― Noam Chomsky"
“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.”
― Mae West
“Why do I do anything?' she says. 'I'm educated enough to talk myself out of any plan. To deconstruct any fantasy. Explain away any goal. I'm so smart I can negate any dream.”
― Chuck Palahniuk,
Once conform, once do what others do, and a kind of lethargy steals over all other senses of the soul
- Michel de Montaigne
When you are in a steady job or securely retired you are likely to become too comfortable with what is. You might whine a bit about local problems in your community but you just adjust. It is an easy lethargy. The common comment of friends and neighbours is, "Why waste your time trying to rock the boat because you are powerless to do anything. Just get on with enjoying your life". It reflects a conservative philosophy of the financially secure avoiding unpleasant issues, respecting authority and self preservation by accepting what is.
- It explains why the so many are complacent less likely to vote in local elections. "Rob Ford (mayor of Toronto) is a liar and a incompetent drunk lacking any vision for the city, but he keeps the taxes low, is a political conservative like our Prime Minister and shares many of the conservative beliefs of my family and neighbours. Why change anything?"
- It explains why conservatives dislike demonstrations in the streets, no matter what the cause. "It's because they are noisy and disruptive, hold up rude signs, block traffic, are disrespectful of law and order and our flag, and set a bad example for kids. They always want to change something but I like everything the way it is"
- It confirms why conservatives support a grossly overpriced and unworkable euro that benefits a productive Germany and the wealthy few throughout Europe but assigns many of the citizens of southern European nations to a life of unemployment and poverty. But the few wealthy can say "I can still afford my Mercedes so we need to manage this unrest by accepting some German generosity to ease the pain. And don't revalue the currency because it will diminish my wealth!" Live with what is! For ten years we have tinkered with it while Southern Europeans suffer from staggering levels of unemployment and a bleak future. We live with what is to no effect when it is obvious that Germany should break off from the euro and return to the Deutschmark (as George Soros suggests) thus letting the rest of Europe take control of their destiny by settling on their own banking system with one or more competitive currencies that would encourage entrepreneurship and put people back to work.
I live in Narbonne, a city too small to hide its human problems. I meet daily on the street with normal citizens, the passing tourists, the shopkeepers, the unemployed, the beggars, and the physically and mentally impaired. In large cities in Europe and North America with populations of several million you can live in secure sections of the city and only learn about the city's underbelly from the local newspapers and the TV. Complacency sets in as problems are hidden and we learn to accept as normal the economic conditions whatever they might be. We live with what is. For example, what the employed public complacently accept as normal in parts of Southern Europe is a 25 to 50% youth unemployment rate whereas in Denmark normal is closer to maybe 5%. It is just what is, and wherever we live we see what is as normal.
With this prevailing attitude politicians whether, on the left or right, respond by tweaking the system and changes, if any, are minor, usually ineffectual and painless. We learn to live with what is.
This attitude in part explains why we put off addressing universally threatening issues such as global climate change, the steadily widening wealth gap in a once predominately middle class society that was the foundation of democracy, the acceptance of tax avoidance schemes, and the thievery of bankers gambling with the nations wealth.
The wake-up call happens when a disaster occurs that threatens the very survival of the financially secure as well as the destitute. Then a conservative tinkering with what is hits a brick wall. A strong leader is then needed who realizes tweaking will accomplish little and undertakes fundamental changes. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Nelson Mandela are examples of brilliant and powerful leaders who understood this and realized that fundamental changes in direction and not simply tweaking 'what is' had to happen.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt assuming the Presidency at the height of the depression recognized that fundamental changes in the financial system had to be initiated. Nothing would be accomplished by tinkering with what is. He defied Wall Street and undertook a major change by passing the Banking Act of 1933 with it's Glass-Steagall component that separated commercial and investment banking, designed to wall off customer deposits from the risk-taking inherent in securities underwriting. This was followed by social legislation enacted between 1933 and 1938 known as the New Deal
|Charles de Gaulle|
Nelson Mandela was a young anti-apartheid revolutionary who (unprepared to live with what is) spent 27 years in jail for his beliefs. Pubic pressure gained his release and joining negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk abolished apartheid, led the ANC to victory and became South Africa's first black president.