It’s a common belief, especially among Americans, that people who don’t work, deserve to be broke. People on government subsistence programs are particularly judged. Usually it’s American conservatives judging. They say such people are “lazy drains on society”.
One reason such programs are necessary isn’t because people are lazy. It’s because our civilization makes them necessary. A civilization is possible where such programs aren’t necessary. Such a civilization could enrich everyone, no matter what they’re doing. And, said enrichment doesn’t have to cost anyone anything.
That last part is important. I’ll revisit that later.
I get to talk with many conservatives. They teach me things. Their criticism against such ideas has a basis. They call them “unrealistic progressive utopian fantasies”. They call their creators “socialists”, “libtards” or worse. There are a couple reasons for this.
One, they worry said ideas could wreck what we currently have. It’s a “don’t break what’s working” mentality. Or, a “move slow so you don’t break what’s working” mindset.
That’s legit. Throwing out what’s working isn’t smart.
Those unknown unknowns, as Donald Rumsfeld once called them, trumps progress. These unforeseeable negative future consequences aren’t worth the tinkering they say.
Looking at some proposals people offer, I get that concern. But they’re not all that bad.
The other reason conservatives push back against progressive plans tops their list. Whether it’s my idea or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Green New Deal, conservatives believe they’re unnecessary. And so not worth paying for. Especially (and this is critical) if they have to do the paying.
So their legit concerns over practical matters spills over into a distorted selfishness. Their caution becomes an argument for keeping things the same. And their wallets full.
It’s not these people’s fault. Their beliefs say the world’s working for everyone. Those it’s not working for? That’s their fault. Why change it? Meanwhile others say it’s not working. These folks want to change it.
Both are. The world is working for everyone. And, the world can always be improved.
For sure, it’s unfair to say all conservatives feel this way. It IS fair to say though that some progressives feel this way. And some conservatives too.
Our civilization is all about perspectives and behaviors. Not any specific infrastructure or institution. Which is why changing infrastructures and institutions often compounds problems rather than fixing them.
Our collective mindset is humanity’s biggest impediment. It shapes our civilization, which in turn, reinforces everyone’s opinion. That’s because humans like looking at the world, then forming an opinion of what they see. Which then gives them more of what they’re looking at.
They could form an opinion first, then watch as civilization shapes to that. That is what visionaries do. It’s what everyone who changes the world does.
Meanwhile, most people constrain their opinion to what they see. And the more what they see negatively effects their wallet, the more intense their opinion. Their opposition too.
Which is why some conservatives, but not all, express crazy-sounding views about their fellow humans. They are crazy views. Unless you agree with them.
For example, a conservative I was talking with recently compared certain people to drone bees. He said, like drones, people on subsistence programs, or otherwise not “pulling their weight” are worthless drains on productive people. Productive people meaning, like himself:
“Drones, whether bees or other creatures, produce nothing of value. Well, that’s not entirely true – one male bee may get lucky and impregnate the queen of the next new colony. But even that contribution to production is indirect; the male doesn’t produce honey, the females do”.
This opinion has so much wrong with it. It also shows how wrong opinions become people’s truths. Even though they’re wrong.
It is inaccurate, for example, to suppose drones “produce nothing of value”. Or even limited value. If that were the case, drones wouldn’t exist.
Drones do exist. Which means they have intrinsic value. Nothing that exists is value-less. If it were, it wouldn’t exist. Energy is never wasted. Remember that from science class?
Speaking of science, people sometimes look to science for understanding. But science is mostly wrong about what it knows. I’m not a science denier. I understand science. Possibly more than most lay people.
Science has some things right. But what it gets right is minuscule compared to total knowledge. It’s also small compared to what it thinks it knows as right. In other words, some things science thinks it knows are wrong. And a lot of what it could know, that could be helpful, is not interesting to science:
Science has proven this over and over. It’s amazing to me people get angry when I say this, when it’s so obvious.
For example, science at one time “proved” blacks were inferior to whites. It “proved” homosexuals were mentally ill*. It claimed many different species as extinct that aren’t. Finally, science largely does not understand . At least in this case science admits that.
I’m not saying science is worthless. It has value. It exists :-). But let’s not let it alone dictate opinion. For it is often wrong. More often than it is right.
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Life’s plenty looks wasteful/valueless. So many drone bees. All those seeds a single tree produces with only a few becoming trees. All those leaves falling to the ground each fall. Leaves humans have to rake up.
…But every seed, every tree, every leaf is purposeful and valuable INTRINSICALLY.
Humans are too.
Here’s what that means, dear reader. Even though you or science may not yet understand it. That human you’re looking at, then claiming has no value, is value in and of itself. It doesn’t “have” value. It “IS” value.
If it wasn’t, the human wouldn’t be.
Which brings us to this post’s headline.
As with drone bees, humans you believe are worthless are immense value. You just don’t recognize, understand or want to acknowledge it. That’s ok. You don’t have to.
Your beliefs are your truth. They aren’t The Truth. And, you can change what you believe.
We also can change civilization. So everyone gets what they want, without it costing you anything.
That last part’s worth repeating. That person you think is worthless, whether progressive, conservative, lazy or not, can get everything they want. They can enjoy wealth. Without doing what you think they must to get it.
That can’t happen in today’s society. That’s because it’s based on beliefs that aren’t true. Well they are, but only in our current version of civilization.
Outside that they’re completely and utterly false.
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The only thing slowing down progress is this: people’s persistent belief that this civilization is the only one worth having.
You may think that. But there are far more people who believe different.
And those people are winning. Which is why you see so much churn today. We can have less churn as we progress. But alas, humans love drama.
Progress is going to happen whether you want it to or not. The question is, are you going to go kicking and screaming, reviling your fellow human along the way?
Or are you going to enjoy the process? Maybe even get positively involved?
Your opinion shapes your response. Another question: do you realize that?
And if you do, what are you going to do about it?
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