I do think that’s a factor, but also that many people have bought into a values system in which the dominance hierarchy is considered moral and correct because they have convinced themselves that merit is in play. It’s the only social system most them ever known, or for most of them, ever conceived of. My friend that I quoted at the beginning of the OP is someone who has read my stories for two years and clapped for them, and still, he has this (mostly subconscious) sense that the dominance hierarchy is just kind of how things are and should be. He tells himself (and me) that it’s about merit, no matter how many times I talk about the intrinsic elements of artificial barriers and bullying and he concedes that those take place.
It feels deeply uncomfortable to many people, I think, to consider that their social system is problematic, even if they can see the discrimination, etc., deep in its fiber. Which is why we have the two political candidates that we do — two men who both represent the apex of the traditional dominance hierarchy (old, white, rich, hetero, Christian males). People vote with their gut and not their heads (a story that I’m working on) and even many who ostensibly want something new, still revert back to the representatives of the known when the rubber meets the road. I think “the unknowable change” is scarier and more disruptive than most people want to admit.
Thanks for your comment.