FRIENDS, ROMANS, COUNTRYMEN, LEND ME YOUR EARS!
This famous opening line was originally intoned by Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’. In his speech, Marc Antony wins over the crowd of people, which heretofore had been sceptical as to whether or not Brutus and his cohorts had actually conspired to kill Caesar.
Caesar, according to Marc Antony, had been worthy of the people’s admiration and trust, and therefore it was wrong to have killed him. The same could be said of our democracy in the post-modern world. There seem to be many Brutuses sharpening their knives in the wings, as well as out in the open, ready to stick them in the back of the great ‘Caesar’ we call democracy.
We live in an increasingly over-legislated and over-regulated society, fearful of threats, foreign and domestic, human, viral, and bacteriological. Boys and girls are no longer permitted to settle their differences in the school yard the old-fashioned way: In my day, which was not all that long ago, we’re talking 1969-79; if you had a beef with another boy in school, you met at recess, or after school, and had a good old-fashioned fist fight in the school yard, or maybe the locker room in the gym, and that was it.
Now we have all sorts of school psychologists with their anti-bullying and anti-taxing strategies of zero violence, cutting gym classes, forbidding the students from playing on the swings, lest someone fall off and hurt themselves, and an irate parent sue the Board….
We have paranoia about H1N1. We can’t even shake hands at Mass during the Peace, or douse ourselves with Holy Water for crying out loud!!! Our priest won’t even shake our hand after Mass as we leave the Church. Come on!!! Never before have we vaccinated so many people for so many things, yet never before have so many people been sick…. Hmmmm…I see a pattern emerging here.
We have brand new University residences in places like Regina, Saskatchewan, which are so air-tight in their approach to security, and so aesthetically sterile in their institutional appearance, that I could just as easily have been spending my two evenings in that city in either a psychiatric wing, or a minimum or medium security penitentiary. I had to swipe my credit-type card to get in the main door, swipe it again to get access to my wing, then AGAIN, to get into my room!!! Pheeww!!! Don’t think I’ll bother going out again tonight after that ordeal!!!
When we’ve gotten to the point of institutionally ghettoizing our places of higher learning behind airlock-type compartments with security cameras, then I think we’ve got a problem. Same goes for all of the other problems listed above. It’s not for nothing that the birthrate has gotten to be so low in western countries: It’s become increasingly counterintuitive, even nightmarishly complex to bring another human being into a world of convoluted, over-regulated technocratic plutocracy, fraught with the ever-present perils of vaccines which we think may cause autism, but which the medical profession, backed by the pharmaceutical giants, systematically deny. Add to that the constant spectre of gender conflict over money, power, property, and prestige, schools which can’t decide what to teach and how to teach it, and especially, governments which have chosen, because of the imperatives of global high finance, to disengage themselves from their collective responsibilities towards the individual citizen, and any notion of the common good because the denizens of high finance wish to continue to reduce the cost of doing business so as to continue to allow the continued arrogation of more money, power, property, and prestige into the hands of a few.
I fear that the situation will get much worse before it gets any better, and that our masters will, as I mentioned previously in my four part article, perpetrate another orgy of killing upon the people of this planet, as they did in 1914-18, and 1939-45, so as to satiate the bloodthirsty gods of commerce before the more common of mortals is once again allowed to live in peace and prosperity. Such has been the way of the world since man first scraped the metallic rock from the bowels of the Earth and forged and hammered it into swords so as to subjugate and dominate his fellow man.
Such is the tragedy of civilization. Or, in the post-modern world, such is the tragedy of the loss of the great Caesar we call Democracy. Who shall rise up and sweep aside the brutish Brutuses who daily sharpen their daggers and stab poor Caesar in the back? I would still have a tendency to believe Marc Antony’s assertion that Caesar was, and still is, worthy of our trust: after all, that is the definition of Democracy: ‘Demos’ meaning ‘the people’, and ‘kratein’, meaning ‘to rule’. I think it’s time for the people to rule: Who, then shall speak for us, and what collectively-construed instrument shall be constituted to marshal our power? Unfortunately, I don’t think even Marc Antony could answer that one.