It has been a momentous week in a turbulent year that followed an alarming pandemic during an ominous assault on our democracy, hasn’t it? It would be easy to follow in the footsteps of Young Werther given all this merde raining down on us. If that’s where you’re at, then mayhaps you should give this blog post a miss and skip straight to rating, liking, and sharing it, or even the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Let us list the ways that ways that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has royally fucked us from beyond the election:
- ROE v. WADE: The Supremes just overturned the fifty year precedent taking away a right for the first time in US history, unless you count the emancipation of slavery as taking away the right to own other human beings as long as they were Black.
- 2ND AMENDMENT: The Supremes think gun laws must conform to the history and tradition of our gun laws, which is awfully recursive considering it was written to overturn a gun law that was from 1913 and could be considered a very important piece of our history and tradition. The history and tradition that the Supremes seem to be referring to comes from those old John Wayne white might makes white right movies and not from any legal doctrine.
- CHURCH & STATE: The Supremes decided that tax dollars should support private religious schools even though churches don’t pay taxes. Between the abortion ruling and this one, we are just his side of creating a state religion.
- OTHER RIGHTS: Clarence “How’d this pubic hair get on my Coke” Thomas wants to overturn same-sex marriage and contraception, but not interracial marriage, at least not his, unless, of course, he’s too much of a chicken-shit to seek a divorce and this whole overturn Roe thing has been just so he could get rid of Ginni. That couldn’t be it, could it?
- TEXAS GQP PLATFORM: Texas Republicans got in on the fascisting of America by creating a primer for what the #GOPDystopia will look like come 2024 when they take the House, Senate, and Presidency.
- THE DEADPOOLING OF LAKE MEAD: The latest climate change travesty that we collectively lack the collective huevos to adequately stop.
- ADD YOUR OWN: Go ahead and bring up another story of how we’re so fucked in the comments. We’d love to hear from you and discuss all the ways we’re circling the shitter.
With all of the ways that the US is royally fucking up this decisive moment in human history, it’s almost enough to make you believe in conspiracy theories, but you’d be better off believing in science instead, because, when you look at our collective failures to actually address the numerous and exponentially worsening problems that we confront, you have to consider that we just may not have the right stuff to do it as a species.
Consider these fun facts, and, then, we’ll see where they lead us:
- The human brain weighs about three pounds or 1300 – 1400 grams, so it comprises about 2% of the body’s total weight.
- The human brain uses approximately 25% of the body’s oxygen and 70% of the body’s glucose! That’s a lot of resources powering only 2% of our overall mass, so that hog has to be reined in or else it will starve us to death!
- Cognitive shortcuts evolved to help us conserve our energy and resources. These shortcuts are hardwired into us. It is these shortcuts that are making it so difficult to resist the authoritarian assault on our democracy, mitigate the pandemic, slow climate change, and preserve our rights.
These shortcuts evolved when we were hunter-gatherers living in groups of 100 – 150 in an environment that was largely unsullied by pollution, populated by plentiful food supplies, albeit difficult to get to, and incredibly dangerous. Those who could use these shortcuts successfully survived to reproduce; those who couldn’t, got eaten. Argot, those with the genes that programmed the shortcuts, passed those genes on; those who didn’t, had their genes removed from the gene pool.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in groups of 100 – 150; we live in groups of hundreds of millions. Somehow we’re expecting 40,000 year-old hardware that specialized in maximizing the success of a small group in a technologically primitive, very dangerous, rugged environment to help us solve highly complex technological problems in a tortuously convoluted multifaceted society comprised of groups a million times larger than is optimal.
Sounds like a recipe for a freaking disaster, don’t it?
Emotional Decision Making
On the savannahs of our hunter-gatherer forebears, we used emotions to make decisions. Gee, I wonder why?
- Emotions are fast.
- Thinking is slow.
- Emotions are always working.
- Thinking works only when needed.
- Emotions are energy efficient.
- Thinking uses lots of energy.
