From where I sit it’s been a pretty long 30 years or so. You could call it growing pains, I suppose. But when I was a kid, I certainly didn’t anticipate spending a good chunk of my adult life in a society mired so heavily in regressive attitudes, beliefs and actions.
If you’ve done any reading on evolutionary biology, you’ll know that scientists describe humanity as still possessing “Stone Age brains”.
When we lived in the Stone Age that was fine. We were few in number, possessed extremely modest technology (sorry, no, The Flintstones wasn’t a realistic portrayal of Stone Age life. I mean, think about it. That car Fred drove? The “tires” are freaking huge. And they’re solid stone too! Yeah, Fred’s muscular. But he could peddle his ass off and he wouldn’t be able to budge that puppy an inch, let alone whiz around Bedrock like he did).
Now, though, we number nearly seven billion. And we possess all sorts of powerful and sophisticated technology. We were smart enough to develop it. But we haven’t always exercised the best judgement in implementing it. That’s due, in part, to the continuing influence of Stone Age drives and thought processes in our lives.
Weapons are a prime example of the disconnect. Back in the Stone Age we had clubs and spears, now we’ve got nukes and other weapons of mass destruction. We’re still prone to tribalism, though, and war remains very much a tool of geopolitical engagement. Plus, we often still act on impulse and don’t always think things through. Thanks to our technology, the consequences of acting imprudently today are infinitely greater.
Put simply, I don’t think the answer to the challenge of our future survival lies in turning back the clock. During the five or so years the Harper government has been in power they’ve worked in many instances to reverse advances that were made during the ’60s and ’70s to promote equality between people and the overall collective welfare of humanity.
I know history tends to unfold in a pendulum pattern — a significant shift one way prompting a bit of slippage backward as people adjust (or at least reconcile themselves) to the new reality.
But in the United States, Tea Party extremists like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have advocated a return to the “values of the Founding Fathers”. The mid-18th century, you mean? A time when women had no legal rights, it was permissable to own other people as slaves, infant mortality was through the roof, and all sorts of other stuff. Uh, guess we’re gonna just have to agree to disagree on that one guys. Same with living according to a strict Biblical code as the Christian Right (which is a major player in the Harper Conservative government) is working religiously to bring about.
I don’t know about you, but when I vote on Monday I’m voting for the future not the past.