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by John Brian Shannon
Many people in this 21st century would be surprised to hear that they are deeply immersed (and some would say, horribly stuck) in 20th century thought, a century where for ninety of those hundred years, an endless game of nation-state vs. nation-state played out, and often played with severe brutality. Nation against nation, democracy competing with communism and authoritarianism, freedom vs. repression and ‘the West’ against ‘the East’, or, ‘North’ against ‘South’ — these were the headlines of a turbulent century.
All these battles were fought diligently, usually for valid reasons (but not always) by nation-states, their citizens, and soldiers, all over the world from about 1914 onwards.
In terms of the success against such social ills as world war, small hot wars, the Cold War, fascism, tribal wars, poor governance and even poorer economics, plus a low global standard of health care, we have come far in the past 100 years.
The problem is, some just don’t realize how far we have come and are still ‘fighting the last war’ to use a military euphemism.
The last war is well and truly over. Unfortunately, some have utterly missed that, profound as it is.
Illogically, many of these people are still holding onto positions of power, and for now at least, continue to call the shots for the rest of the world.
A world of change has occurred, and yet many of those holding either political office or powerful unelected positions are completely blind to it, as their hatred for their former enemies burns so bright.
In the West, for just one example, most citizens are pleased that Vladimir Putin is running Russia. We all know that Russia is experiencing the problems associated with a former Soviet-era economy, but that they are recovering nicely from it. We also know that they are dealing with incredibly rapid economic growth – which is a great problem to have! If your country must have a major problem to deal with, that’s the one to have.
And many people in the West and around the world, socialize with Russians every day, online, in the workplace or at universities around the world. Everyone is getting along just fine, thank you.
Спасибо, очень понравилось! (Which is Russian for, “Thank you, very much!”)
But are Western political office holders or powerful unelected leaders happy about any of that? For the most part, NOT! And therein, lies a tantalizing clue about what ails the geopolitical world in this century.
The people in (elected and unelected) positions of power in the West today are the same generation that taught us to fear, hate, and fight, the Soviet Union at all costs (one of those costs being lessened Western civil liberties from the onset of the Cold War right up to the present day) — and the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists and communism in modern-day Russia is about as important as it is here (it’s not) does not decrease their deeply-held hatred of our former enemy.
The better the Russian economy does, the more they hate Russia. The more Russian citizens smile on TV, the more they castigate Vladimir Putin. As Russia became the 13th most powerful economy in the world, some in the West were tearing their hair out. Russia is on-track to become the 10th most powerful economy in the world within the next decade. Can’t wait to see the contorted faces then!
And it is getting increasingly difficult for certain Western news outlets to show recent pictures or videos taken in and around Moscow, without the many Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and SUV’s driven by ordinary Russian citizens ‘crapping up the frame’ – thereby completely contradicting the verbal op/ed piece.
No! All those Mercedes and BMW’s are NOT driven by “filthy rich Russian oligarchs with ‘dirty money’ or high ranking KGB officers that hate Fox News… er… America.”
That was LAST century.
The real story, in case you missed it, is that it is no longer about nation-state against nation-state (although, some people are desperately trying to make it ‘still that’), nor is it even, democracy standing strong against practically all other forms of government (although, some people are desperately trying to make it ‘still that’), nor is about some well-intentioned fight against horrible social ills such as apartheid, which is mostly won at this point (although, some people are desperately trying to make it ‘still that’).
What it is about, is that 98% of the world’s citizens want their governments to stop fighting the last war, to cease with the old hatreds and prejudices and get on with clearing a path for citizens, so that they can progress — financially, socially, and for those who want it, spiritually.
Feudalism was replaced with something better (from the point-of-view of 98% of the civilized world population back in the day) which manifested itself as freedom and democracy in half the world, while the other half endured communism. Which was still a lot better than feudalism for most citizens. The governance systems in use in the 21st century are mostly democratic ones — and the ones that aren’t, are reforming at different speeds towards democracy anyway — whether we bomb them or not.
Our representative governments must begin to focus on what democracy was originally created to achieve. Can anyone even remember what this was, this far out from democracy’s beginnings? In general terms, it was to bring freedom, the rule of law, education, economic prosperity, and the pursuit of pleasure to the vast majority of citizens (the 98%) living within that voluntary state of governance.
But truth be told at this point, citizens around the world would settle for this generation of powerful elected and unelected people stuck in their 20th century mindsets, just getting out of citizens’ way and letting individuals and families solve their own issues and get to their goals, themselves. Eventually, a new generation will take the reins.
In the meantime, try not to blow up the world with your 20th century thinking. Thanks.
Signed, the 98%.