A (Preliminary) Theory of Political Change

Ultimately, it’s ideas that rule the world. The world around us is the manifestation of the most dominant ideas among people. Those ideas concern the kind of world that’s possible — or rather, what social order is morally permissible.

For example, the most dominant ideas today include the notions that one person’s benefit must necessarily come at the expense of another and that self-interest is inherently corrupting. They are embodied in the ways that ever-increasing reigns of government controls are lobbied as responses to worn social problems.

People without the moral conviction may have vague inclinations favoring freer markets, but they abandon those preferences at a minor hesitation or setback. Comparatively, people often struggle with the given and purse their ideals at great personal costs. It’s just what has to be done.

If the theory’s true, the way to affect political change is to change people’s ideas of not only the possible, but especially what’s moral. I think my preferred dominant idea would be that people have the right to live for their own sake. A second-best alternative likelier to succeed though is that all people should be held to the same moral standard, regardless of their privilege or power.

The dominant ideas of a time raise new possibilities and demoralizes (or entrenches) established powers, crippling (or affirming) existing institutions. It’s a work in progress, but that how I see the forces that shape the world.