I am amazed at how people believe political theater when if they saw the same movie in a theatre, they would think it exaggerated.
The current movie offerings and their plots produced by politicians
The offerings and their plots from others and denied or ignored by politicians:
There is no situation so clear that we can decide only a single outcome and/or solution is possible. All the scripts implicitly assume current conditions will persist indefinitely. That assumption requires the suspension of common sense and collected experience. That has NEVER happened in the past.
Why does that unchanging context arise if it doesn’t happen? A reasonable question and not often addressed. The answer is simple. It doesn’t suit the real purpose of the political crisis. The reality ends when you project the outcome into the future without changing the way we address it.
Humans are very good at first adapting to, and then curing, slowly evolving conditions. Viewed from the present, the problems can be cast in crystal clear form and the implications of that can be derived. The assumption that the future will play out exactly under the same conditions as we face today is well past misinformed, even stupid. People adapt and stop doing wrong stuff instinctively.
If you stood at water’s edge in Digby, Nova Scotia today at 3:09 pm, you would see low tide. If you stood there until 9:19 pm, you would certainly drown. In Digby, high tide is about 15 feet higher than low tide. Would you act to reduce your risk? I think so. Water levels rising at two and a half feet per hour are hard to miss.
Do you think a self-serving politician or activist could spin your tide problem into an existential crisis? Maybe. Would it be likely that their cure required vast sums of money instantly deployed? Almost certainly. In political terms money is not a unit of exchange. It is not even economic. It is the tool to wield power. Would they suggest you should study their solution for its efficacy and efficiency? Unlikely. Fear sells after all. Would they look for alternative cheaper and easier solutions. No, that would reduce their power.
That’s why you can be mislead. If you single-source your information and reasoning you lose. That’s why people shop. When rhetoric becomes the evidence you should step back and think. That applies to the urgent positions promoted by anyone, not just politicians and activists.
Bjorn Lomborg is the Danish-born president of the American think tank, The Copenhagen Consensus Center. Its method is to do cost-benefit studies on current problems and their proposed solutions over time. Their examination of climate change presents a substantially different view. While they could be wrong too, it is wise to assess many sides. You could watch a 25 minute video here. There are many others. All will make the same point. Climate change is not a catastrophic result because it is slow moving and adaptable to mitigating actions. It also makes the point that people who act on the idea as if it is, or will be, a catastrophe, make decisions in the present that will turn out catastrophic for them. For example, What’s the point of education if the world will end in ten years?
A thought from Ian Watson, a professor of theatre at Rutgers University
“if you have to be persuaded, reminded, pressured, lied to, incentivised, coerced, bullied, socially shamed, guilt-tripped, threatened, punished and criminalized… If all of this is considered necessary to gain your compliance – you can be absolutely certain, that what is is being promoted is not in your best interest.”
All problems highjacked by activists for their own benefit must be examined and alternatives addressed.
Urgency is sometimes, but not often, the dominant factor. Step back and think.
Follow the “cui bono” idea when observing the presentations. In English it translates as “to whom the good.” Who might benefit? Sometimes it is follow the money, but sometimes prestige and power are elements too. If something is happening, it makes sense to look at the people who have an incentive to act the way they are. That is how you begin to look for other possibilities.
Exaggeration is a part of persuasion. Use it as a cue to look elsewhere.
Problem solving requires you address the correct problem. Most problems are not so clear as others will tell you.
If a problem and its solution evolve over time, a solution based on a snapshot of the present is unlikely to be correct. Humans are very good at resolving slow moving problems.
Watch for name-calling and suppression of opposing information. That is the key factor in the virus “crisis.”
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