He threw down the tablet with a huff.
“Hey, those things are expensive,” I said.
“Sorry. It’s just… I’ve finally read enough news and social media to figure out what’s wrong with our society.”
“Oh?” I was intrigued. “And what, pray tell, is that?”
“There’s a movement on, a reaction to the more dismal effects of democratic capitalism, that believes we need more socialism. That a hybrid form of collectivism will dredge the depths of the impoverished and haul their sorry asses, gasping and blinking, up to the surface.”
“The surface being—”
“The supposed good life. The middle class? The bourgeoisie? Whatever utopian middle ground where everyone has what they need and wants for nothing.”
“Ambitious. Haven’t we tried that a few times before, with disastrous results?” I asked.
“We have, but what these so-called socialists want isn’t a wholesale restructuring like the men with the red flags. What they propose is less radical reform. Mostly they want rich people to give their capital to the poor. At least, I think that’s it. Oh, and pay for education and health care. And roads? Maybe? Or at least free e-bikes in city cores? I haven’t seen a proper proposal, only angry outbursts in the form of late-night talk show host monologues and viral memes that all blame an unidentifiable ‘them’ for the modern world’s ills.”
“Oh, them. My father used to say, ‘Who, the people at the bus stop?’ and I’ve never been able to get that out of my head. But those demands you listed all sound reasonable. What’s got you throwing thousand-dollar technology on the floor?”
“It’s the fact that the ones who yell loudest for these changes are the educated. Degree-holders. Ones whose ideal job would be remote work that pays enough of a salary to cover rent, avocado toast, and a modest hobby— and no kids, mind you, because the world is too messed up to even consider raising a family…”
“Again, that’s fine with me,” I said.
“But what these people forget is that for the world to even run we need people working in the fields and factories. That hasn’t changed. Robotics has taken us far, but not that far. And you can bet your bottom dollar that not even one of these world reformers would ever deign to spend even so much as a minute on a farm or an assembly line. It’s not that they want to have their cake and eat it too: they want the cake of the people who made the comforts of their world a possibility, and they want to lean way back on their sofas while they cram it into their overprivileged mouths and stream their lives away on television.”
“And that’s what’s wrong with our society?”
“In a nutshell, yeah.” He picked up the tablet with a sigh and resumed his scrolling.
2023.07.27 – 2023.12.19