It appears to me our society is being destroyed by our very institutions created to improve it. How so?
Powerful forces need checks and balances, otherwise they can runaway and cause disaster. In biology, predatos have controlling predators themselves, in our bodies, our immune system has turn-off pathways before it damages our own body, as does our blood clotting cascade, otherwise a clot in a cut would propagate throughout your circulation. Armies have civil controls to make them stop fighting and return to barracks, and spy agencies have watchers watching the watchers.
When these self-limits go missing, predators multiply and destroy local ecological balance, immune system overshoot or attack the body itself as allergies and autoimmune diseases, clots cause heart attacks, armies take over governance and spies create police states.
Many of our moral social institutions however seem unconstrained by design, I guess, perhaps because we consider that you can never have enough morality. The environmental movement, human rights laws, anti-discrimination and the social justice organisations, all seem to grow and grow, the bar always moved downwards so the problems remain dire and so their mandate is never diminished, the job never done, the workers never made redundant.
You can see a life cycle in these benevolent institutions: they start from committed reformers of a genuine problem, grow to become powerful evangelists successfully ameliorating the problem, even if often at disproportionate cost to taxpayer or industry, and finally, with little of the pressing problem left, becoming zealots searching and cleansing ever smaller immorality, ever slightest imperfection. This is natural, for no organisation with power is inclined to disband or moderate its machinery once its aim is largely achieved.
Examples are a legion:
Green organisations, having achieved clear skies, clean waterways and preserved forests in the west, delve into ever more protections, more locked up parks, even if it may cause fiercer bushfires, more social engineering to make all wear their hair shirts and endless politics of social justice that goes with it.
Climate change is probably the worst concrete example. It started in the 80’s from a reasonable concern over climate warming effects of CO2, combined with green-socialist ideology to grow into a socio-political juggernaut, raising billions with frightening apocalytic visions well ahead of the scientific evidence. When scientific evidence and observations even the public can see finally counters the apocalyptic message, the climate change institutions, now a socio-politico-industrial behemot laden with a rent-seeking green industry and unstoppable, never mind the original problem or the science. The cartoon saying “what if climate change is a hoax and we end up building a better world for nothing” is the unwitting proof of the runaway cause –
In the US, the EPA, having helped clean up particulate air pollution matter, has created the next pollutant scare of ozone, regulating ever lower limits that even national parks would not achieve. The benefits are ever smaller – with ozone not so much deaths or disease, but episodes of cough and allegedly asthma exacerbation, while estimated to cost over $1 Trillion.
Government departments of all kinds from departments for social inclusion to Antartic animal ethics committee are the obvious examples, some having had perhaps a purpose at the beginning, but ever expanding, rarely solving the issue so they can just keep growing in the face of the problem.
European regulations RoHS, REACH, and others, after successfully prohibiting known toxic substances, maintain their relevance every 6 months by adding an ever growing list of minor toxic materials, or even non-toxins, which might be toxins in the future, so called ‘candidates’ for demonstrated toxicity in the future.
Medical device regulations are ever increasing in reach and their diminishing returns in risk reduction, finally reaching its absurd conclusion with latest ISO14971 Risk Management standard, removing concept of acceptable risk and all considerations of costs and practicalities in eliminating risks in equipment. For the absurdity of this idea, go no further than the imposing governments themselves – they of course, accept all manner of risks to their citizens, based on limited funds and priorities. A perfectly safe device may never eventuate and will be affordable except to a few.
Racial equality movement and anti-discrimination laws are also never satisfied, job never done. After triumphantly outlawing slavery, racial and other discrimination of any kind, does it take a breather and celebrate its success? Not on your Nelly. The equality is never equal enough, the offense never slight enough to tolerate, now outlawing of merely giving offense through Sec18C. The movement has only grown, backed by an army of twitter vanity moralists, attacking for the slightest offense, even destroying an 13 year old for an innocent sporting barrack. Finally, the discrimination-eliminating task is not done, until it is turned the other way around, in the form of affirmative action, now discriminating in favor of perceived victim groups (and thus against all other groups).A lot of good this has done to the blacks in US and Aboriginies in Australia.
Feminism has not escaped the institutional zombification. Starting from universal suffrage, right to work and equal pay for equal work, and when achieved, growing into affirmative action calling for quotas in top job for women, Aboriginies and eventually, presumably for all minority groups that can shout loud enough. Now, a new breed of Feminazis now are calling out misogyny at the smallest slight. Prime minister Abbott was a misogynist for looking at his watch during one of Gillard’s more vacuous speeches. A scientists, in the moment of his triumph in landing a probe on a comet 300 million miles away, instead of accolades, received hate from feminist social media for the offense wearing a Hawaiian shirt with silhouettes of nudes. That is from the same feminist movement that is silent of FGM.
If our society were a human organism, it would be being ravaged by advanced multiple sclerosis, paralyzed by its own protective systems attacking its nerves, its eyes and its thoughts. I suggest that all moral causes, NGO’s and benevolent organisations need a good hard look at what they started out to do and what they are doing now; whether they have reached their use by date and whether they are now looking for work and damaging our society in the process. Equally importantly, new moral causes must define a realistic goal, and a plan for an exit strategy and not be allowed to become runaway institutions.