Mere disaffection with the status quo in the world, or one’s lot in it, is not enough to help chart a path beyond it. A guiding vision is needed, and in order to formulate the right vision, which needs be inclusive and fair, an open debate of the issues is a must. Otherwise, processes will be guided and outcomes determined by figures and parties armed with the narrowest of visions and the lowest of ethical standards, people like Putin and his obsession with the return of Greater Russia, and groups like Al-Qaeda and its determination to revive the obsolete Caliphate system. While neither Putin nor Al-Qaeda is in a position to directly threaten global peace and stability, the localized regional mayhem they create is more than sufficient to harm millions of people, making this world a more dangerous place than it needs to be and rendering hope in a better future irrelevant. Atavistic longings cannot pave the way to a better future.
Meanwhile, the right answers and the right visions that we need are the ones in which we all get to take part in formulating, in open light of day. Yes, there are those who would exclude themselves from the debate, because they believe they already have the answer, and that the answer is “holy” and, therefore, beyond any debate; such attitude and people will always create problems for the rest, but, at least, they are not being excluded through machinations of others, but of their own volition.
Indeed, we will never be in a position to build a utopia, but there is nothing Utopian about the belief in the possibility of establishing a world order where recourse to mass violence and systematic violations of human rights are a thing of our shameful past.