood to be socially constructed, will disappear, along with all of the issues associated with them, when we decide to abandon language, which will quickly result in the vanishing of all of recorded history and our entire capacity to keep track of years, minutes, and seconds. Our lives become the single blink of an eye, as many individuals realize on their deathbeds. Without the limitations of social constructs, we gain the opportunity to live as Diogenes, indulging our innate instincts, getting to bellow at each other pure sound if we deem it appropriate. At least this way, we gain an undeniable justification for it, unburdened by connotations and associations.
Any concerns about the economy will also be diminished as we escape our dependency on the systematized allocation of resources, orbiting the completely manufactured idea of currency. Returning to our hunter-gatherer nature, there will be no excess resources which would allow for the development of a true economy, leading to the issues of taxation and banking to which entire newspapers are dedicated daily. Furthermore, any debates surrounding the distribution of funds will not result in a series of angry op-eds, culminating in the upheaval of the entire system which was originally used to distribute the aforementioned funds, because there would be no funds to allocate in the first place; well, that, and also, I don’t imagine we’d retain our capability for language if we’re abandoning everything else civilization has provided to us.
Issues of sex and love would vanish. One cannot experience the tragedy of being left on read if the process of courting disappears; especially, if we finally get rid of these addictive, magic boxes that have become extensions of ourselves: our phones. The theories invented by forums filled with individuals identifying themselves as incels, or involuntarily celibate individuals, would be put to the test. Their self-described flaws would be tested for their validity, and in a truly Darwinist environment, would most likely cause their quick demise, releasing them from their suffering. Scrolling through my feeds, it is clear to see that this world is suffering. This might be just the solution.
We live in a society, and it is time to release ourselves from its chains (and make sure another op-ed like this is never written again). The field of political theory, from what I understood in my Intro to Political Theory class, is surprisingly based on a question surrounding human nature. Are we inclined to do good or are we inclined to do bad? What better way than to literally return to a state of nature and find out ourselves?