Tuesday, May 02, 2017

You Don't Have to Be An Optimist To Keep Fighting

A fellow blogger today allowed that he had abandoned hope that mankind will pull out of its climate change nose dive.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no hope for us as a species. This is a new conclusion for me; despite being an inveterate pessimist, I have always held to just a sliver of hope that things could change, that we can't be counted out of the game yet.

No one event pushed me over the edge; I think it was just the relentless refusal of our political caste to take seriously the crisis engulfing us. Donald Trump's passion to unleash even more fossil fuel into our atmosphere, and Justin Trudeau's facile, fundamentally dishonest and juvenile insistence that environmental amelioration and exploitation of the tarsands are not mutually incompatible are but two symptoms of a western population that insists on having its every whim and consumptive desire met post-haste.

My friend isn't alone. The ranks of the like-minded have been swelling, especially in the last couple of years, and for plenty of good reasons, all of them rooted in science, fact and knowledge. There are movements, such as Dark Mountain, for those willing to accept the predicament we're in but choose to face it without "the lies that society tells itself."

The thing about Dark Mountain is that it's not an act of capitulation as Naomi Klein maintains. It's not some nihilistic cult.  It's about continuing to fight the good fight but from a somewhat better place, liberated from anxious but wholly unrealistic hope and delusion.

It is also liberation from partisan political pandering. It is a place from which one can put the nation and its people above political parties. After all, somebody has to stand up for our society, for our young people and generations yet unborn. Our politicians won't. Stephen Harper didn't. Justin Trudeau isn't.

As I wrote to my friend earlier today:

Edmund Burke wrote of man's fundamental duty to leave the world a better place for his children. Teddy Roosevelt echoed this in his Square Deal speech. Today we have broken that fundamental law and largely with neither guilt nor shame. The world we leave is a far worse place than the world we inherited from our parents and grandparents. We trashed the place like a Vandal horde but not all of it, not yet.

Although they would not acknowledge it, perhaps not even recognize it, but our political caste, in every mainstream party, has turned nihilistic, the inevitable end result of neoliberalism. The evidence that the "late stage" neoliberalism of today doesn't work is manifest. Even the WTO and the IMF finally admit as much. Yet no one can muster the vision to chart a safer course and steer us out of the neoliberal hold. The irony is that neoliberalism so impedes traditional sovereignty that political vision is fettered, stunted, leaving political leadership emasculated, visionless. Neoliberalism has become their gaoler and, through them, ours.

Yes, I'm unflinching in my criticisms of the current prime minister. Unlike Harper, Trudeau knows better. He said as much on the campaign trail and lured us with policies tailored to that awareness, policies that now lie discarded at his feet and our kids' future with them. Why would I not castigate such a betrayal? Because he's a Liberal? Because he bears a legendary name he honours too often in the breach? I owe him no more loyalty than he shows us and certainly far less forbearance. I won't give up the fight simply because the son of a man I deeply respected and still do now holds the levers of power.

No comments: