Playing the Long Game

January 31, 2007

The jester gets dull and preachy about egalitarianism*, long game plans, sex and public nudity. Except for the bits about sex about public nudity.

Author’s pathetic, desperate need for affirmation from the world

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We in Democracies are familiar with the societal short game plan. The short game plan or ‘Short Game’ has come about because our democracies are based on the rights of the individual rather than the good of society as a whole. For instance: our system of law is based, in theory if not in practice, on the premise that we would rather 100 guilty men walk free then an innocent man go to jail.

Hence the “beyond reasonable doubt” ideal in the USA and the “preponderance of evidence” in the UK. So an OJ Simpson can walk free at least some of the time and in return we demand that we are never, ever incarcerated for something we did not do. If we were worried about the good of society first our legal systems would convict on “the balance of evidence.” If you look 51% guilty then off you go. No more dodgy Presidents or Prime Ministers.

The Short Game Plan has landed us with the war in Iraq, reality television, poverty in Africa, global warming, a failing format in first world education and Oprah as the highest paid entertainer on the planet. Our prediliction to judge purely on how things are affecting us now leads us to vilify George Bush, Tony Blair, Christians, UFOlogists, Saddam Hussein, Ricky Lake and my Aunt Mildred and her Stupid Blue Hair.

But 100 years from now how much will any of these things matter and if they do, what might the world think? Historically we can see what a difference small decisions might have made that could have had a huge effect on history: Moses remembering his map before leaving the house and not having to rely on Gods directions; Adolf Hitler’s mom giving him a hug from time to time; the English leaving the criminals in England and emigrating to Australia’s sun and surf instead of the other way around (England would be winning the cricket, for one).

In 100 years the middle east conflict may have escalated and result in the death of everyone except 3 men, 4 women and a goat named Ahmed who all decide this religious intolerance thing was a dumb idea and just a fad anyway, begin wearing bright colours and start a commune, vindicating George and Tony and their invasion of Iraq.

Ricky Lake’s trash talking not-at-all-coached guests may inspire North Americans to finally switch off the TV and read a book instead if only to make absolutely sure they do not become those people on television.

In 100 years time Christine, Jesus Christ’s sister may have popped down, much to the embarrasment of the atheists and apologised for the delay in the second coming, “which was meant to happen, rather dramatically, on the eve of 2000 but my brother has been bogged down designing an 180 hole golf-course in heaven since 1998 and you know how these projects get out of hand…”- which is why she diceided to step in and organising everything. She is very upset that the whole egalitarian society-thing hasn’t been properly sorted out yet and what’s all this worry about drugs: when “Dad” made all the animals and plants for man he just wasn’t just screwing around. And not to worry all you athiests, satanists, reborn christians and other hated groups: it was universal peace and love and understanding, not a private club. Oh, and chuck that book you’ve been using, it’s way too full of inane, mysoginistic bullshit.

In that same future My aunt Mildred may have had her “Blue Hair keeps out the alien voices” theory proved right as UFOlogists announce they have made contact with their first alien, Steve, who works ‘in accounts’ near Betelgeuse IV and is sorry for ruining all those crops but he thought they were insured and “didn’t the patterns look pretty, though.”

So, hindsight is not really 20:20. Hindsite is long-sighted. Things get clearer the further away from them you get because the context gets broader.

In the 20th century we have been raised less and less over subsequent generations to look at the big picture or long game plan. Time was, even in the west, when planning was done not only for the children but the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Building wealth and security was something you did over multiple generations. It’s not long ago that clothed and fed with a roof over your head meant pretty well off. Poverty did not wear, as it does now in the first world, $100 or even $50 sneakers.

To my point: Every movie I have ever seen portraying an ideal future, a utopia, shows an egalitarian* society. All with equal access to amenities, all with little time spent working and more time spent thinking or creating as robots take over most menial labour, no concept of wealth or anyone being above another in power. Influence, status and respect based on behaviours (whether they be physical, intellectual or creative achievements) rather than accumulation in wealth and power. I, certainly, could live with that.

The standard capitalist argument is that an egalitarian society creates no incentive or drive and is therefore doomed to fail. If people are not allowed to achieve wealth and power as an aim then they will get lazy. This agument is a failure in the face of evolutionary-driven mammalian behaviour. Mammals use status to find a mate. Remove wealth and power as aphrodisiacs and people must concentrate on social achievement of whatever kind for status. Status drive becomes a positive influence rather than a negative one.

So, can anyone out there conceive, by thinking a long game, how we get from where we are and our current direction, to there? For the first time ever there are societies that can afford advanced egalitarian societies. Capitalism has driven first world economies to that point. But to actually get to an egalitarian state will require the overhall of negativity toward social programs. All of these are caused by the negative marketing attached to communism. The detach between socialist ideals and communist ideals need to be broken permanently.

Author’s pathetic, desperate need for affirmation from the world

I Liked it | I Hated it


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* e·gal·i·tar·i·an [i-gal-i-tair-ee-uhn] Pronunciation Key

Show IPA Pronunciation


1. asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, esp. in political, economic, or social life.


2. a person who adheres to egalitarian beliefs.



2 Responses to “Playing the Long Game”

  1. Solnushka Says:

    To be honest, I’m rather in favour of just saying bugger democracy for a game of tennis, let’s try something new…

  2. Solnushka Says:

    Well, different, perhaps, rather than new.

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