What do Corona and Floyd George incidents have in common and what they tell us about our society.
At first glance, a Chinese virus and a bunch of loathsome fanatics burning down cities simply because they are incapable of producing ANYTHING themselves (and, don’t kid yourself, that IS the motivation) dont seem to have much in common. (Except metaphorically.) But these, the two leading news stories of 2020 (anyone looking forward to the next one?) do have a lot to teach us about our underlying social maladies.
The cult of false perfectionism. It has long been a staple on the left that society MUST be perfect. We’re entitled to perfection! So, all the socialist has to do is point to some, apparently, imperfect outcome of capitalism: unusually some reprobate making too much money (i.e. more than the socialist is.)
This becomes proof that capitalism is “irredeemable.” And so socialism must be instituted. It’s no use pointing out that every, single, solitary time socialism has been tried in the past, it’s made things a million times worse. Because, you see, they’ve fixed the flaws of socialism and THIS time everything’s going to be perfect.
The truth is, conservatives (and libertarians too) don’t believe in perfection. God is perfect. Humans aren’t. And no human society is ever going to be perfect unless its run, directly, by God. (A consummation devoutly to be wished, but we dont have the ability to institute it!) So, capitalism is merely way better than every other option. And that just doesn’t have the same flair as “perfect.” Especially, if all you focus on are it’s (relatively few) flaws instead of its (enormous) benefits.
The latest twist in the cult of false perfection, is the need to abolish death. The truth seems obvious: every single one of is going to die. And, in the cosmic scheme of things, we’re all going to die really soon! There is a psychological need in the modern west to pretend otherwise. That’s why parents get arrested for letting their 10 year old walk 2 blocks to school alone. (As if it’s less damaging to the kids to see their parents arrested!) Does anyone, (ANYONE?) really believe that altering the angle of your airplane seat, by 2 degrees, makes any meaningful difference in the likelihood that you’ll survive a crash? But it’s enforced more strictly than the laws against armed robbery! (By which I mean: there are far more armed robberies every day than the number of airline seats in the wrong position when the plane lands.)
But in the immortal words of Governor Cuomo, “if we can save one life…”
And that’s exactly the problem. What we do to save one life, almost always costs very many more. Its pretty clear that when the Corona madness has come to an end, far more will have died from the lockdown (suicides, drug overdoses, alcoholism, delayed medical care, lack of exercise, etc, etc.) Than died from the virus. But no one will care. Because a key feature of this cult of “perfection” is, that since actual immortality is impossible, particular causes of death get fetishized and others ignored.
We see the same thing with gun control. There is no question that guns save more lives (particularly of the good guys) than they take. But try explaining that to your left wing neighbor when some lunic shoots people, and it’s on television. Any attempt to confiscate the guns of 100 million Americans (door to door?) would cost more lives than leaving them where they are. But that doesn’t matter “if we can save one life!”
So, George Floyd was wrongfully killed. Reasonable people are going to understand that In a country with 330 million people there are going to be murderers. That’s why we have police! And, as we’ve learned, among the tiny number of police shootings that are actually criminal (on the part of police) most involve white victims. And black on black crime claims many, many, many times more lives, etc etc.
But it’s more than that. The Washington Post, in an effort to prove the opposite, started cataloging police shootings and found a grand total of two (2) unarmed black suspects who were killed by police that weren’t ruled justified. (And the officers were tried and convicted.) Compare that to 100 African Americans who die in bathtubs every year. More than 100 die falling down the stairs. Unjustified police shootings may actually be the the least likely cause of death for African Americans that there is! (The only challenger for that title seems to be shark attack.) And, of course, the resulting riots have killed more African Americans. And the anti-police attitudes that have been spawned will result in far more African American deaths. But, hey, if we can save one life….
This is really just one dimension of the current decadence of American society. With more prosperity, convenience, opportunity, luxury, etc. than any society in the history of the world. And less disease, violence and, yes, less racism than any society ever. We amuse our selves by going crazy over silliness. Our ancestors who faced REAL epidemics (without global lockdowns!) And REAL racism (without a 10th the anger of our spoiled brats today) would be shaking their heads.
I suppose the ultimate decadence is destroying the civilization that has made life so easy. Then our children can start with nothing again.