January 25, 2011 § 12 Comments
“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” my mother used to say; meaning, “Don’t question a gift.” (You can tell a horse’s age and much about it’s health by its teeth.)
A fair enough expression — it’s only right to accept a gift without asking the price or inspecting it for defects in front of the giver, after all — but what about trojan horses? Could our predisposition towards certain issues make us too “good” for our own good? In other words, will we let government institutions implement whatever policies they like without question, just so long as they appear to be for a good cause?
I remember watching a myth buster TV show once, where the hosts dressed up as official-looking recycling agents who went around to people’s suburban houses and pretended to be implementing new, improved recycling options. It started out reasonably enough, with the addition of a new beige bin for colored paper. “Would you mind implementing this in your daily routine?” they asked. “No, not at all,” the well-meaning citizens replied. People were all too happy to do whatever they could. The purple bin for “plastics which have come into contact with food products” didn’t bother anyone, nor did the yellow bin for organic waste like old banana peels. Who, after all, would complain about a little inconvenience when our world is at stake? How could you say no to the world?
Well, as the colored bins began to mount up on these unsuspecting suburbanites’ driveways — from the regular two to five to six and finally eight — you could see them growing more uncomfortable, yet still they insisted, “I don’t think that would be too much of a hassle.” Right down to the last bin, for “lightly soiled toilet paper,” (“They’ve had tremendous success with this in Japan,” the fake recycling authorities assured them, which elicited smiles and nods of recognition and approval,) it was clear everyone felt that to say no would make them bad people.
My point is not about recycling, but just that with the right banner, the right cause attached to your mission, you can manipulate people into accepting almost anything.
The most powerful, untouchable sacred cow at the moment is, understandably, the environment.
Why wouldn’t we want to save our world? Our beautiful planet earth? Our home? What more emotionally charged, unarguable, universally appealing cause exists? We would do anything to save it.
But big businesses and the world elite know that, and don’t think they won’t use it to further their own agendas. Under the guise of planet-friendly missions, we could easily be talked into giving up any amount of freedoms. Sure, the gag I described earlier with the recycling bins doesn’t amount to giving up freedom, only convenience, but the cow is so sacred — and for good reason! — nothing would surprise me. What cunning businessman or would-be-world leader wouldn’t utilize such a perfect, perfect trojan horse to storm the city of their liking?
Don’t misunderstand my point; I am a bona fide tree hugger for whom nature is a source of sanity and inspiration. I come from a family of environmental activists (my father has a park named after him, in honor of saving it from developers; my grandfather helped ban DDT and spread environmental awareness in the 70′s before the phrase “carbon footprint” had even been coined). I am all for preserving our beautiful natural landscapes, all for preventing and reversing environmental contamination — for Godssake, who wouldn’t be? But that’s exactly my point; it’s the one cause that can not be argued. The one cause that’s always right. And that makes it ripe for abuse.
Just take a look at this future scenario video, “Planned-Opolis,” created by self-proclaimed environmental watchdogs Forum for the Future, funded by Bank of America, the City of London Corporation, PepsiCo UK, Time Warner, Royal Dutch Shell and Vodafone. This is not a satire or a joke; this is a serious presentation whose absolutely harmless and positive-sounding mission — “working to create a green, fair and prosperous world” — belays the creepy Orwellian proposition below.
“It makes so much sense doesn’t it? Switch off your brain and go to work!” Are these seriously the catchphrases they are using to sell the idea?? Calorie cards, rations and government-allocated jobs, digital socializing replacing human contact (“It’s much easier to meet up with friends virtually now, so many cities have banned cars in essential areas”) …
And if you don’t want to live in this mechanized, micromanaged, smiley-face-masked tyranny of Planned-Opolis … well, there are always the “Cry Freedom Ghettos,” according to our animated host, for those stubborn fools to whom liberty and individualism still mean something. (On the downside, the Cry Freedom Ghetto dwellers don’t have access to jobs…)
Am I saying climate change is a hoax? Not at all. Our contamination of the planet – junk heaps that pile skyward, exhaust fumes that pollute the air, sewage systems that run into the sea — is obvious, heartbreaking and alarming; prevention, education, action and attention are all of utmost importance. Am I saying don’t care, stop recycling, don’t trust anyone? No, no and no (although question-asking and research of who’s behind what is encouraged.)
What I am saying, is there may come a time when The Powers That Be present you with the choice of saving our planet (and accepting their agenda) or supposedly rejecting environmentalism and retaining certain rights. Just be sure they’re not setting up a false dichotomy. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to touch the sacred cow, or look the gift trojan horse in the mouth. I don’t want to live somewhere like Planned-Opolis. Do you?