I have been trying hard over the past couple of weeks to take my little brain back up to 30,000 feet. The view is better up here and fault lines are more obvious. There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend that asked if history has some rhyme or reason to it or is it just a whole bunch of random events? Good question.
It seems that it was just a few years ago we were in the midst of globalization. I buy from here and sell to there.Little countries became important if for nothing more than cheap labor. Standards of living started getting to survival level. People were able to buy things they never thought they needed.
They became educated and more perceptive of the world around them. There was mobility. Life was good and going in a positive direction for most. That should continue and prosperity reigns.
True to form that was not good enough or fast enough for some. I want it all and I want it now. Nationalism creeps in. Trade, immigration, even education takes on an air of conflict. Supply chains and diplomacy are a mess. The two bit bully on the block tries to take a chunk of land while waving nukes at us. China and everyone else seems to be on sort of a mission to prove their standing in our world. Is all or any of this connected and inevitable?
We have made some incredible strides and catastrophic mistakes throughout history. As the world become more affluent more seek higher education and that breeds new ideas and creativity. Yet in our new Age of Enlightenment we trend more towards anarchy and polarization rather than a kinder gentler world. Is this the way it is supposed to be? Is this evolution of the body politic or just smashing atoms? Dunno.
Technology has made this a different ball game.Make no doubt that Google, Facebook, Twitter et al have made our brains very easy to get into. The algorithms automatically shape opinion in a subtle and robotic fashion. The left and right learn next to nothing about alternate or opposing views. We claim to be open minded but they are actually locked shut. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum because that is very profitable for so many.
The worst part is the anonymity of the spears and hatchets thrown. In a nanosecond my vitriol can destroy someone and have it “liked” or retweeted to thousands in a matter of seconds. No one can prove or disprove the allegations. We have perfected bots to the point where they can create cogent praise or defamation just by pressing a button.
How did we get here? I think a great part of this is our neglect of consequences or outcomes. I am stunned sometimes to see our military, three levers of government, medicine, education, corporations and even churches make some really boneheaded moves without realizing “what they have wrought”. You can ascribe this to a learning curve. I say it is blatant egoism and disregard. Irresponsible or criminal? Now we are getting to the good stuff.
We place great emphasis on brainpower and experience. Look at our bewildering response to COVID. Not good! Archbishops, cardinals, university presidents, corporate executives, coaches have fostered and extended sexual predation. A festering boil. Malfeasance at every level of the food chain. Government programs at all levels are plagued by theft and corruption. Does history teach us anything?
I am in awe of Valadymir Zelensky, a former comedian turned leader. Inexperienced in both the government and military he has put on some performance. Is he just lucky? I think not. He has proven one thing to the chagrin of many world leaders.
They are not as regal in both position and thinking as they thought they were. Nations and skeptics have sat on the sidelines and now are all getting on the Ukraine bandwagon. Bully for them. How original. I didn’t see a statesman or stateswoman in the lot. That is not taking shots but being brutally honest.
I guess what I am saying and have said before is that we have to take a long look at who we are as a nation and a world. Here we have to look at immigration and fix it. We have been trying for 35 years to no avail. Don’t snicker at that, but become nauseated. Our educational system is a wreck for a lack of a “Come to Jesus” meeting for all involved. Corporate boards and religious enclaves have to do away with the pomp and get their hands dirty. History is ripe with our foibles. They don’t overshadow but definitely compete with our accomplishments.
On the world stage we are never going to agree on a system that fits all. The UN was a nice idea that has now gone impotent. War crime tribunals are an exercise in futility if we don’t have the guts to enforce their judgments. Sadly, we all act in our own best interests. Let’s just admit it.
Where are we going? Don’t look to prognosticators to tell us. Look to ourselves and see if we want to make a difference or just enjoy the ride. Where that ride ends up depends on each and every one of us.
Ted The Great
Below is a chart of countries on the democracy spectrum. Pretty amazing.Most notable is the number of authoritarian regimes. Some people like it that way or don’t know any other way. The democracy numbers have declined.
|Type of regime||Score||Countries||Proportion of World population (%)|
|Full democracies||9.01–10.00 8.01–9.00||21||12.6%||6.4%|
|Flawed democracies||7.01–8.00 6.01–7.00||53||31.7%||39.3%|
|Hybrid regimes||5.01–6.00 4.01–5.00||34||20.4%||17.2%|
|Authoritarian regimes||3.01–4.00 0–3.00||59||35.3%||37.1%|
Predators can be anyone, including a family member, clergy colleague, coach or friend. According to The Pragmatic Parent, “90% of the time a predator is someone with a relationship to the victim and the family. On the outside, they have a great looking life and are well-liked by others.Much of the time someone definitely knows what is going on .
Smart is being curious. It is realizing what you don’t know. It is to be willing to adapt to changing circumstances. It is taking life’s lessons and changing our own lives and maybe a small part of the world