They lauded Sweden as a ‘paragon of freedom’ during lockdown. What they failed to understand is that Sweden is considerably more moderate in its attitude towards unrestrained, selfish individualism and, as a society, therefore able to trust their fellow citizen to naturally abide by some common sense rules – wearing masks, socially distancing etc. – a trade off that, ironically, allowed them to enjoy more personal freedom than most other countries.
Unfortunately, many people seem completely unable to accept that the individual is not an island – and that we all have to share this world. Failing to grasp this, they took to the streets and made a political issue out of wearing a fuckin’ mask.
Is this what happens when you raise a nation on junk food and cornball movies, endlessly bombarded by banal advertising and the idiocy of celebrity worship, drugged with the mind-numbing viciousness of war-mongering patriotism?
Seriously, an obnoxious, corrupt, narcissistic, godless, reality TV star made it all the way to the Presidency hailed as a ‘man of the people’ supported, no less, by a legion of frighteningly batshit crazy Christian fascists.
Just how stupid can things get?
Case in point: guns.
While getting righteously indignant over non-binary teachers boring kids with the inanity of pronouns, high school shooting after high school shooting continues. Still, they will scream, holler, threat and fight tooth and nail not to change gun laws because they need to protect themselves from the guv’mint. Still, more children will die as a result of this; a six year-old will even shoot a teacher and yet, STILL, THEY WON’T SEE THE FUCKING IRONY!
Why do I care, you ask?
Honestly, I don’t. I’m sick to death of my country’s obsession with all things American! It’s embarrassing.
However, what worries me is that the US has already successfully exported the dopiness of its faux-left identity politics – a vacuity of which has colonised wholesale the arts, media, academia, the NHS and hipster cafés from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
My concern is that, since Brexit, we may similarly find ourselves importing a belligerently populist brand of selfish individualism that exists entirely to serve the ecocidal hollowness of neoliberal capitalism.
I’d say we’re at least halfway there: Britain has already devolved into a homogenised cesspool of corporatised banality.
Adding guns and paranoia to a cultureless landscape is evidentially not a good idea.
© Percival Alexander