When I was a kid, I remember seeing a roll of colorful and, well, groovy stickers that said “Question Authority.” This was during the Vietnam War and a period when people DID question authority. We sort of do that now, but in a very different way. We question authority when what people in power do violates our ideology.
In the 1960s, people were questioning whether they were being fed lies, and being forced to do unnecessary and dangerous things by those authorities. Like, for example, if young people were drafted and sent to Southeast Asia to kill and die in a war that made no sense. When what they authorities said and did was dangerous nonsense, people would speak out — they’d speak truth to power.
Today, the loudest voices are those of knaves and fools. People who make excuses for climate collapse. People who value profit over human life. People who try to focus on scapegoats — brown people, foreigners, and all sorts of imaginary enemies and threats. And those foolish and cruel voices remain loudest, in part, because they are repeated and reinforced by commercial media and culture. That is, any viewpoint that supports commercial things is amplified.
And anything that impedes commerce is vilified and ridiculed. We need to literally reverse this. We need to “Question Authority” the right way — not as ideologues, but as members of the reality-based community.
The “Realists” Are Unrealistic
Our leaders and their media and culture live in a fantasy land where growth and profits are eternal, and the climate crisis doesn’t really exist. They claim that WE are in a fantasy because they think THEIR fantasy is almost a physical law. What’s politically and economically expedient — which corresponds with what they want — is their (ridiculous) reality. And everything else — including physical law, Nature and the climate crisis — are liberal nonsense.
But physical law ISN’T ideology. It’s Nature and Reality. And it can be ignored and denied for only so long, until Nature’s response to our abuse manifests itself mightily. Like it is doing today. If what’s happening in Pakistan were currently happening to the people in positions of authority — and I’m talking very wealthy people who control media and politicians — the game would be up TODAY. But they choose to ignore crises they created when it happens to others. They continue the fantasy.
Eventually, and probably soon, the game will be up anyway. But it’s OUR responsibility to question authority and take control. Because the future of civilization and our children literally depends on this.
Taking Control Is NOT A Fantasy
Going to the moon was a fantasy, but human beings did it. Engineering feats like dams and bridges were once just fantasies. Hey, someone dreamed up pyramids and some engineers and workers actually built them — quite a long time ago.
Yes, the people in charge took credit each time, but all of these things were accomplished by people who had talent, and intelligence and who DID THE WORK. That is, the leaders did nothing but issue orders and threats. People of actual ability realized these “fantasies.”
This will be the same with rescuing the climate. Just as ordinary people often oust dictators (for example, an electrician booted out the dictator of Poland in the 1980s), people like you and me — aided by climate scientists and engineers — will save the world.
It won’t be done by Elon Musk or Bill Gates or some self-important politician. These are the people who take credit, not the people who do the work.
We do. We can. We must.
The first step is to take control of the conversation. This means ridiculing the ridiculous and reducing the credibility of the people in charge to zero. Because it IS zero. For decades they have fed us lies and are still feeding us lies even as the climate collapses before our eyes. They are still increasing fossil fuel use while spouting crap about targets and how they’ll pass a bill or two to incentivize business people to save the world.
All of this is nonsense. Our leaders aren’t leaders. They are swindlers. Now is the time to call them on it.