Where Angels Fear
6 min readOct 31, 2016


I Second This Motion To Act Immediately

I love the idealism displayed by people … if only everyone were so positive.

However, their arguments are, unfortunately, naively optimistic.

If they were right in their assumptions then all that they suggest would long since have come to pass and we wouldn’t be discussing it now.

The problem is that, if you leave people to their own devices, you end up with what we have now …

… you end up with the Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, cash for questions, the enclosure of the land, sweat shops, child labour, blood feuds, female genital mutilation, honour killings, domestic abuse, Indian Reservations, concentration camps, bribery, graft, snake oil merchants, cult leaders, religious fanatics, suicide bombers … the list goes on …

and on …

and on …

and …

No, education won’t change anything: there are thousands, if not millions, of places people can find the information they require … there have been thousands, if not millions, of people who have, over the course of millennia, attempted to educate us all … and we still don’t get it — in fact, if legend is to be believed, we once nailed a man to a lump of wood, for suggesting we should treat each other better than we do.

People don’t want to think — it’s hard work.

They don’t want to be educated — and they’ll resent you for trying.

You’re not from around here; who do you think you are, telling us how to do things? You think you’re so smart, don’t you? Well, how are your smarts gonna stop me punching you in the mouth, Mr Smarty Pants — not so clever sounding now, are you?

Oh, you are from around here, are you?

Well, we don’t want you here and you’re leaving town on a rail.

You want to know how it all works, look at the schoolyard — people don’t change, their bodies get bigger, that’s all, and, until you can breed psychopathy/sociopathy/narcissism/etc. out of the gene/meme pool, it’s never gonna change.

Even in a world of limitless abundance, in which everything anyone could ever want is theirs for the taking, with no effort required, there will be people who want something they can’t have and are willing to take by force.

They’ll kidnap and/or rape the girl who says ‘no.’

They’ll take the present your loved one gave you and break it in front of your very eyes for the pleasure of hurting you.

They’ll publicly ostracise you, just to see you humiliated.

They’ll gossip about you behind your back and turn others against you.

They’ll connive and plot and lie and charm and fool others to gain influence and control just to get their own way, because they love wielding power over others for its own sake.

They’ll form gangs and clans and tribes and armies and attack you because “you’re not like us” … “you’re not from around here” … or you have something they want (like a nicer view from your window).

How do I know?

Take a look around you.

Take a look in the History books — you don’t even need to read the words, just look at the pictures.

Do I want a better world in which to live? Do I think we should all strive to make it so?


Do I think there’s no point trying and we shouldn’t bother?


But neither do I think that naive idealism and the belief that ideologies or technologies will suddenly change human nature and result in Paradise on Earth, if only we can get the sheeple to open their eyes and the penny to drop, will make a blind bit of difference.

Capitalism won’t save us.

Libertarianism won’t save us.

Anarchosyndicalism won’t save us.

Marxism won’t save us.

Education won’t save us.





Assumptions are the mothers of all fuckups — and there are no more pernicious mothers than the Reification Fallacy and the Fundamental Attribution Error.

Something needs to be done.

But naively expecting the laws of Systemantics to conveniently step aside in favour of our pet theories won’t get us anywhere.

People are not units of social and economic activity: they are complex systems in their own right; each a world of their own, with their own functions and dysfunctions.

Both Rand and Marx were wrong!

Human nature is not an engineering problem nor is it a computer game puzzle to be solved by getting people to do the right things in the right order.

Educating people and leaving them to their own devices in the hope that the right behaviours will simply emerge as properties of self-organisation hasn’t worked so far and, as Rita Mae Brown said, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, is a sign of insanity.

It’s gonna take more than a sixth-form/high-shool approach, I’m afraid ¹.

Remove every individual from a group and you are left with exactly nothing.

If groups are to be unregulated by any outside agency then what must be borne in mind is that no such group ever became corrupted by anything other than corrupt individuals working within it to their own ends.

How, therefore, is that to be prevented without recourse to outside agency?

Sociopolitical theorising is all well and good, but it ignores the reality of real people in the real World, in favour of hopelessly naive, quick fix, magical thinking.

When you can demonstrate organisations/bodies/groups/whatever that exist sui generis and are immune to human intervention, I might take people’s arguments seriously, but, until then, I’m afraid, sixth form/high school debate just won’t cut it for me.

Bland assertions that Capitalism, free markets, Marxism and anything else you care to think of will solve the problem of human nature just won’t cut it.

Smith and Wesson didn’t kill your brother: the murdering bastard who pulled the trigger did.

Capitalism didn’t invade anywhere: greedy, thieving bastards did.

Markets don’t trade: people exchange goods and services.

The bank didn’t foreclose on your mortgage: an investor got their dividend.

The company didn’t make you redundant: a CEO made their bonus.

The proletariat won’t dictate to us: influential members of it will.

The working class won’t run things: people will.

“There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called 'the people'. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People.

People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.

As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up. What would run through the streets soon enough wouldn't be a revolution or a riot. It'd be people who were frightened and panicking. It was what happened when the machinery of city life faltered, the wheels stopped turning and all the little rules broke down. And when that happened, humans were worse than sheep. Sheep just ran; they didn't try to bite the sheep next to them.”

— Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

At the end of the day, we have to decide what structures to build, so that individuals may be protected from them as well as served by them — and that won’t happen so long as people glibly ignore the clear statement made at the Nuremburg Trials that individuals do things, not institutions.

¹ Answers on a postcard, please



Where Angels Fear

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.