NOW is the MOMENT


Now is the moment to change the world,
writes Rutger Bregman in Time magazine. He quotes Milton Friedman:
Only a crisis . . . produces real change.
 Bregman strengthens my hope that this crisis may be a catalyst for changes that help heal the planet and its inhabitants.

The coronavirus pandemic is laying bare grotesque inequities, making a return to the “normal” before it unlikely. Like a forest fire letting sunlight reach the forest floor, it shows the rot of injustice and inequality preventing the whole of society from flourishing.

It exposes the craziness of our economic system. In Bregman’s words, “the more vital your work, the less you are paid, the more insecure your employment and the more risk you are in the fight against the coronavirus.” I add that performers of the least vital work—hedge fund managers, multinational elites, Wall Street financiers—control the most wealth.

Among changes needed, Bregman mentions autocrats “suffocating democracy.” Kim Jong Un, Victor Orban in Hungary, Maduro in Venezuela, Duterte in the Philippines, Bashar al-Assad in Syria come to my mind. When I fret over conditions in the world, I include the president of the U.S. denying climate change.

But beneficial effects from crises in history give reasons for hope: The Great Depression brought the New Deal, overturning control by the monied class and spreading money to many more. World War II produced Germany’s economic miracle and lasting peace in Europe.

The Financial Times, “the world’sleading business paper,” according to Bregman, published an editorial,
Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract.
It endorses taxing the rich, a basic income for everyone, and increasing the size of government. Imagine the world’s leading business paper saying this!

And, says Bregman, the beneficial changes we want depend “on the ideas that are lying around.” Majorities in developed nations favor climate protections, and majorities favor taxing the rich. Two-thirds of Americans, including 53% of Republicans, think the rich should pay more taxes.

Showing how “the ideas lying around” shift, Biden’s “tax plan is twice as radical as Hillary Clinton’s tax plan of 2016. His $1.7 trillion climate plan includes 30 times as much clean-energy commitment as Clinton’s did in 2016, and is even more ambitious than that of Sanders four years ago.” According to Bregman, “. . . ideas that used to be dismissed as unreasonable or unrealistic have moved into the mainstream.”

That a new normal will develop is assured. Bregman reminds us that it’s already happening. There’s been an explosion of altruism and cooperation.
Whether more good change comes is up to us. He advises, “We need to assume the best in one another.”

How can we go on if we’re visited by misfortune or even despair? I find spiritual guidance gets me through when I feel helpless. Collectively. we can harness spiritual power with our minds and hearts to guide us. During a shattering moment in my life. I got through it by chanting, Accept, Surrender, and Trust.

Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

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