I call myself a Libertarian Socialist which is a sort of left-wing anarchist. This means I think power always, always corrupts and that this fact is part of the human condition. We did NOT evolve to have power over others and however we acquire power over others it psychologically damages us because power is by it’s nature sociopathic and most of us are not. Of course, the sociopathic nature of power also, in turn, attracts the already psychologically damaged and I would go as far as to say that almost anyone who actively wants power shouldn’t be given it.
Human Beings are first and foremost empathetic, social animals who evolved to live in small communal, cooperative, tribal groups of about 150 and lived as such for 200,000 years. 10,000 years ago the development of agriculture led to permanent settlement and from them eventually cities evolved and cities gave rise to the possibility of hierarchical government and the birth of wealth and privilege… and from then on most of us were basically fucked. (historian Yuval Noah Harari of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem even goes so far as to call the Agricultural Revolution “history’s biggest fraud . http://www.realclearscience.com/…/the_agricultural…)
Once cities were formed and assets collected together the bully boys and sociopaths took their chance and took control. If all the food for a city was gathered in one place, the person who controlled the food store controlled the city. Once you controlled the food supply you could decide who got some, you could bribe other strong men to fight for you, you could accept bribes to give food to some and not to others. And thus for 10,000 years since the birth of the city, humanity has been involved in a perpetual battle between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have nots’ between ‘the rulers’ and ‘the ruled’. Philosophy and politics are basically attempts to morally justify and rationalise why some have and some do not, when in reality the whole edifice of social hierarchy, wealth and privilege, rests on a bed of sociopathic violence. There is no solution to this and the struggle against the sociopaths who rule the world will go on forever and thus I personally fear a ‘socialist state’ just as much as I do a ‘corporate capitalist state’ because power always, always corrupts.
That being said, the last 300 years has seen incredible progress in terms of financial equality and individual liberty and in the UK the 34 years from 1945-1979 were an amazing period of ‘the ruled’ gaining ground from ‘the rulers’. For those of us who grew up in those years it just seemed normal but in reality it was a very, very, unusual state of human affairs and unique in human history. The neoliberal dismantling of that world and the reassertion of elite wealth and privilege, is much more true to the history of the last 10,000 years. Yet I lived in that glorious time. I experienced it. So for me there is always the hope of progress but never any faith in a utopian end state.