Every now and then, someone raises the ghost of Edward Abbey, author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire, The Brave Cowboy and other subversive literature, asking the question, “What would Ed think about the world today?”
Ed was pretty caustic about the state of the world in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. How are things these days?
Well, they’re pretty much the same, only more so.
Since Ed’s time the powers that be have learned much about thought control, access to information, how to funnel dissent into harmless diversions. The President has become a figurehead for the corporate oligarchy, pretending to offer difference while maintaining the status quo. Democracy has been forestalled. Governments are directed by policy promulgated by an entrenched, well-compensated professional staff. Politicians learn very quickly the source of their campaign funds, and kneel down in obeisance to fiscal realities.
Big Green has joined the corporate world and traded grass roots activism for political and economic power. In an attempt to be “relevant,” to human desires at least, environmental organizations have become tools of social engineering, concentrating on environmental justice at the expense of biodiversity, critical habitats, pollution and conservation.
The facile mindlessness of “global warming” has blown away all awareness of environmental activism, concentrating on appeals to central governments and quasi-governmental organizations to “reverse climate change.” Meanwhile, corporate toadies and government sycophants rub their hands in Glee at the prospect of unlimited “Green” profits.
The clearest path seems to be to turn our backs on the whole sorry mess and walk away, mumbling to ourselves. And yet, on the local scene, habitat must be saved, developers thwarted, city councils educated. Democracy, such as it is, must be cultivated hereabouts, as the only means of maintaining a semblance of rational government, despite all evidence to the contrary.
We do what we must do, each in our own place. We change the only world we can change, that between our own ears, and we provide the example for our neighbors to work on theirs.
Life goes on.