Robert L. Peters

7 August 2010

Dark Forces are Gathering

Vancouver, BC

Ominous clouds move swiftly upon an otherwise placid summer sky, blanketing it in darkness. A brief flash of light gives way to slow thunder that groans achingly in the distance. Our hero looks up past the brim of his dusty, worn hat—knowing and weary. An epic battle is afoot…  and this is how the movies begin.

The notion of a meritocracy

I was raised a capitalist. The child of immigrant parents, I came to believe that capitalism was fundamentally just and egalitarian, with the vast bulk of wealth largely shared amongst those who worked hardest for it. For my mom and dad, and many of their era, this steadfast belief turned out to be both necessary and at times quite accurate. They started with little, toiled deliberately to build a life for themselves, and saved (when I’m sure they would have preferred to do otherwise), all so their kids could have access to opportunities that weren’t available to them.

I have to admit that when I too held to this construct, most things seemed to make sense, and the world appeared infinity simpler: The people who “picked themselves up by the bootstraps” could prevail over anything; Those with the best ideas profited from them; I would have even reasoned that those less fortunate were likely so as a result of their own volition.

I oversimplify how I once pictured things, in part for the sake of this story (any more detail, and I fear you’d nod off). Nevertheless, I must admit that I looked at things in polarizing terms, seeing few other possibilities. Perhaps I was also a bit naïve, believing that most things must “balance out” in favor of the honest and decent.

 The world we’ve created

To think in those same terms today, I would either be a fool, or one of those great many, steadfastly determined to maintain a comfortable illusion (but an illusion nevertheless). This fantasy I speak of is one that persists regardless of its cost to our neighbors or future generations. It’s one that requires us to not ask questions.

In subscribing to it, we can’t allow ourselves to wonder how corporations afford us such (suspiciously) under-priced goods. We can never ask how all our trash magically disappears each day, and why we rarely find it in our own backyards. We must in no way challenge notions that masquerade as plain fact: perhaps best illustrated by the deluge of products brought to market using the words “eco” or “green” as prefixes, with little real consideration as to what such words should actually represent.

. . .

Read the rest of this great online article by Eric Karjaluoto on his blog ideasonideas here… (article re-posted with permission).


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