Bit of social activity yesterday. Lunch. Very nice. A bit different. The hosts are quite well-to-do and the setting and food were straight out of Fine Homes and Fine Dining. It was set in a forest-by-the-sea estate. It was enchanting. And, like so much of the fine-living set, they were also very kind, gracious, generous and a delight to be with. I liked it. The ‘fancy’ was great. A lot of fun.
We had joined them with a dozen other locals and so the mix was pretty familiar, only the setting and the fare unusual. I asked the host what brought him to our neck o’ the woods……
“Just fell in love with it. So beautiful. We just retired and this seems like paradise…………and………………well………………….uh……………….you know…………..the world seems to be getting a bit out of whack and this seems like it might be a good off-the-radar kind of place, ya know?”
Which got me thinking. My new ‘friend and neighbour’ was just saying what so many of us have been saying for some time. The Sky is Falling! In fact, ‘Armageddon’ has been the topic of conversation for almost four decades up here starting with the back-to-the-landers in the seventies. And I, of course, generally agreed with ’em. I don’t think it is a conspiracy so much as a lemming-like gene for self-destruction.
Mind you, who’s quibbling about why?
But he was saying that it was not looking so good today! 2013. POST market crash! So-called revival time! The Dow is around 14000! Unemployment was down! His message felt somehow more current.
They had just retired. He had done well at the game. They were both healthy and youngish. And yet he was stepping off the merry-go-round with the same kind of concern that had prompted so many people before him.
“Wow! They thought the world was going rapidly askew, too.” said Sal. “You’d think that they would have more faith in the system having done so well in it, wouldn’t you? Especially now that they are saying the worst is almost over?”
“I know. But, I have come to realize that every thinking person has those thoughts. How could they not? Climate change, wars, threats of epidemics, some notable failures of institutions, constant fear-mongering from the media and government. How could anyone think otherwise? Fear may, in fact, be the right conclusion but I am starting to think – like the contrarian I am – that it will all work out just fine.”
“What!? YOU?! The voice of doom suddenly starts singing gospel?? What has come over you?”
‘Well, I have been thinking and throughout history the hoi poloi have, for the most part, just meekly gone about their daily business. Even when doing so required dodging bullets in the marketplace. Hell, millions of people have been gently herded to their doom without so much as a peep and this horror has been repeated many times throughout history. We are a species of ‘go-alongs’ to ‘get-alongs’ and that pretty much precludes the much ballyhooed raging hordes events we all talk about.
“I no longer expect chaos and violence by way of the poor, unhappy, demoralized crowds fed up with corruption, greed and rape of the planet. They just won’t do it. That state of affairs simply doesn’t seem to be enough to make ’em mad enough. Hell, most of them won’t even vote! Historically, we just don’t do radical change very well.”
“So, what are you saying…………..?”
“I am saying that riots are local and local-issue based. Not really indicative of anything political. They are just ‘mini-opportunities’ for political expression at high-stress points. They are NOT change. I am saying full-scale rebellion is organized and financed by some self-interested power to manage people who are sufficiently disgruntled enough to be motivated and managed. But they (the people) wouldn’t have done it on their own. On their own, they leave their country or go along quietly. And the average person is not disgruntled anywhere near enough over anything for that to happen unless they are also very very hungry. In North America food is cheap. North Americans will never rebel so long as food is cheap. I think it is that simple.”
“Good food is not cheap!”
“I know. But Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner, Big Gulps and Super-sized Macs are still very cheap. Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake!” She erroneously thought the starving people had just run out of choices. The French Revolution was not from choice. It was from hunger. Primal. Wall Street won’t make that mistake. “Deliver them some pizza! Let them eat nachos, let them drink coke! While you are at it, turn on the TV! That should keep ém quiet!”
And it does.
‘COME THE REVOLUTION!’ ……….……ain’t gonna happen…..………