Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

How long can a society last without hope?

I expect that the global Covid-19 situation will last for years. Over time, hope will slowly disappear and hopelessness will gradually take over. I suppose that the majority of populations will remain resilient and adapt to the new “normal”. A minority may decide for different options. 

For some time, I am weighing my options. I used to be proud of my country for its pragmatism. Dutch pragmatism seems to have been replaced by ideology. Recently, an article by Belgian writer Tom Lanoye noticed the same: the demise of our Dutch neighbour (NRC).

The lack of Dutch pragmatism is illustrated by the fact that all efforts are focussed on preventing corona fatalities (< 0.1% of 17.5 million), while 99.9% of the population is suffering from corona restrictions. Pragmatism would imply increasing healthcare capacity, after decade(s) of reducing its capacity.

The new Great Divide of (i) Ideology versus Pragmatism (my 2020 blog), and (ii) the generational conflict (my 2021 blog) have a remarkable overlap. Old, rich & white people are driving ideology, while young & poor people are demanding some pragmatism. This new Great Divide feels like “Greater Good versus Happy Few“.

Sustained hopelessness will result in a suicide surge (eg, Irish TimesNCBI). An April 2020 JAMA Psychiatry article is telling: “Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019—A Perfect Storm?”

Hence, the title of my blog: How long can a society last without hope?

A 2020 Guardian article sheds some light on the answer to the question in my blog’s title:

  • “Thousands of refugees in mental health crisis after years on Greek islands”;
  • One in three on Aegean isles have contemplated suicide amid EU containment policies, report reveals”. Note LO: bold and italic markings in quotes by LO.

Fortunately, contemplated only means considering. Nevertheless, 33% is an awful lot. 

Options for escaping corona restrictions seem limited. Most countries have copied each other’s response. This also explains their criticism towards other non-complying countries (eg, Madagascar, Sweden, Tanzania). 

In 1982, the Dutch band Het Goede Doel (The Good Cause) mentioned Belgium as an escape for the Dutch. The 1985 international version referred to Luxembourg. Perhaps, they were right after all. 

Luxemburg (1985) by The Good Cause 

artists, Discogs, lyrics, video, Wiki-UK, Wiki-NL, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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