One of the bitter lessons I have learnt is that those of us who are excited by new ideas are few in number.
Many people feel deeply threatened by them, regardless of their merits or faults.
A common response to ideas I suggest for improving the way we might live is: "so you want to dictate to us", followed by invective about being a Marxist/Maoist/fascist/Nazi (sometimes all four in the same sentence).
Engaging with new ideas requires cognitive effort, which we experience as a form of pain. It's a bit like the pain barrier we must breach when we exercise hard. I suspect this is why some people associate novelty with coercion: you’re forcing me to run all that way!
This barrier is compounded by what psychologists call "system justification": a tendency to support and rationalise the status quo, even if it's harmful.
What these tendencies mean is that we will always struggle against conservatism. Any idea for making our lives better will hit a wall of hostility, that has to be climbed even before we can explain them. Long before we are understood, we'll be dismissed as mad.
None of this to say we should stop proposing new ideas. But we should be prepared for the likely response, and should recognise that it doesn't necessarily relate to whether or not the idea is a good one.

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More from @GeorgeMonbiot

21 Oct
A massive scandal.
How the govt's obsession with privatisation destroyed Test and Trace.
How this caused the resurgence of Covid-19.
How the official "Anti-Corruption Champion" is in the thick of the disaster he should be investigating.
This week's column
theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
This is such an extraordinary story, and so outrageous when you draw all the threads together, that the Guardian let me have almost twice the usual word count.

I defy you to read to the end of it without gasping with rage and grief.
One thing that wasn't clear to me before is the role of the horse racing industry as an entrepot of power. Dominated by immensely rich and influential people, it seems to have fingers everywhere. I suspect more high level deals are done at the race course than the golf course.
Read 9 tweets
19 Oct
This is how the left dies.

So many battles to fight. So many massive, powerful forces to contest: offshore finance, oil and mining companies, the billionaire press, corrupt political funding, Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro ....

Instead we rip into each other.
We might not agree on everything. But effective solidarity means overlooking small differences to unite on big projects.
Cue this exchange, on repeat for 10 months now:
-You were anti-Corbyn
No I wasn’t.
-Yes you were
See my articles and videos.
- In 2017 you wrote a negative tweet about him
Yes, sometimes he drove me nuts.
- That proves it
I don’t give unconditional support to any pol.
-Traitor!
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct
We're going into partial lockdown partly because of the failure of test and trace.
It has failed because instead of using the vast pool of expertise in the public sector (local and national), the government handed the contracts to incompetent profiteers.
It put someone in charge whose sole qualification appears to be that she moves in the same social circle as government ministers. In other words, she's "one of us".
Then, when Dido Harding failed catastrophically, it gave her an even bigger job.
The Tory mantra, repeated for 40 years like a stuck record, is that the public sector is wasteful and inefficient, while the private sector is lean and competitive.

Yet the waste and inefficiency caused by privatising essential public health functions is off the scale.
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
Taxes, like rules, are for little people.

There's no end to the contempt Cummings and his circle show for ordinary mortals.
Yet somehow, these privileged parasites managed to convince millions of people that they are heroically battling against "the elite": by which they appear to mean anyone with a degree.
All the while, they work on behalf of the true elite: the billionaire proprietors of the newspapers, the hedge fund managers, the private equity companies, the multimillionaire funders of the Conservative Party.

It's the most effective con in recent British political history.
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
If the passion and energy that some on the left invest in attacking other people on the left were directed instead at the Conservatives, they might never win another election.

Please everyone: less infighting, more perspective.
All I know is this:

Despite supporting Jeremy Corbyn, and devoting most of a year (unpaid) to his Land for the Many report,

and despite trying, in all the work I do, to hold power to account

I get more flak from the left than the right.

It's such a waste of time and energy.
It seems to me like classic displacement activity.

The government has an 80-seat majority

It is grabbing power with both fists

There is little we can do to stop it

So let's attack each other instead

I understand the grief and anger. But let's not turn it on each other.
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
Before I begin this thread, let me make it clear that I do not in any way blame Dominic Cummings or Dido Harding for their antecedents. What interests me is the way power is acquired, transmitted and sustained in the United Kingdom.
1/13
2. This is Field Marshall Sir John Harding. In 1949, he was sent to Malaya to suppress the insurgency. British actions were notoriously brutal, using Agent Orange, scorched earth campaigns, hunger as a weapon and concentration camps. It’s not clear how much of this he did. Image
3. From 1952, as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, he advised the British government on suppressing the Kikuyu revolt in Kenya. This involved the mass murder of civilians, torture, mutilation and mass imprisonment in concentration camps and fortified villages.
Read 13 tweets

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