I have to admit that I’m living through a rough and disturbingly persistent period of misanthropic gloom, not directed at you in particular, dear reader, but rather at the lot of us in general, and that most certainly includes yours truly.
It is a generalized self-loathing predicated on our lemming-like race, not to one but a whole series of cliffs from which we willingly fling ourselves into a broad, unforgiving ocean with apparent glee.
Indeed, we revel in our intellect and invention, but prove repeatedly that we lack the wit or temperament to use that intellect and invention to create a world that is sustainable. We find sufficiency in our individual acts of sanity while ignoring our combined madness.
We pontificate about justice from podium and pulpit, from seats of government to board rooms of corporations and union halls, but too often the words are particularly hollow and devoid of any kind of meaningful empathy.
The day after the Alberta election, I listened to one Ric McIver, the MLA for Calgary Hays, and found myself wondering about Canada’s vision of itself in the context of a rapidly devolving world order.
From my rather jaundiced perspective I found McIver, like so many other political elite on the far right and/or left to be arrogant, rude, profoundly ignorant and perversely emblematic of a social order that cannot reconcile itself with its own failings. Indeed, of a society that revels in its own madness.
As a global society we are like the child standing in the middle of the room, hands over ears, screaming, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.” We are in a state of mass denial so profound that we are willing to inflict self-pain not on principle, but from spite.
We deny empirical evidence and embrace conspiracy, we laud liars and cheats while heaping scorn on truth speakers, and most tragically we direct blame and loathing toward our brethren who are in need. Watch a Trump rally and you’ll witness schadenfreude, his lies embraced and applauded by a mindless mass who delight in the misfortune of the their fellow human beings.
Throughout the world we are witness to what CBC’s, Michael Enright describes as, “the slow creep of fascism.” We know the horror of that dark corner of our human soul, but we seem unwilling to exorcise it or even believe that it exists.
But, exist it does and rest assured this evil resides in the human soul – it is not the perverse product of Western elitism. No, far more often than is comfortable, the abused, abuse; the oppressed, oppress; and the wronged, wrong. No culture can hold its head high – this is a very human failing and that makes it even more insidious.
We are facing the dawn of the cataclysmic environmental epoch, and yet far too many of us refuse to believe that we could be the straw that broke the climate camel’s back. To render that admission will result in a profound change to our profligate lives and might cut business profits.
We stubbornly ignore the possibility of a better future that resides in that change. Instead, we have the president of the most powerful nation in the world proclaiming to a cheering mass, egging them on with lies that are simply preposterous.
“I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ of ‘you’re not allowed to own cows anymore’!”
And we in Canada need not be smug. Andrew Scheer and our latest crop of Conservative premiers aren’t a whole lot better.
So, I apologize for inflicting a rant on all of you, but there it is. Next issue I will be much more upbeat – really.
In the meantime I’m going to spend some more time pondering my own complicity in this mess we seem to be inflicting on ourselves with the intent of seeing if I can’t do a little better.