2020 Oct 6, 5:40pm
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“In America we say if anyone gets hurt, we will ban it for everyone everywhere for all time. And before we know it, everything is banned.” Professor Jonathan HaidtIt’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.Beyond the realm of legislation, this has begun to infect our very culture. Think of things like “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” These are part of broader cultural trends in search of a kind of “emotional safety” – a purported right to never be disturbed or offended by anything. This is by no means confined to the sphere of academia, but is also in our popular culture, both in “extremely online” and more mainstream variants.Why are Americans so obsessed with safety? What is the endgame of those who would bubble wrap the world, both physically and emotionally? Perhaps most importantly, what can we do to turn back the tide and reclaim our culture of self-reliance, mental toughness, and giving one another the benefit of the doubt so that we don’t “bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security,” as President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about?...However, during the Spanish flu pandemic, life did not shut down quite so completely as it has during the Coronavirus pandemic. The methods used during the Spanish flu were isolation of the sick, mask wearing in public, and cancellation of large events. In places where these were practiced rigorously, there was a significant decline in the number of infections and death. St. Louis in particular is known as an exemplar of what to do during an easily transmissible epidemic.“The economy” has been cited as a reason the total shutdown of life during the Coronavirus pandemic was a poor idea. This might sound frivolous, but the mass unemployment not only leads to destitution for those when the economy is so paralyzed that there are no other jobs forthcoming. It also leads to a spike in the suicide rate. There is a certain calculus that must be done – how much unemployment is worth how much death from Wuhan Coronavirus?The reaction to this virus is noteworthy, because it is the first major pandemic of this new, insulated and coddled age. Rather than reasonable measures to mitigate death, the choice made was to do anything and everything possible to prevent death entirely. Not only might this be an unwise decision, it might be a fool’s errand: The virus seems to be much more contagious than was previously thought, as well as much less lethal.More than one reasonable person has asked what would happen if we all just went about our lives making reasonable precautions, such as hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, and the cancellation of large events like sports and concerts. This is effectively what Sweden has done and it appears to work, especially when contrasted with their neighbors in Finland who have done basically the same as America. How much sense does it make to have the entire community converge upon its grocery stores while not allowing anyone to go into an office, ever? Compare this with what has passed for reasonable reaction: Closing down every school, every dine-in restaurant, and the government dictating which businesses are essential and which aren’t.A big motivator of this is a compulsion to not lose a single life to the Wuhan Coronavirus, which is a totally unreasonable goal. People are going to die. The question isn’t “how tightly do we have to lock the country down to ensure no one dies,” but rather “what are reasonable measures we can take to balance public safety against personal choice and social cohesion?”The splintering and division of America in practice has meant that the establishment conservative media was largely in denial over the virus for weeks. It is not a liberal smear to say that the amount of denialism from establishment conservative media, pundits, think tanks, bureaucrats and elected officials has in practice meant that America responded much more slowly and conservatively than it might have with a more unified America body politic.At the beginning of spring 2020, the virus seemed poised to devastate the American South, which largely stuck with the early conservative media denialism, eschewing social distancing, shuttering of certain public places and mask wearing. Again, a more united body politic and the media and trust in the media that goes along with that might have prevented a lot of illness and death.Imagine the impact of Walter Cronkite or Edward Murrow going on television and telling the American public to mask up and maintain distance versus the impact of Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson doing it.What Is Vindictive Protectiveness?“Vindictive protectiveness” was a term coined by Haidt and Lukianoff to describe the environment on America’s college campuses with regard to speech codes and similar. However, it can refer more broadly to the cultural atmosphere in the United States and the West today. From the college campus to the corporate boardroom to the office, Americans have to watch what they say and maybe even what they think lest they fall afoul of extra-legal speech and thought codes.Perhaps worst of all, an entire generation is being raised to see this not only as normal, but as beneficial. This means that as this generation comes of age and grows into leadership positions, that there is a significant chance that these codes will be enforced more rigorously, not less. And while there may be ebbs and flows (political correctness went into hibernation for pretty much the entire administration of George W. Bush – though to be fair, there was an imperfect replacement in the form of post-9/11 jingoism), the current outrage factory is much more concerning than the one that sort of just hung around in the background in the 1990s.Put plainly: the next wave will be worse. We may not have Maoist-style Red Guards in America quite yet, but we’re not far off and the emphasis should be on “yet.”
Some of it I think was used by elites to control our speech... say anything against global warming, BLM, or whatever politically funded activists are supporting and you get prosecuted. Many have.Oddly certain words are banned. Negro is banned while it’s race, but calling white people crackers is ok. Can’t say fag, but cis gendered hate term is ok. Pretty much criticizing liberal activists gets punished. But criticizing white men or religion is promoted.1984 double standards.
So, why don't conservative politicians do something about it?
The Dems are talking about making DC and PR states, which means goodbye Senate and probably House.
How the hell would you make DC a state though? Much of my government class from high school has gone in the waste bin of knowledge. It would make more sense to have a neighboring state annex it.
But at least they are better than Democrats
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