As I write this, we’re having the first completely sunny day in a long time. It’s likely to be quite warm and it’s as if what I’ve been wishing for has finally come true. As always, be careful what you wish for. It won’t be long and it will seem too hot, and I’ll be thinking how I used to love hot days in my youth but really can’t deal with the heat anymore.
And that brings me to today’s rant.
I’d guess that most of us are hoping for a warmer, brighter future. We go to the polls to make changes and then always seem to be disappointed in the results. The Morlocks are in control and the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Will we ever see that bright, sunny day when people will finally get it right?
Will religion die a natural death and reason be seated on its throne?
Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Right now, if you can, think of something that you’d like to see in that brave new world. Would it be an end to world hunger? How about armies shrunk to the point of national defense only? Would you like Catholicism to become as bland as Unitarianism or would you like to see a blending of churches so that one size fits all? While we’re at it, perhaps one world government or a universal set of laws would be in order. What would your Utopia look like? What would you fight for, work for, give up your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for?
Here’s that other shoe: someone else has a different vision. Why did you think these things just don’t happen?
There was a period in our (U.S.) history when liberals got some of what they wanted. Heady times, those. But we became scattered, and we wanted to fix everything and we became weak while the conservatives became focused. We wound up losing much of our gains and we became ineffectual. We aimed high and we killed the goose who laid golden eggs. We didn’t have the resources and we weren’t all in agreement – those others had a different agenda.
Naomi Klein made reference to some of those others in The Shock Doctrine: the ultra-rich who looked out on the vast landscape of proles and saw that they had money. There was that whole middle-class thing, the consumers. “We can get that money,” said the wealthy, for whom there is never enough wealth. And so they have. They “moved” the money as if it were given an aspect of weightlessness. The money rose to the top as if by magic.
But it wasn’t magic. It was a concerted effort. It was bait and switch, don’t watch the shells watch the hands. Rumsfeld told the Pentagon chiefs on the day before 9/11 that we were now going to privatize the military and in a sea change of manipulation jobs that were once done by the lowly G.I. were now being done by private contractors because, in the bible of Reaganism it says that government is sloppy and not effective at running things and only private industry can be efficient and skillful.
But Ronny, in his logic-twisting, left out one small detail: private business has something called profit, and the goal of private business is to acquire all the profit that it can. So, in practice, private business charges perhaps eight times as much to do the same job that an enlisted man would do for board and room and a few bucks. And those contractors must be protected in that foreign land, so they need guns. What do they know about guns?
A lot, it turns out. And unlike the military, they don’t have quite so many restrictions on the use of guns. Business is booming, one might say. We began to see horror videos posted on the video sites – contractors’ pickup trucks in busy traffic with machine guns aimed and used on any civilians foolish enough to get too close.
But we’re there to help those people, right? Right?
Where’s our Brave New World now? The Bush era seems like a bad dream and now we’ve got Saint Obama to look toward for our salvation. But Obama seems to us to be reluctant to end the Bushian pursuits. The so-called wars continue unabated and, if anything, expanded. So if peace in the Middle East was one of your goals, don’t be expecting any substantial changes any time soon. “I like free markets,” Obama chillingly spoke during his Presidential campaign. And free markets need their cheap labor. Bush, during his tenure, intimated that the Iraqis would make a fine labor force for us. Oh, heck, he didn’t intimate it, he came right out and said it.
On the religion front, the news that atheism was growing at considerable rates was received with joyous pride. We are finally coming out of the closet, we thought, and we’re gaining stature. Perhaps reason will be disseminated by this growing horde of logical free-thinkers. But then that other shoe – Texas decides to exchange education for indoctrination, rewriting history, placing emphasis where it will do the most good for the incurably religious. Meanwhile, Arizona decides that stopping people and asking for their papers is all in a day’s work. Yes, Arizona, you have a crime problem. Yes, you are situated in an area where illegal border crossing is easy and common. And yes, you have chosen to stop being Americans and you’ve chosen to copy the methods of fascists, reducing free citizens to a status of controlled proles, without personal rights or freedom to move or assemble without being watched.
Communism is dead! was shouted from the rooftops when the Berlin Wall fell. But for all our relief that the oppressive regime was finally vanquished by our superior force of money, our hegemonious capitalism, we daily become more like them, while they become slightly more like us. How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen McDonald’s?
So what are we wishing for today? That a third of the world will suddenly come to their senses, realize that they’ve been following the wrong path and begin to put things right that once went wrong? Are we wishing that corporations will be stripped of their power (again) or that the rich will be taxed? Are we wishing that the others will just go away? Are we wishing that we had something to hope for as the economy continues to flounder? Do we wish that Obama might actually have a plan, and that his gaffe in regard to drilling offshore was just a minor glitch in an otherwise brilliant scheme and he’ll lead us all to become the Promised Land?
Be careful what you wish for. And I mean that most sincerely. Because what you want to happen, how you want things to be, how the world should be for your children, well, someone else wants it to be different. Those mysterious others want it to be different. Don’t just hope for a shiny Utopia. Hope that you can more clearly define what you want to happen and how it can happen and share it with others. See if they want it, too.
Welcome to the Brave New World.