The Care of the Pushy Man

   May 24, 2024     2 min read

Nearly 7 years ago, I wrote my first article in Morgunblaðið as a Pirate. Now, over 200 articles later, I thought it fitting to revisit the first article I wrote, where I introduced myself and the challenges we faced as a society. I think it is safe to say that the challenges (and solutions) remain the same - and the pushy man (special interest politics) has become more prominent.

From my article in October 2017: “I found in the Pirates people who were passionate about the same things I was and who had the same ideas about how to make politics and society better. A society where transparency dispels doubt, democracy is trusted with decisions, and justice prevails. Not politics controlled by small interest groups, but politics that listen to and serve the people of the country. We need to solve the housing crisis, strengthen the healthcare and education systems, […]. We can do this, I and all other Pirates are ready for the task and the pushy man wants to but cannot stop us.”

What was not as obvious 7 years ago was how much the overreach could become. This was at the beginning of the fake news epidemic. The ads about Tax-Kata had made their rounds and the Cambridge Analytica scandal was just around the corner. Democracy had just begun to grapple with this new challenge and we were barely aware of the problem when the next challenge overwhelmed us - AI used for propaganda purposes.

Those who create the problem are these small interest groups that were then called the pushy man. The Putins of the world, big and small. The influence of money and their return demands are far-reaching and nothing is sacred to them. Not untouched nature, not air quality, not life. Their will shall be enforced through war.

Charlie Chaplin put it well in his speech in the film “The Great Dictator”: “Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

We live in a world where it is harder than ever to distinguish the core from the chaff, even when it is as obvious as Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Putin’s attacks on Ukraine. The guerrilla forces of the world are fully engaged in convincing us that reality is completely different, now armed with AI.

Today, we need more transparency and more democracy but above all, more care.