Two fundamental observations at the start. Human beings by nature are basically a decent bunch. That is to say that if there is no earth shaking crisis in someone’s origin story you are going to witness more decent souls. I know we can go on debating this for a long time but this is my observation, my experience and I do not claim to be the final word on anything. I posit that the character of individuals keeps changing with accidents but it is basic nature which matters the most. If your nature is good you will invariably find your way back to the good side. At times this may need a nudge in the right direction, at times no help might be needed.
Second, the voices in support of division, discord and degeneracy are getting dumber by the day. Of course, many arguments that you come across may appear clever at first glance. And there is a serious dimension to it that we take apart later in this article to ask why the good side keeps losing good, capable minds. Otherwise, these cleverly presented arguments are just that. Wafer-thin and bad, cleverly crafted and flogged on an industrial scale to confuse and divide you. Consider the racist voices. Today’s racists wear crisp business suits, quote Nietzsche and prey on every fear you have got. But in the end, they do not have the luxury of mass ignorance that their precursors had. For instance a century ago when racism was at its peak many genuinely believed in polygenesis — the belief that different races originated from different species or stocks. T
hat if these races were not related at all. Today’s science has not left any doubt in our minds that all races are related and have the same origins. Monogenesis makes a lot of sense today. So what do today’s racists do? They dumb it down. Refer to that which is physically discernable. If you share the colour of your hair, your eyes and your skin with a given group you are one of them. Dumb. See. Then there is the clever bit. The verbal manipulation of scientific minutiae. Reference to genetic variations, stereotyping of identities and dismissing every attempt to treat all humans as equals regardless of their caste, creed or class as socialism. And playing with your biological insecurities. An individual from the other community may steal your mate.
If you are a clever man or a woman with some baggage from the past three decades, that is how they get you. The smartest people can act really foolishly when they have let their guard down, are being manipulated and are not paying much attention. We all are a mix of reason and emotions. The neurons that fire up to help us think do not do so in isolation from the chemical pollution of hormones. If you are conscientious and smart and have been tripping on a slippery slope for a while you may not able to change course in time. This is where I must remind you why we are having this discussion right now. Mankind is on the cusp of a great scientific revolution.
The human genome has been decoded. Medical science broke all-time-related records in coming up with a host of vaccines to combat Covid and cures for cancer, AIDs and other incurable deadly diseases might not be far away. R&D in the medical world is trying to invent artificial organs and if these attempts succeed they may have a lasting impact on human longevity. Communication technology and cloud-related breakthroughs are making the world a wildly connected place. Man may soon permanently colonise space and have a better handle on controlling his climate.
This is where unity and stability matter. And in the middle of all this, we find ourselves as a deeply divided race and petulant lot at that, which finds unique ways to invent more troubles for itself. And as we speak noisy maelstrom forces the good side to lose some of the brightest minds to incoherence, impulsiveness and paranoia. If you want to discuss what went wrong, why we have been tripping about and how to fix it you have come to the right place. There is a good reason for that. My experience with smart people convinces me that their singular gift is their ability to listen and process.
If you make a heartfelt and honest appeal to their reason they give you a fair chance. You can draw two timelines from here. One timeline takes you to global wars, chaos, confusion, pain and suffering. The other timeline takes you to the world of serenity, enlightenment, peace, stability and compassion. So far the default setting is winning and this default setting is called Trumpism. The forces that Trump unleashed will live on even as the January 6 Committee methodically dismantles the man himself. You will have to be vigilant or else you may end up being the useful idiot the bad side so badly needs. So how did the civilisation lose its way and how to right the ship? Consider civilisation as a spacecraft travelling in the vacuum of space.
One crack can seriously jeopardise the structural integrity of the craft and its dwellers. And in the past three decades, ours has seen many. It is prudent to view all of these developments as a multi-act play. The collapse of the Berlin wall, followed by suffering humanity in the Soviet sphere of influence (unlike the Marshall Plan at the end of WWII, none was forthcoming for the erstwhile USSR) and the first Gulf War. Then the mad rush to invent the new enemy, Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations, loud talk about the threats posed to the west by Islam and China, priming minds within these two depressed entities. The emergence of terrorism and 9/11.
The invasion of Afghanistan, the war on terror, the misguided invasion of Iraq, the fracturing of the post-cold-war global unity and the resulting Arab Spring. 9/11 was a painful event, powerful enough to shake the moorings of civilisation. What followed after that was a war with no limits and no rules. There was enough pain, trauma, and appeal both to emotions and reason to justify the unjustifiable. Muslims were to face a triple squeeze between western suspicions, authoritarian Muslim regimes and increasing terrorism. But when cruelty is justified in the name of policy and prudence it does not stop there. It stews and ferments and morphs into hate that eventually tears your society apart.
Trumpism then is a fallout if not a direct outcome of the policies of two presidents, a father and a son, the two Bushes. If you don’t want to tumble down the slippery slope called Trumpism you need to take stock now. We all make mistakes in life, and we all occasionally justify the unjustifiable. It should not mean you have to continue down that path. It is time to retire the legacy of the two Bushes. And work to unite the world with more patience and commitment.
First published on June 25, 2022