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The brave new woke world.

By Murray Hunter - posted Monday, 4 July 2022

Society has changed more over the last couple of years, than it has over the last fifty years. Similar events are occurring today, which are very similar to the seventies, but for different reasons. The Vietnam war was ideologically based, the libertarian and social justice movement believed in equality of opportunity for all, the nature of the oil crisis today is self-inflicted, and the world is seeing rapidly rising inflation due to the monetary and fiscal choices governments made over the last two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are also seeing a passing of influence from the Baby-Boomers, and the early Generation Xers, onto the Millennials. With this, there is a major attitudinal change that is shaping the nature of society and government, as well as social priorities. Most governments are experiencing this influence today.

A distinct change in the nature of government


Long gone are the leaders and administrations governing from a vision. Visionary politicians have been replaced with those who seek power only to manage. The civil services they control have become supposedly rule based bureaucracies, led by supposedly competent technocrat leaders.

However, we witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic these bureaucracies appeared to have no sound mission, often changing objectives that were far from transparent. Although, science and medical opinion was cited as the basis of bureaucratic decisions that affected their citizens, little in evidence was ever offered to support their opinions, directions, and mandates.

Civil service decision makers were protected from questioning and criticism with censorship and even arrest. The Covid-19 pandemic bolstered an unelected elite, who have more power than their elected superiors.

Today, the Doomsday Clock stands at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to the possibility of a nuclear war, since its inception back in 1947. There are many views from geopolitical academics about how the Ukrainian conflict could have been avoided. Administrations full of Millennial advisors are much more hawkish than their predecessors. Generational change has shifted the approach to statecraft, making nations more aggressive towards each other. Megaphone diplomacy has very much replaced backroom diplomacy.

We are heading into an era where centralisation of government is now the fashion. Government is moving away from the people it governs, and out of the parliaments, into the offices of unelected officials. Legislation passed into law on the floor of the parliament is not what sets the rules we live by anymore. We are now governed and mandated by regulations written by bureaucrats, far away from public view.

With the increase in backroom bureaucratic rule, comes the decline of the power of the citizens' vote. Much more powerful now, is the lobbying of corporations upon bureaucrats, agencies, and politicians. We now see commercial products, which didn't go under the same scrutiny as products before them, mandated to the public under emergency authorizations to side step the rules. These types of decisions were once unheard of, let alone even imagined a decade ago. We are just starting to learn of the consequences.


Declining quality of education

The current leaders and bureaucrats may have more paper qualifications than their predecessors. However, the quality of these qualifications has decreased over the last few decades. Higher education has been commoditized and standards lowered to cater for international students, as higher education has been turned into a profit-making industry. The rigor of many degrees and post-graduate qualifications are definitely much lower than those earned during the 1960-80s.

Higher education institutions have lost the diversity of thought, ironically while espousing the very notion of diversity. Universities have become centres of woke thought, concerned with equity-based issues. It's much more common to hear students are been passed in subjects, even though they haven't met with academic standards. Special consideration mechanisms have been brought in with equity criteria considerations. With much narrower terms of reference included in curriculum than a few decades ago, courses now take a 'one size fits all' approach. This approach is filling bureaucracies around the world with graduates who don't have the same abilities in critical thinking and problem solving, as generations before them.

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About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

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