Change may be good or bad, or both, or neither.
The “Butterfly Effect”. I’m sure most of you know it. Or at least heard of it. It’s a concept in Chaos Theory by Edward Lorenz that states small causes can have large effects. The famous concept is imagined with a butterfly flapping its wings in one continent, causing a typhoon in another. Of course, the theory states that it isn’t possible. It simply states that maybe, just maybe, the butterfly flapping its wings served as a catalyst for consequential events that caused the typhoon.
The lull before the storm.
George W. Bush won the close 2000 American elections against Al Gore by five electoral votes. I won’t beat around the bush: The result of the election served as one of the catalyst to the events we’re all facing currently in, before, and possibly the future of the year of 2017. 17 years later after the elections and more to come. And indeed, a lot of dreadful events happened between the year he won and the current year we are in, and possibly, in the future, too.
The butterfly was the president. The butterfly’s wings were the president’s actions. The typhoon was the consequences of the presidents actions.
George Bush is popularly known to be the president that started his term as the president with the highest approval rating (~90%) because of how he responded to the 9/11 attacks, and ending it with one of the lowest at 25% in October of the year of 2008 due to the 2008 Financial Crisis. Now, I won’t say that if Al Gore have had won, things would’ve been any different. They could’ve. We don’t know if Al Gore would’ve gone to the war in Iraq, or made the infamous Bush Tax Cuts, or approved the USA Patriot Act, or signed into law the Medicare Part D Law. Indeed, he could’ve. I don’t know. Nobody knows. It would entirely depend on the scenario and circumstances then. It would forever remain a mystery what the world would’ve looked like today if Al Gore have had won. We all know that Gore’s manifesto was vastly different from Bush’s. But his manifesto doesn’t matter. After all, do you really think that a presidential candidate would do everything in his/her manifesto should he/she be elected?
No. That person wouldn’t. A butterfly can’t predict the future. Anything can happen. And it will flap its wings accordingly. No matter what the costs.
And indeed so. The butterfly flapped its wings on the 20th of March, 2003 when he declared war with Iraq. The war which disrupted not only the countries in the Middle East, but also the relatively rich continent of Europe — the Southern, Western, Central, Eastern, and Northern European countries are all affected by it today with the Contemporary European Refugee Crisis. The war brought chaos, not only then, but also now. Then another catalyst brewed in. It was unexpected. Coming from a conservative, that is. Europe opened its borders for the refugees on August 2015 when Germany suspended the Dublin Agreement and, afterwards, Angela Merkel declared Europe’s borders open for the refugees to come in, calling it a ‘national duty’ to do so.
And then…came the typhoon.
The people were tired. They felt that…that the European Union weren’t trying hard enough. Trying hard enough to work for the people. They thought that the supranational entity was not democratic enough — that it didn’t represent the people enough. And indeed so. The people wanted their voices to be heard. They wanted change. Whether the change came from the left or the right, they didn’t care. And indeed so. They wanted an end to what they thought was an incompetent and sorely, sorely mistaken European Union. “The elites in Brussels — we’re gonna bring you down!” they thought. They wanted an end to austerity economics, which the EU wanted to declare after the 2008 Financial Crisis caused by America due to the country’s deregulation of its banks and a housing bubble that exploded, which crippled most of Western Europe. And indeed so. And then…came the typhoon. The typhoon is populism.
“Bad government is the natural product of rule by those who believe that government is bad.” — Thomas Frank
Greece is an example of this. Their economy couldn’t have handled the 2008 Financial Crisis. The European Union rushed-in to bail them out; the world couldn’t handle an aftershock of the Financial Crisis, which would well as likely happen should Greece go bankrupt and default its economy. Naturally, they would fund that with the tax-payers of citizens of the countries — those inside the European Union. Now, there’s no problem with that — or at least, no problem with most of the people. That’s the whole point of the European Union, is it not? “Together we rise, divided we fall.” With the contemporary refugee crisis, a very bad economy, and pressure from the EU, the situation in Greece couldn’t get any worse, could it? Well, yes, it couldn’t. Greece was in a very, very bad situation. The Greeks thought so, too. But they didn’t want it. They didn’t want austerity. That was evident so on the day of January 25, 2015, wherein they voted the left-wing populist SYRIZA party with Alexis Tsipiras as its leader. They hoped — that that party would defy the EU and negotiate a deal for the people. They hoped…
And so it is. The problem with populism is not that it is against the establishment. It isn’t. The problem with populism is that their policies are against the masses while they are trying to be for the masses at the same time.
Then…came the much awaited referendum. On June 27, 2015, the Greeks rejected the Greek bailout referendum. That wasn’t any surprise. Only the center, center-left, and the center-right campaigned for the referendum. The people were not happy with them. They blamed them. For they were the establishment. Oh, the disgusting establishment. The populists were definitely more attractive. They’re populists after all. It’s their job to appeal to the masses’ emotions. Again, not surprisingly, the left, the far-left and the far-right campaigned heavily against the referendum. It was the unholy alliance. The populist alliance. And indeed so. The Greek bailout referendum lost with over 61% of the Greeks voting against it. They were happy…the masses won. They won against those dirty elites. Populism won. Even when their economy is in shambles — emotions, their hearts, mattered more than hard facts. They couldn’t accept that they were wrong — they wanted to dream. But…
The dream shattered. It broke. They saw…they saw the real face of populism.
The populists themselves knew that the economy was going bankrupt. They needed to do something. And so they did. They didn’t technically oppose the referendum. They went their way around it. Oh, the despair of the people when they found out that their government accepted the bailout from the European Union with an even stronger and harsher austerity economic policies than the one the Greeks voted against for. Shock, was their first reaction. They couldn’t believe it. And time went on fast after that. Then came on the snap elections. The Greeks didn’t want to accept that they made a mistake. They didn’t want to admit that choosing populism was wrong. And so, they voted the current government back in. And the populists were happy, while Greece shattered. The masses were betrayed by the populists they thought were for them. For themselves. For the people. Against the elites. For Greece. And indeed so. They were absolutely sorely, sorely mistaken!
Give one too much power, and he’ll fight for the entity he was fighting against when he didn’t have power. The populists BECAME the ‘Establishment’ the people so much dreaded.
The earth is a sphere. And it seems politics is, too. The more extreme one becomes, the more he gets closer to the one he’s been fighting against. And maybe if the people gets tired of populism, they’ll switch back to the establishment? Well, nobody knows the answer to that. We’ll see in the future to come. There are many things that we don’t know. Only history will show that to us and the future generations. We may never know what would’ve happened to history should Bush have lost. ‘Might be the same. This goes with many events. What if Hitler hadn’t won? What if the Great Depression never happened? What if Stalin’s mother decided to have let her son go? What if the EU never existed? What if the African countries never were colonized? What if? What if? What if? What if establishment politics never existed? That every country had governments that were on the extremes? No consensus. No peace. Just ideologies; ideologies that can create or destroy. What if…we’re all butterflies?
Would you flap your wings?