June 13th, 2024

Guest Column: Amid Trumpian chaos, get ready for a depraved new world

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on July 14, 2018.

I’ve never seen a rat race. Can’t even imagine one. Lemmings yes, but rats not so much. So the well known phrase, “Life is a rat race” doesn’t make much sense. It’s meant to suggest that we in the industrialized world are driven by the mindless pursuit of pleasure, rewards, or perceived advancements at the expense of others. It’s also meant as a suggestion to maybe slow down occasionally and smell the roses or the cheeses.

More poignant, however, is the suggestion that many of us have chosen a life absent of compassion. We find it inconvenient, unlike the “good Samaritan,” to slow down so we might reach out to a fellow human who has fallen, who is “out of the running.” We single-mindedly choose to focus primarily on ourselves and to suppress our impulse towards compassion.

One of the German words for compassion (there’s always more than one German word for most English words) is the word Mitleid. This word adds a little depth to the concept of compassion. We are not merely aware of another’s pain; we share in that pain in an effort to lighten it.

Compassion some say, is a fundamental component of being human. We all have a natural sensitivity to the discomfort and pain of others around us. A lost child in an airport crying for its mother is not alone for long. It seems natural to try to help when we see someone in trouble — a neighbour’s burning garage, a person struggling in deep water, a traffic accident, or any other personal tragedy. What if it was me, we say.

For many of us it would seem odd and callous if we saw someone shrug and walk away from these situations. But, more and more we are being encouraged to “mind our own business,” to turn away, to smother Mitleid, and to circle our wagons to protect our own narrow interests. It now seems acceptable to malign and destroy others from the safety of social media. Compassion is crushed between twitters.

It would be easy to say that this trend is a reflection or a result of Trumpism but it might be more accurate to say that U.S. President Donald Trump, with his flamboyant narcissism and bottomless ignorance, is exactly what the real powers behind the throne created for the realization of their nefarious dream — the creation of not a Brave New World, but a very Depraved New World. And the very first steps towards this New World is this modern tendency to forget about our fellow man.

Witness this lack of compassion in the actions of the Trump administration. The secretary of education is an avowed opponent of public education. The man in charge of environmental protection openly oversees the destruction of environmental protection regulations opening vast fragile wilderness areas to developers. A Supreme Court judge is chosen so that he will help turn back the social progress of the last 70 years for women, middle class workers, and minorities.

Add to that the manufactured migration crisis that isn’t a crisis; the attack on NAFTA; the name-calling of other world leaders who fail to show proper obeisance; the threatened abandonment of NATO; the embracing of Russian President Vladimir Putin; the hint at rejecting the World Trade Organization and the launching of a world trade war, all designed to threaten and dismantle the world as we know it. Trump, clearly incapable of orchestrating all this destruction by himself, seems more and more to be acting like someone’s puppet. A master plan appears to be emerging from the Trumpian Chaos.

The question we should ask is who benefits from all this chaos. Who benefits when public education is drained of resources and respect, or when economic arrangements that have helped workers and industries for the last 30 years through NAFTA are scrapped? Who benefits by rejecting the counsel of the best minds of the world who warn of global warming? Who benefits when Putin is allowed to practice “real politik,” threatening the wellbeing of millions of people in Eastern Europe? Who benefits when the world referee overseeing world trade is fired? Who benefits when trade unions are emasculated?

It isn’t Trump who is benefitting. Who are the puppeteers who are pulling the levers of this vacuous bully who imperils a once great economic engine that brought prosperity to millions of people, that showed to the world what liberal democratic values can accomplish? The world watches in horror and confusion as all that we’ve valued and understood unravels into political tribalism and chaos. Get ready for a Depraved New World. It will be great for someone but not for you. Or your children. Let the real rat race begin.

Peter Mueller is a long-time resident of Medicine Hat who, in spite of all the evidence, continues to believe we can build a better world.

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5 years ago

Could you be more tiresome.

5 years ago

It is amazing how liberals can ignore the chaos that has resulted from mass migration and uncontrolled immigration around the world. The last time I checked the US Economy was doing very well and the threat fo nuclear war has been decreasing. Returning some personal responsibility to human existence and getting Government out of the way is the right way to go. Maybe one should stop ignoring the facts and make better judgements.