Looking ahead, now

At the risk of downplaying the public health threat, I think this essay touches something very important. If you’ve been looking for a chance to put your money where your mouth is, there’s a crystal-clear opportunity knocking on your door (to mix metaphors a bit). I’ve been amazed/unsurprised to see major commercial brands tilting their messaging into the pandemic. It’s chilling.

“Gaslighting,” “#resistance,” these terms are overused to the point of gimmicky advertising in their own right. But they do serve a purpose. They’re a reminder of how reality itself is being remade under our prevailing economic structure. This has been long in the works in places like America, and the coronavirus outbreak has obviously exposed the most blatant inequality gaps.

I don’t think we’ll be “going back to normal,” but there are two ways of reading that. We can either slip more deeply into an oligarchic kakistocracy (this would be the easiest move, the closest we can get to “normal”) or we can use individual choices to throw off demand curves for the most despicable capitalist vectors: meat farms, the dairy industry, six-lane highways, gun manufacturers, charter schools, private health insurers, fracking companies, the iHeart Radio Music Festival.

What does this mean? Eating less meat, for starters; using your car more conscientiously and investing in public transit, disowning guns as the farce they are, promoting literacy and engaging your local public school district, shifting incrementally to a solar energy structure at home, disowning corporate-sponsored music.

And at the risk of oversimplifying, this seems like a helpful riff on Pascal’s wager, a modern economic gamble that might just pay off for future generations. What’s the downside?

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