ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – THE TIMES WE LIVE IN

Historians will have such a wealth of material to deal with then they come to writing up the first decades of the twenty-first century, that may well drown under it. Around the world there is deepening depression unbelievably incompetent government and administration of industry. This of, natural resources (all dwindling fast) and all social institutions, with widespread corruption that is not even disguised, and a culture of greed, tyranny, and power-lust that is demolishing all the products of civilised rule-of-law, individual and group rights, and decency that it has taken centuries to establish. Unjustified warfare, killings, whether by nations, gangs, groups, religions or demented individuals, have become normal. So has fraud, embezzlement and theft on every level.

Progress has become a thing of the past except the progress represented by artificial and manufactured intelligence. Humanity, honesty, regard for the truth, in fact all moral concerns are smply not programmed into the computers, robots and electronic gadgets that are now replacing what used to be human activity. Humanity has become redundant. All that the robots have to do is to learn how to reproduce themselves and evolve beyond that. Then we short-lived, disease-prone, creative (but only by a small minority), so easily deluded and corrupted humanoids can disappear into the past.

Karl Marx believed in revolution to destroy capitalism, and to bring power to the masses, thinking that power would improve its lot. History has shown that power only leads to more power, that democracy always collapses because of ignorance, manipulation by those seeking power and always promises of some advantage, perhaps not even desirable or possible. There has been no giant intelligence in the thinking of this country since Keynes and one or two philosophers like Russell, who also understood the importance of the arts in the furthering of human intelligence. But they were not the leaders who could attract a mass-following. Journalistic columnists and a few authors influence a few thinking people, but they never stand for election and would get elected if they did. Underneath the problem of government, society and a civilized culture is the problem of education, which has retreated continuously for years, whether it is on the level of Eton, a grammar school or a secondary modern. The passion for leveling has brought everything down. Britain does not have an electorate today capable of understanding the issues at stake, although it can be shocked where there is an emotional issue involved as in the current scandal over intercepting mobile phone calls. The highly-motivated journalists of the tabloid press, and the owners behind them, practically decide who gets elected. Things are better in some other countries, but not much. An elitist education is not the ideal, but it is better than the present situation, and with time it would spread to more electors. You cannot want something better unless you can see where and what it is.

In the meantime we must undergo a descent into abject misery, shortages, unemployment and hunger. No one knows how to act in the national interest. A good example is Derby where the contract to build new railways carriages goes to a German firm, creating massive unemployment here, where the taxation on the locally employed would have saved the taxpayer many times a small difference in the estimate would have cost. How blind can people be?

John Calder 7/7/11