Sunday, 27 November 2016
Is the new world brave enough?
It’s a strange old world, isn’t it? Man is undoubtedly a pack animal and as such we are always happy to have a set of rules to follow. Rules mean we don’t have to think for ourselves and generally speaking, the majority of humans who have ever lived have done so without needing to synthesize an original thought. The sun comes up; it goes down. It gets warm in summer and cold in winter and the crops respond; learn to make hay while the sun shines and you have the basis of survival despite the tyranny of nature.
Once you get rules you get religion, with a bunch of men dressing funny, saying that god told them to and by the way, here are some more rules. And he said he wanted Keith here to be in charge. Now, call me cynical, but how come nobody called Keith out on his literally ridiculous new dress, his insistence that god wanted us to multiply and go forth and - much as he’d love to help with the graft - toil harder in the fields so Keith didn’t have to? Religion has tyrannised mankind for millennia and devised ever more structures, strictures and controls in the process; the divine right of kings, good ones or bad, is sanctioned by such irrational beliefs.
And we’ve lapped it up. It seems we are never so happy as when we are under some kind of tyrannical regime, doing as we are told – and here’s the best bit – actually punishing each other for falling out of line. The age of religion may be waning, at least in the civilised world, but the need to be bullied into conformity – even the kind of youthful conformity that tries to look different by all dressing and thinking the same – endures, deep in our instincts. Here, in the age of global politics, with the promise of a level of scrutiny over the internet which challenges even the omnipotence of former gods, we still seek the tyranny of thought.
However, when we try to exercise our rights to abide by the common consensus it seems that might is no longer right. The high priests of the new religions, born of post-religious political thought, will not relinquish their hold on us without a fight. And in the new language, straight from the literal word of Marx (peas be upon him) what was once worshipped as democracy becomes, in the words of John Major, the tyranny of the masses. The epithet, 'post-truth', is apt. Up is down, left is right and right is wrong... if those in charge say so.
Castro. G... T... ex.
It is fitting then, that yesterday, post-truth met its apotheosis - its elevation to divine status – as the world acknowledged the death of a man who has been a tyrant to his people for over fifty years, yet lived as a shining beacon of social justice for millions of devoted followers who would never have to bear his wrath. It is interesting to see which world leaders praised Castro, as one of the last bastions of communism began its inevitable descent into destruction. Tyranny of the masses, Mr Major? It looks more like the clear vision of the forgotten. Democracy may yet have its day.