As a British-born “hidden” immigrant (horrible term invented by horrible people; but once invented, so difficult to unsee – in my case, my being the son of an immigrant mother), I always realised how much I owed to my Croatian heritage – as well as, latterly, my Spanish experiences – and never very much how important the English side of things was to be for me.
As nation-states reassert their dominance over us, with the hiatus of the www (a kind of global Wild West in its day, I guess) now a distant speck of dust in rather tearful and generally libertarian eyes, so it becomes more important for us all to evaluate where we come from – and, what’s even more challenging, where we want to end up.
As every new year sets its stall up for us to try its wares, it becomes our duty to see what we might do differently.
I’ve realised, in my case, loyalty is something I’ve neglected over the past year; perhaps, in a way, the past decade.
Not the stultifying loyalty that forbids the truth from being told.
Not the tribal loyalty that limits one’s freedom of expression, and one’s right to evaluate new ideas and ways of thinking.
In a way, I have recently spoken of my dissatisfaction with everything Silicon Valley’s historical disruption has meant to date. When I can confuse a shield for a heart, anything can mean anything to anyone.
In a sense, those lovers of everything Internet – myself included, unashamedly (once upon a time) – have only themselves to blame for a world which begins to turn its back on their products and services: after all, if the www had really been a libertarian’s paradise for Western freedom and liberal free markets to easily develop, we wouldn’t have the capitalist behemoths which now stride our technological globe, aiming – as they do – to rip out of communities every last shred of independence from the single best way they propose.
The reality is quite different from that which we were promised.
A world as relativistic as the one we now live isn’t a world we should wish to grow up in.
Loyalty, then, to the evidence of the intelligent; to the consequential; to those who believe to disrupt because you can is simply to be a barbarian of the worst kind.
Our job in such a panorama? Keepers of the barbarians at the gates, well beyond the gates.
And when the barbarians become as established – as well within those gates, I mean, as too many of our governments of today seem to want to be – perhaps it is time to reflect and grow in other places.
But my background lies more firmly, whether I like this or not, in the fudging humanity of an erstwhile relatively tolerant, relatively efficient, relatively democratic Britain.
That Britain which needs reclaiming and maintaining – now from the barbarians within. All the year round. All round democracy.
Happy New Year.
And happy new year, too.*
* Or didn’t you know that – at least in some languages – writing in lower case means something much bigger and grander than writing in upper case ever could?
That is to say, you don’t always have to shout to be heard …