As a species we think we are pretty special, and not only somehow superior to the rest of the life forms on the planet, but also so much more aware, informed, and switched on than our ancestors.
With all of our technology and understanding of how the world around us works (although it would seem that one of the criteria for being a national leader is total ignorance of science), we seem to love to regard ourselves as someone in control of our own destinies.
If that was so, why then are we constantly making the same mistakes, without even realising we are doing so? When it comes to history repeating, humankind is more like the proverbial sheep that awake each day in surprise to see the sun rise.
I don't consider myself a brilliant historian in any way shape or form. I am the kind of person who lets the trivial pursuit team down on the history questions, despite my undergrad degree. I'm useless with names, dates, and other such facts. However, I was blessed with brilliant professors at university, their brilliance lying in their emphasis on trends, cause and effect, and being able to read, and learn from past events.
Watching the news affords me the indulgence of being able to read the tea leaves, and not be surprised by the blindingly obvious. An understanding of where we have come from, and the events, buried deep in the past, which have centuries long consequences.
Americans buying more guns in response to gun violence ... duh! It's there in the nature of who and how the nation was settled, and the later split from Britain.
The Tea Party Movement in the U.S ... ooh come on ... their rise was like something off a first year history paper on counter-revolution and reactionarism. The ultra right wing, anti-minority sentiment rising in the western world ... well, you'd have to be blind not to see that coming.
During the civil rights movement, which was long overdue, unfortunately the fears of conservatives were never addressed, and resentment has increased through the two or more generations since. Who on earth is naive enough to think that equality and respect can be achieved through brow beating and legislation?
Well, it seems that, like those proverbial sheep, people are just as naive and willing to follow blindly as the ancestors we feel ourselves to be so superior to.
Every morning we are bombarded with news of what another nut job leader is doing, and there is still a sense of bewilderment as to how the world managed to arrive at this point. Uhm, well, didn't this happen roughly a century ago in Europe. Nut jobs are not the products only of dictatorships or monarchies, or empires. They occur in democracies, too. After all, if the uninformed, or worse, ill informed are voting, why on earth would quality leaders be the consequence.
Why the indignation over how the Vatican is treating the George Pell case? The battle between church and state did not wane with the religious schism that created the many protestant branches of Christianity that exist today. The Catholic Church replaced the Roman Empire, and had equal power for centuries. It has its own state, unlike other religions, and therefore has power independent of the nations in which the church exists. We are watching a battle between church and state nearly as old as the church itself (or actually older for those of you who know your history and theology), and yet are still surprised.
Unbelievable. I am watching the same old behaviour that I have seen for over 50 years now, and I am still disappointed by it. Equally unbelievable.
What worries me more is how eagerly we align ourselves with a foreign power that has a history of selling us out to one that doesn't (yet) have a history of shafting us. At least the Southern Pacific nations have the sense to lean away from being sold out, or treated with contempt. Tuvalu appealing to the Chinese? Well, only a complete dickhead or a politician couldn't see that coming.