A week ago there was a column by Damien Grant in the Sunday Star Times. Mr Grant was commenting on the rise of what he terms “left wing commentators”. It was sparked by new U.S. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio Cortez having an interview with a C.B.S. journalist who asked her if she considers herself to be a radical. She said that she does consider herself to be one.
The column, which has attracted significant dissent in the Sunday Star Times letters for good reason. The tone of Mr Grant’s opinion suggests an intolerance on his part of people who lean more towards social justice and transparency.
Mr Grant goes after the #MeToo movement, calling them bullies. I would have laughed at the sheer silliness of the allegation if it were not for the fact that I believe Mr Grant genuinely believes it. If it were not for the #MeToo movement the problem with sexual violence would not have had the blow torch it deserved turned on it in the way it has. It should not have to be radical to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of women around the world for whom sexual violence has turned their lives upside down. Giving them a more equal footing is not radical in the least. It is common sense.
Then Mr Grant swings from attacking a movement that by and large has done the world a huge favour, to suggesting businessmen should punch journalists, the very people who are meant to bring us the news and find the stories. Wow! Does that mean Mr Grant is willing to have a businessman thump him in the face? Maybe, maybe not, but one cannot escape the fact that such intonation is reckless.
That he considers the many people who are starting to realize our way of living is simply not sustainable, and are starting to stand up to the “business as usual/free market capitalism is great” mantra of A.C.T. and National to be barely left of centre indicates much to me. It should not be radical or revolutionary to promote and want a better future for our planet, our communities, our way of life – something that will not happen if we continue trashing the environment in the ruthless manner that we are. People who are rising up against “the system” are becoming radical because the way the intertwining man made systems in our lives are interlocked, the only way to make things better might well end up being to break and remake “the system”.
That Mr Grant considers this to be dangerous tells me he very much lives in fear of a system that has created such dangerous levels of wealth that a few thousand people have subjected billions of their fellow humans to abject poverty, being broken.
So, who is a radical and what could be considered radical?
Radical to me would be break the system completely and rebuild it from scratch. The system that has persisted since 1945 was made on the back of an extremely destructive world war with 55 million killed, scores of countries across Europe and Asia completely wrecked. Could humanity adopt another societal system without another, probably catastrophic World War? I am not sure we could.
But it would certainly be a radical thing to try.