We need to talk …

We live in a world where populism is increasingly the only acceptable social currency. We have a government minister wanting to have athletes investigated for not “bending the knee” to the Black Lives Matter movement, blanket statements by a socialite stating South African men at “roaches” and … pick any number of the other social media tirades currently taking place.

If, at any point, there is an attempt to resist a populist blanket statement, then that rebuttal is absolutely an indication of total resistance or that it is made in support of the unacceptable alternative. You are either unquestionably and unthinkingly a part of something or you are the enemy, there is no space for middle ground. Not any more.

Let’s consider that a country should ensure it is self-sufficient both in terms of resources and territory, there’s nothing to argue against there, is there? What about a country ensuring it has a great transport system to help the economy along? Throw in the thought that a country shouldn’t find itself under threat from outsiders and you’ve got three statements that seem pretty inarguable right? Would you find any of them unacceptable?

Now wrap them up in Nazism (yes, all three of those were among Nazi goals, and the autobahns remain one of Germany’s assets). Do you agree with Nazism? What about if you agree with the goals for improving the lives of German people, but disagree with Nazism? How about if you said “Yes, a country should be self-sufficient in resources and territory” and that got you branded as a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathiser?

Increasingly this is what is happening in modern dialogue, if it can still be referred to as that. When a popular cause comes along, if you have a voice of dissent your voice is immediately discounted or villified. You are either in or out, details are not under discussion.

If there can be no nuance, no discussion, no rational discourse then we cannot progress. Being forced to accept all, no matter if we agree or not, is dangerously close to fascism. While this is considered a bastion of the far-right, it seems that the far-left is not far from this same comfort with authoritarianism – in the face of creating an inclusive world tolerant of all.

Centre, or moderate-left politics are becoming increasingly radicalised either through media intervention, a general dissatisfaction with the time it is taking to achieve equality (whatever that is) or a defeat of the capitalist system’s exploitation of people. Whatever is being fought for, it is in danger of falling from grace as it increasingly makes demands on thoughtful people that they are not willing to commit to.

Ultimately, if the left were to become as unpopular as the right, then perhaps we will be left with the only choice available – the middle. Maybe this is what ultimately need, for the far ends of the spectrum to prove themselves wrong and burn themselves out.

On a final note, what have you been doing the last kermit? No, I don’t mean the little green frog with the Miss Piggy girlfriend. No, here I mean the 100 sections of the 24 hour day. Each kermit is 14.4 minutes and this unit of measurement was created in 1983, a bit more recently than the moment. The moment was used in Medieval times by calculation on the sundial. Of course this means that a moment isn’t quite fixed as it would change by season. Generally though, a moment would comprise 90 seconds, or a minute-and-a-half.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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