Blame the Wind!
A very common idea is that ‘I dont blame society for my own mistakes’. Sounds right, sounds like taking responsibility. The problem is, it's quite wrong.
It's a bit like saying ‘I don’t blame the wind when I fall over!’ Sometimes it is you that slipped, of course.
Individual action does matter. But sometimes it really was the wind that blew you over. What is achieved in denying that? It ‘flies’ in the face of reality.
A lot of the time it really is the powerful external winds of society that have blown you over. It’s the typhoon of the economic system that pushed the boat of you and your family over into dangerous waters. It really is the storm that has thrown the ship of your career onto the rocks of financial ruin. The tsunami of a banking crisis that washed away your house and possessions.
You get the analogy.
It’s silly and unrealistic for us to blame individual actions for troubles that have, in reality, been caused by wider social and economic forces. Far better to accept the power of these wider forces and try to come up with collective ways to deal with them, to control them, to shape them…as much as we can.
As to the related cliche that no system will be perfect. Of course no system will be perfect, thats obvious. But so what? That is a silly cliche that i wish we could get past, but it keeps coming back. Ive seen it said 100s of times. The alternatives to capitalism are not trying to make a PERFECT society, they are trying to make a BETTER one. Perfect is not possible, but better is!
So we should not accept the badly functioning system of capitalism if we are capable of making a better system. We should get on with making that better system.
No wall will keep out the storm completely…but the wall we are using now is full of holes, its letting it in far too much polluted water.
So, let’s build a better one.