Humans love to be in control. We love to determine who gets what and how much. We’re really good at it too – or we should be given how so much of human history is made up about humans squabbling to control land, people, resources, etc. In reality though we suck at control.
Most of our political battles are about control over something. Take immigration. The battle over immigration is about who gets to enter, how much they can get harassed, and how assimilated they need to be.
Same thing with poverty. The battle of control is over who gets what and how. With poverty, there are assumptions made – that if you are poor you shouldn’t have anything (anything at all) that is “nice.” The assumption is that poor people are supposed to be miserable all the time. So those that can implement policies that make sure they can control how the poor feel – miserable.
Politicians are big on control. So are churches so very often. Politics and organizational religion is often very focused on controlling what you can do and what you must believe and who you can talk with. It’s been this way for a long time. Jesus got himself in trouble for doing things that went against the norm, for restating the Law, and for hanging out with the scum of society.
Of course, not all politicians and not all religious leaders or denominations are control freaks.
Here’s the thing with having and using control over others. Often it becomes subjective. Those in control get to determine who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, who’s in and who’s out. The problem comes when you go to a different jurisdiction (somewhere where other people are in control). There is often a different set of good and bad guys. They could, in fact, be the exact opposite of what you just experienced. It’s all based on context and preference. Mostly it ends up being someone in control determining who’s in and who’s out. And then lots of people rationalize it to make sense of it. There must be a reason, don’t you know.
Maybe if we spend less time trying to control people and more time trying to help people, we’d be better off. But then again, we’d have to admit that we don’t have all the answers. And then what? We’d have to get along with people. Scary, isn’t it? Control offers stability. Yet, at what price?