Saturday 15 June 2019

The Enemy Is Us

In 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, stating, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." The cartoonist Walt Kelly first parodied the line in 1953, although the panel we see below was done in 1971. When I first saw it, I recognised the ironic truth to the changed words: We are our own worst enemy.

Yes, at the end of the day, the cause of all our problems is ourselves. Pick any issue - global warming, abortion, elections, the environment, health care, etc. - and the trouble stems from our worldview or lack thereof. We are so ignorant; we are so unqualified for dealing with any of these issues.

I think of modern society with its cell phones, computers, and Internet, looking down on ancient cultures who worshiped, for instance, the sun as a god, making sacrifices for a good harvest. We all know that there is no such thing as a sun god: Those ancient cultures were so backward, so primitive.

But are we any better? I've heard it said that the human race has made no progress over the past two thousand years. We're just as dumb as before, only now we have high-speed broadband. We proudly assert the progress made with science and technology but overlook the philosophical, the spiritual, and the moral. For the most part, we remain greedy, self-centered individuals with a disregard for the bigger picture.

Admittedly, I'm painting a depressing portrait of the world. However, let me add that while there is bad in the world, there is a lot of good. I'm hopeful. Of course, what other choice do any of us have? We have to remain hopeful for the alternative is unthinkable.

Some of the issues we're dumb about
  • Make something illegal and it will go away
    Case in point: abortion, drugs, sex work. Legislating something as a crime doesn't stop it. If human beings want it, they'll go after it, even under penalty of jail time. I contend that if we as a society truly wanted to deal with an issue, we wouldn't just use the law. After all, you can never stop a river. You can divert its flow, but you can never stop it. Don't believe me? Let's all go back Prohibition. How did that work out? (Prohibition in the United States lasted from 1920 to 1993. Wikipedia)
  • Hide the truth to make a profit
    How many people have died from smoking? The tobacco industry hide the facts as much as possible because they were making a fortune. The fossil fuel industry knew decades ago about climate change but hide the scientific analysis so they could continue making a profit at the pump. The sugar industry hide the science and diverted public attention to fat. We know now it's sugar not fat that is the bigger culprit in heart disease. Healthcare should be the right of all citizens and should be funded and overseen by the government. Unfortunately, in the United States, it's a for-profit industry which has little taste for seeing any changes which would erode their profits.
  • Religion
    What can I say in a few words about such a topic? While I agree that faith is beneficial, I find that man's interpretation of God and His Will to be the source of much evil in the world. As for the Bible — probably applicable to all religious texts, regardless the religion — pick your stance: pro-war, anti-war, pro-abortion, anti-abortion, pro-slavery, anti-slavery. The Bible will furnish you with a passage to support anything and everything. Years ago (Sorry, I've hunted on the Net, but I can't find this.), I read about a sect in the States (West Virginia?) which had banned all music based on an obscure passage in Timothy. Yes, banned all music. Whenever I hear somebody use a biblical passage to explain or justify their position, I know they have first formulated their position, then gone to the Bible to find whatever will support said position. In other words, they have not carefully weighed the pros and cons, examined other options, etc. They've started with their conclusion and then backed up to find supporting arguments.

Final Word
We may start with the best intentions, but we sometimes screw up royally. We can blame other people, faulty ingredients, bad supplies, or even the weather including sunspots, but we did it so we're to blame. During prohibition, bootleggers turned to denatured (poisonous) alcohol as a source of product. Attempts to renature (make non-poisonous) were not always successful. It's reported that upwards of ten thousand people died from drinking bad alcohol. Oops. The enemy is us.

Update: 2022-01-22
It was the worst of times; it was the best of times. How about a pandemic to test our mettle? At the bottom, I've added references to my writings about Covid, the babblings of one man out of a world population of 7.9 billion.


Wikipedia: Pogo (comic strip)
Pogo is the title and central character of a long-running daily American comic strip, created by cartoonist Walt Kelly (1913–1973) and distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp of the southeastern United States, the strip often engaged in social and political satire through the adventures of its anthropomorphic funny animal characters.

Wikipedia: Walt Kelly
Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. (1913–1973), commonly known as Walt Kelly, was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Pogo. He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo. In 1941, at the age of 28, Kelly transferred to work at Dell Comics, where he created Pogo, which eventually became his platform for political and philosophical commentary.

Snopes: Did the U.S. Government Purposely Poison 10,000 Americans During Prohibition? - May 12/2017

Wikipedia: Prohibition in the United States

Erin Brockovich
In this 2000 biographical film, the heroine has discovered that PG&E has contaminated the groundwater of Hinkley, California, leading to sickness and death among the townsfolk. The corporation attempts to solve their problem by throwing money at it: out of sight, out of mind. In this two-minute clip, the magnitude of the issue is brought home to PG&E: It's not a problem if it's not my problem. I don't care about the faceless individuals who may be inadvertently affected by my business practices.

Published on Jun 1, 2011 by MovieClips
YouTube: A Lame-Ass Offer - Erin Brockovich (6/10) Movie CLIP (2000) HD (2:00)

References: My writings on Covid

my blog: Covid-19: What would you do? - Jan 7/2022
What would any of us do if they were in charge, able to dictate policy, enact laws, and mandate behavior?

my blog: Dear Antivaxxers: What about my rights? - Jan 7/2022
Over and over again, I’ve heard you rally against vaccines. This is a violation of your individual freedom, and you should be the one making your own medical decisions. Vaccine mandates are out of the question. Fine. But what about my rights? How come you keep talking about your rights but don’t bother about the rights of anybody else?

my blog: What I learned from parents who don't vaccinate their kids | Jennifer Reich | TEDxMileHigh - Dec 3/2021
Jennifer Anne Reich is an American sociologist, researcher and author at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include healthcare, adolescence, welfare, and policy. Her work on vaccine hesitancy gained widespread attention during the 2019 measles outbreaks. She is the author of three books and numerous journal articles.

my blog: Aaron Rodgers: I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised. - Nov 18/2021
The stink is about Aaron Rodgers (b 1983), quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL).

my blog: Ivermectin: I'm not taking medical advice from Joe Rogan. - Nov 9/2021
From the outset of the pandemic, the supposed antiviral properties of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin has been bandied about left, right, and center. Even if expert sources of information like the CDC and the FDA said not to use it, people, especially those on the right led by Fox News, kept pushing ivermectin “propaganda”. Has anybody read the science, and if they did, did they understand what they were looking at?

my blog: What the heck is a respiratory droplet? - Nov 7/2021
You step outside on a cold, winter day, and you exhale. You see your breath. The cold has condensed the bits of moisture in the exhaled air and formed a mist. When you exhale, you’re not only breathing out air but dampness from your lungs, your mouth, and your windpipe . Those bits of moisture are called respiratory droplets.

my blog: Masks: How We Hate Change - Sep 28/2021
To mask, or not to mask, that should not be a question. I have to shake my head at all the protests against masks and vaccines. We hate being told what to do, even if it’s for our own good.


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