Our Society is Changing
The far right and left are rising. There is evermore civil unrest. What are the consequences of climate change? Who is the real enemy? In order to understand this, we must understand our society (western society) first.
Most 1st world countries operate under some variation of the same socioeconomic model. These countries are based economically on capitalism and socially on the principle that everyone is responsible for themselves. Politically, we have democratic processes and entities within our governments such as elections and parliaments which assure that the will of the people is represented within the government. This guarantees, that most people don’t rebel, because they are being represented in the democracy, that most people are quite equal and that people can vote on changes impacting few to the benefit of the many, e.g. taxes.
This form of governing is good and makes sense, but even with its elections and other democratic processes, we still cannot cope with radical change. We have a great example of this before our very eyes, the United States of America, and to some extent, Canada.
The reasons for this are plenty, but they’re all based on few underlying principals.
1. The First Past the Post System
The first past the post system adopted in Canada, the USA, and others means that people don’t vote for the party they actually want in power. Why?
With first past the post, the party that wins the majority in your riding or county gets full power over that area. This means that it is in your best interest to vote for the party that is more likely to win, and not the party with which your view align the most. This is the reason why in the 2016 USA election, 98% of voters voted for either the Democrats or Republicans, and in the 2021 Canadian election, 83.9% of the votes were either NDP, Conservative, or Liberal. This is different from a country with proportional voting such as Germany where the top two parties had 56.6% of the vote and the top 3 had 71.4% and where every party which gains more than 5% in the election receives a portion on the seats in the parliament.
Here is an interesting website showcasing the result of Canadian 2019 election under the different voting systems.
2. Social Media
We all most likely understand that social media tends to lead to radicalization. The recent Facebook whistleblower documents are supporting this ever less hidden truth. There are hundreds, if not thousands of online communities with people who have really distorted and unusual opinions and ideas about a whole range of subjects. People get suggested these communities by algorithms that are programmed to make people spend more time on the apps because those align with their opinion. Once people regularly log onto these communities, they start getting distorted and unusual opinions, they perceive a different truth from you or I. They land in their filter bubble. The readers are constantly getting confirmation of their opinions and start turning them into action. Some examples of this are the rioting of the US capital and the right and left wing protests throughout the world.
Opinion: There likely wouldn’t have been nearly as many protests, be they BLM, environmental, or right wing, had there been no social media like that of today.
3. Climate and Social Change
Many people, including myself, have a ‘doomer’ perspective on climate change. The possibility of people enacting enough radical change for us to reverse climate change is impossible. The fact that it would cut into the profits of most major companies is, on its own, enough for those companies, which fund our politicians, to stop any radical action which would be required to stop or slow down climate change. Do you remember the scandal when it was publicized that Exxon had since the early 90s known and chosen to ignore the consequences of climate change? They disregarded human health in the name of short term profits.
There is a certain chance that our material wealth, as a civilization, will degrade from this point onwards. There will be no better future for my children. We are only feeling the first effects of climate change, and it will only ever get worse. Forests will burn. Coasts will flood. Droughts will cause a lack of food in parts of the world. People will starve. Permafrost will taw and release additional carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. We need to do something about it or at the very least prepare. We aren’t even preparing nearly enough.
This doomer mindset makes people unaware or rather not care about the consequences of their actions because in the end, they are but a drop in the ocean. They’re actively destructive because “why not?”.
What do we do about these issues?
I am not nearly smart enough and don’t know nearly enough to answer this question, but I do know one thing for sure. If we don’t change, our future might be the same in the short term, but in the long term, the consequences of our actions will be a lot worse than the worst of what’s happening now.
Is change possible?
In short, yes. Change would have to start with the way we govern ourselves. First off, politics shouldn’t be about getting the most votes and thinking only about the next four years, but rather doing what’s best for the nation in the long term. This would be much easier to accomplish in a country where the state would have to enact laws and construct projects which would help the people in the long term in order to retain power. Projects such as high speed rail, defence against natural disasters, protection of the environment, and securitization of long term food and water sources would be top priorities instead of stimulus checks for mega corporations which do not benefit the society.
Why is our government the way it is?
One of the biggest reasons for our emphasis on short term growth is because the people who benefit from it the most, are also the ones who typically have the most power. Within a democratic system, everyone should be equally powerful. But that can’t happen unless we first make sure that everyone is equally wealthy. Programs to spread the wealth throughout populations disproportionately disadvantage the rich and make those with vast amounts of money become evermore normal while those living in poverty and the middle class have better standards of life. If I were rich, I’d want to preserve my wealth at the expense of others, even if it were harming everyone else. So to benefit everyone we need things that effect the rich negatively. There are quite a few things that effect the rich negatively while effecting everyone else positively. Payed sick leave, emissions taxes, payed vacation, and higher sales taxes on expensive products are all things that disadvantage the rich while making the quality of life better for everyone else. These things seem to favour one ideology a lot more than all the others.
How should we govern ourselves?
Socialism and socialist policies ensure that there are socialist ideals within a population. Socialist ideals are that you should be happy, have time for yourself and free time, not worry about any bills or costs, and have freedom from work. By uniting the population under socialism we will have the capability to create the resources we need to fight climate change together, along with retaining and creating personal freedoms like the 40 hour five day work week, anyone should have enough wealth to have a good standard of living while working 40 hours per week. Benefiting all of society except those that have unjust amounts of wealth. Living in poverty would be a thing of the past. We would have better education, work, and healthier, more happy people. By uniting under socialism we can create a better world, together.
How my latest project ties into all of this.
In my last project, Think You Can Do Better, we had to create a political party which wasn’t like the other Canadian parties and would make Canada a better place. For this we had to express and support our opinions, something that I did at the start of this blog post, and with my other posts.
Create meaningful texts, I consider the audience of my texts, mostly scholars and teachers, in order to create media which attracts their attention and changes their opinions to be more like the one I express, I write about interesting, important, and relevant subjects.
Reflect assess and improve texts to make them better, I let my family and friends, as well as my teachers assess my texts and tell me what I could improve upon in order to make them better. Comment your thoughts about my blog post!
I can research and explain statements as well as facts in order to create an understanding for myself as well as others. I do this a lot. Facts, especially political and sociological facts, are almost always the perceived truth of the authors of the medium. People have opinions based on their surroundings, which is why your opinion, what you see as truth, is different from my opinion and what I see as the truth. So in order to see the truth more clearly, one must read the statements of as many different authors as possible in order to have variety. Once you have these articles, you take them and create your own opinion on the subject, one which you will spread to others.
Check out my other blog posts here and please tell me how I’m doing with the comments.
Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your life.