Have you heard the phrase “Identity Politics”? Look it up on Wikipedia, although the article is disputed. The basic idea is that to gain power, politicians, social activists and those that make their living by dividing society use group identification as way to gain followers. They do this primarily by saying “They [whoever they are] are against us. It’s unfair. We need to be heard! We need to strike back! YA!!”  The volume goes up and the protests begin. And…possibly most importantly, the cameras come out to interview “leaders” of the aggrieved group. Speaking fees go up for those who regularly are interviewed. Donations come in to correct or avenge the social injustice. And they get new cars and nice houses. Ok, enough of the factual, but depressing, cynicism.

What does the Best Future look like? It is a future in which people are not judged by their group affiliation. More importantly, they don’t judge their OWN place in society by whatever group affiliation they have. They, and society, regard themselves and everyone else as individuals. They are judged “by the content of their character” to borrow a famous quote regarding race relations from Dr. King. They don’t play the victim card as a result of being a part of a group.

Why can’t we fulfill Dr. King’s vision? I believe we can and will, but why hasn’t it been done yet? Probably because greed motivates many to perpetuate groupism. And it’s because it’s easier and more appealing to blame someone else for my place in life than it is to pursue a better place in life as it takes a lot of work. These negative motivations cross all types of humans.

This is not to say that there are not and have not been oppression towards various groups throughout history. It is also a part of the human experience. However, the diversity in society today makes that significantly less a factor today than in decades and centuries past. The era of Royalty and peasants, in the West at least, has past. We retain vestiges of these in our political classes, but to a lesser degree. Further, individuals can behave badly towards other individuals because of the group they belong to. But this argues for a society that, through social structures, perpetuates the Golden Rule – Treat others as you want to be treated. Perhaps with a slight addendum of “regardless of their group affiliation”.

With the spread of information technology and the advance of democratization of ideas, I believe that eventually these plagues and those that perpetuate them will fade. You can do your part today by judging people less by their party or race or other group affiliation. Just because someone isn’t part of your group doesn’t mean they are bad or should not be treated with kindness, grace and magnonimity. Let’s drop the group-think. Just people by their actions and their character as individuals.