Shoddy Messiahs

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN

It’s not unreasonable to imagine a future where AI foxes are hunted by packs of hounds, where the meat and fish markets depend to a substantial degree on cultured meat produced in bioreactors. Why not? Let’s open our minds. A century ago, few would have thought credible the technological advances that have been made since. So why should any of us be so close-minded as to think that, as population pressures grow, astonishing technological developments will not follow?

The fact is that History is littered with those who have died before their dreams were realised, and there is something humble and honourable about coming to terms in one’s own lifetime with becoming a martyr from the grave, joining extraordinary achievers who never felt the need to meddle with fate or to carve their feats in stone while alive; those who let time tell rather than trying to tell time.

Mendel pioneered genetics back in 1865 but nobody took it seriously until 1915, thirty years after his death. Robert Johnson, the father of blues music, died in a barfight and few know his name. Galileo died in 1642 but his work – proving that the Earth revolved around the Sun – wasn’t allowed to be fully published until 1835 as it was subject to an injunction by the Catholic Church.

Now imagine that you are in the last quarter of your days. You can forecast pretty well your place in history. You can picture the blue plaque pinned to your house wall. The clock is ticking and you are in a desperate hurry. So convinced are you that you are right, you have become increasingly fundamentalist in your outlook and actions. Your once open mind has closed recently to the warm words of adulating drones in your echo chamber. Now all opponents are either ‘trolls’ or ‘relics’.

If you are sane, you occasionally catch a glance at your supercilious self in the mirror and chuckle. You might look now and again with envy on the younger generation who may be so lucky as to see your dreams realised. You are sound enough to mentor fresh replacements who can finish off your life’s work.

Or you are bonkers and suffer from a Jesus complex. (Alas, ‘like’-driven throwaway culture has driven many false prophets our way of late). Like Putin you surround yourself with nodders.

So, how can you accelerate events, Fake Jesus? How can you guarantee the victory parade in your own lifetime?

You fall back on an ethos of non-conformity, anti-authoritarianism, a do-it-yourself ethic. You are openly pro direct action and not selling out. You meddle with events, playing the Hate-Victim dialectic dangerously. In any case, who cares about the law? It is written by elites, by dinosaurs! Law is just an inconvenience which can be bent a bit towards a brighter future. Why not? You are Jesus, after all!

Tick tock.

Your hair recedes another half an inch.

Tick tock.

Your pecs look more like A-cups.

Time is running out.

Now you are sailing close to the wind. But it’s OK! You are Jesus, are you not?

Can the contriving of helpful events – the illegality – ever be morally acceptable as a means of activism?

No.

Deep down you know that very well.

It is a short cut to dishonour.

Yet you trick and cheat anyway as the days dwindle. Never does it occur to you that you are gambling everything away.

Today’s false prophets (and their puppeteers) should have the grace to learn from those who stuck to their task like Mendel and Galileo. By comparison they are mere spivs and meddlers – more Icke than Nazareth.

Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.