Evolution not revolution
I wrote this just before the Brexit vote…
People want change and this fact has been co opted by those in power. Our leaders recognise most ordinary people have an ill defined yearning for a new way of doing things. So they’ve taken this deep, dissatisfaction and perverted it. Boris, Gove, Osborne and Cameron couldn’t really care less which way we vote because either way it’s win win for them and theirs. If we stay IN and maintain the status quo we get the Tory party, the upper classes and the real wealthy elites (who’ve been running the show for the better part of 1000 years now) and nothing changes. We’ll all have been distracted by the referendum side show. Distracted from the hand in our pockets. Stealing our future to pay for their now while we fight amongst ourselves.
If we vote Out then UKIP and the Eurosceptic Tories get what they want; less interference with their power and control, a mandate to continue filling their pockets at our expense, all challenge to their authority removed while the public is distracted by immigrants and the illusion of popular sovereignty.
But what if there was a third way??
The public’s sense of dissatisfaction needs to be addressed. Instead of allowing our anger to be diluted we need to target it in a coordinated way. Aim it at our real problem; the neoliberal, capitalist experiment that has gone awry. In both Britain and America, the joint home of this anglo saxon ideology, we can see the same crisis being played out in a kind of spooky symmetry. A charismatic blond whipping up the masses with divisive language they don’t actually believe in in order to distract people from the serial greed enshrined by our current system. It’s a system perpetrated by those invested at the top, aspired to by those in the middle and the bottom… to their detriment.
Why do we seem to have entered such interesting times? Because there is a schism at the heart of our way of life. We worship money and celebrate greed while lamenting the damage this kind of unrestrained hoarding does to us all. Everyone instinctively realises there is enough wealth in the world for no one to go hungry but in order to make sure everyone has enough we have to let go of our fear and help others in order to make the whole stronger.
It seems really complicated but it doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We don’t need to change our entire way of life. As short lived bipeds we want to see change happen fast but in reality meaningful change should be a gradual process, evolving one small step at a time. The EU is the perfect institution to foster this type of change because nothing happens there quickly. If the Union could action a few small changes to our laws in order to regulate greed, closing tax havens, limiting personal wealth and legislating corporate altruism then we have more than enough to solve many of our ills.
We regulate many other aspects of our human nature, fear, anger, jealousy so why not greed?
The free market is great in so many ways and has given us all many wonders but left unchecked it is warping, to the point it doesn’t help us any more it hinders. A system designed to facilitate Human happiness and growth is actually strangling us all.
But change is scary. People fear they will damage productivity, limit growth, lose out in some way but, the alternative is much worse. If we continue down the road we are on then dissatisfaction will turn ugly if left unaddressed. However, If we try and take the long view, stop thinking of ourselves as so unique and acknowledge we are part of a pattern running through time then we can learn from history both recent and ancient and not make the same mistakes. Mistakes where differences are magnified and blamed for all of our ills, leaving certain groups of humans marginalised and persecuted. Where charismatic individuals promise great change, action profound and destructive revolution but end up falling back into the same routines.
Over and over again it happens, like a broken record. Let’s break the cycle.