By now, you may have heard about “The Great Reset”, a theory (and book of the same name) promulgated by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It seems our Prime Minister has caused a bit of a stir on social media for musing out loud that the disruptive circumstances we now find ourselves in might indeed be a once in a generation opportunity to proactively work toward building a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable world. Naturally, a large number of conspiracy theorists seized the opportunity for themselves – to portray Trudeau’s comments as some sort of left-wing diabolical plot to overthrow the world order. According to the theory, certain politicians banded together and unleashed the pandemic on an unsuspecting world to provide the cover and pretense for an unprecedented power grab. Sheesh.
Until now, I have not commented on the disinformation that runs like a river after a thunderstorm south of the border. For instance, have you ever bothered to look at the Electoral College map as compared to the COVID-19 heat map of the country? It seems to me that almost the exact same states are red. People who vote for the anti-science candidate seem to be dying disproportionately as a direct result of their misguided beliefs. Unfortunately for us, even as we Canadians bite our tongues regarding American politicians and the people who vote for them, American conspiracy theorists cannot return the favour by reining in their comments regarding Canadian politicians.
I hold a graduate degree in public administration, so I’m a public policy wonk at heart. To be clear, that doesn’t mean I’m naturally pre-disposed to like every interventionist idea I come across. However, it does mean that I’m not likely to dismiss ideas simply because they involve public sector involvement, either. Government can be a source of positive change. Too often in the past, that role has been abused. Still, we should be careful not pre-judge plans for the future due to certain past misdeeds.
Having recently listened to George Freidman’s “The Storm Before the Calm” and Strauss and Howe’s “The Fourth Turning”, I cannot help but think that we may be on the brink of some colossal societal change. My sense is that the world will be forever changed as a result of the pandemic we are currently grappling with. Specifically, my guess is that some of the change will involve a new round of environmental commitments. We need foresight and ingenuity to move forward. Old systems are already breaking down. My advice is not to fear the unknown, but to embrace – or at the very least to seriously consider – the opportunity before us to make things better.