There’s a mathematical system called Catastrophe Theory that has proved to be applicable to many situations. The basic idea formulated in this particular model is that, under increasing stresses, eventually a point of no return is reached, and beyond this, irreversible change occurs.
Indications are that a point of no return has been reached in the case of changes in use and quality of the planet’s land, water and air. All the natural systems for air and water management, land and biological stabilisation have been bypassed, and irreversible change is occurring. We are now entering the Humpty Dumpty phase—the stable, self-regenerating biological environment in which we humans developed—has been irrevocably damaged. It can’t be put back together again—ever.
This doesn’t mean the end of life, of course. It simply means the end of a life support system that can support humans and similar recently evolved creatures. Who know what creatures will evolve to live in the toxic wasteland we’ve created… perhaps they’ll find it as wonderful as humans used to find our period.
If a young man is invited by a young woman to assist in a robbery and he accepts and they are caught, then he must accept responsibility for his part in the robbery.
If a young man walking at night calls out sexist abuse to a couple of women walking past and they thump him, pull off his trousers and leave him, then surely he is responsible for the result?
If a young, slightly inebriated woman walking at night alone wearing a short skirt and a top that exposes most of her breasts, accepts a lift with a stranger, then is forced to have sex with him, surely she is responsible for getting herself into that situation?
A few decades ago that would have been the case, but today it seems females are not required to exercise any form of self-restraint, and nor are they in any way responsible for whatever happens to them—only males, apparently, are obliged to take responsibility—not only for themselves, but also for the mistakes of the women they are with.
Matt Dolman offers this definition of democracy today—”In the end, democracy is about the idea that you have a say in things.”
Indeed, it is but an idea, an idea that has been interpreted in dozens of ways in countries that purport to value individual rights. So far, the idea has never produced an ideal government… but that’s scarcely surprising. As my art teacher said, “It’s easy to make a perfect painting; first make yourself perfect then…”
Humans are far from perfect so their governments reflect that. The smallest human unit—a single person—is more often than not in two minds about most things and changes his opinion daily. When two people decide to share their lives things seldom improve. Unless both are prepared to make sometimes generous compromises, the union dissolves, evidenced by a roughly fifty percent marriage breakdown rate in most western democracies.
When children are added to the mix, tensions mount and disputes are the norm. Why, then, if families can’t govern themselves peacefully, do we expect a government to create a society devoid of inequality, stress, disputes…?
Of course this inconvenient fact doesn’t stop me and others from constantly offering recipes for better governments.
The use of coal is destroying the air, water and land through multilevel pollution. But coal makes lots of money for governments. The Spanish have a solar electricity generating system that can store power and provide all the base-load electricity we will need. The energy is free and the process non-polluting. But this will close down coal mines. The French have an inferior system that doesn’t provide base-load power. Therefore, our government lies to the public, saying solar cannot provide base-load power, therefore we have to continue using coal! Then in its stupidity deliberately chooses the French system [Not Australian, you notice, although Australian manufacturers are selling their equipment to the U.S.A. And China!]
It is difficult, possibly impossible, to unearth even one government decision that is the best choice. Always they choose an inferior method, design, system because they are not only stupid, but also corrupt, as in the case of buying out of date, useless fighter planes from the USA for twice the price of the best available from France.
I imagine the U.S.A. can’t be too displeased with the current furore over their soldiers micturating on dead bodies; it must be a welcome distraction from the exposure of the somewhat more unpleasant fact that, according to ICH, they operate covert death squads assassinating ‘undesirables’ in 150 countries and have done for years. It’s nothing compared to the testing of armaments in Laos and leaving thousands of mines behind that destroy the lives and blow the limbs off hundreds, if not thousands of children and others every year. The destruction of Vietnamese forests. The destruction of Brazilian rainforests to grow soy to feed cattle to make hamburgers. Or the on going horror of depleted uranium in Iraq. Or the testing of herbicides on ignorant farmers, or the years of indescribable horrors of Angola. Or the tens of thousands dead and maimed, tortured and imprisoned by U.S.A. puppet dictators in South and Central America, Indonesia, the Middle East….
But then who am I to complain? Our Prime Minister has stated on more than one occasion that Australians share the same values, hopes, fears and desires as U.S.Americans.…
Why does that make me feel ashamed?
I persist in wondering why some heads of state that have used their armies to commit atrocities are taken to the International Court of ‘Justice’ in The Hague and tried for war crimes, or crimes against humanity, and others aren’t. Why, for instance, isn’t the Australian head of state prosecuted for sending the army to assist in the destruction of the infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan, and of assisting materially the murder of thousands and the maiming of hundreds of thousands of innocent people? Neither of those countries have ever attacked us. Their governments have not declared war on us. They pose no threat to us. Why are the Australian acts of merciless, lethal aggression not punishable, but the massacres perpetrated by a South Sudanese War Lord are?
Felicity Lott in Offenbach’s ‘La Grande Duchesse de Geroldstein’ at the Chatelet Theatre, Paris; [SBS Saturday 24th December] is brilliant and a ‘must see’ for anyone who likes fun music and a laugh. Perhaps the funniest scene, and one of the most hilarious ballets ever, is at the beginning of Act 3 when four guys dress as women and are partnered by four soldiers and they hurl each other around the stage in a wondrous parody of ballroom dancing and ballet.