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Ask A Genius 596: Down-‘Lifting’ Forces


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen and Rick Rosner

Publication (Outlet/Website): Ask A Genius

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/07/04

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Yeah. So what are the down lifting forces?

Rick Rosner: All right. So, we ended the last session on uplifting people in the future with me bitching about Rupert Murdoch. The deal is that, well, there are a couple of things. One is to some extent, you make the planet safe for yourself by uplifting the planet. That you don’t want to have such huge gaps among people that get a huge population that’s pissed off and will try to destroy you. Now some people will – some of the hyper rich, a lot of them, I think – work to insulate themselves from the angry masses. But I think most people have some inclination to want to uplift out of fairness and out of having a world that’s not miserable and chaotic. At the same time, everybody has their limits to uplift. The same way people have different limits to how far they’re willing to go to recycle.

Most people now believe that climate change is happening and want to do stuff within reason to slow it down. But everybody has a different idea of what is within reasonable expectation. So similarly, everybody has their idea of what might and will happen in the future as things happen. Everyone will have their idea of what’s reasonable and what isn’t going to uplift the world. It’s expensive to uplift. And it’s even more expensive when you have active forces that are down lifting people, the forces that keep people dumb. And that leads to the question of why would somebody want to keep people dumb? And in America, at least, it’s very much tied to money that the Republican Party has become the slaves of their rich donors, their hyper rich donors.

And the Koch brothers and people who are worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. And who don’t want to pay taxes, who don’t want to pay for stuff like infrastructure, who have so much money that they feel that they can buy their own services and they don’t want to pay for anybody else’s services. So, for 20 years and more, the Republican Party has been working against stuff for the public good: schools, infrastructure, and health care. If you’re rich and can afford to pay for it yourself, you don’t want to pay for anybody else’s shit. And not wanting to pay for schools, I mean, the majority of people are in favor of things like schools and libraries and decent roads.

And it’s to the benefit of rich Republican donors to have a very angry, mobilized base that thinks that roads and schools are socialism because it serves the purposes of the money driving the Republican Party to keep people down lifting and stupid in this way. There are also some doctrinaire stuff that keeping people worked up about abortion. But again, most of it goes back to feeding people’s prejudices and ignorance and stupidity to get what you want if you have the money to pay for it. And given the way politics works in the U.S. has been for the past 50 years and more, the Democrats have suffered for wanting to play fair, for thinking they have more popular and better ideas and thus don’t have to engage in the same kind of branding and often dishonesty that the Republicans engage in.

And the Democrats suffer from this. This naivete or laziness or confidence in their own goodness and confidence that normal political systems working normally will lead to the triumph of goodness and to the triumph of popular things, things that most people want being voted, coming to pass via legislation. And increasingly, lately, that’s not true because the Republicans play dirty. And a question for the near future is whether Democrats will play dirty too? It’s something that I’m writing about in my novel, where the main character plays dirty when that character finds it reasonable to do so. All right.

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In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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