The United States, The United Kingdom, Europe. They have become synonyms for opportunity, freedom, growth, and wealth. People see in them the future and try to replicate them or live there someday.
But the marketing from decades and centuries of slavery, oppression, and imperialism is starting to crumble. Over the past years, we’ve seen the rise of populist and extremist movements in dozens of countries. A polarization between left and right that gave voice to the extremes on both sides. Paired with utter incompetence, we are sometimes left off worse than before.
The glorious land of freedom turned into hell on earth. Having a virus that is not taken seriously, wildfires across the entire west, while progressing towards an equal and sustainable society has moved even further into the distance.
The once strongest and biggest nation on the planet, colonizing and enslaving the world, has shut itself out. It wants to live by its own rules as if it still is the world-ruling empire it used to be hundreds of years ago. Ignoring the reasons it got so wealthy in the first place.
Countries across Europe have seen a rise in right and left-wing movements, undermining trust in a global society that can encompass all while spreading further apart and establishing two groups of countries. The high performers in the north and west (Germany, France, and the Nordic countries) and the ones lagging behind in the south and east.
And while all this polarization has happened, significant progress for the wellbeing of its citizens has stopped. Healthcare, education, and infrastructure in the US, UK, Germany, and other European countries are years, if not decades, behind quickly developing countries in Asia. Korea, Singapore, China; they have their own problems but solved the ones the US, UK, and Germany have been sitting on for years.
You’d expect Germany, the UK, the US to be advanced societies, but they’ve gotten lazy. Instead of looking abroad and asking for help, they sit on their throne, built from arrogance and laziness. They see themselves as a better country, better society, better culture, which makes them zone out the apparent problems before them. Paired with comfortable laziness established over decades and encouraged in their culture, they don’t provide to global equality by helping other countries, but by decaying their own.
It should not be a surprise that regress is necessary for progress; two steps forward, one step back. But it seems like we are getting to a critical point in history again, being stress-tested from Coronavirus and Climate Change, with our weaknesses displayed wide open. Now it is up to us to identify and find solutions. Look abroad and understand the advantages of different systems. Look inside and understand the flaws of our own.
Moments of defeat bring opportunity for growth. When we are on our knees, we can get up, build up again, understand why we were defeated in the first place, and become wiser and stronger than before. And while progress happens slowly and silently, it will pierce through every fiber of society.