Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Fake Problems and Real Problems

I recently read one of those rants about how we have lost our common sense, i.e. the old verities that served us so well in  the past. To quote some of this piece: We used to live by “simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).  Then, well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. We hear that  a six-year-old boy  was  charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student...schools are  required to get parental consent to administer aspirin,  but they may not inform the parents when a student becomes pregnant and wants to have an abortion. The Ten Commandments have  become  contraband  and criminals  receive  better treatment than their victims. Nowadays. you can’t  defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.” The author goes on to argue that we must return to common-sense. “Let us get back to some basics and let common sense rule.”

This is precisely the sort of thinking that we don’t need.  It cherry picks a bunch of anecdotes and claims that they are real problems. Most of these stories have to do with political correctness. So there have been a few excesses here and there. Big deal.

I can guarantee  that  90% of the people who enthusiastically  embrace this sort of thinking are  the same folks who’ll vote  the wrong way and who’ll perpetuate the serious problems we are currently facing. They are the people who can only see value in past practices, past habits; people who long, in knee-jerk fashion, for a fictitious  past. People who can think of no other solution than  going  BACK, even if the past to which they wish to return never existed.

Consider our current situation: America is facing such staggering problems at this time that one almost begins to think of it as a  failed state.
(1) The country is incapable of  controlling  the epidemic. (2) It is ruled by a tin pot dictator who would be laughed out of office even in  backward Third World countries.  (3) The government  cannot even pass emergency  legislation  to rescue the dozens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, who are about to become homeless, who cannot access medical care, even in the middle of a pandemic, and who  can no longer feed themselves and their children.  (4) The criminal-in-chief is attempting  to knee-cap the country’s postal service so as to steal the election, brazenly admitting what he is doing,  destroying a service which delivers  hundreds of millions of essential mail items to the people, including life-saving medication, paychecks and other essentials. (5) Race relations were better half a century ago than today. (6) The criminal justice system is as unjust as ever. (7) The concentration of wealth and the increase in poverty and homelessness are at an unprecedented high. 
Meanwhile, the president and his Republican sycophants  are happily ignoring all  these problems. Don’t worry, they say, the problems will vanish.  And a vast proportion of Americans nod and accept this!  Why?
Well, look at the table below: Column 1 is a list of “problems” such as the ones mentioned by the author whom I quote, above. I call these fake problem, or  pseudo-problems. Column 2 lists a number of real problems.
                       1. Fake Problems
                              2. Real Problems
Political Correctness, speech codes.
Over 1,000 Americans die every day from  Covid-19, by far the worst record in the world, while Trump tells us that America is doing great.
The Deep State.
Crumbling infrastructure.
Voter Fraud.
The assault on the Post Office.
Fake News.
Global warming is destroying the planet, but our president has withdrawn from  the Paris agreement. 
Illegal immigration.
White men’s rights go unrecognized. 
Blacks are twelve  times poorer than whites.
Children have too many  rights.
No government subsidized childcare, parental leave or paid vacation.
Parental consent required for school to administer aspirin to a student.
One fourth of all Americans (82 million people) have either no medical insurance, or  inadequate insurance. Trump is attempting to kill Obamacare altogether. If he succeeds, dozens of millions of people with pre-existing conditions will also be at risk.
Criminals get better treatment than their victims.
There are far too many weapons of war in private hands.
A burglar can sue you for assault.
18,000 Americans are  murdered each year by each other. In Britain (one fifth our size) the number of 700.
Large settlements for frivolous lawsuits.
Police brutality: Each year, U.S. police kill about 2,000 citizens (disproportionately black).  In Germany (one fourth our size) the number was 8 in a recent year.
The Ten Commandments have become contraband.
The average CEO makes 350 times his average employee’s income - up from 20 times  in the 1960s.
War on Christmas.
Apple’s value has doubled from $1 trillion to $2 trillion over the past 3 or 4 months. Out of about 200 countries in the world, only 7 have a GDP that is larger than $2 trillion, and only 16 have GDPs over $1 trillion.
A trillion, by the way, is $1,000,000,000,000.
Islam is a threat to us. 
Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) is worth $113 billion. That’s more than the GDP of two thirds of all the countries in the world.
Iran is a threat to us.
Potential nuclear holocaust.

Many Americans  have been hoodwinked into believing the lie  that column 1   is what they should worry about, so that no attention is paid to column 2, which lists some of the country’s real problems.  They believe   that the solution is to  return to the  past (a past which is largely imaginary).

Their  frame of mind doesn’t  enable them to seek out or to agree with   necessary new solutions. By and large, they  want  to stick to the old ways, even though we now  know  that the old ways don’t work.  But they  prefer to play it safe,  to vote into office the wrong politicians, because they   are unwilling and afraid  to change.
© Tom Kando 2020;All Rights Reserved

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