A few years ago I was driving home on a freeway and came upon the following scene: A van broken down on the side of the road with a half dozen very fit young blokes sitting on folding chairs awaiting someone to stop and help them.
When I asked them how long they had been waiting the reply was “hours”. It took around 30 seconds to diagnose that the problem was the old points ignition, and two minutes to adjust them so there was a roughly correct spark gap. The men looked on the same way that a girl would have in a similar situation thirty years ago: passive, fundamentally incurious as to how the vehicle they relied upon to convey themselves across hundreds of kilometres of landscape devoid of coffee shops worked, but grateful. There was another note detectable in their attitude: Surprise. Surprise that the thing was so easily fixed or surprise that anyone actually stopped and helped? I don’t know.
There is much worth pondering upon in this memory.
Thirty years ago, or maybe even just twenty, the chances that a group of six young blokes would not have contained at least one mechanic, engineering tradesman or car nut would have been close to zero. So there is one huge change in the structure of our society.
I also can’t help wonder what their plan was if I hadn’t happened along. As they had already spent hours waiting, I don’t think they had one. Sitting in a phone coverage gap they had not even the initiative to start walking to the top of the hill to see if there was a signal.
De-industrialisation hasn’t just changed the type of work people do. It changes education, social interactions and the nature of the people in society. It has fed into this woke stupidity and allowed females the illusion of safety while the reality is we are less prepared to defend ourselves than any time in the last 200 years.
The change within our society is mirrored in all the liberal western democracies, so there is no relief from that direction, although the AUKUS thing indicates that politicians in all of them think that there is protection to be had in all these countries huddling together at the same time as their abilities in all fields of endeavour except the ability to consume huge amounts of product made by others declines.
Then there is the green fantasy. Fantasy or con? Probably both. The sales pitch: Pristine wildernesses, sunlit meadows and happy children frolicking in a clean environment. The reality: the systematic movement of industry to those parts of the planet governed by the most ruthless and corrupt dictatorships and the continuation or acceleration of pollution and exploitation.
The distraction: it’s easy to put up useless solar panels and windmills in jurisdictions which no longer have the heavy power consumption of productive heavy industries which those same solar panels and windmills rely upon for their production. Are our leaders really this clueless? Why, yes they are.
Of course, it is becoming obvious to increasing numbers of people that we are getting sucked into this huge vortex of troubles. Education has played a large part. For years only the most troublesome and disruptive students were herded towards TAFE as high schools used the vocational stream to rid themselves of the difficult and the stupid. This reflected the attitudes of the middle class teachers themselves: anyone “good” should aspire to a nice, clean indoor job that required a university degree. Anyone who they found annoying should be relegated to manual labour. A complete disrespect for both the trades and the abilities required to fill those places combined with a misunderstanding of the place of universities within a functioning society, and combines with the reality of off shored industries, privatisation and outsourcing to completely crater what was an entire ecosystem of apprenticeships, expertise and mentoring.
I can’t watch most movies produced in the last twenty years. Because most of the scenarios presented are absurd to anyone with a scintilla of practical experience. A result of our outsourced information society is that the stories told have become increasingly psychologically clever and engaging, technically as works of art better and more sophisticated, but more and more divorced from realistic stories. I’m not interested in watching another gun fight where it’s a minutes long attempt to communicate something uninteresting via some arcane violent balletic language. To me, modern cinema just reeks of the last, thrashing movements of a dying beast.
Our information technology will ensure that this is the most well documented descent into madness since the B-Ark. At no time in history has more information been available to a more useless population.
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