I have to admit, I am guilty of the same hyperbolic alarmist nonsense I laugh at others for.
It’s called a slippery slope fallacy. It seems like logic, but isn’t. Bad things A and B happen, so we can rationally assume bad things D-Z will happen: Oh no!
Perhaps this exaggeration, this fantasy, harms my underlying message.
It’s easy enough to find science to verify what I want to believe – when that is specifically what I look for, but that’s not how science works. You don’t look for evidence to prove the theory you want – you find out what the evidence is first and then come up with a theory to make sense of it.
So while I laugh at people who think things like gay marriage will destroy the fabric of society, I can’t help but see similarities in their line of thinking to how I look at environmental, political or economic issues:
Mass extinction and pollution – Earth will be reduced to an uninhabitable wasteland!
Wealth inequalities – Will widen forever until they become so unbearable revolt is inevitable!
Political rights – Will be whittled away until America degrades into a fascist dictatorship!
These all assuming the worst end to trends I have currently observed.
I think these are valuable to know as dangers, they are things to work toward avoiding.
People tend to prefer a focus on the positive. While fear is an effective motivator, what is more powerful is a vision for people to move toward rather than one to try to escape.
So on the positive side:
We can improve our treatment of the environment and ultimately sustain ourselves.
We can improve economic prosperity so that it benefits more people.
We can defend our political rights and stand against tyranny.
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All this debt ceiling talk in politics lately is just crying wolf. It is a manufactured issue that is the priority of the business elite, not the working class.
We need to create jobs to strengthen our economy. Government investment can create jobs. Tax breaks for business start-ups only can create jobs.
Budget cuts do not create jobs. Tax breaks for huge corporations do not create jobs. Both of those things actually kill job growth and make the economy worse.
Corporate America is already sitting on record profits and savings, but they aren’t investing it. Making their already-huge pile of money bigger with more tax breaks is not going to solve our problems. What they need is incentive to invest – a market with strong consumer demand – and the best way to create that is to have a healthy, well-employed middle class with money to spend.