Canada had its best election ever two weeks ago. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are now the Majority Party with 184 seats (previously 30 seats) and Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are termed out. “When government trusts citizens, citizens trust government,” Justin Trudeau said. “Sunny ways” triumph as Canadians agree on changing direction and becoming more Canadian and inclusive.
The future must be decentralized and regional. Another world is possible and another economy is necessary, a post-growth, post-fossil and post-autistic economy where financial crises and climate change aren’t repressed, where all people are included and valued through community centers, affordable education and universal health care.
Pride is different than shame, love is different than indifference and active positive citizenship is different than manipulated consensus. The future should be open and dynamic, not closed and static. The future should be anticipated in the present, not extrapolated from the present. Hope sets us apart from the rest of creation. With the power of hope and anticipation, we can go beyond everything past and present in the power of the coming, the power of the promise (Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope).
The financial sector should be shriveled and the public sector expanded. The myths of self-healing markets, efficient financial markets, nature as a free good, external and sink, infinite growth in a finite world, quantitative growth and the exact sciences eclipsing qualitative growth and the human sciences (history, literature, play, language, sociology, political science, philosophy) and private opulence next to public squalor (cf. John Kenneth Galbraith) must call us to rethinking – individually and collectively.
The US economy amid outsourcing and financialization is kept alive through foreign investments, social security, Medicare and suffers with false identities, the world sheriff, the empire exploiting colonies and continents through “free investment” trade agreements, military bases and indirect threats.
The implementation of social security insurance drastically reduced the poverty rate in the US. The country is strengthened when fellow citizens escape poverty. Most of the money paid in SSI benefits is immediately cycled back into circulation, further stimulating the economy and thereby benefiting all of us. August 14 was Social Security’s 80th birthday and July 30 was Medicare’s 50th birthday.
All personal and corporate success depended on state investments in schools, roads, hospitals, food safety, water quality and airwaves. The Schwabian housewife is a misleading model. Debts to an individual household are different than debts to corporations and states. Debts to corporations and states are necessary to create the infrastructure for future economic activity.
O Canada shows us the wonder of public spirit. Imagine a country without Wall Street and the Pentagon. Imagine a country where college education is kept affordable, where a 21st century computer-operated light rail system lifts spirits and health care is seen as a human right and not a privilege. Did the US become incapable of learning because of its material wealth? Did the power elite immunize itself by repressing criticism and alternatives and other cultures and civilizations? Do people confuse the image and the reality and drive critics from the town and academia as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave?
We live in a Humpty Dumpty, Orwellian world where words mean what Humpty Dumpty says they mean, where telling the truth is a revolutionary act, where truth is inwardness (cf. Kierkegaard) and where words can break the frozen soul (cf. Kafka). A lie can travel halfway around the globe before truth gets her boots on (Mark Twain).
Political will and political motivation are necessary to break with inertia, corruption and lip service. Creating affordable housing and meaningful living wage jobs can’t be left to the market or neoliberal theory. Profit making is different than profit-maximizing. The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments (Nikolaus Krowall). Private opulence exists alongside public squalor as John Kenneth Galbraith decried in the 1960s.
Don’t hate the media; become the media. Hope is in alternative media, intercultural learning, breaking out of the box of conformity, herd instinct and selfishness. Fear of the unknown and fear of the future can be overcome as prejudice and illiteracy can be overcome in the event of understanding, the fusion of horizons (cf. Hans Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method). Fear mongering and fault finding are false securities like cheap grace and cheap citizenship. The church (as in Nazi Germany) can become a husk of hypocrisy and barbarism, a bastion of self-righteousness where social justice and the in-breaking reign of God are trivialized. Our own logs of militarism and exploding inequality must be recognized without magnifying the specks in the eyes of others.
We are called to be subjects in a future that is open and dynamic, not closed and static. We are invited to abundant self-critical and interdependent life, not a 2-inch world of Ponderosa and Mr. Cartwright, an insular world where nothing is learning of difference and other cultures. where wars of aggression and adventure are normalized and where the outside of the cup is cleaned and the inside remains filthy. “We sit here stranded and do our best to deny it,” “the executioner’s face is always well hidden where hunger is ugly and souls are forgotten,” “a hard rain’s goin to fall” (Bob Dylan www.dylanradio.com).
The unexamined life isn’t worth living (Socrates). Truth wells up and cannot be imposed. Soren Kierkegaard saw truth as inwardness wounding indirectly from behind. Self-righteousness is the grand delusion, said theologian Eberhard Juengel. Self-interest means that our will and our perception are curved in ourselves, Martin Luther warned. Narcissism is the unhealed epidemic where Narcissus falls in love with his reflection in the pond and drowns (cf. Janet Twenge on www.booktv.org and Chalmers Johnson “Nemesis”). The ego must die for the self to be born!