5/07/2017

What’s Workin’ for You?

The more scientists learn about how human brains “work,” the less hope I have for the species. It’s not the scientists’ fault, they are the best hope humanity and the planet has. The problem is that our caveman, lizard-brain inherited qualities are often so incredibly self-destructive that it’s hard to imagine how the species will evolve into something creative and sustaining.

For example, on an NPR program yesterday, some nitwit from the right-wing “libertarian” propaganda machine with the pompus, Trump-style academic name the “Cato Institute,” debated a physician about healthcare. The NPR interviewer did manage to get the wingnut to admit that their philosophy is that “everyone deserves the healthcare they can afford.” To modifiy this obviously vicious and destructive philosophy, the went on in their usual way about how markets magically create affordable solutions (suicide options, I suspect) if they are allowed to operate “freely.” History demonstrates, repeatedly, that markets despise unrestrained operation and the rich work as hard as rich people are capable of working to find ways to eliminate competition, optimize profits and minimize the required effort to maintain the status quo. Libertarians, as much as they love to imagine themselves to be defenders of individual liberty, are defenders of the 1% and economic and social inequality. It’s their thing. As someone deftly explained forty or fifty years ago, “libertarians are Republicans with ponytails.” The physician in this debate, obviously someone who has spent her life trying to improve patients’ existence and doing actual useful work, had a strongly opposing opinion based on reality, practice in medicine (not mindless economic theorizing), and a life committed to doing something of value.

The end result for me was a reminder of the right wing’s babbler-in-chief, Sarah Palin, asking “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?”

Hope and change tie together closely. People who are easily “grossed out” are consistently conservative and afraid of change. Being afraid of anything tends to make us not only oppose change but to turn around and head back into whatever mess we were attempting to leave. In my lifetime, this country has had two (maybe two and a half, counting Carter) Presidents who were change drivers. Kennedy was assasinated in the early stages of reversing the country’s mindless drive toward becoming an imperialist empire and a force for world instability. Obama was handed an economy in freefall and a society on the edge of social collapse and, after doing a few of the things necessary to stop total collapse, was stopped in his tracks by a timid, backwards, mostly-white conservative voting block who elected a congress that was as regressive a group of uneducated, racist, lazy, entitled white men as you’d expect from a similar population. “Hope and change” were the polar opposite of what these voters and their representatives stood for.

My question to them would be, “How’s that hatey, scaredy, stupidy thing workin’ our for ya?”

With Trump in the White House, Republicans in control of Congress, and a solid majority of pseudo-conservatives in the Extreme Court, the country is heading as far from hope and change (for the better) as possible. In fact, we appear to be on a sled ride down a steep icy path toward a cliff with a pile of sharp boulders waiting for us at the bottom. Not as a country, but as a species.

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