Why Blame Little Me For The Mess We're In...
Every day when I turn on the TV I am faced with an onslaught of bad news. Coincident with that message I hear of mega plans being prepared to stave off our coming armageddon, carefully prepared and presented by our ruling "elite". The theme of this resurrection seems to be that I will have to make changes to my life style in order to save the Earth. What I'm not hearing is the sacrifices these same rulers are personally undertaking as their contribution to the battle. Hmmm! Shades of Animal Farm anybody?
In case you haven't read it, Animal Farm was written by George Orwell in 1945. Widely thought to parallel the Russian Revolution the story is applicable to all societies which organize people into pyramidal layers - with the workers forming the bulk of the mass and performing most of the work while external relations are managed by elected (usually) representatives that are theoretically responsible to the masses for their policies and actions
Good concept, but reality is quite different. In Animal Farm the barnyard animals are subjected to a progressive subjugation engineered by the Pigs. Bit by bit, piece by piece, they give in to the pigs' arguments to behave in ways that are for the common good (aka. national security anyone). They progressively lose control over their lives and eventually become the peons - the worker bees - while the pigs rule and manage to rape the farm of resources that they then use to enrichen their personal lives.
What are the techniques used to bring about this kind of layering of power and subservience of the mass of the populace? All societies (dictatorships, socialists, democracies) are tied together by a common defining narrative which gives them a statement of purpose and an organizational structure. The leaders maintain order by creating a set of laws enforced through a justice system / army that coincidentally keeps them in power. in addition Other all societies benefit from having a common enemy that they are constantly at war with and by having a omnipresent "separate" higher authority (religion) that blesses the narrative and threatens damnation if one should violate it in some way. It's all about control.
Periodically, societies are purged and the ruling classes are decimated or eliminated. In the chaos that follows these periods, there is re-sorting process that occurs. From this re-sorting (basically a power struggle) new leaders emerge. As the new society matures the narrative is modified, the new enemy identified, history is rewritten, and the prevailing higher authority / religion is pressed or replaced in order to bless the new regime. In the end though, it is same old same old - just with new pigs at the top.
So, what is our (Canada's) narrative? In our particular version of society our ruling elite are presently presiding over a massive guilt campaign that is focused on the ordinary person, berating them for undertaking a lifestyle that is wasteful and destructive. They are threatening environmental armageddon, a complete collapse of our ecosystems that will occur unless "we" change our destructive ways and return to a simpler life that did not place demands on our limited resources. Climate Change has replaced traditional religion as the higher power giving credibility to their actions to direct us.
But what hypocrisy they all demonstrate! In order to organize this campaign our political and moral leaders flew to faraway lands (Paris) where they discussed how to reverse the course of destruction all the while feeding themselves with gourmet meals and partying into the night. We "farm animals" were then given new green incentives to follow that were intended to reduce our carbon footprints - even while we watch our instructors traverse the world on jet planes or on carbon spewing busses in their quest to bring the message of restraint to us. And we must respond! Reduce our thermostats, drive less, sort our garbage, attend the rallies and vote for political parties that promise to make things even more stringent. Argue against this narrative and feel the shame...
But really, why should I feel guilty? My carbon footprint might be higher than my Neanderthal ancestors but it pales in comparison to what our moral, political and corporate leaders are creating. In their quest for riches and power they plan projects on a massive scale and as a result they have a huge effect on our ecosystems. It may be the carpenter builds the house but it on behalf of the rich developer who plans the subdivisions or high rises on flood plains or sand spits or wetlands. Funny, you never see them packing sandbags when shit hits the fan, do you?
And what do they do with their profits? Sometimes they create demand for specialty products that cause great damage but satisfy their needs, no matter what the cost. The UN has recently posted a dire warning about species decimation, including major animals such as Elephants or Rhinos or Tigers that are poached for their parts. Who to blame - the poacher? It may be the poor man who slaughters declining animals for their tusks or fins, but it is the rich man who devours them and provides the market for them.
We farm animals don't fly Presidential Jets to our golf course on the weekends. We don't own multiple houses while bemoaning the loss of wild lands that threaten our animals on our TV shows. We don't own the boats sent out to kill whales for "research" or to drag the oceans with monster nets, even though we have to crew them to survive. We don't tell others to retreat to the Collectives and live simply while we sit in our expensive urban digs enjoying the good times and writing our next sanctimonius best seller.
We were told to recycle and we did. We thought recycling was a happening thing. We didn't know that "shipping it to China for processing" meant that they would cherry pick the valuables and then burn, landfill or just dump the bulk of the trash - contaminating our oceans with the runoff from the 10 Asian based rivers that have been shown to account for 90% of the ocean "eyre" plastics. It wasn't the guy on the ground sorting this stuff that should take the blame - it's our leaders who shipped it out to China instead of forming viable at home reuse programs and the leaders in China who threw it all away instead doing the same.
The moral of all this? If you're going to be a leader and actually effect a positive change on the Earth then stop being such a pack of bloody hypocrites. Try to do what you claim to be your mission instead of changing your tune the minute you are elected or the profits from your latest book start to roll in. You have the tools and power to actually do something good here - so start doing it and please - leave the guilt trip at home. We farm animals are sick and tired of hearing it. Like our manure pile, it's starting to smell.
Please note: these images and the discussions surrounding them are easily found on Google. I'm not even going to attempt to make a bibliography because this isn't a scientific paper, it's an opinion piece. If you doubt me go search them out. The exercise is quite revealing.