Welcome to 2021
The new year seems to be starting with a bang. Back at the beginning of 2019, I wrote a series of articles on the fall of the Roman Republic, and how it could be used as an analogy for what is happening in current times. Little did I know that things were going to degenerate this fast.
In the past year, we saw the coming of a global pandemic, which honestly I did not foresee. History teaches us that “black swan” events like this often act as accelerators of trends, or turn them in vastly different directions. What we saw in 2020 was a further polarization of society in the US, and descent into mob rule. What we have now are two clearly demarked camps, on the far right and the far left, who see each other as enemies.
The Trump presidency did not start this, however it made it much worse. When those in power start trampling on the norms, then democracy is in danger. With Trump out of power, it is to be seen whether the moderates in the Republican Party can regain control. What we will likely see is a splintering in the party. This is what is happening in the Democratic Party, where the far left elements seem to be driving the discussion. Trump was not the cause of the current problems, he was a symptom of them. However, he did act as an accelerator of the downward spiral.
After the invasion of the Capitol, what we might continue to see is more radicalization from the far right. There are elements who seem not to shirk away from even using violence to make a point. There will be further radicalization from the far left as well. We might see some violent protests there in the coming years since many on the far left also don’t have faith in the system. During 2020, we saw violence and looting linked to the BLM protests take hold in many cities around the US.
However, at the moment it’s the far right that is the more dangerous side in terms of violence. The mainstream media is getting more onboard with the woke narrative, which means that they are the winning side. Whenever a side fears that they are losing, they will go for more extreme measures. As some of the far right people get more desperate, they might start committing acts of terrorism.
What sometimes gets lost in this descent into political chaos is the fact that in terms of the environment we are facing an abyss. While a few celebrities like Greta get play in the media, most people don’t realize the extent of the damage that the rainforests (and other types of forests) have received in the past few years. This is an issue that needs to be put in the spotlight. If humanity doesn’t develop solutions there, and doesn’t stop the loss of biodiversity, it will have serious consequences. The air we breathe will be worse, all kinds of strange diseases will start appearing more frequently, and all kinds of animal species will irk closer to extinction.
I would like to be optimistic, but the trends don’t leave me with too much room to see the bright side. However, as they say: hope dies last!