Our own Natalie Solent posted a really good piece at her personal blog last night, about the fact that many, many bad things continue to be done to the world, but that the difference is that they are soon liable to be done with equal relentlessness everywhere, spread around the world evenly, in a way that will make it much harder to notice and complain. Time was when evil was done with maximum ferocity in country A, but hardly done at all in countries B and C, and the evil done by the evil was eventually obvious to all, even to those at first most inclined to support it. Sometimes it was even easier than that:
… To help you along to this conclusion the goddess History primly laid out several countries split into communist and non-communist sections so that you could watch one half sink and one half rise and draw appropriate morals. …
But not any more. Will the day come when that same goddess ordains that we are all to be governed by the same benign, suffocating, righteous, repressive elite, and no comparisons between them ruling and them not ruling will possible, because everywhere will be theirs?
What I fear is that a time will come when there will be no significant examples of difference left in the world. That possibility is still far off but for the first time in history the technology is in place for it to happen. Think about that. …
She mentions that extraordinary moment in history, notable for the fact that hugely important and portentous things were made to not happen:
I am haunted by the tale of the fleets of Zheng He, recounted in Guns, Germs and Steel. China’s vast program of exploration, greater than anything Europe ever had, was turned off click! because of some otherwise obscure quarrel between two factions at court. The reason that there was only one switch was that China was unified.
And the worry is that, unlike the blood-sodden grindings and thrashings of evil in the twentieth century, the clicks we are about to be subjected to will be inaudible.
It is a beautiful and melancholy piece. David Carr rewritten by Jane Austen. It contains at least another half dozen sentences I wanted to copy and paste here, but since it is all there, go there, and read it all.