By Mike Meyer
After two years of confusion in America and the growing national agreement that we have a mentally disabled, unqualified, and almost certainly criminal individual in the White House feeding lies and misinformation to a captive part of the US population, it’s obvious that this can’t go on. Yet it does go on.
We’ve worn out the old idea that this is just an extreme form of political polarization. That suggests that all possible ideas, no matter how old, reprehensible, and failed are equally valid. That is not true.
There is a moral arrow of time that matches the arrow of time in the macroscopic reality of our universe. From the late 18th century overall well being in advancing nations began to improve steadily. This has continued delayed only slightly by fifty years of world war at the beginning of the 20th century. The benefit of market economics and capital development with no obvious limits to growth built tangible and transportable wealth allowing the creation of a planetary economy. This, from the 1950s on, began to expand through Asia, South America and, once free of European colonialism, Africa.
The primary political focus during this accelerating economic growth in areas free of colonial or imperial domination was adaption of semi representative forms of government modeled on Western social democracies. A fairly wide range of versions dependent on cultural preferences and historical patterns included more directly democratic, i.e. more direct control to a wider percentage of the population, to more authoritarian with more limited direct citizen control.
Most significantly almost all had, by the 21st century, agreed on a broad range of public services essential to the well being and security of their populations. The exceptions to this were areas of great poverty, direct oppression, or dysfunctional government due to cultural lack of ethnic unity. Perhpas best seen as an aberration rather than an exception were Russia, that collapsed as a totalitarian empire in the 1990s, and the United States that began its collapse only thirty years after the Soviets.
At the planetary level the requirements for maintenance of human well being with increased populations drives greater analysis of socially effective administrative systems. This produces improved systems for distribution of resources and greater sophistication in communication and social harmony. A critical fundamental component is the establishment of greater and more diverse concepts of rights.
This, along with simultaneous expansion of wealth and basic resources, creates a steady improvement of life producing the growth of The Better Angels of our Nature as Steven Pinker describes. This is the new substrate of human order that is now distinct from the old governmental superstructures that are increasingly superfluous to our planetary evolution. More on that shortly.
Racism, nationalism, bigotry, and misogyny are, obviously, causes of oppression, disproportionate wage growth, and grossly unbalanced asset distribution in societies. The majority of the post industrial and newly industrialized populations recognize this yet the errors are continuously repeated. These errors, long recognized as such, have begun to be understood as structural failures in the modern nation state tied to the old governmental systems and the people who have traditionally uses those for exploitation.
We understand that our problems with fascism, bigotry, racism, etc are driven by many legacy factors but, most importantly I think, by institutionalized greed and commercial media in thrall to late stage capitalism where conflict generates viewers and increases profits. Nothing else is important in this distorted economy and even our species self destruction is of little importance, in the most extreme cases of this, if there is money to be made.
But there is a growing realization that the climate crisis is a planet sized immovable object. The seemingly unstoppable force of misinformation and political manipulation for power and exploitation that has been unleashed in various nations in reaction to technology driven and educational replacement of the traditional forms of oppression is meeting that immovable object. This planetary collision is destroying the old economic and political system that was and is its cause.
The struggle to save the biosphere of our planet has fallen almost completely on the youth of this planet. Those youth are the product of the new quantum universe and the failures of the old economics materialist power system. As such they have a nearly instinctive understanding of what is needed and the human potential if we simply shed the baggage of the old universe of hatred, ignorance, bigotry and greed.
While that is the normal role of a new generation in modern societies. The difference now, unlike previous generations acting on a new vision of reality, is that we have a clearly defined threat that will overwhelm us unless we organize and work at a much higher level than has ever happened. The planetary generation that has come of age in a predominantly peaceful world with knowledge, communication, and resources available are presented with the fact that this newly found well being will be destroyed by failed ideas and systems actively working against our planetary future.
We are living in an age of irony and the slow motion, random, climate train wreck. The proliferation of climate disasters, arctic thawing, flooding (currently Japan), heat (currently France, food disasters (currently army worms), refugees (currently, take your pick), and drought (currently India and South Africa) is very hard to ignore or deny. That, of course, doesn’t stop the hard core deniers nor their mindless followers completely unable to distinguish scientific fact from the constant din of misinformation that is the remaining tool of the old governmental world.
But logic and history suggests that as reality descends the number of deniers will be driven into hiding. Given the psychological characteristics of people subject to conspiracy based manipulation few of them will announce their change of mind. We know that these people are fully reliant on social groups who feed their self perception as holders of secret knowledge. But in my experience they simply fade away and find new interests when the public pressure and obvious absurdity becomes directly threatening to them.
The problem is the capitalist media insisting on creating controversies and conflicts that can be used to create endless ‘he said’ ‘she said’ stories breathlessly demanding that there is a winner and loser. In our world now there will be no winners. The wrong choice means greater devastation and more likely death for us all. That does not fit the media scenario for maximized profit.
The result is confusion and constant, surreptitious support for the old order and their fascist systems. Driven by massively addictive greed they cannot face the brutal withdrawal even if it means our death. That is the reality that is forcing the birth of a completely new kind of transformative democracy that is marshaling to battle the old and failed systems.
In this context I’ve come to see the new planetary substrate that will naturally replace the older governmental systems as the object of massive attack by the old power structure. That structure is radically capitalist and increasingly pathological. Because it is a tiny elite with control of a vast percentage of wealth produced with the growth of the planetary economy they are using the primary tools of that world: Media and military power to block change and retain their irrational and immoral control of the old nation state system and the planet.
But we are now a networked planet and the youth are natives. While the forces that the young are now beginning to battle are a minority they are their parents and grandparents. Many of these people are the victims of the sophisticated propaganda machines of the old power elite. We see that in the nearly mindless followers of Trump in the US as well as the opportunistic dictators grabbing power in Turkey, Poland, Brazil, the Philippines, Italy and elsewhere. These are the most damaged socially of the old lead states and are normally aligned with the ugly remnants of America’s or Russia’s military empires. These are the most destructive and radically dedicated to endless and permanent exploitation of resources and labor.
This is the ultimate battle for planet Earth and the survival of Homo sapiens. Our hundred year history of imagining this battle against, usually, aliens of any number of possible forms has come down to a multigenerational, planetwide civil war.
The sheer complexity of the climate crisis’ escalation of a major paradigmatic cultural change has obscured the identity of the forces in conflict but the fog is clearing. Much of this obscurity has been produced by the propaganda techniques of casting the current change as just a replay of previous conflicts in order to mobilize the old reactionary population who are already alienated by a completely new order emerging around them.
As a result there is a tremendous effort to make this a war about capitalism and old nation state politics. This is not a war about types of existing government or old economic models. This is a war against all existing types of government and all existing economic models. Whatever their form all major states are complicit in the predatory capitalist system based on exclusion, exploitation, and oppression of the planetary majority in favor of the tiny elite. This is what has destroyed our planetary climate, threatens our existence and uses natural resource monetization in a corrupt economic system.
As everyone should already understand, this is not a war between unified and centralized forces. Those are long obsolete although they remain as gaudy symbols of the old nation state and materialistic systems. This is a planetary war between ways of thinking and living. People we know may embody both evil and good.
Victory will need to come quickly because of the tremendous threat we are under. It will slowly come by death of the old and birth of the new but we must bypass the old systems and ways of thinking where ever they appear. This will be constant conflict but our future and our grandchildren’s future depend on it.