Was there a time in living memory when the human race felt more concerned, even downright petrified, about its future?
During the Cold War, I’d say, when the threat of a nuclear confrontation between
Of late, though, each week seems to bring some new scare, some new looming threat of apocalypse.
The winter floods in Europe earlier this year were taken as evidence of a worsening climate, the first palpable portent that there really might be such a thing as global warming and that we really might, one not too distant day, be battling to keep the sea at bay as the ice caps melted.
In recent weeks, ISIS, or ISIL, has been painted as a real and present danger to Western society, worse by far than al Qaeda, which in comparison seems to be regarded as a paragon of reason and moderation.
As if ISIS wasn’t enough to worry about, we now confront an infection of a different kind, the outbreak of Ebola in western
And then, quietly beavering away in the background, while we’re not looking, is Vladimir Putin. Vlad, we’re told, is shaping up as a latter-day Stalin, intent on restoring the dominion of the Russian Confederation over its neighbours. Should the rest of us attempt to curtail his plans beyond meaningless sanctions, the rascal would cut off
While we have been distracted by all these impending disasters, stock markets around the world have fallen ‘off the cliff’, as one newspaper described it, in response to signs of a global economic downturn that threatens to dwarf that of 2007, from which we have only just recovered. Wall Street thinks the American economy is a fragile vessel, while the British economic recovery is a boom waiting for the next available bust and
What a mess.
But is all this doom and gloom justified?
Well, yes, say our leaders, with that sense of proportionate response we’ve come to expect of them.
Politically, the world does I admit seem to be adrift.
Yes, what a mess! What a collection of messes. There must be a collective noun for them. A pottage of messes, perhaps.
How we get out of the pottage few can be found to venture a guess. It may, however, surprise you that my own outlook is optimistic, if mildly rather than wildly so.
Global warming is a threat, but as much that needs to be done, and as little as one might think is being done, the planet is not in imminent danger of exploding or burning or drowning. We may have a few years yet. That is not being blasé, merely to emphasize that there is still time to tackle the problem more effectively.
The Ebola crisis is, I submit, no more worrying than Aids and Avian Flue were a few years ago. Neither has been eradicated, but both are under control. Ebola is not a world crisis but an African crisis, arising from poverty and ignorance. We should take it seriously, which is more than we’ve done for its causes, but with a sense of proportion that our political leaders are plainly lacking. Unless, of course, they know something that they’re not telling us.
Mr. Putin, I’m guessing, is not intent on taking over Europe but merely on creating a cordon sanitaire around
The equilibrium of the world economy may be endangered, but then it always is. The stock market mavens may be rattled, but a thousand points off the Dow and they’ll be telling us not to miss out on the buying opportunities offered by the market’s ‘oversold condition’.
Now, I hope you feel better for reading this. I feel better for writing it. So much so that I think I’ll watch a little television. I understand The Day After Tomorrow is on. I love watching those guys save the planet by blowing up a giant meteor with a nuclear weapon.
Next to them, we have nothing to worry about after all.