(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — No matter what you turn, it seems the world is burning and chaos reigns supreme. War, threats of war, racism, violence, hatred, and division populate the news cycle and leave us few options but to hang our heads in hopelessness, despair, and increasingly, rage.
While there certainly are countless reasons to be concerned about humanity’s trajectory, however, positive things are happening, and it’s important to be aware of them to keep things in perspective — and to keep your sanity. Here are some recent and long-term developments to remind you there is still hope for the human race.
Let’s start with some antidotes to the most depressing news of the past week:
Last week, many Americans worried nuclear war was upon us after Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un exchanged violent threats. Media reports that North Korea possesses dangerous weapons capable of reaching the U.S. persist, but other reports have suggested the threat is not what the hype has led us to believe.
For one, many South Koreans have declined to fall victim to the hysteria and continue to live their lives. Various military-oriented news outlets have also reported that American troops and defense institutions are not moving forward with war operations. South Korea’s president said this week that there will be no war.
Further, respected MIT professor Theodore Postol, along with two other atomic experts, published an article late last week indicating they believe fears of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have been exaggerated by the North Korean government, adding that the West’s fearful reaction is exactly the intention the regime hoped to incite.
After a week of chaos regarding North Korea, the U.S. news cycle upped the ante with the disturbing protests and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Some protesters waved Nazi flags and dressed in KKK regalia, chanting “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” Some counter-protesters showed up ready to fight and waving communist flags. Ultimately, a car driven by a white supremacist smashed into counter-protesters, killing one individual and injuring many more. While the event certainly displayed the deep divisions currently plaguing American society, they also served to highlight fringe elements. In reality, most Americans are not Nazis or communists and completely reject the behavior on display this weekend, even if they succumb to more mainstream partisan divides.
Further, the market has responded to the displays of hatred in a variety of ways. Nazis are being outed on social media, and the white supremacist website, Daily Stormer, has been shut down not only by their GoDaddy server but also Google, which cited violations of their terms of service. Discord, a chat service for gamers, also terminated the accounts of white supremacists. Intolerance for intolerance is everywhere.
Further, it’s worth noting that at this point in time, the Nazi presence in the United States is not as strong — or accepted — as it was in the 1930s. At that time, American Nazis held a massive event at Madison Square Garden and built a bunker in preparation for after Hitler conquered the world and the United States collapsed.
But focusing solely on these two events, even if the goal is to demonstrate that they haven’t wholly doomed human progress, fails to do justice to the wide variety of other positive developments taking place.
For one, Bitcoin has continued to rise in value, bolstering opposition to the current central banking fiat currency monopoly. It surpassed $4,000 late last week and continues to grow. The FDA, which last year recommended that the DEA keep cannabis a Schedule I drug, is now taking public comments on the potential benefits of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive ingredient cannabinoid showing increasing promise for use as medicine.
They are expected to present these comments, which may also focus on a variety of other drugs, to the World Health Organization (this is far from an indicator they will legalize it, but it’s undeniably a trend in the right direction). A recent survey of beekeepers recently found that the bee population is starting to rebound after years of decline.
Musician Bruno Mars has donated a million dollars to combat Flint’s ongoing water crisis, Chance the Rapper just gave 30,000 backpacks to school children in Chicago, and a new organization in San Diego, called Eat San Diego, launched an effort this year to plant free food gardens around the city.
Long-term developments are also helping humanity, from apps to make it easier to feed the homeless to tiny homes and 3-D printed houses, which can be used to help give them shelter. Emerging 3-D printed meat may eventually reduce dependence on factory farming, and consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner food options.
Despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, Morgan Stanley recently released an analysis contending that the U.S. will meet climate goals, anyway. Alternative forms of energy are becoming more affordable despite the far greater subsidies the fossil fuel industry still receives. The rise in cannabis use is undermining the pharmaceutical monopoly, alcohol industry, and police and prison guard unions.
Despite its shortcomings, the independent media is thriving and challenging official narratives, and corporate news sources are increasingly exposed for their biases and political loyalties.
People are ever more interested in expanding their own consciousness, and some are starting young — in Baltimore, for example, the Holistic Life Foundation teaches students the power of meditation and yoga while encouraging them to take part in their communities, maintaining gardens and cleaning up trash.
Though it’s easy to get caught up in the media’s constant barrage of negative news, it helps to remember that that’s what sells — that fear and outrage get more ratings than community and progress. “If it bleeds, it leads,” goes the long-standing newsroom trope.
While we may be a long way off from world peace, saving the planet, and ending the corporate-authoritarian state, progress is all around, and in times like these, it is vital to pay attention to it.
Update: This article previously said three people died from the Charlottsville car incident; it has been updated to reflect that one person died (the other two deaths were the result of a police helicopter crash).