This is our truth, tell us yours
The legend of Sisyphus is a constant reminder that nothing good ever last without constant attention and care.
To paraphrase Camus, the struggle alone should be sufficient to gladden our hearts.
Last night’s American election results were a bleak reminder that presumptions of progress are just that; presumptions which can be rebutted. America’s Republicans have been, since the days of Reagan, the Neanderthal party, wedded to a back to the future strategy of impoverishing as many American as possible in the name of an ever widening wealth gap.
Even the apparent rise of the Tea Partycould not hamper the Republicans – a sharp reminder that a challenger to the right is not always the death knell of right wing parties that can identify a common enemy to their left.
Talking to Jem yesterday I was reminded of an old idea that has returned to me starkly in the last few days. What if the post war consensus in the UK, a consensus around a welfare state and a pluralistic democracy that sought to pursue greater equality, was not actually evidence of a liberal trend, but an historical accident that would be followed by a reversion to the pre 1945 habits and methods of British democracy?
The point about history is that it’s only any use if it provides a guide to action.
Would I do anything differently if I was utterly convinced that the boom time we lived through form 1945 to 1979 was a mere historical byway, an accident of time and chance?
No. I would still believe in the things I believe in, and, on the grand scale, would pursue the goals I pursue. Tactically, I might act differently, but that is all.
The act of engagement is what saves from despair; I may be pushing the same rock up the same hill, but I have no other choice that offers me the possibility of changing the world.