There are places where man’s fancies take flight and the spirits can soar, but then there are others that are suffocating and squash the human spirit. Too much of the architecture of our cities deadens and suppresses the population and too much of our media, news and entertainment serves similar ends.
Unfortunately society in much of the Western World has lost its way. I have always thought that the way we treat the weakest and most vulnerable in our society is the best yard stick to judge where we are and how we are progressing. I have always, since I was a teenager, had a strong dislike for charity. It smacks of elitism and seems to pander to the desire to be seen to be doing good. It makes one feel noble and good about oneself. I always felt that that society should take care of the sick, mentally ill, poor and needy and that charity should be saved for animals, overseas etc. I also feel that the charity industry is an oppressive and greedy business where very little goes to those intended and more is creamed of for the benefit of those who make their living out of the misfortune of others. I must say that I include churches, schools and organisations that claim charitable status.
I spent time living on missions in the third world for considerable time in the 1980s and I was both impressed and horrified by the nature of some of the missionaries. Some had the very best intentions, gave up affluent lifestyles to provide medical assistance and services to the local populations. Unfortunately too many were there to give their lives a purpose, to make themselves feel good about themselves. In other words they were there for themselves and not for the people they served.
Currently in Australia there is a mantra from both political sides to cut taxes. This is held up as the holy grail of politics. It works on the principle of greed. Give people more money and they will vote for you. It doesn’t matter who is disadvantaged by this, as long as you benefit. What has gone wrong? What have we done? Where was the optimism that was shared after the world wars and a desire to make the world better for everyone. Greed! It seemed to start with Margaret Thatcher in the UK, I can’t say for other places. Education was replaced by how to make you job worthy. How you could make a lot of money and there was that dreadful word, ‘enterprise’. Oh how I hated it!
There are parts of the world where taxes are willingly paid to improve society for all. It seems to make sense. If society doesn’t include you, then you won’t care whether you break the rules, steal and so on. You have nothing to lose! As a result, society starts to break down. The change may be gradual, but it is happening and it is getting worse. I never saw a beggar for the first 38 years of my life in the UK. Now they are everywhere. Psychiatric hospitals are care places were shut down and the residents just turned out on the streets. We have seen how well they have fended for themselves. Of course some establishments and the care provided was poor, but isn’t poor care better than no care?
Just in case we start questioning too much, the media has been on hand to deaden the soul, flatten aspiration, kill joy, breed envy, anger and the new word ‘outrage!’. Reality TV, online gambling, humiliating others through lynch mob causes and social media have kept everyone quiet whilst the very few with power, use it! Don’t worry thinking, we’ll tell you what to think! Don’t question, we’ll tell you what you need to know! In fact we’ll direct all aspects of your lives for you, as we take away free speech, free thought and freedom! George Orwell was right. It has all come to pass and the lives of everyone have become less fulfilling as a result.
If you have read this much I am surprised. Just an old fool ranting! But maybe it isn’t too late. Kindness is not a weakness. The movement for peace and justice in the 1960s fizzled out, but maybe it can do the phoenix and rise again. They don’t like it, but whilst we have democracy, we can vote them out. Like the Royal Commission on Banking, we can force it upon then and take back from those who steal from the majority. We can put people of honour in place to lead us, but if we let them, we can see greed replace kindness.
Anyway, that’s might thought for today. Feel free to disagree or comment, but make a small change.