The Year of Living Dangerously

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”   Bertrand Russell


Welcome to 2017, these here are troubled times. Just when the world really needs to take climate change seriously, America goes and elects a climate skeptic who installs an oil company shill to look after the environment. Meanwhile in Australia we have another over-confident redhead from outside politics, who is telling us that there is nothing wrong with the Great Barrier Reef (e.g. no coral bleaching happening) and that there is (apparently) ‘no empirical evidence’ that climate change exists, she is gaining popularity with the Right because the current leader (the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull) is an absolute dud, one who promised so much but has failed to deliver on anything he had previously stood for.

Carl Sagan had it right 20 years ago when he said :

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”  – The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.

The dumbing down of the Western World is indeed happening and it is a scary prospect, where scientifically-proven facts can be disputed with doubt and lies. I guess the fossil fuel industry and the meat and dairy industry have learned from the tobacco industry where all they have to do to dissuade people of the facts is to create an element of doubt, which then allows regular people to sigh and say “You just don’t know what/ who to believe these days, one study says one thing and another study says to do the complete opposite” or  applied to politics :”All politicians are the same, they are all as bad as each other.”. The fact that Trump could tell blatant lies and still not have it effect his chances at the top job is telling, his Government has coined the term ‘alternative facts’ for crying out loud.

To be fair there really wasn’t much of a choice in the recent U.S. election, Trump hit a nerve when he kept referring to Clinton as “Crooked Hillary”, when somebody is being paid $225,000 for one speech to industry executives, something is fishy. As Bernie Sanders said “If somebody gets paid $225,000 for a speech, it must be an unbelievably extraordinary speech,”  “I kind of think if that $225,000 speech was so extraordinary, she should release the transcripts and share it with all of us.”. Obviously these industries are paying the big dollars hoping to yield influence, which implies Clinton could be bought and sold and really didn’t prioritize working class and middle class people as much as she tried to tell everybody.

In my opinion the DNC really messed up when the Super Delegates voted for Hillary instead of Bernie, it all looked pre-ordained and caused anger amongst a lot of Bernie supporters, sparking the hashtag #NeverHillary on Twitter. Bernie may not have been perfect but I feel his honesty and commitment to helping the less fortunate and the down-trodden working man and woman is just what was needed, I am sure that some of the people who voted for Trump may well have voted for Bernie instead, given the opportunity. It seems that Bernie being described as a democratic socialist was to the less-informed one step away from being a communist and, hell, we would just end up like Russia, wouldn’t we? The irony being that it looks like Russia actually got the man they wanted into the White House.

I would encourage everybody to become more politically aware and active, because being an ostritch in these times will be a disaster. We now have a new “Leader of the Free World” who gives the impression of being thin-skinned and impulsive, who knows where that will lead us all? I’m hoping that I am proven wrong and Trump becomes a progressive, modern leader but I am not holding my breath.

The above are all my opinions and everybody is entitled to their own, thanks for reading it.



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