If there’s anything the election of Donald Trump has shown me, it’s a clear reminder of how piss-poor our human systems really are. People who are both conservative and liberal are humanist–it’s our heritage from the Enlightenment. You might hear some conservatives talk a lot about putting God at the center of governance, but they don’t really believe it. None of the conservatives I’ve ever witnessed really want a government run by God, and certainly not one run by Jesus. What’s more, pretty much everyone is still in agreement that humanity is much more advanced and enlightened in the modern Western world than it has ever been and probably ever will be. This isn’t necessarily just about being heirs to the Enlightenment, as it is about being human and not possessing the ability to imagine how any system could work better than the one that we have.
Assuming that we don’t completely annihilate our species, or see a major collapse of civilization as all previous civilizations have eventually collapsed, our own heirs will look back on the early 21st century two hundred years from now and find multiple flaws in how we live our lives–in much the same way most people can look back two hundred years ago and wonder how a system like slavery was ever permitted. As far as Donald Trump goes, a more enlightened future humanity will wonder how it was possible that he was permitted to become President. After all of the dire warnings about what could happen having such a man in power, none of us did enough to prevent his presidency from becoming a reality.
Reality itself will be one of those things that future students discuss: how two people living in the exact same time and place and receiving more or less similar information about events and people could permit their senses of reality to become so distorted to the point where there is no common ground of facts and truths between any two people.
I for one am not that optimistic that human beings will survive the next two hundred years to look back on this time period in an enlightened sort of way. I have not lost my faith in the basic goodness of the human being and the human conscience, but I can’t imagine a human system of governance that is fair and just and humane and peaceful to all human beings who live under it. Inevitably, some group of humans will be marginalized in any artificially-created utopia. In all likelihood, Trump or an individual like Trump will start WWIII and the human race will be greatly diminished, and pockets of enlightened human societies will pop up in different places as they have always done. But, they will inevitably be wiped out when more violent, avaricious human societies come upon them and wipe them out.
Humanity will return to sensing the need for some type of divine injection into its governments, and such systems will also be highly varied–if a strain of Christianity at its best survives, we might hope to see peaceful, Christian communities living here and there. But, in all likelihood, most religion will at best keep some people pacified so that total war isn’t always upon the earth. I still hold out hope that Jesus will return and reign upon the earth, and that this is the only way people can behave in a true Christian fashion toward each other, but some days like today are ones where I wonder if Jesus even wants to bother with a return visit.