It’s not 2020 anymore.
2020 was a really long year, mostly, I think, because 2020 started in 2016. 2020 was just the icing on that (shitty) cake.
We still exist in a world where the forces acting on us are beyond our control. We feel like we’re more enlightened than our predecessors who worshiped the sun and the stars, but this is just chronological snobbery. We worship at more abstract altars, but they’re altars nonetheless.
How could you worship, say, a goddess of fertility whose willingness (or ability) to provide fecundity and abundance was so capricious? What’s the difference between coming to the altar and not, when the results seem the same?
And yet we worship at the altars of capitalism, conservatism, fundamentalism, trickle-down economics… and your can insert your favourite ideological whipping boy here.
When these ideologies become unshakeable cornerstones of our relationship with the world, when their effects can’t be questioned, when methods of critiquing them are reflexively stigmatized, how can we say we’re better than, say, the Romans?
We still exist in a world with massive and growing inequity, where the beneficiaries of this inequity are passively (and often actively) working to increase the gaps.
We exist in a world where justice is denied in the name of fairness and a level playing field. We will not acknowledge, much less correct, the sins of the past.
We exist in a world where the imaginations of so many are captive to the fantasies of conspiracy theories. We invent fictional antichrists to distract from the antichrists we have built and from which we benefit.
We have strong opinions on things we haven’t experienced or are completely ignorant, and we will not listen to those who have experience or expertise.
We have collapsed morality into opinion and then tried to fix that by making opinion fact.
2021 might bring some change. I hope so. But I’m fairly pessimistic. I’m think incrementalism is the right approach, but in the absence of any actual incremental change, we’re heading towards bayonets and guillotines.
Happy new year.