WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE.
“It’s time for a revolution. Anyone earning 150K? Kill’m all!”
This was an excerpt from a conversation I had with someone in the Kitchener Public Library. The topic of the conversation was about GM closing a series of plants after being given government money to remain in operation and keep the workers employed.
If you feel this remark is extreme, I agree with you. We live in a civilized society and while it’s true we have several levels of government that have grown out of touch with the voters, we’re not living in a dictatorship, not even a benign one. There’s no need to have a bloody revolution.
Such a revolution will replace one problem with a more serious one: replacing politicians who sleep in the back pockets of corporations with warlords and gangs who believe might is right and the weak must perish.
Unfortunately, this is a comment I’ve heard repeatedly spoken by the homeless and the working poor, in varying degrees of bile. It’s also why that particular remark reminded me of a questline in World Of Warcraft, a game I used to play many years ago when times were better and my income was more stable.
SPOILER ALERT. REVEAL OF A QUEST STORYLINE AHEAD.
The questline involved a player having to investigate a murder in an area known as Westfall. This area was once very prosperous but after repeated wars has now become poverty stricken, full of homeless people and the working poor.
Operating within the boundaries of Westfall is an organization known as the Defias Brotherhood, a group formed after engineers and artists were not paid for restoring the Kingdom of Stormwind, after damage taken from their First War with another faction known as the Horde.
Defias exists as a hostile counterforce to what is regarded as exploitation of the socially vulnerable . They incite violence against the law, rally the poor and the homeless (as shown in this screenshot) against the ruling government of the day, and strike at caravans of trade and commerce.
If all of this is a little hard to understand — especially if you haven’t played World Of Warcraft like I used to — what basically happened was a group of lower-class working stiffs were not paid by the government of the day for work done in good faith, and a violent anti-establishment group (Defias) was formed as a result.
If one were to look past the fantasy aspects of both the questline in specific and the MMO in general, such a outcome is quite plausible. In fact, most social activist groups, ranging from the relatively benign to the overtly malevolent, came into being to address an imbalance of wealth distribution. Their portrayal of corporations and levels of government as money grabbing thieves that make the lives of the working poor and the homeless harder might not be accurate, but when there is news about a car manufacturer that closes plants down after being granted corporate welfare by the government to stay operational, or where government funding is being taken out of social programs and given instead to increase the size of a police force —- well, you can begin to see why there would be discontent among the lower income brackets.
In addition to the above, you can also see why the more hardline elements would organize into groups of dissension not far removed from the fictional Defias Brotherhood in World Of Warcraft. All that is needed for this to happen is for enough people to get really pissed off about the government, and want something done yesterday.
The working poor and the homeless have been pissed off for a very long time. Something’s bound to give.
I’m not advocating violence to force government change: I think I made that point clear already. Nor am I white-knighting any social activist movement that breaks the law and risks public safety to help the more vulnerable members of society.
What I am saying is if you do not agree with my argument that helping the homeless and the working poor is a positive investment that ensures a good ROI for society, then take heed this warning instead as another point to consider: nature abhors a vacuum.
If governments will not do the right thing by helping out the less fortunate, then there will be those who will fill in that void of leadership — but not with laws, not with compassion, not with civility. They will make right what is wrong, as their chant states, “by any means necessary”.
Such a directive will not only fail to bring help to those less fortunate, but it will further destabilize the stability of social order we’ve come to take for granted. The last thing we need is a Defias of our own making to covet the reins of power over our lives.
Thanks for reading!