The West has faced problems before; wars, the plague, depressions, climate change. We have survived and continued to move forward.
The level of comfort, medical care and nutrition taken for granted by the average Western family now is superior to standards expected even by royalty two or three hundred years ago.
We have moved forward by recognising problems, by researching them and overcoming them. We have always been good at facing reality.
We will keep moving forward. There is no reason for despair.
But there are reasons for concern. Poor economic management is one. Focussing vast amounts of attention and money on non-existent problems like global warming is another. It has been pointed out before that the amount of money spent by governments so far on global warming could have eradicated malaria and provided clean water and basic medical care for every person on the planet.
Another reason for concern is the unwillingness by Western leaders to acknowledge the threat to freedom posed by radical Islam.
Over the last week I have been reading William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer says early on that even after all the horrors that came after 1933, the German people and the world at large could not say they had not been warned. The policies of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party were clearly set out from the beginning.
So when we have another large totalitarian movement which says it wants to exterminate the Jews, kill gays and destroy democracy, it might wise to consider the possibility, at least, that they mean what they say.
This unwillingness to be face the truth, or even to be truthful, is evident in our media in smaller ways. Over the last week I have been struck by three quite different news stories.
First, the mother of an autistic boy complaining to the media when, after five years of taxis to and from his school, paid for by taxpayers, he got a new driver. I understand routine is important to some autistic people. This is why someone went out of his or her way to ensure that for five years this child had the same driver every day. But both SA Education Minister Grace Portolesi and Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni said that she had a legitimate complaint. Why? If consistency is so important, why not take your own child to school and back? Most parents do.
Second, the story of a Georgia (US) woman suing her husband’s new doctor after her husband died of a heart attack while engaging in three way sex with another woman at a motel. The doctor was found to have been negligent because he should have warned the husband about the dangers of strenuous activity. The wife was awarded $3 million.
Third, a South Australian woman convicted of stealing over $800,000 from her employers to play the pokies blamed hotel staff for not stopping her from gambling. Nick Xenophon offered his support. No surprises there. Nick Xenophon will offer his support to anything that will get him a headline. But why should anyone else consider her a victim? She stole money from people who trusted her and spent it in multiple pubs and clubs.
There have always been people who are lazy, dishonest, greedy, unwilling to take responsibility. What is different is that now these people are often told they are victims, that they need support or therapy, that what has happened to them is someone else’s fault, that someone else should pay. Anyone who disagrees ruins the risk of being called uncaring. But real compassion is based on truth and responsibility.
In foreign relations, in economic planning, in energy infrastructure, and in personal life, we need to make decisions based on reality. This has been the West’s great strength. It is the only way we will continue to make progress.
We should not have to be afraid to call a spade a spade.