The tyranny of the commons
This tendency to emphasize the needs of the many against the needs of the few serves to highlight how little politicians and leaders understand the psychology of the individual.
It is a rare person who sees the broad collective good as both aspiration and moral imperative. Instead we have people who seize upon the aspirational. The glowing benefits of the end of struggles which are personally impactful.
This is the trap of the idealist.
I say trap because many idealists fall away from the struggle for better in the persuit of best. Discarding incremental lasting change in order to create the large mediapathic spectacle of demonstration or sweeping, one stroke changes. The failing is this: such actions and changes are fragile. They have no foundation and unless such change is shored up after the fact, they are poised to fall.
But the idealist fails to see this. Instead of a step on the road, one triumph is declared victory. The bulk of those seeking change look to these idealists as leaders and they fall away from movements because of this.
Without the implicit and expressed moral imperative for changes, our leaders will rest on their laurels. Waiting for new people to take up the fight.
The second concern is this: That in seeking large sweeping change we set ourselves up for the trap. By excluding anything but full and sudden action from our success criteria we set ourselves up to fail. And as those failures drag on, we ablate away the less resolute supporters. Support which is required to push these agendas forward.
So the question becomes, how do we mobilize for changes which require a large percentage of the population to agree with those changes as neccesary?
Politicians would say that voting for them at the national level is vital. And they aren’t wrong but they aren’t right either.
What is neccesary is the creation and motivation of small grassroots efforts. Ones which are united enough to push forward but small enough or embattled enough to resist outside influence. We see that when a grassroots movement gets large enough it becomes vulnerable to takeover. We saw that with the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the Tea party movement. Both started as small grassroots organizations which as they metastasized radically shifted into organizations which were often at odds with their founding principles.