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A friend of mine whom I have known since I was a small boy, passed along an article from the ex-Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd to me. As he said, his politics are not everybody’s flavour but this particular article resonated very strongly with me, putting the case very effectively that Mr. Murdoch and his newspapers have moved on from impartial reporting to proactively pushing a distopian right wing message and worrying about the implications. If you are interested, you can go to https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/08/murdoch-media-china-coronavirus-conspiracy-trump-kevin-rudd .
Mike posed the question, (and I paraphrase), ‘In the face of politics being dominated by extremists, how do you ameliorate their siren calls and get a more balanced message broadcast to the willingly uninformed?”
I hope I’m wrong and I hate to be pessimistic – but consider the pendulum. It swings back and forth, from one extreme through the the centre of its arc on its unstoppable journey to the other extreme.
At one extreme, after right wing politics have taken hold, those who are disadvantaged by the attempts of the privileged few to build and retain control, those who suffer from misfortunes that rain down upon them because of the actions of these few, will revolt in one way or another and the pendulum begins to swing back as the underprivileged assume control, taking the pendulum to its other extreme.
Now that the pendulum has swung its full arc, the people find that their successors have taken on the characteristics of those that they deposed and people now unhappy and discontented by the constraints of ‘levelling down’ and the fall in their quality of life take action and the pendulum begins to retrace its journey.
My father used to say that you could take any 100 people, put them on an island and the next day you would have those at the top and those at the bottom. Unfortunately, it’s seems to be built-in to the human psyche that this is the way things work. So, the only way that things are going to change in the grand scheme of things is with time – and whether it will be good or bad for society at large depends where you are in the great arc of the pendulum.
Unfortunately the Nelson Mandelas of this world are few and far between while the Murdochs and Trumps and Xi Jingpins and Kim Jong uns flourish. It’s a sober take on the innate capacity for cruelty, exceptional greed and yes, evil in the human spirit but even Adam Smith recognized it, as have all economists, when they posit that economic decisions are made with self interest uppermost.
As I said earlier, I hope I’m wrong, that good will triumph and the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Everyone will be the better for it. Time, as they say, will tell.
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