The concept of family and community has been, and continues to be, eroded in modern society. One might feel that they both are in danger of extinction.
Globalists promote the idea of “Big Society” and centralists advocate individualism, in order to concentrate power. Individualism works temporarily for those who accumulate the wealth or power to control others. These beliefs have led to the greatest polarization of both in a hundred years.
Human societies have evolved over the centuries as people recognized the need for sharing, supporting and reciprocation. In life’s most difficult times, this aspect of human need and desire usually comes to the fore.
The darkest moments in the history of humankind have occurred when ideology and hunger for individual power have taken over. The last century provided several windows of such darkness.
While more humane progress was made in the second half of the twentieth century, it appears waning very early in the twenty first, with the rise of extremism and the singular quest for power by so many of our leaders. This is individualism at its worst.
One only has to reflect on the current politics in North America to witness such extremism at work. There are forces at work in the United States and Canada who would destroy the last vestiges of democracy and civil society in order to gain total control and implement their ideologies.
The foundations of the caring society that emerged after the Great Depression and continued after World War II are being diminished; in many cases destroyed. Governments at all levels are being centralized and power is being shifted to the few. Democratic governance is being usurped by ideology and fear.
Ever so succinctly, individual and local control have been absorbed and transferred under the guise of economic and social security. This continues, despite the fact that these same policies and beliefs have brought the world to the brink of fiscal and societal collapse.
Governments recognize that they can no longer sustain all the responsibilities that they have siphoned off from people, families and their communities. They are now pushing back these responsibilities, but have created legislative, regulatory and financial constraints that make fulfilling such responsibilities unachievable.
In fact, many localized resources have been siphoned off to others under the pretext providing economic security. We only have to look at our natural resources like the fishery and forestry which are on the brink of extinction, traded off to protect industrial interests. Most of our mining and oil are in the hands of business conglomerates operated by international financiers, whose sole interest is profit
It is similar with government services. They are being handed off to private interests. Social support, once the pillar of the caring society, is under duress as corporations of all sorts clamour for obscene handouts and the wealthy lobby for reduced taxation. Governments comply, in order to sustain power while advocating economic necessity. Meanwhile the poor have to do without and the middle classes pay more taxes and earn less money. For those most unable to fend for themselves, the future looks dim indeed.
It appears that democracy is being traded off and control is being transferred to business. Older Newfoundlanders lived in a society run by merchants and life was not easy. What is different today is that the merchants are at great distance and are no longer a part of the community. At least when they lived in the community, they needed people as much as people needed them.
There was a time when government propped up localized business to preserve communities, mostly out of political interest. Now that influence has shifted from people to corporations, it is necessary to support more “global” businesses and financial institutions. People and communities have become expendable.
If companies can’t generate enough profit or if the resource is depleted they will move somewhere else, leaving behind the environmental, social and human damage for someone else. Environmental cleanup, broken lives and fallen communities have now become local responsibilities. Communities have to try and pick up the pieces with little resources or support and, as a result, people are usually forced to leave.
Yet, unlike other times, people are quiet, allowing the extremists to control the political agendas and the media. It appears that most accept their simplistic messages and approaches for fixing what ails the economy and society and their mantra that government has no role.
Such fanatics have their own wealth and are backed by those more wealthy. They advocate less tax for the rich and little support for those in need. They endorse a Darwinian solution, whereby only the strong should survive.
Where are those who care, the humanists and those who truly believe that life isn’t totally about fiscal wealth and power, but about caring, sharing and building a better society for those that come behind?
They appear less evident, more reserved and willing to let our children and grandchildren fend for themselves. In other times they were at the forefront of revolution and largely responsible for the creation of the caring society that our generation was fortunate to experience.
The next generations will have challenge enough in a world of depleted resources and overwhelming collective debt. The draconian policies and laws being advocated and implemented will make life unbearable. There is no doubt that we need a movement of people committed to a more caring society, if we are to balance the agendas being foisted upon us by those more extreme.
Written by Bill Pardy,
September 14th, 2010