I have reflected much on politics / ethics over the course of 2016. Avoiding politics has been nigh on impossible, with ISIS, Brexit, the US Primaries and Presidential Election, and of course the resignation of our own Prime Minister. I’ve read and thought more about politics and ethics (and the consequences of politicking and political-ethical decision-making) this year than in any other year. I’ve listened for alternative perspectives across a wide spectrum of disciplines, and I’ve mined the past for insights and hopefully wisdom. Commentators (and commentary) included: ABC Radio National show The Minefield (here); ABC Religion and Ethics; Luke Bretherton; John Milbank; Slavoj Zizek; Stanley Hauerwas; Rowan Williams; and a whole host of diverse others including Susan Sontag, Rebecca Solnit, and Don Watson in his thought-provoking essay Enemy Within: American Politics in the Age of Trump (see the comments section attaching to this post); Robert Manne; A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Trump; Noam Chomsky; Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. I’ve read numerous articles including this recent one (if you can still call “November 2016” recent / Things don't only get better: why the working class fell out of love with Labour, a talk by Maurice Glasman).
Glasman ends with these lines:
“…The identity crisis that confronts us is generated by this breakdown of relationships and of our ideology. We have lost our ability to understand the world and act within it with predictable results. For many people the world has gone mad and no longer makes any sense. We need to understand where and why we went wrong, in being far too naïve in our understanding of the demonic power of capitalism, and far too sanguine in its effects on the working poor. Human beings are not commodities and free movement treated them as just that…As we know that things don’t only get better we can prepare for the hard work in the decade ahead. To renew our tradition and ideology around the centrality of family, place and work. To renew our covenant with the working poor and build a coalition that can defeat fascism, resist the domination of capitalism, and deepen our democratic way of life. That is why I believe that the past shapes the future that tradition mediates the merciless demands of modernity, and why I believe that our best days lie ahead of us.”
I hope he’s right about our best days lying ahead.