Hope In Darkness

Why despite all evidence to the contrary, and without being naively Steven Pinkeresque, there may be reason to look forward to a better future

Allan Milne Lees

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Image credit: Quartz

We live, as the Chinese would say, in an interesting time.

Since the middle of the last decade we’ve seen a tsunami of mindless populism sweep the globe, with predictably catastrophic consequences. As a result, the thin veneer of civilization upon which we all rely is being stripped away while ordinary people go about their lives utterly oblivious to what is happening around them. At best, a few look at events in their own nation and imagine the problem is entirely local and unique.

In the USA excitable liberals have been celebrating the fact that an entirely uninspiring geriatric candidate received enough protest votes to defeat the populist incumbent who gained the second-greatest percentage of votes in US history. But these celebrations are naïve at best, for key elements of the Republican Party have made it plain that they will do everything possible to hold onto power regardless of the cost to the nation. Although Trump may slither out of the White House in a few weeks, his poisonous legacy will grow and grow like cancer. In the next four years the far-right Supreme Court will overturn decades of liberal judicial activism and a Republican-dominated Senate will emasculate the feeble Biden Administration as it emasculated the naïve Obama Administration and the haphazard Clinton Administration.

In the UK the British are adopting their usual passivity and meekly accepting Brexit, telling themselves that surely it won’t really be as bad as all the indicators show and that by magic if people can just keep their heads down and bumble along then all will be well. In continental Europe, naïve politicians imagine that they can co-opt the votes going to far-right and neo-fascist Parties by adopting some (but surely not all!) of a basket of far-right policies — a strategy that history shows conclusively will end in failure because it validates and thus empowers far-right causes. Intolerance and racism will increasingly eat away at civilized values until each nation is blaming every other nation for its home-grown woes.

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Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.