30 abril, 2017

The Age of Hysteria


One of the most unnerving and annoying features of the current decade is the state of quasi-permanent hysteria that significant segments of Western societies engage in.

Russia gets back Crimea and suddenly there is an army of worriers worrying that an army of warriors is about to wage war all over Eastern Europe. Three years have passed and there is not the slightest indication of war, yet. Notwithstanding, there is a flurry of hysterical articles about countering a Russian invasion of Estonia, or about defending Lithuania, or propping up Polish capabilities, all in the name of a non-invasion, of a war that will not be.

The Brexit referendum propelled another wave of hysteria. The British people actually voted to leave and all hell broke loose: the United Kingdom’s economy was about to collapse, the Scots would flee and so would other EU members; the UK would be confined to utter isolation and destitution. It has been almost a year, the UK is doing well, the EU is otherwise intact and non-performing as usual and there is no kingdom come.

The hysteria crowd would reach unparalleled heights with Donald Trump’s triumph in the United States’ presidential election. In the space of less than 6 months, the second impossibility actually happened. Like Brexit, this one has apocalyptic dimensions, the end of the world as we know it. Accordingly, the hysteria crowd reacted angrily and lived up to their reputation of not being tolerant, just self-tolerant, and tried to subvert the democratic election’s results. Like in Great Britain, they failed. It was almost 6 months ago and the world moves on and the civilisation did not crumble.

Next apocalypse-in-waiting was the Italian referendum in which a “NO” vote would put Italy on the euro exit path and would wreak havoc across the EU. The “NO” vote did win by a very wide margin. All the rest, predictably, did not happen.

Even the hapless Austrian election to an almost powerless presidency managed to sow despair in the hysteria-addicted crowd. The mainstream candidates were defeated, but the fact that the winner was green, gave the aforementioned crowd some relief.

Do not fear though: 2017 is a promising one for the hysteria crowd. The elections in The Netherlands provided hysteric fodder for the first quarter. Geert Wilders’ PVV victory prospects spread panic across Europe and to some in North America and Trump’s victory loomed as a nasty omen, as if the Dutch would think of and be conditioned by the US elections whilst they were at the voting booth. The PVV, which could never have formed a government, finished second and many sighed in relief, failing to see the bigger picture of the Dutch elections.

So, barely pausing to take a breath, the hysteria crowd went nuts with France’s presidential elections. Never mind that Marine Le Pen’s chances (like Wilders’) are very slim given the electoral system and the arbitrary and hypocritical opprobrium to which they are subjected. At least until the 7th May the hysteria crowd will be kept high with the Le Pen threat. Assuming that the next Merkel minion wins, they will go into deprivation since the next bout of hysteria, save from some unexpected stressor, is only scheduled for September in Germany.

The hysteria crowd based in politics, the media and some liberal and/or left wing institutions, NGO’s, think tanks and assorted pressure groups is going to cry wolf every time an event skews away from their pre-determined line of so-called progress. And when that is not the case, they just make it up, exaggerate it, or distort it until they reach a new hysterical state which is both deranged and a tool to forward their goals.

I find the Age of Hysteria disgusting and obnoxious and their zealot practitioners obviously have serious problems, without which they do not seem to be able to survive. Even more problematic than going hysterical, is their zealotry and intolerance in promoting the agenda they portray as unique, without alternative. There are always alternatives.

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