Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blind Optimism

Most people think it's all going to be all right. People who go through life thinking the worst will happen are labeled "pessimists." Life requires optimism. You don't deliberately have children if you're thinking about everything that could go wrong.

Also, we stumble through politics thinking it's all going to be all right. Most people, watching the TV news, hope that "something" will fix the mess that "the politicians" have gotten them into. Perhaps they'll "throw the bums out" and their replacements will be better, even though "they're all the same." These, mind you, are Canadians with jobs. They'll grumble and complain and they'll occasionally get ripped-off, but they'll keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies and they'll soldier on.

Who knows? I'm sure there are many NDP'r's who genuinely believe that Mulcair has a shot at being prime minister. And, when election night is over, and they find the NDP relegated to third-party status again, they'll dry their eyes, clear their throats, stand up straight and proud and continue the fight.

(And Liberals, who have a party with the support of large elements of the moneyed classes, occasionally see their corporatist leaders elevated to national leadership, they clap and cheer with tears of joy in their eyes, and suffer all the inevitable betrayals of their values by said leadership with a grim determination to keep plugging away.)

Street protesters convince themselves that their little demonstrations matter, and so they do them, god bless 'em!

But the same attitude informs the wealthy and the powerful. They're in charge. They're history's "makers" and they make things happen. Of course, being greedy, selfish, ignorant psychopaths, much of what they make happen has terrible consequences. The oil sector is driving civilization to suicide. They and other imperialists are destroying civilization in the Middle East. Obama (advised by psychotic imbeciles such as Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland) believes that a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China can work out because, well, ... things have a way of working themselves out. Don't they?

The elites can destroy the economy for the quite rational purpose of destroying the last vestiges of power of the working class and it won't end in tears because, well, everything will work out okay in the end, won't it?

And, when you're living in mansions, and driving expensive cars (or being chauffeured in limousines) and eating delicious meals in the best restaurants, ... it's hard not to think that things will work themselves out. It'll be all right.

How much of this thinking informed the July Crisis of 1914? How much of this thinking was behind the stock-market speculations of 1929? How much of elite complacency dragged-out the Great Depression and spawned Hitler?

Ah! But we got through it all didn't we?

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