I read the Liveability Ranking Summary report by The Economist today, and, other than neglecting to properly factor in Melbourne’s miserable weather, it delivers no real surprises, least of all news that global liveability itself has declined by 0.9% this year. In an effort to appear objective and apolitical the survey attributes this to the spectre of terrorism. But that can’t be right, because if it is then the warlords of Boko Haram can hang up their machetes, and ISIL can finally take a day off and wash their headscarves. Honestly people, if you are scanning your route to work for IED’s, then haven’t bad guys won?

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There’s a better explanation that has nothing to do with Salafi jihadists. Minus the fiery meteor crossing the sky, or perhaps a timely eclipse of the sun, there have been numerous hints as to what is really at the heart of all this. Putting aside the viral spread of First World Problem Disorder, the problem is the angry disconnect between people and politics. We are sick of their lies, yet politicians keep lying. Putting aside the hubris that infects all politicians eventually, why do they think we can’t handle the truth? Is it because we CAN’T handle the truth? Give this a few seconds longer to ruminate in your brain-pan before answering this question: would you really want to know about every lone-wolf ISIL-wannabe that has been arrested before he could park his fertilizer-bomb outside your kids’ school? Take it from me, the world is actually a scarier place than you think, and there is very little YOU can do about. Now pay attention: I said very little, I didn’t say nothing.

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Wouldn’t it be easy, not to mention immensely satisfying, to say that it’s Donald Trump’s fault, or that he is at least symptomatic of the problem. But in a weird, mirrored-universe sort of way, lots of people don’t see The Donald as the problem, they see him as the solution. To her great detriment, Clinton is indistinguishable from the very administration which many Americans, and by extension, many Westerners feel are to blame for their ennui. Such feelings dissipate on their own, however, and Trump looks like a goner; but, with Steve Bannon and his coterie of ambitious young schmendricks beavering away in his basement to poison the Clinton campaign any way they can, Trump can’t be ruled out, poll-slump or no. And, btw, how much do these people remind you of Selina Meyers’ staff in ‘The VEEP’? A lot, that’s how much. Alex Swoyer could play Anna Chlumsky’s Amy Brookheimer any day of the week.

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While this anti-reality show we’re living in currently resembles one of the episodes of Stargate: Atlantis when the series really began jumping the shark, all is not lost. There are steps you can take to improve your own lot, irrespective of whose hand is hovering over the the Big Red Button. And no, I am not suggesting some prepper cache with ten thousand rounds of 9mm ammo and a half-tonne of dried beans (although, y’know, it couldn’t hurt), what I suggest is everyone who is feeling irrationally scared, take your medication and get educated. Take your head out of your ass and take an interest. The mainstream media (with rare exceptions) are not impartial sources of information, but neither is social media. Look harder! Cross-reference sources. Risk assess! Don’t fall into the new-generation-oh-so-savvy trap. Think outside the Western cultural paradigm, because, fun fact, more than 99% of people endangered by terrorism today live in the Middle East, not in downtown Connecticut, or suburban Sydney for that matter.

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And if all else fails, as Cold War fears recede and modern paranoia takes hold, rather than adopting the nuclear-threat attitude of curling up to kiss your ass goodbye, adopt the motto of Trump’s media assassin Steve Bannon: ‘honey badger don’t give a fu*k’ Or if you are an Australian: come get me, bro.

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