Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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As the world lurches from crisis to crisis, catastrophe to calamity and plunges head-long into an abyss of uncertainty, one can only wonder what will happen next.
Governments in both the West and elsewhere have become increasingly authoritarian but we're told it's for our own good. How else do you justify the broad restriction of freedoms and rights but to promise that such things are being done for the best interests of everyone?
Privacy is increasingly being replaced by ubiquitous surveilance and anyone who does not conform with the newly-established norms is viewed with suspicion.
Yes, "the people" are rebelling against this totalitarianism but even those protests are being carefully directed by "the powers that be" -- so as to ensure that the real anger and frustration is directed away from those in control and towards other groups within society. In effect, the anger is being reflected back towards the angry.
Conspiracy theory or accurate observation?
Well to be totally honest, it's getting harder and harder to tell what's real and what's imaginary in today's world.
For example, the USA has spent trillions of dollars in "The War Against Terror" (WAT), a war that has claimed 3,222 American lives in terrorist attacks from 9/11/2001 through 12/31/2016. By comparison, the CV19 death toll in the USA has already hit 200,000 but we haven't seen nearly the same unified, codified, well-funded response to this far greater threat.
Could this be proof that the WAT was little more than a justification for effectively nuking much of the USA's consititutional protections for the people and a convenient way to channel huge amounts of public money into the pockets of well-connected military contractors?
I suspect that "The War Against Drugs" had similar hidden agendas, especially now that so many states are decriminalising low-grade substances such as marijuana. If MJ isn't the threat the people were told, why were so many people penalised for its use and possession? Neither the drug nor its effects have changed -- so why has the law?
The next big issue will undoubtedly be that of climate change.
Yes, for those keeping an eye on climate patterns, this comes as no surprise but there are still many who believe "she'll be right", despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
Why have some governments (such as the USA) been so reluctant to acknowledge the evidence and take steps to try and mitigate the effects produced by their own activities?
Well maybe, as in the wars against drugs and terror, some governments feel that crisis and calamity are their allies. So long as there is some threat, be it real or imagined, there is justification for doing things that involve depriving the people of their rights, freedoms or money that might othewise not be acceptable to those people.
"Trust us, we're doing this for your own good" seems to be the motto of all those governments who, as often as not, are working in their own interests and the interests of the "well connected" -- to the cost of the majority of citizens.
Okay, maybe I'm just old and cynical but it is possible to take the view I've outlined in today's column and feel more than a little despondent about the future.
However, just when all looks lost, I remind myself that virtually everything on the planet is cyclic. Extremes tend to be self-limiting and ultimately induce a movement towards the opposite end of the scale. If governments push things too far, the people will ultimately take matters into their own hands and overthrow or otherwise oust those who treat them and their freedoms with such contempt.
I'm pretty sure that this will happen, albeit perhaps not in my lifetime.
Life is tenacious, human life especially so. We will prevail, regardless of the challenges and hurdles.
In the meantime: carpe diem
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