26 December, 2022

Is this a time to despair?

This last decade has been a time of increasing disruption and conflict in societies around the world. Political and social divisions have only grown more intense and opposing sides are making graver accusations against each other. The idea of having any level of bipartisan compromise is becoming less realistic every day. We’ve seen governments throughout the “free world” exercise extreme totalitarian levels of control and coercion against their own subjects, including denying access to religious services. Local economies were shut down resulting in the loss of many small independent businesses while large corporations like Walmart and Amazon were allowed to thrive. People were denied routine medical services. Those who were in support groups for addictions or emotional issues were denied access to them, resulting in an increase of drug abuse and suicides. Evidence is now proving that the large technological corporations that control the primary means of social communication around the world have cooperated with governments to silence dissenting views, proving that those who were accused of being crazy conspiracy theorists for saying this were correct. Society was divided to the point where friends and families were torn apart over conflicting views of how societies should deal with a disease, with one side being called evil “grandma killers.” Our leaders and celebrities told us all to “trust the science,” even though certain scientific dissent on the official positions were censored. Celebrities suggested that those who disagreed with the official position should be reduced to second-class citizens who would not get full rights and should even be denied emergency health services. In addition to this, our society is increasingly divided on what it should accept as social norms. Finally, it seems that at least half of the population is fine with all of this. We may be tempted to ask, as we head into the new year, is this a time to despair?

The short and flippant answer is no, we should not despair. However, especially in these times, a more thorough answer is needed. The reality is that, while there are certain extremes on both sides of the usual political divide, the disaffected middle is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the established political parties and their inability to enact viable solutions to the problems confronting society. They are vocally dissatisfied with how educational institutions have become centers of indoctrination. I’m not pretending they are actively looking at distributism as the alternative for the status quo. Most of them have still never heard of distributism. However, many of them have actually voiced they are open to considering something new, and, for them, distributism is new. Those who describe themselves as “moderates,” both moderate liberals and moderate conservatives, see that their established parties and institutions have become either extremist or ineffective. They are unhappy with the changes that have happened to society, and they are aware that simply going back to the way things were is likely not going to actually solve the problems that got us here. They are searching for new answers to the old questions, and they have never heard the answers distributism has to offer.

So, this is not a time to despair. This is a time to increase our voices, to try and reach out to those who are increasingly disaffected by our current political and economic systems and disillusioned by the prospect of society either continuing along its current path or merely going back a few paces along the path that led society to where it currently is. Yes, it is true that we are still a small and misunderstood group, but that will never change if it is an excuse to give up. Don’t give up. Don’t be complacent. Even if our efforts only benefit those who will come generations from now, it will be worth the effort.

May God bless you and your loved ones in the upcoming year.  

Title photo "Depressed young woman" by U3143168.  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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