In the ongoing "debate" between EB and everyone's favorite "commentator", I'm noticing an interesting fundamental difference between Vox's crowd and EB's. It comes out especially in a comment on the post I link to above:
BWAHAHAHAHA!! I love how the typical liberal solution requires massive changes in the fabric of reality to be effective. Yea, that's the stuff!This is in response to EB's quite reasonable claim, "A solution for slavery starts by building a world where bigotry, intolerance, and hatred aren't acceptable." The fundamental difference I see here is that liberal-minded folks tend to think of the world (and people's behavior) as being more or less malleable, whereas most conservatives conceptualize a world where things (and people's behavior) are essential and do not change.
This is the thinking behind racism, sexism, and blocks to social progress. Conservatives tend to say, "the world will not change, no matter how much you try to make it change." Liberals tend to respond with action (e.g., the Abolition Civil Rights, or Women's Suffrage movements), and conservatives then incorporate the results into their essentialist view of the world.
Perhaps there are social and cultural elements that are ao firmly entrenched as to seem absolutely immutable, but they ultimately are, as the brilliant poster quoted above implied, fabricated. And no matter what one wishes to think about the nature of the world, the structure of society seems to be capable of being changed by repeated, focused actions performed by a critical mass of people.
But these changes are not in the fabric of "reality"; they are within the realm of human influence. And all things that fall within that realm can be -- to some extent, anyway -- changed if enough people want them to. This is why, I, someone who believes that all humans are selfish and willful, can also believe in the real potential of changing the world around me for the better.
What do you think?