When ideas for improving human society arise, “realists” say “The powerful people will never let this happen.”
If that is reality, a lot of what we see today, including the Supreme Court decision overturning prohibitions of same-sex marriage, would not be part of our reality.
In reality, there is very little the powerful can do to halt progress. When “progress” means making powerful people better off, well, then all bets truly are off.
This is why it’s important that any innovation designed to replace Western democracy and capitalism benefit the rich and the powerful, including people who would prefer their power be wrested from their cold, dead hands.
Progress, especially the kind happening all around us, doesn’t require those particular people going along with it. There are plenty rich and powerful people who will, once they understand that progress doesn’t require wealth transfers, physical punishment, or sanctions.
As for power, those in the rich and powerful class willing to help make a new reality are also willing to give up their power. Power is the ability to sway public opinion, or decisions governing how things are done, such that those doing the swaying get their way. It also is the ability to control either directly or indirectly other people’s actions. While the Koch brothers are powerful, so are leaders of the Democratic party, so are/were your parents. So is your employer. So is your spouse.
Many of these powerful people will gladly give up their power for something that allows them to get more of what they want. What they want is not power. It’s what they get exercising power.
Sometimes that’s greater freedom, retaining more current wealth, or obtaining more new wealth. Often it’s allowing greater freedom for others.
I am willing to place a bet that so long as the alternative of them having power accomplishes what they want in exercising their power, the right number of the rich and powerful will gladly endorse that alternative. Come to think of it, I am betting both my life and career on this assertion.
Despite what “realists” believe, powerful people aren’t the problem. Most of them are our allies.
I can’t explain why I know I’m right. I just know I am.