Sunday, June 17, 2012
June 17: late on a Sunday evening.....
Well, it is Sunday. And I am a religious person. I don't attend a church because I cannot stomach the hypocracy of the churches. But I was thinking tonight of churches and hippies and the current protest movements and where all this came from and where it's going.
The starting point is, I guess that the hippies of the 60s and 70s, brought nothing new to the world. They were probably the last, big Sunday School generation, born to parents who paid lip service to faith, enough lip service to make sure their children attended Sunday School; not enough to bother much with religious observance itself or to be, in any noticeable way, Christian.
The hippie movement was Sunday School theology - peace and love - modified by self-indulgence - pot and sex. The Sunday School theology gave them their sense of justification for opposing the Vietnam War. But their opposition wasn't based on morality. They would show that later by their ardent support for the invasions Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, the overthrow of democracy in Haiti, and the slaughter of innocents in Guatemala.
They didn't even end the Vietnam War. It was simply unwinnable. That's why the American government withdrew. That, and the fact that polls showed Americans of all ages were turning against it. As a factor in ending the war, journalist Walter Cronkite was probably more important than the whole hippie movement.
All the hippies brought to the table was a shallow and hypocritic version of Christianity - commonly the most popular type of most religions. What the hippies left was the people they would vote for one day - two Bushes, an Obama, and a Harper. (George Bush jr. was almost a model of his generation - a drunk, a druggie, a draft-dodger, the a born-again Christian who killed joyfully and made torture as American as apple pie.
Generally, the hippies were not violent. They had no reason to be once the military draftt was ended. And they had no social change to suggest. Why should they? The were quite comfortable as things were.
But there's been a change.
The young people in the streets now are not chanting about love and peace. That may be because so many never went to Sunday School, never learned to be plausible hypocrites - and because they see threats hanging over them that are even closer and more dangerous than the military draft.
The Occuply movement and others like it aren't there to give out flowers. They're angry. They're angry about an upper clsss that has used it wealth to buy power, used power to gain purely for greed, to gain more wealth by abandoning those it made poor.
The very rich have certainly shown their ability to make money. What they have failed, and failed wretchedly, to show is any capacity to rule intelligently. As a consequence of the rule of the very rich, economic and social structures all over the world are in shreds, poverty is rising, corruption is rampant (and, no, I don't just mean in foreign countries where people have beards and darker skins).
And the very rich know so little of how to govern that the only reponse they have to protest is suppression. Britain is installiing a system to monitor the phone calls, e mail, web sites visited, etc. by everybody. Former prime minister Tony Blair, the lap dog of big money, was the first prime minister to become a wealthy man while in office.
In the US, e mail, phone calls are already widely recorded without warrant. Over a million people are forbidden to fly, and with no reason, let alone evidence, given. And who knows how many such lists are in circulation? Or why? Police now commonly have authority to stop and search anyone, with or without suspicion. Police departments are lining up to buy drone robots. Within a very short time, the whole country will be covered with these spy aircraft, peering into and recording the lives of everybody. For the first time in history, the US has a fulll combat brigate permanently based in the US. Guess why.The full police state is not futuristic. It is here.
Much of that, including American police and other agents, will soon be coming to Canada. The 'harmonization' of Canadian and American practices is a part of the 'budget' that Harper pushed through. Ottawa airport is already installing sophisticated microphones and recording equipment to eavesdrop on travellers. Better watch what you say about Harper if you have a between-flights stopover in Ottawa.
The hippies were, at best, extrordinarily simple Christians turned atheists growing into a world pretty much handed to them on a platter. The government occasionally got tough with them, most famously at Kent State. But, generally, they were tolerated.
What we now have are young people who are not prattling immature Christianity. Nor is the world being handed to them on a platter. And this time, an increasing number of the protesters are not kids of any sort. They are the aging and the elderly and native peoples who, with cuts in the current budget, are being tossed on the scrap heap. As well, there are savage environmental cuts that toss all of us on the scrap heap. This generation (and its parents and grandparents) faces real dangers from greed, from the barbarity of the very wealthy (most of them probably church-goers), from eonomic collapse, from many and large wars - and from a ruling class so incompetent to rule that it can think only of repression - and has shown itself ready to use the most violent repression.
As things are, the chances of a happy ending are zero.
There isn't much time. We all have to hurry up if we want to save ourselves.