Drink the Kool-Aid for Trump and Fox News
One of the realities of living through a global pandemic is witnessing how easily theories once maligned and discredited suddenly seem to be openly espoused.
For example, centuries ago Thomas Malthus argued that humankind's innate drive to reproduce is greater than its ability to produce; therefore, natural and humanly created disasters-like earthquakes, floods, wars, famine, and disease-serve as a means of population control.
When one realizes that in 1900 the world population was a little over a billion people, and by 2000 it was seven billion, it seems that Malthus's harbinger about this drive to reproduce was accurate, but that the ability of the artificial and natural countermeasures he alleged would balance this growth has become largely ineffective. Yet, the fact that the COVID-19 virus has impacted a substantial portion of the world does seem to indicate that an even more lethal pandemic certainly lingers within the realm of possibility.
The second theory is Social Darwinism, propounded by sociologist Herbert Spencer. Spencer transformed Darwin's theory of "natural selection" into "survival of the fittest" and moved it from the natural world to the social one. As a result, he argued against certain medical developments and charitable efforts, since they were, he claimed, tools that helped the infirm and poor to survive. Tragically, Spencer's work often provided succor to those who engaged in colonialism, ethnic "cleansing," and racism, since they argued that those racial and ethnic groups who could not stand up to superior weaponry and conquests deserved to be killed.
And what are we seeing today? Many politicians and pundits, some of whom (as I argued in my article Pandemics and the Hypocrisy of American Cultism, Pravda.Report, April 23, 2020) have the audacity to call themselves "pro-life," are now proclaiming that many people who lost their lives to COVID-19 deserved to die because they had underlying health conditions anyway, and some are even arguing that those most susceptible to COVID-19, like the elderly, should be willing to die to save "the economy."
And finally, there is William Shockley, who argued that humans of lesser intelligence tend to reproduce at a greater rate than those of greater intelligence, which, in turn, negatively impacts a nation, society, or culture.
There are several aspects of Shockley's views that make them extremely controversial. The first was he was a physicist, not a geneticist, and thus was unqualified to express scientific opinions about any link between genetics and intelligence.
The second was that, without evidence, he drew a link between intelligence and race, thus arguing, in the spirit of Spencer, that certain racial and ethnic groups were unworthy of help and a drain on society.
The last was the difficulty in quantifying what actually constitutes "intelligence."
I remember a lecture one of my instructors gave years ago, where he argued that just because some students might not be astute in basic subjects like reading, writing, or arithmetic, doesn't mean they are stupid. As he said, "A person who can take apart a car engine and put it back together from memory is not stupid."
Yet I must admit, when watching a daytime talk show years ago, Shockley's premise did enter my mind.
A woman was on the stage with her eight children, all from different fathers (none of whom were in these children's lives). In addition, her sixteen-year-old daughter was also pregnant. Neither the mother nor daughter were employed.
Before continuing, I wish to stress that I am in no way placing all the onus on the women in this situation. As they say, it takes two to make a child, and the fact that at least nine men were willing to avoid any parental or financial responsibility for children they helped create is contemptible.
What ultimately caught my attention, however, was when an audience member stood up and explained how he and his wife, prior to starting a family, drew up a budget to determine how many children they could comfortably feed, house, clothe, and educate. He stated that if he was responsible enough to do this so he wouldn't have to ask anyone for financial assistance, why does this woman expect him to take care of her?
Her reply was that, "[She] wasn't asking him for nothing!"
To which he responded, "When my tax dollars are going to support you, your children, including your daughter-who is old enough to get a job to pay for her child's care-you are asking me for something."
In previous Pravda.Report articles, I have argued that the difference between ignorance and stupidity is that stupidity is the inability, either through physical or mental incapacity, to understand a concept, no matter how hard one tries to understand it. Ignorance, on the other hand, is intentionally refusing to learn about, understand, or accept any fact or reality that clashes with one's delusions.
1. A selfish sense of entitlement, including the idea that one should be supported by others, regardless of whether he/she is right or wrong.
2. A lack of concern or empathy for one's fellow human beings.
3. An intransigent unwillingness to apologize or ever admit or acknowledge one is wrong.
4. A willingness to heap on absurd rationalization after absurd rationalization to excuse one's selfishness and sense of entitlement.
5. A willingness to obsequiously genuflect before any self-serving demagogue who enables one's prejudices and delusions.
6. Incessant hypocrisy bolstered by the hope that others will not remember and/or care about their inconsistencies.
7. A feeling that they are "special" and thus rules that apply to others should never apply to them.
8. Oftentimes, a sense of "white privilege" that demands "law and order" when racial minorities protest against injustice, but that advocates lawlessness when they feel their own rights are being violated.
9. A fanatical refusal to take responsibility for their actions by always placing
the blame on others, even when evidence is overwhelmingly against them.
10. A refusal to believe the truth when it contradicts one's "beliefs," as if
zealously believing something and/or talking about it loudly enough
magically makes it a fact.
I'm sure there are other items that could be added to this list that I will undoubtedly think of once this article is published, but I believe the ten above adequately illustrate my point.
Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts recently discussed the protests in Michigan demanding that its governor "reopen" the state, as well as Donald Trump's asinine, but all too predictable, declaration that these predominantly white protesters were "very good people." As Pitts pointed out, it is doubtful Trump would have been so magnanimous if these protesters were Muslims.
Pitts also points out that Trump demonstrated zero empathy for the protests conducted by blacklisted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and labeled him an S.O.B., even though Kaepernick was endeavoring to save lives, particularly those in the minority community, by drawing attention to incidents of excessive force and unwarranted shootings by police and the corrupt and racist "legal system" that routinely facilitates and covers up such shootings, yet Trump had no problem with the "good people" in Michigan, who, without wearing facemasks, screamed and spewed spittle during a pandemic mere inches away from the faces of police officers, risking not only the lives of these officers, but the lives of their fellow protesters.
Which brings me to the title of this article. For those who may have forgotten, or those too young to remember, in 1978 a cult leader named Jim Jones encouraged over 900 of his followers to commit suicide by drinking poison Kool-Aid.
While it certainly doesn't excuse his actions, at least Jones followed by ending his own life as well.
The same can't be said for cowards like Donald Trump, and many members of the Fox News staff, who take precautions against the COVID-19 virus, yet, for the sake of political gain and ratings, are encouraging their followers to risk their health and safety, and the health and safety of those they come into contact with, by defying these same precautions.
According to The Guardian (May 11, 2020), Trump panicked when two White House workers, including his personal valet, tested positive for COVID-19, and, as comedian Jimmy Kimmell pointed out, Fox News recently extended its own directive for its employees to work from home to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.
Trump is even demanding that sports stadiums be filled to capacity, and-given that the NFL is controlled by a plethora of Trump-loving racist owners and executives-that reality is likely to happen sooner instead of later. Perhaps, in keeping with the deference that the NFL shows to Trump, the 2021 Super Bowl will be renamed "Trump's Petri Dish."
Every year there is an event called the Darwin awards, given to people who die or are injured by engaging in reckless or foolish activity. As its website states, "The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidently remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner."
So again, my mind goes back to Malthus, Spencer, and Shockley as I ask myself this question: If there is a silver lining to COVID-19 (and please understand, I am not making light of the virus or those who suffered and died from it), could it not be the fact that the United States, and the world, would be better off with fewer Trump worshipping, Fox News watching, drones? In fact, in an ironic bit of Social Darwinism and Shockley-based ignorance, Trump and Fox News might actually be working to eradicate the people who most support them.
David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Photo: Por Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51041412