Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It Is A Savage World

The havoc wrought by the tsunami in Asia drives home the point to all of us that life is tenuous at best. Every day, no matter where we live, something could happen that might terminate our existence here on earth. Individually, we might have a fatal accident or a stroke or heart attack. On a larger scale, many of us could be wiped out by an 'Act of God,' like a hurricane, tornado. earthquake or tsunami.

I, personally, have a hard time imagining a God who would look around to see where He might introduce mayhem, just to keep himself from getting bored and/or His subjects from becoming complacent. I still have this absurd fantasy that if there were a God, he might someday say: "Enough is enough. From this day forward, each child born shall be minus the idiot gene that has caused hatred and war for time immemorial. Let ill will come to an end and let good will reign on earth." But then what do I know? I only know that when it come to matters I cannot control, I am pretty good at wishful thinking, at imagining what could or might be.

So what do I imagine might face us in 2005? Well, there will be more killing. That's easy to predict. Individuals will kill other individuals, one at a time, for the usual reasons. You know, like jealousy and greed. On a much larger scale, governments will be responsible for killing subjects of other governments. That will be done much more efficiently. Scores of people, or hundreds or thousands or millions, will be killed. And it will happen over and over again. It will never stop. When we are all dead and gone, governments will still be sending new generations of citizens somewhere to kill the 'enemy.'

Don't blame me. I'm just telling it like it is.

What else can we expect in 2005? Governments everywhere will spend. And spend. And spend some more. Even beyond 2005, governments will continue to spend until they have spent us all into bankruptcy. Count on it.

More? We will all be controlled just a little bit more. We will be spied upon, regulated, harassed, embarrassed, abused. No, not by some unknown somebody down the street, but by our own governments. We have much less to fear from our neighbour than we do from those we appoint to protect us.

Still, those of us in North America will still have it better, on average, than those who live in most other places around the world. But how much longer will that be true? Someday, if things don't improve here, we will no longer live in the counties with the best record of freedom in the history of the world. That honour will have passed to somewhere else. Where? I don't know, but it will happen. I hope that time is still a long way into the future, but I suspect that it is much closer than I would like.

I love to be free and I notice when my freedom diminishes. Many of us do. Some of us don't notice, or don't care. By the time everyone notices, it will be too late.

In the meantime, we'll all do the best we can. What else is there for us to do? Some of us will work, save, take care of ourselves and our families and be thankful for the opportunities that are left to us. Others will work to restrict our freedoms and to ensure that they get a 'fair share' of our bounty. I wonder if, when everything falls apart because of their misguided policies and self-loathing, they will understand that they were responsible for the resulting misery.

Probably not.

Have a Happy New Year!


  1. Well said, Seig. Here in the Philippines, I am seeing what it is like to live under a government that doesn't have enough money to do a whole lot. Nobody I have met here trusts their government nor do they expect much from it. I think they learned from people like Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada.

  2. Although I agree with a many of your observations and predictions, it would appear that you have a lot of "doom and gloom" on your mind.

    Agree - yes, it's tough to revere a God who throws his/her weight around just to produce the destruction that we have witnessed in Asia. Can it all be blamed on the decision of a God? Have we as world citizens not played havoc with our environment via space exploration, pollution, destruction of world forests just to mention a few. NOW WE are reaping the results. Some of the aforementioned was done in the name of science, some merely due to greed and the pursuit of power.Often this destroys our natural environment in the name of progress, manufacturing, growth. On going pollution and destruction of vital greenspaces is being done as we write, worldwide. The toxic and atmospheric results can be traced in hundreds of scientific research documents. How can we possibly think that after playing God with the earth, God won't play with us?

    As for your other laments concerning loss of freedom and invasiveness of governments. I say, "here, here"..we must all make some small but focussed foray into the battle of aggressive government controls.
    On a personal note, I will be commencing a letter writing campaign to provincial government representatives protesting the health tax we have been forced to pay. What the heck is that health tax about for the thousands of us who are without a medical doctor?

    Take heart. "Carpe the diem" and savour the pleasures where you find them - in the creative, productive lifestyle which you obviously enjoy, your writing, your work ethic, your family and your daily travels into the magical wonders of your mind,and many of the world's undiscovered mysteries.

  3. Jason: Let's see... the Philippines have government without money to spend, friendly citizens AND warm weather? Let me check my flight schedule. The beer's on me.

  4. Anonymous: 'Natural' catastrophes of considerable magnitude have been visited on earth's hapless inhabitants for eons, many long before man had reached the point where his actions might affect the environment in any significant way. Although wide-scale pollution continues in much of the third world, the fact is that things have improved dramatically in much of the developed world. Michael Crichton's new novel, 'State of Fear,' is about environmental pseudo-science and why it is so universally accepted as gospel.

    I have trouble with the 'experts' who want us to wind back the technological clock instead of encouraging technological solutions to remaining environmental problems. It is a popular pastime to snipe at 'big business,' and 'greedy capitalists' while overlooking the fact that without business and capitalism we would all be living in a fashion that even the eco-freaks wouldn't tolerate.

    I love green when it is the colour of grass and leaves. I hate green when it is the colour of envy. I am not the first to point out that the most vocal critics (of anything) in the world are those who 'can't,' rather than those who 'can.' If you can't write a book, become a critic and tear down someone who can. If you can't build a business, spend your life tearing down those who can and do. If you can't hold down a job and/or manage a household budget and are therefore relegated to a life of poverty, whine about the 'greed' of those who through hard work and intelligent planning become successful.

    Doom and gloom? Yep, guilty as charged. What really frustrates me is that it doesn't have to be that way. If everyone simply stopped delegating responsibility for everything to various levels of government and took responsibility for themselves, we would all be infinitely better off.

  5. As one who is only mildly well read in areas of ancient history, yes, I stand to be reminded that we have only to look at the ruins of lost cities to remember destruction long before modern technology and pollutants could be figured into the chain of events regarding "Acts of God." Thankyou for the reference to the Critchton book. I'll definitely look for it.

    Possessing a long history of business activities, including some pioneering and "startups", I would offer this observation on your commentary regarding people who snipe at successful capitalists and take potshots at profitable marketers. My point is not to undermine a successful businessperson. On the contrary, I laud anyone with the fortitude and determination to build a business from nothing more than an idea. However, there can and often is a middle road. By this I mean, making profit with a conscience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with running a multimillion dollar enterprise, but to do it with an effort to be humane, sensitive and environmentally aware is what I would advocate. It's not a pipedream. Many companies, both small and large demonstrate acts of good corporate citizenship, like sponsoring a third world child, or donating time and recyclables to Habitat for Humanity.
    So it is not the capitalist, or the marketdriven economy that troubles me. It is the lack of planning, and waste that often accompanies the drive for profit.

    Regarding technology. Yes, I have concerns when it is destructive, not only to the planet, but to the people who live in regions impacted by its presence. Water pollution is the issue that comes to mind.

    On the other hand, it will be the miracle of modern
    biotechnology that will hopefully be successful in alleviating some of the communicable diseases now running rampant in devastated Asia. It will be the same biomedical technology that will perhaps offer cures for the cancers that prevail in geodemographic pockets.

    Ooops..have I completed the circle?..first trying to shift some blame for disaster on technology, then pointing to technology as the possible saviour from disaster's diseases. (Maybe that's why I never made captain of the debating team.)

    Sieg, you have certainly given us all some thought provoking issues to consider. Thanks for the great exchange. Happy 2005.

  6. Thanks for the sentiment and the dialogue. Happy 2005!