Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay
We’ve made giant strides in technology and science. Not so much in ethics. Ideologies have a way of justifying the most cruel and evil practices of any era. Ours is no exception.
Often, the law is used to justify deeply evil practices. We have had the Jim Crow laws and the Nuremberg laws. We’ve had court rulings that have decided that unlimited and concealed corporate money in politics and government is protected—it’s “free speech”. Guns that are used routinely for mass murder are protected at the expense of human lives. Both slavery and segregation were supported and justified by laws.
Yet the law is somehow portrayed as evidence of morality. We must obey the law. We are a nation of laws. Without laws, all would be chaos.
Nonsense. Bad laws must be identified and disobeyed and ridiculed always by every humane person. And a merciless spotlight must be shone on the evil that these laws condone and make possible.
The Vilification of Annoyance
Lately, the authorities have determined that there is a right way and a wrong way to speak out against evil. The right way is to be quiet, polite and respectful. The wrong way is to be visible, determined and disruptive. The important thing is to let the people in charge go about their business—no matter how deadly or destructive—unimpeded.
Disruption is unacceptable.
We can, allegedly, change laws and make legal (and moral) progress by working through the system. But working with the system rarely works. Reform within the system rarely works because the system protects itself. Corporate money, gerrymandering, and the heavily-funded promotion of favored ideologies and (conveniently invented) cultural norms makes it nearly impossible for ordinary people, working within the confines of the rules and laws to change anything.
But it gets worse. We see more and more “laws” being passed to make any meaningful dissent illegal, and by implication, morally wrong.
It’s obvious that these laws are themselves evil and wrong. They are no different than, say, the Fugitive Slave Law which had even Northerners who opposed slavery turning in black people to their slaveholders—because it was “the law.”
Selfishness, Greed and Bigotry Is NOT “Freedom”
Corporatism has been consolidating its power over the last few decades and its bedrock ideology has taken root. Although even within the mainstream there is some dissent, we have reached the point where capitalism (in reality, plutocracy), deprivation, poverty and mass murders are accepted as a “given.” It is impractical to oppose any of these evils.
We are told that, even if we oppose them (and many actually support these evils), it is useless to fight them. We need to find ways to accomodate these evils and make small ways to blunt the effects of these evils, however slightly. At least that’s the prevailing view.
Surrendering In Advance
The authorities and their ideological pals have largely neutralized opposition. They have not stopped people from being unhappy, or from grumbling. But they have—largely—succeeded in blunting opposition to the point of surrender. There ARE morality-based movements. We have people fighting for women’s rights, fighting climate destruction and ecocide, fighting for economic justice, for racial justice and for civil rights.
But none of these movements have significantly dented the power and positions of the authorities. The strength of the dominant leaders and systems, however, is about to crack. In part, they are destroying themselves. Beyond that, these weaknesses will provide an enormous opportunity for those who are fighting to establish a more ethical world.
Overreach and the Plutocrats’ Enemy Within
By their very nature, authorities and leaders are clueless, inept and overconfident. Their apparent strength—near invincibility—is their fatal flaw. For example, a certain clueless egomaniac ex-President will ultimately find that he bores people and they will no longer pay attention to him, much less protect him. But this inevitable fall isn’t just for morons like Trump. It also holds for intelligent people like Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk and Charles Koch. These intelligent people live in rarified circles and see mostly like-minded yes men.
They have huge blind spots. They are, in effect, no different than the French aristocracy right before the French Revolution. They don’t see it coming and they won’t know what hit them.
Like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who took too much, leaving the people hungry and restless, today’s ultra-rich are taking too much and dooming themselves. In the case of today’s despots, they are literally destroying the climate of the Earth, and they depend on a stable climate for their enterprises and other systems to operate properly. It turns out that plagues and wildfires and droughts and superstorms are dangerous for supply chains. The collapse of the climate—happening now—is exposing the incompetence and impotence of the ruling class.
Their end is near. And our opportunity for salvation is coming. WE need to be ready, to ensure that what happens next is benevolent and guided by morally-grounded people. This will be our chance to stabilize the climate and blunt the damages our Earth has suffered. This will be our chance to help our children, to give them a damaged but survivable planet. This will be our chance to redeem ourselves, to become good stewards of the planet.