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The Endless Market for Hot Air and Inaction

November 15, 2009

The Endless Market for Hot Air and Inaction


Why can’t someone else do something about this tragic issue?’

I have read and heard those sentiments expressed from as far back as I can remember in various forms that all mean the same thing. We are an educated society, or so it is claimed, that can ponder the greatness of science and history. We can invent new philosophies and perfect ideologies to comfort and settle minds. We rationalize and justify issues in one situation and then find them abhorrent in another. We can shock people with confronting images and pleas of injustice and in a flash use an identical photo as evidence of our justice. The human mind knows no limit when it comes to twisting logic and selecting evidence to suit a cause. Some humans know no limit when it comes to avoiding objective truth in favour of the subjective version where truth is what you make it. All this may seem so clever but without action it is just mental hot air.


That is the issue that I find so fascinating when I read long diatribes by self appointed gurus telling us how the world should run. In the centre of some of the most noble words and tearful sentiments is the claim that they care so much about people. Then in the next sentence they express their hatred for elements of that same humanity. They list of enemies who are ruining their perfect world is often no more rational than the list of enemies in the video game Warcraft. The enemies that they claim to be fighting are usually charactered fictional versions of the real thing. Yet to an angry ideologue with a list of enemies rivals must be demonized lest anyone considers their viewpoint.


Ideologues make me laugh. They really do. I can read a list of wonderful sounding affirmations and dreamy sentiments from all of them. Regardless of which ideology I read they all claim to be: helping humanity, non-threatening, optional, peace loving, poverty alleviating, utopian, nice, polite, clean, educated, scientific and intellectually based. If find any virtue that exists then all ideologies will claim to be supporting that virtue. In the end it is all just a sales pitch no different than the sales pitch for Timeshare. In Timeshare you are sold the dream of a perfect holiday future and any consideration of negatives, such as the costs, is given a positive glow. In an ideology the dream of a perfect future is sold and because they are only imaginary empires the negatives do not exist.


Imaginary Empires are wonderful dreamlands that do not have to deal with reality. They can instead rely upon: catch cries, mottos and meaningless affirmations like: Imagine, Change, Progress, Believe, Peace and Wuv (sorry I meant ‘Love’). These words sound positive but they are so vague in meaning that they can suit any translation and any circumstance. They are also as meaningless as the 10 rules created by the animals in the novel ‘Animal Farm’: ‘All animals are equal…’ Like all rules they can be twisted and perverted to suit any desire. Like people who irrationally quote The Bible the words can have any meaning that the ideologue wants them to have. What is missing from most perfect ‘Imaginary Empires’ is any physical evidence of success. They are often very big on theory but small on effort. Sometimes they are so small on effort that they might as well be called hot air.


The idiom about empty vessels making the most noise can be adapted to ideologues. There are endless perfect ideologies, including ones pretending not to be ideologies, invented by people who never lift a finger to help anyone. In one sentence they write about the nobility of their humanism and in the next they pour fiction based scorn upon their enemies. The gap of credibility is never bridged because the hot air requires no effort or sacrifice. Instead we have layers of sanctimony and self praise that does not matter one iota to those that claim to be speaking for. The poor still remain poor, the sick still remain sick and ignorant still read their own self praise. If empty vessels make the most sound then empty rhetoric is deafening.


It is easy for people to sit back in the comfort of the bedrooms as they type out long and dull versions of how to fix the planet. Yet unless such people are willing to go to the places that they wish to fix and get their hands dirty it all remains as hot air.


Then again there is always a market for hot air and self praise.

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