Installment Three – Immigration

I was planning to write this time about CO2, the second monster threat to human existence that winners are failing to address. However, the immigration crisis in Europe has leaped ahead of global warming in the news and in my heart. As a decent human being, I am so upset, I can’t help turning to it now.

First, let’s be clear. The refugee problem is caused by winners, that is, by people who compete to win something at the expense of someone else. Some are competing for oil and other resources, some for money, some for territory, some for status, and some are just happy selling arms to all the sundry would-be winners. To be fair, most of the competitors probably do sincerely believe they are good while someone else is bad and, therefore, should be killed. Winners are quick to think someone else should be killed.

For the most part, it’s winners competing to win oil in the Middle East who are causing the violence, chaos, and misery that have sent all those refugees to Europe. If, instead of blazing away with guns and bombs, world leaders had gotten together at any point to talk like decent human beings about how much oil is left, who needs it for what, how to share it, how to share the proceeds, and how to safely and quickly transition to a post-petroleum society, no refugees would be streaming into Europe. It is the catastrophic effort to win rather than solve problems that turns ordinary people into refugees.

And now, winners are applying the same winning (and losing) philosophy to solving the refugee problem. Some want to let all the refugees in and take good care of them. Some want to build walls and fences to keep them out. Some are putting them in jail. Some are compromising by setting quotas. Americans are hiding out on the other side of the Atlantic hoping the refugees won’t get there. What is not happening is a series of conferences that include all the stakeholders, including the refugees and the official and unofficial leaders in the countries they are escaping. What is not happening is a comprehensive effort to identify the root problems and solve those problems to the benefit of all involved.

This kind of conflict resolution effort is not taking place because our societies (in and out of the war zones) are still so completely dominated by winners. Even the nice people who want to accept all the refugees and take care of them are focused on trying to win. Yes, they are trying to win for the sake of others, which is nice, but they are appalled and disgusted by the people who want to keep the refugees out and have made no effort to include those people in any problem-solving effort.

In Germany, President Merkel has been great, from the point of view of the refugee accepters. She is willing to accept 500,000 of them. But what if 510,000 of them show up at her door? What will she do then? Send the extra 10,000 home? More importantly, she is seriously infuriating the German Nazis, and we know how dangerous those folks can be. In fact, although Hungary is the most overtly closed nation in Europe at the moment, all European nations have substantial right wing parties that could very well use this refugee issue to grow in numbers and power.

The sudden appearance of large numbers of new people in any community is a frightening, potentially explosive phenomenon. With winners handling this problem, we will soon see Europeans at each other’s throats, with hundreds of thousands of poor, desperate refugees caught in the middle. This is not the way decent human beings solve problems. 

 To most of you reading this blog, the good folks working to welcome and care for the refugees are decent human beings. I understand and share this sentiment, but to the extent that they are ready and willing to ram refugees down the throats of fellow countrymen and women who are genuinely frightened, these decent human beings are acting like winners.

In this case, decent human beings should be calling for town hall meetings, national and international conferences, UN Special Assemblies and other opportunities to discuss, deliberate, problem solve, and implement solutions supported by the vast majority of people on all sides of the issue. Decent human beings should be clamoring for dialogue aimed at actually solving the refugee problem, which would lead inevitably to the deeper problems that caused the refugee problem.

Impossible? Utopian? What planet am I living on? You react this way because you are unable to imagine a world not dominated by winners. If Obama, Putin, Xi, and other key players were to sit down to solve this problem in a civilized manner, it could be done. The flows of arms into areas of violent conflict would end, and most of the refugees would stream home determined to rebuild their own countries, with US, European, Russian and Chinese help. As a wonderful side benefit, world leaders might even find themselves entering critical talks about oil resources, global warming, and our post-petroleum future.

If, instead of fighting to win, our leaders sat down to solve our common problems, we would all reap enormous benefits, including, possibly, continued human life on Planet Earth. We fail to solve problems because winners keep insisting on winning. We have to stop fighting like winners and start talking like decent human beings. This means you and me. We can’t wait for our leaders to turn into decent human beings, nor can we wait for our governments to promulgate human decency legislation. We all have to overcome our urge to win, strengthen our determination to be decent human beings, and promote decent human being-ness.

This change is already happening, much more quickly than our win-lose corporate media can reveal or even comprehend. We will continue this transition, one by one, invisibly, until the 100th monkey has become a decent human being. At that point, winning will suddenly appear grotesque, bizarre, ridiculous and out of the question. Suddenly, we will stop electing warriors and start solving problems. In the meantime, I am hereby clamoring for an international conference on the refugee problem, with speaking roles offered to refugees as well as the captains of industry who pay politicians to wage war in the Middle East.

Next week I will definitely take up the issue of CO2 emissions and how winners are making our planet unlivable.

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