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The Game Has Got to Change

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

The Game Has Got to Change

Andrew Ryan

Last week I promised an exploration of Australia’s relationship with France re: Submarine Design Contract Signing, but given the events of the last week, that won’t be the focus any more, I’ll have an explore of that next week. Instead, I offer a brain vomit of thoughts and ideas, very little structure, influenced by the current cosmic weather and the confusion and pain that comes from keeping an eye on Australian politics. If you’re as frustrated and upset as I am, you’ll understand.
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Sometimes people are blinded by career goals, selfish individualism and greed; they can’t feel the presence of all the other human beings on this planet, all of the people, can’t feel the ones who live a different way to the well-educated, well-off white political elite of Australia, even the poor white people in Australia, they can’t feel them, let alone the poor Dark Skinned People of Australia, or the Dark Skinned People of any country for that matter, unless they’re well-off, then they matter, because they can give some of that Money to Australia if Australia can convince them to do so; stick all heads in sand to deny the social problems, the racism, the cultural divides in neighbourhoods and sprawling suburbia, all encouraged to connect in money, nearly everyone’s got access to a Coles Supermarket now, food shipped all over the country, the imperfect apples left to rot at the back of a farm somewhere in deep South Australia while every two year old in the city is being fed berry flavoured candy and crunchy m&ms in between doctors appointments to figure out why they scream bloody murder when the ipad is taken away, the coles will employ their teenage siblings right, give them some internships to keep them off the street and off the dole but won’t pay them enough to allow them to ever dream of buying a house, never mind the man down the road encouraging his son to hate what he fears, like cultures he doesn’t know, generations of anti-Aboriginality “terra nullius” distorting into the words “keep away from them / we grew here, they flew here” instead of “want to invite them over for a bbq?”

Did you get partiotic on ANZAC weekend? None of our ancestors died so that we could be free to be bigots if we want to be bigots. We should be free to demand justice, to punish political bigots for the harm they’ve caused to humanity, but this does not seem possible. However, when a governmental policy is a racist one, it is the nation’s fault for allowing it to go through, and only we have the power to decide who leads on our behalf, up to us to pick an actual leader, leaders who educate and consider, not dogwhistlers who allow tax breaks for the super rich.

It is as if the government knows they’ve gone too far, and cannot even consider letting those who have suffered at their hands in to the country without either:
a) paying the individuals a massive compensation
b) completely upgrading social services so that it is actually affective at providing helpful assistance to those in need of it (see: the poor)
c) risk letting anti-government feelings ripple through the families and friends and extended communities around the individuals involved
or the people who uphold the current asylum seeker policy legitimately don’t believe the people deserve our assistance.

Sometimes people choose to ignore things that are too painful, or too confronting, and people can die, do die, because of it.

Paying off our island neighbours to inhumanely and undemocratically imprison people who are not criminals rather than making sure the nation is socially equipped to handle the arrival of people in need is revolting.

Profiting from someone else’s loss shows a lack of empathy for others. If you could factor ethics in to risk analysis, if you could work within the boundaries that humans are more likely to show compassion than not, then the game is changed. Game theory was conceptualized by a human with paranoid schizophrenia, and the very real presense of altruism has been all but ignored ever since. Society has become a paranoid schizophrenic. Human children can be taught to be selfish, and they can be taught to have compassion. If the world they grow up in teaches them to be selfish, then they have no choice but to be selfish within that system, lest they risk getting fucked over by people more selfish than they, feeling the weight and the pain of doing what they can to help the people who are ignored by the greedy, being ignored themselves, or ridiculed, for not being self-serving. If the world taught children how to be compassionate, and share, then everyone would be sharing and no one would go without. There would be people who chose to be selfish among them, but I imagine their lives would be lonely and unfulfilling. The story of Scrooge ceases to be a warning when it is bands of Scrooges running the country I was born in- they are not lonely when they have each other.

I guess it comes down to the simple question of: how would you rather live?
Luxuriously with the knowledge that other people are freezing and starving to death, or moderately with the knowledge that no one is freezing and starving to death?

How can anyone be so brutal as to choose the former?