Utilitarianism defines good as “the greatest happiness for the greatest number”. It's an aspiration to make real choices based on an ultimate goal that's an ideal, not a dogma. This short article tries to explain what that means.
How did a mere academic movement of the mid 20th-century metastasize - over less than three generations - into a neo-identitarian phenomenon powerful enough to be assimilating venerable institutions whole departments at a time? Public opinion (and therefore policy) is being subordinated to a consensus mediocrity, hostile to talent, individuality and merit. Is society helpless against this confederacy of dunces; or is there a deeper more sapient power dynamic embedded in postmodernism's banality substrate?
Data on coronavirus test kit options covering the three basic types we'll need to mass-produce and distribute widely, or else prolong lockdown or be forced into a gamble that might cost millions of lives.
Today, three full generations after its birth in the 1940s, postmodern thinking has engendered a uniquely degraded democratization of creative ambition. It has subordinated individual originality and culture to consumerism. This piece is an exercise in therapy but useful for anyone keen for a definition of post-modernism, the cultural coronavirus against which we have no vaccine. Yet.
Conspiracy theories have always existed, filling the unsettling gaps in knowledge of the world with comfortably self-congratulatory explanation. Like nationalism, the conspiracy theory is a mechanism for controlling the non-conformists. This type of thinking has a growing influence on real power structures (e.g. elections). Society is putting its future at risk by allowing these mechanisms to run wild for short-term political gain. But can we ever regulate the groupthink?
Orania in South Africa is a land for whites only. What's more, it's for Afrikaner whites, descendants of the first white Boer (Dutch) settlers dispossed by the British 120 years ago. Orania is the expression of the original separatist white Afrikaner dream. It's peaceful, safe and prosperous. It is also written up around the world as a white racist ethnostate. What's the reality, behind dichotomy of determined Oranian smiles and universal "woke" condemnation?
It must be such a thrill to be living through these coronavirus days, with the shared enemy non-human and politically, the media-driven panic a protracted break in routine and an excuse for proactive hoarding of food and toiletries. Universal fear-mongering media clickbait feeds the public just enough useful facts to keep everyone unbalanced, needy and glued to their information streams. It's a godsend for populations used to the past few years diet of unrewarding tribal bickering on social media and workaday toil. In a way, it's the ultimate evolution of the reality show.
Democrat Blue or Republican Red? Both were appropriated post-FDR by rival factions of corporate and lineage big capital, to ringfence key voter demographics. The false dichotomy is designed to divide and rule the American people, so entrenched power can exploit the many and reward the few without regulation or restriction. What about the ideal 'anyone can become President'? Do we need to Make America - Americans - Great Again?
Few people give two hoots about climate change and of those few the drop off rate from children who care to adults who don't is significant. But this is a threat to the whole planet's future. Why don't we all care more? What's gone wrong with our collective psyche?
Big money populism - exemplified by Donald Trump and Boris Johnson - is just one side of the capitalist sociopath coin. The other side, maybe more important, is middle class disconnection. Populism fills the vacuum left by middle class retrenchment. Tribalism and social media are tools for this isolation, not causes...
This is 2020 and our society is more utilitarian than ever. But it's increasingly a culture without heritage, locked into an ouroboros sham stability that's twisted to funnel wealth upward as nation-sized corporations destroy the planet's future. And yet our society is called democratic; so long as the turkeys keep voting for Christmas...
Nominations for the 2020 Oscars have been published to a chorus of criticism about lack of diversity. It's a neat illustration of equality of outcome, equality of opportunity and the cultural degradation caused by the continued breakdown of communication and truth.