6 November 2013


● ‘Society’ is one of the most important terms in a mediocracy. It sounds virtuous, implying a concern with others. It suggests objectivity, since it’s believed that the significance of a viewpoint increases with weight of numbers. It conveys authority, since the human race in toto has replaced God as the ultimate source of significance.
In fact, the mediocratic concept of ‘social’ has little to do with being nicer (though phrases such as “helping the poor” may be invoked to legitimise intervention and confiscation). It’s a concept defined largely in contrast and opposition to the individual, and is used to express something that goes beyond, and hence overrides, individuals.
There appears to be little correlation between emphasis on the social, and kindness to others. Indeed, as the former increases in a mediocracy, so the latter declines.
Under mediocracy, social views and preferences – what ‘we’ want, what ‘we’ think – replace, wherever possible, individual views and preferences. The individual’s opinion in areas of any significance is irrelevant, except as a component of a larger population, since anything of importance is to be determined collectively (‘democratically’).
‘The needs of society’ becomes the natural reference point for all areas of decision-making. As these ‘needs’ are suitably vague (who is to say what they are?) this can be a useful way to justify more or less anything.
The basic premise of mediocracy is clear enough: if a decision has to be reached, such as whether or not an individual should be allowed to do a given thing, it would be unfair to exclude anyone from the process. Therefore everyone must be allowed to participate, though the decision will be carried by majority vote. While one may be permitted to question this premise in a theoretical debate, it is regarded as the default position and not thought to require justification.
This extends to cultural decisions. Which art should be promoted, which not? What counts as good literature, or good philosophy? Which models of physics capture reality more successfully? Before mediocracy, we may have boggled about how such judgements were made, or who should make them. Post-mediocracy, the answer is simple: ‘the people’, or rather their authorised representatives, decide. We are not interested in the views of the unauthorised, since they are presumed not to represent ‘the people’.