On a large-scale, I agree. On the one hand, I would like to see the US transition to being a regional power, not a global one. Think UK now, versus UK 100 years ago. That said, human nature abhors a power vacuum, and I would rather live under US rule than under Russian, Chinese, or Islamic rule. I know what to do and what not to do under US rule. Also, I can do most things that I want to do without having to deal with common-place gangsterism.
That's not a benefit of living in the US over living in China or under any other tyrannical rule.
People under Kim Jong-Un's rule know exactly what to do: Avoid upsetting him in any way, or perhaps more accurately, avoid giving him an excuse to fuck up your life. In a broader sense, the same principle applies anywhere where people have rulers.
If you upset your rulers, you will be punished for your insolence, no matter if it's saying bad things about The King/Emperor/Putin/Mao/Hitler, smoking a certain herb, pointing out the government isn't following its own rules, or collecting rainwater on your property.
Sure, it's much nicer to live in a "representative" (hah!) democracy than in Russia, but the fundamental arrangement is the exact same everywhere: rulers ruling over their subjects.
If I start a business in Canada (or the US) I can expect minimal to no interference from the government, organized crime, or the military. My impression is that this is not true in China or Russia.
If I want to build a rocket, I can actually do that and launch it while complying with minimal regulatory oversight. Maybe it would be different if I were Muslim.
Basically, there aren't too many things that I want to do that living under US rule prevents me from doing, whereas the same is not true for other regimes.
> Sure, it's much nicer to live in a "representative" (hah!) democracy than in Russia, but the fundamental arrangement is the exact same everywhere: rulers ruling over their subjects.
The details matter.
I already acknowledged it's nicer to live in "The West" than in Russia for example.
But if you start a credit union with the intention of genuinely competing with the banks, the government will "regulate" you out of business for being a nuisance to the banking cartel.
In other words, the true nature of our societies comes into view, and as I pointed out, that nature is the exact same everywhere. The difference is that you live under a polished turd, whereas Russians don't.
> The details matter.
In a fundamental sense, they don't matter at all. A ruler is a ruler, and a subject is a subject, and ruling over people always involves coercion.
Coercion is, by definition, against anyone's will, and so no one is genuinely fine with being ruled.
But again, the details matter. In a practical sense, there's no stark difference between mild coercion and compromise. One could argue that compromise is voluntary whereas, trivially, coercion is not, but this just discards a large part of human experience.
I got married voluntarily. I had kids voluntarily. I choose to have friends, rather than isolating myself. Although all of these decisions were voluntary, their constraints on my behaviour are more onerous than anything dictated by my government. So if government coercion is less restrictive than social coercion / compromise, what's the point of taking a dogmatic stance?
EDIT> No man is an island.
For all of the radical lunacy in our politics, our government's actual actions remain fairly moderate. (Of course maybe that's because political gridlock prevents us from having time to enact radical policy.) And we still are leading the world in all sorts of things, like scientific progress and technological progress.
- The war on drugs is utterly radical, as well ineffective and brutally oppressive.
- Assassinating people (including Americans) by Drone strikes, based on "meta data". No due process or oversight.
- Disregard for the Geneva Conventions (Bombings of hospitals and other civilian targets)
- Torture. Including public defense of torture.
- NSA. Privacy used to be an inalienable right.
- Military bases in 200+ countries.
The list goes on, but I think I've made my point. The US is only "moderate" for the most creative definitions of "moderate".
Point stands, nonetheless. That's a lot.
I think we're doing pretty well compared to civilizations of yore.
Sure, the US is in a pretty nice spots on technological progress, agriculture and has a rather strong economy.
But I wouldn't say "we" (not everyone on HN is American!) are leading the world in all sort of things.
American democracy is far behind what happens in other countries (like Sweden), totally corrupted by the pressure of lobbying groups and a certain political microcosme. It's also hard to compare the levels of poverty of the US to most "advanced" European countries for instance... Let's not even talk about healthcare and education.
You may be right about Sweden having a poorly democratic system, but the fact that you find the tone of the society to be problematic is not evidence of that.
Yeah. It's a monarchy.
Potentially more directly related is that there was some wholesale imprisonment that occurred in America a few years after Russell wrote that: