China condemned for exclusion of journalists at APEC forum
A Kiap’s Chronicle: 21 – Coming to grips with Bougainville

The triumph of the idiocracy will see us pay a very high price

Idiocracy_movie_posterCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – ‘Idiocracy’ is the title of a satirical film made in 2006, the premise of which was that the entire world had become stupid and was governed by idiots. Subsequently, the term idiocracy has come to mean government by fools.

It is a splendidly evocative word and neatly fits the premise of the film. It appears to have originally been conceived as an amalgam of the words ‘idiot’ and ‘democracy’.

However, I think that the word ‘ideology’ should be in the mix too, because it is now quite clear that the democratic world has collectively allowed itself to be governed, or at least greatly influenced by, a much more sinister idiocracy than the film makers had in mind.

Consider the abundance of evidence in support of my thesis.

The first and most obvious example is the climate change deniers.

These are people whose stupidity manifests itself in their outright rejection of a huge body of scientific evidence that we humans are actively despoiling the one and only planet upon which we can actually live.

Even as the evidence continues to accumulate, they still clutch their pieces of coal while extolling the virtues of perhaps the most pernicious source of the climate change they so adamantly deny.

Then there are the religious fascists of all persuasions. These are the people who believe that randomly bombing, shooting and stabbing people to death in the name of their god is a good thing to do.

They are also the people who believe, for example, that their god gave them exclusive rights to particular pieces of real estate and thus justify the persecution and displacement of those who have the temerity to currently occupy that real estate.

Then there are the ultra-nationalists, who believe that only the members of particular ethnic, linguistic or religious groups can be part of their nation, as they define it.  They have been around for a very long time but have latterly scuttled out from under their rocks and begun to scream and shout their views at us.

As I recall, the last time the ultra-nationalists appeared in Germany and Japan it eventually become necessary to repress them by force. That worked out well, didn’t it?

Another group deserving special mention is those who believe that the particular form of capitalism currently enforced across most of the world is the best possible economic system, ever, period. The fact that its hideous imperfections and contradictions are now on full display deters them not in the least.

Suzuki Jimny
Suzuki Jimny

On a much smaller scale we have those who imagined that it was a cunning plan to buy 43 extremely expensive cars to transport people of transient importance, many of whose hugely inflated egos are in urgent need of deflation. Choosing Suzuki Jimnys would perhaps have sent them all a powerful message about the virtue of humility.

Another small but revealing example is how the latest Australian prime minister could, without feeling any necessity whatsoever to seek informed advice on the matter, announce that Australia was considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What could possibly go wrong with that idea?

I could go on at some length, including mentioning the increasingly bizarre antics of the current US president, but by now you will have got the picture: we truly are being governed by idiots.

Now you may think I am being unfair. After all, there are many good and honest people in government and business who are trying to work in a legal, moral and ethical way. I certainly don’t deny this.

However, the painful fact is that a critical mass of self interested, greedy, morally and ethically deficient, self serving swine have got their snouts firmly in the trough and won’t be voluntarily leaving anytime soon.

The current Australian royal commission into the banking, superannuation and insurance industries has revealed the full extent of the dishonesty and moral turpitude that pervades these industries from top to bottom. Many Australians are both angry and bewildered at just how egregiously exploitative, self serving and cynical these industries have been.

The first response is to blame board members, CEO’s, senior executives and so forth. This is entirely understandable. After all, they have frequently been the principal beneficiaries of the behaviour revealed by the royal commission.

But there are plenty of others to blame including the regulators who turned a blind eye to the nefarious doings that they knew about or suspected and, perhaps most importantly, the politicians who fiercely resisted calls to investigate the increasingly obvious rorting and dishonesty as they strove to protect businesses judged “too big to fail”.

Given how easy it is to point to examples of the idiocracy in action across the world, maybe it is time to examine the proverbial elephant in the room, which is the grievous failure of our democratic institutions.

Political parties, parliaments and governments have become thoroughly infiltrated by a whole class of ideological nut bags, spin doctors, rent seekers, carpet baggers, shonks and grifters. They infest the body politic like fleas on a mangy dog. Sure, there are still good and decent people in the mix, but they are apparently powerless to stop the rot.

It is well past time to root these people out, to embark upon a genuine reform program to rein in the grievous excesses of neo-liberal capitalism and reinstate the public good to front and centre in political life.

Surely enough of us have realized that this is necessary? Whether you are in PNG or Australia or the USA or Britain or anywhere else, it must be apparent by now that something is seriously wrong at a systemic level within the world’s democracies?

The ugly truth is that we the people have allowed this situation to develop by succumbing to the blandishments, blarney and bribery that a poll driven, manipulative and self serving political class now use to inveigle their way into office. After all, being in office is the prime objective because it gives access to the power, influence and wealth that far too many of them seek for entirely self serving reasons.

Idiocracy TrumpI honestly do not know how we can do this beyond wielding our votes with hugely more care and discretion than we have previously. We need to abandon all tribal, national or ideological loyalties in doing this, looking past the obvious, the superficial and the imagery to see the world as it truly is, not as we may wish it to be.

Unless and until we can do that, then the idiocracy will continue to rule and, eventually, we will all pay the price it.

For make no mistake, the lesson of history is that if we allow ‘peak idiot’ to be reached, then most of us will end up seeing our hopes and dreams dashed to pieces, whether it be through global environmental catastrophe or an economic cataclysm or war or, perhaps, all three.


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Simon Davidson

Chris - This article is informative. A fine commentary on some of current political madness happening around the world.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Keith made a cryptic comment following my take on the journalistic cover of the APEC debacle to the effect that he could see why I'm no journalist.

I entirely agree with him, as a writer I'd make a shocking journalist.* However, it did make me ponder the roles of journalists in the scheme of things. Then along comes Chris' expose of the idiots in our midst, especially at the top.

If you put the two together it's hard not to come to the conclusion that journalists not only feed idiots like Trump, O'Neill and Morrison but in many cases they actually create them. Especially the ego-driven ones.

They seem to be ably assisted by lawyers in this endeavour.

* Journalists, conversely, sometimes make good writers - go figure.

Paul Oates

If you're looking for logic and good old common sense at the voter level then good luck with that, Chris.

There is a common thread that is immutably entwined in our DNA and that can be instantly recognised whenever written history is consulted. We never learn from our mistakes.

Perhaps the truth is that we have not evolved past a point where we can recognise a mistake (read false prophet or con merchant), and eradicate them and their policies before that person/s takes power?

Actions speak louder than words. Yet we continue to vote for popular personalities rather than look at the party manifesto, should there actually be one having been issued and that can be easily read and understood.

The inconvenient truth is that most humans are not hard wired to either look at the big picture or in turn to be able to effectively manage the big picture. It’s been established that one person can only know and therefore manage around 120-150 other people. How does that then work with a nation of millions?

The usual answer is that an aspiring leader will make promises of what they will do if he/she is elected. Yet political leaders can only promise to give something materially to us after they have extracted the means to do so from us in the first place.

To camouflage that inconvenient truth, the ever increasing, taxpayer funded, official spin doctors are employed to tell everyone why it's in their best interests to trust the person wanting to be elected or re-elected. In truth, it’s really the political party machine that wants the power to pay all its supporters off for their assistance in achieving a win ‘at the ballot box’.

So as readers of PNG Attitude are demonstrably switched on and intelligent, otherwise why else would they be reading your comments, it seems you are regrettably preaching to the converted.

Even we of the converted can learn a few lessons (and get much needed reinforcement) - KJ

William Dunlop

Bougainville 1977, we had Suzuki Brutes in the Plant and Transport Authority, we got three Brutes for the price of one Landcruiser.

Equating to one foreman with up to five labourers times three on road building supervision.

An initiative of the then Provincial Works Engineer/Manager, Per George.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I'm glad you got that off your chest Chris.

What more can one say, I totally agree with you.

I've been driving Suzuki Jimnys for years. I often cruise past Land Cruisers bogged on the beaches around Tumby Bay.

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