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Politics and Outworn Terms
In 2019, there are few certainties on Planet Earth other than it is still in orbit in the solar system and night still follows day. What remains is turmoil. What remains is a political jousting ground where the contestants do battle with archaic words.
Anyone who has seen the television cameras’ recordings of President Trump’s rabble-rousing speeches, will be aware of the bellows of approval when he shouts that the United States of America will never be a socialist country. It is almost certain that a majority of Trump’s supporters could not define socialism nor understand how and why politicians call it an insidious peril to democracy. It is also probable that Trump admirers think that socialism is communism or, at the very least, a first step on the way to that dreaded menace. It is also likely that some Trump supporters don’t know very much about democracy.
To put it simply, socialism and communism are about economic systems whereas democracy is a political system. In a socialist economy, government sets economic goals and creates state-owned enterprises. In pure communism, the state owns everything. In a democracy, enfranchised voters elect the government. Every one of these systems has been and continues to be subject to corruption.
Greece is the ancestral home of democracy. Initially, adult males formed the government. Over centuries, direct democracy gave way to REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, in which voters elected representatives to the legislative body from which government would be derived. This is the parliamentary system which is in use in Canada. Representative government in the United States is much more complex.
Candidates for office boast of the jobs they have created and promise to create even more. They are living in a dream world. In a Capitalist Society, it is capital – owners and investors – who determine whether employment will shrink or grow. Profits are always the prize. As technology evolves, robotics and artificial intelligence are displacing assembly line workers. Proponents of technological change in the methods of producing real goods insist that robotics, artificial intelligence and three-dimensional printing in thermoplastics which together displace fallible human beings will create more jobs than they eliminate. This strange conundrum may prove to be true. With growing population and increasing automation however, it seems likely that increasing numbers of human beings will never find gainful employment.
There have been religious wars. In the 17th Century in Central Europe millions of human beings died in, or because of, the long conflict Between Roman Catholics and Protestant. Similarly, differing beliefs about the succession of the Prophet Muhammad led to conflict between Sunni and Shia. After centuries the conflict has not been resolved, whereas the conflict between Catholic and Protestant remains as only an irritating scar.
Islam has been more successful than Christianity in embodying religious beliefs into the legal systems of the state. From a humane standpoint, this unfortunate. Among Christians only Fundamentalists want their beliefs to be reinforced by the punitive powers of the state. A belief is a belief. It should not become a law unless it is universal in its derivation and import.
All of these matters are parts of international turmoil. Noble sentiments expressed by the politically powerful are often a cloak for the greed of the economically powerful. Of all the species on Planet Earth, human beings have been, and continue to be, the most destructive. World leaders spend too much time with contorted legalisms and pettifogging problems. The human species, and other species as well, are increasingly at risk as politicians quibble. One of the most glaring examples is the failure of the richest nation on Planet Earth to provide universal health care as a right.
Polar ice caps are melting; ocean level are rising and nibbling at coastlines. Violent winds and firestorms rage with increasing frequency. It is almost past time to leave the political jousting grounds with their outmoded word weapons.
Copyright©William Wardill 2019