Ever the optimist

We (in the sense of, “I”) have complained before of the failure of large conurbations (“cities”) to turn off their lights at night so that residents may observe astronomical spectacles. As a concession to human weakness, perhaps lights could be permitted indoors behind black-out curtains. Or if the masses won’t co-operate, just turn off the electrical mains at source. I realize not everyone was enchanted by the spectacle of a Christmas full moon; or waits for the clouds to part on an especially narrow first crescent. But no reason they should spoil it for us. My patience with democracy has been running thin; and thinner for all these resentful, moaning expressions of consumerist “human rights.” Civility requires their selective suppression.

I have other complaints, as gentle reader may have noticed from time to time. Hardly know where to start with them. And yet a bright note, under the overcast today. (With promise, finally, of first snow.)

For it is the Christmas season, when no one is working very hard, and surely motorized transport could be stopped, entirely. It is more or less stopped today, due to a happy coalescence of events and trends. As Christmas fell on Friday, and the workday after that is a statutory holiday — today, Monday, is a quiet time. In years past, the masses would be out for the “Boxing Day Sales.” But in year present, they’ve all gone over to Amazon and Fedex, so have no reason to go out at all. (Soon, we are promised, drones will deliver all our wants and needs.)

One almost feels for the retailers, so lonely in their masonry shops, with nought to do but revise their sticker prices downward; and the franchisers of the food service industry, dawdling as “the people” microwave their Christmas leftovers. But more, I am enjoying the quiet.

Until the robots have fully unmanned the production lines, and the computerization of accounts is completed to the elimination of all “human resources,” some people will still have to get up for “jobs.” But if the popular science magazines can be trusted, the true Age of Leisure is at hand. “Artificial intelligence” will take care of all particulars, and we can lie back on our biotic fannies before our home entertainment centres with programmable hookah-like feeding tubes. It strikes me that already a sizable proportion of society is under a form of cradle-to-grave palliative care. Blaring noise and glaring flashes may be an irritant, but statistics reveal these people are incapable of reproducing themselves, and we have only to wait them out patiently.

I am reminded of a friend’s argument for putting down the ill and enfeebled family cat. “She already sleeps twenty-three hours a day,” he told his pouting, pro-life children. “What’s an extra hour?”

Among popular fallacies is the belief in some sort of demographic End Time, by which poor immigrants from low-tech cultures with high birth rates move in to replace us, appropriating all our home entertainment and food processing units. According to this discouraging view, they are attracted chiefly by our technology and risk-free, “safety net” welfare state. “Eurabia” is that imagined future, after we have all been unplugged.

A young Muslim in Calcutta once told me, on learning I was from Canada, that he aspired to become a Canadian himself.

“Why?” I asked him.

“Because Canada is a country with excellent facilities,” he explained, in a stage Indian accent even better than my own.

I reflected on the attraction of our Culture of Death. Specifically, I thought, within a generation or two, in possession of our “excellent facilities,” his kind would also be dying out. In the end, only the wind would be singing through our old wires.

Our new federal government, led by the Trudeau child — who apparently needs two nannies — came to power on the promise of legalized marijuana. But as the people who elected him were already dopeheads, I don’t see how anything will change. The removal of their last possible source of anxiety may well reduce anxieties for the rest of us.

As a Christian, I see wonderful opportunities. Why don’t we find a few people who are still awake, and start a counter-culture? Right in the middle of this one, as it were: simply manoeuvring around all the psychic stiffs. For I think we may have reached the point where the silent majority are unable to stop us.

“The revolution” begins, the hippies once believed, with Dr Timothy Leary’s prescription, that we “turn on, tune in, drop out.” But his drugs were just another form of technology, or passive home entertainment. Comes the counter-revolution, we do the precise opposite: turn off, tune out, and drop back into human civilization.

I imagine this as a vast do-it-yourself project, centred on churches where we learn again to sing, and homes where we teach once more the classical virtues.