When a hunter-gatherer type encountered something she liked, it was probably good. If she didn’t, probably was bad and it would kill her. If it surprised her, she focused on it, and it helped her survive it. If it didn’t surprise her, it was something that was normal and wouldn’t kill her. See how this is working?
The problem we’re experiencing now is that the GQP is whispering sweet nothings into the ears of MAGA, and they like it. Argot, it must be good — it isn’t. All of the policy stances of the GQP — read the Texas platform — are destructive. We need immigrants; they make us stronger. Planned families are stronger. Managing our reproduction lifts us out of poverty. Transitioning to renewable energy sources saves our climate. Equality gets the most out of EVERYONE in our society at a time when we need all the help we can get.
Protecting Our Interests
We on the left get all smug and boast that we protect the interests of others. We want things to be fair. We don’t bully people or violate their rights. We want everyone to have the same rights and be treated the same before the law.
Doctor House was right. People lie.
A study by Dan Batson explored the influence our morals have on our decision making and how fairly we behave. Here’s the set up:
- Participants answered questionnaires weeks before the study gauging their sense of social responsibility.
- Each participant was “paired” with another — they weren’t really, the other was a confederate.
- Each team had to answer a series of questions and in the end they would get a single raffle ticket that would be randomly awarded to one of them.
- The participant was told that they could decide which one of them got the raffle ticket and their “partner” wouldn’t know.
- The participant was told they could use a coin sealed in a package to help with their decision if they wanted, but they didn’t have to.
So, what do you think happened? Go ahead leave a guess in the comments; we’ll wait.
- Half of the participants opened the packaged coin. Did they use it? Batson doesn’t know. He didn’t film them or anything.
- Participants rating the highest on social responsibility were the most likely to open the packaged coin.
- Ninety percent of participants decided to award the ticket to themselves, even those who opened the package. Apparently, they disregarded the coin toss when it came out against them.
Moral of the study: We find it damn hard to put our self interest aside and do someone else a solid.
The only way Batson could get participants to fairly award the raffle ticket was to have them decide in front of a mirror. We’ll be fair, but only if we’re shamed into it.
My take away, MAGA is all id. They only want what they want and everyone else be damned.
The Intergenerational Goods Game
Are people really willing to limit their own consumption and endure any hardship so that future generations might could survive? You’d think we would, wouldn’t ya?
However, there is a certain percentage of us who are seemingly unaffected by the low esteem that others might could hold them in if they violate normative behavior, common sense, or, even, just good advice.
Researchers from Harvard and Yale teamed up to determine whether people would leave enough public resources for future generations to use even though future generations couldn’t reciprocate or seek revenge upon them. They had participants play the Intergenerational Goods Game:
- Participants were divided into five teams of five called generations.
- The first generation got 100 units of non-renewable resources to use.
- Each member of a generation could take up to 20 units of the resource. Hint: if all five members took 20, then they took them all.
- The next generation got whatever they didn’t take. If the next generation inherited 50 or more units, then that generation got 100 units!
- There are two strategies:
- Cooperators took few enough units to leave plenty for the next generation.
- Defectors took more than ten units.
- Take a moment to do the math and leave a comment about what you think is going to happen.
- Two-thirds of the players were cooperators, taking ten or fewer resource units.
- One-third were defectors taking more than ten units.
- Just over a fifth of the games played resulted in the second generation having enough resources to carry on.
- Half of the games that got a second generation had enough resources for a third.
- No one had enough resources for a fourth generation.
The only way that any game made it to five generations was when they made each generation a democracy and they could vote on how many resources each player could take. Then every game played made it five generations. Now, you understand why corporate America fears “socialism?”
Do you honestly think that we’ll be able to convince ourselves that we should take fewer resources than we’ve grown accustomed to unless we absolutely have to? Who do you think the defectors are in our society? Who do you think is willing to screw later generations for their benefit today? Now that the Repubes have unleashed the id of MAGA, do we have a chance at retaining our democracy or our rights or overcoming crises like the pandemic or climate change?
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