Sunday, August 14, 2011

Des Downunder On Sundays

By Desmond Rutherford | ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA -- The Death of Optimism
The London riots have raised a number of commentaries. On one website, I had something of a disagreement with a commenter, when I pushed the line that deprivation of opportunity for youth contributes to civil unrest, (to put it politely.)
I am heartened to discover that I am not the only one.
Russell Brand in the Guardian, also looks at cause from a similar standpoint, but, Brand's column is a bit of a long read and the majority of the salient points he makes, are discussed here at the Young Turks:
Setting aside the obvious references to the work of Charles Dickens' -child labour in the work houses and deprivation of youth, which was first recognised in popular culture in the 1961 film version of the musical West Side Story with the line, “Hey I'm depraved because I'm deprived.”
What went wrong?
Before the happy, harmonious hippies of the 60s sold out in the 70s for a piece of the establishment, many of the more thoughtful of them prophesied that their brothers and sisters were abandoning peace, love and harmony for a job. Moreover, they predicted that the first world countries were going in the wrong direction; that education was being downgraded (particularly in the humanities) and thus dumbing down the population.
Replacing the 60s freedom for enlightenment with the capitalistic 'user pays' principle would precipitate not only deprivation of opportunity, but see a growth of avarice and greed. This was further amplified by the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980.
The hippies had seen the displacement of humanist principles as a retrograde step which would contribute to a 'crash' ending in misery, economic disaster and poverty. In short, they predicted the recent and current financial crises, and did so by citing it as a symptom of capitalism's inherent inequality.
According to the surviving flower children, the so-called hippy revolution was bombarded with drugs, superstitions, and offers of positions in the very system they were fighting against. The temptation for some was too much to resist and they sold-out. Others retreated into communes that would eventually be bought out by large corporations.
Once the so-called hippy revolution succumbed to the above influences, the conservative right wing, the 'Establishment,' began to reassert its influences over the populace, to corrupt any idea of social welfare in favour of furthering avarice and greed in the 'free' marketplace as being the natural pursuit of their happiness at the cost of the lives and livelihood of first the poor and underprivileged, and now more recently the middle class.
Even though the hippies sang and danced about free love, no one could have foreseen nor guessed that the birth of the Internet and the freedom of information it provides, would lend its influence on the liberation of humanity; or the reciprocal revelation that religious extremist terrorism is the reactionary force of the right wing conservative establishment lying and cheating in the name of their god for profit.
No wonder the conservatives want to control it. No wonder they deny the human rights of certain people such as the LGBTQ community. They see the gays, fear the gays as being the new hippies. No wonder at all, that they want all the power and control of the social media.
For those sociopathic conservative forces, deprivation is a tool to cull society of its most underprivileged members, its most annoying representatives of its own future who will not go quietly into submission to the rules of savage corrupted cultures no longer relevant to the very real problems of an over populated planet.
None of this excuses the deprived for looting and rioting, such as what we saw this past week in Britain. But, if people are subject to being told that they need, must have the latest and greatest items in the marketplace, and they do not have the means to even understand that they are being manipulated, then they will take the cake whenever the opportunity arises. When they make the opportunity, then you have revolt.
What happened to the hippies can so easily happen to any who resist the pressure to have, instead of recognising the value of being who we are as aware, loving, and compassionate beings. It's not like we haven't been warned. H.G. Wells in his epic book, The Time Machine, described the evolution of conservative extremists as cannibalistic troglodytes who feed on the Eloi who descended from docile humans .
By today's standards, conservative extremists would blame the Eloi for tempting the Morlocks to eat them. Truth be told, conservatives would eat their own young if they were hungry, but are more likely to sacrifice them to ancient ideologies of supernatural beings in line with the claims of a prophet, and to current political economic policies for a profit. Life itself is so much more.
This means of course that if you have any sense of humanity, any regard for human rights, then no matter the failings on the progressive left (and they can be irritating) there should be no one of conscience voting for the Republicans, Tea Party, right wing conservatives, or religious extremists. To vote for them, would be to plunge us all into a culture of barbaric ignorance, selling out our humanist heritage. It is telling that some people think that this is a good thing? Those on the right might well be regarded as wanting to put optimism itself to death.
Even so, it is difficult for one to remain optimistic, but what choice do we as humans have? At the moment, the message of hope that is human love and compassion is our greatest and perhaps only human attribute we have left. We're no longer merely, “We the people,” we, are the human race, and we're in trouble aren't we?


Trab said...

Damn, Des...I don't know if I need to be optimistic or just kill myself now.

Interestingly, I always felt like I sold out by taking a job, but it was a totally non-aggressive and non-commercial job that was called a 'cop out' by people who felt I should have had more initiative to pursue more money. I felt it was dropping out of the rat-race while still feeling I was doing a bit of disservice to the cause of being totally free.

The reality of needing food, love, and acceptance is such that sometimes we have to strike a practical balance, but that balance should never exclude care about other people.

I guess when it comes to the riots, I can almost understand looting something, but I cannot understand just destroying something, particularly if it is obviously a personal possession and not part of the commercial infrastructure. A store window, or sign, or a transit vehicle is totally different from someone's house or automobile. But maybe that's just me and my way of thinking...for that matter, I'd be gone so fast if I saw a riot started that I'd be rivalling Superman for speed.