The Mindset

“Wouldn’t it be good to be on your side?
The grass is always greener over there
Wouldn’t it be good if we could live without a care?”– Nik Kershaw

Leave it to science fiction to provide clarity on geopolitical matters. The Star Wars saga does about as good a job explaining the long con from conservatives as any political analyst could. Fear leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side. At least that’s what they told us in all of those movies.

I had a Facebook friend do it again this past week. They demonstrated the mindset flawlessly. Of course, the concept of a Facebook friend by itself is fascinating. Admittedly, most of these people are not friends in real life. You see their name online. You know who they are and have friends who are Facebook friends with them, so you become Facebook friends.

We make this distinction because the Facebook revolution makes it easier to see the mindset at work. People blurt out their innermost feelings for all the world to see. These are the same feelings they either kept to themselves or shared only with family and close friends. Now, the rest of us apparently qualify.

You’ve seen this before. Someone complains about working hard and seemingly not making it while others get to sit on their duff and collect a government paycheck. I have to admit, it’s a tempting thought process. I allowed myself to go down that road one or two times. It can be a comforting place to be when you are struggling personally. Unfortunately, it comes with a variety of fallacies that need to expunged.

First and foremost, life is not a zero sum game. My success or lack of success has little to do with anyone else. Sure, we have direct competitors for the jobs we want but most of the vitriol being spewed is spewed at people that have nothing to do with us. So, when I don’t succeed, that has nothing to do with 99 percent of the people around me.

The trouble is that the conservative con has made us believe that this is the case. So, when I don’t succeed there is usually someone (or a group) I can immediately blame for my lack of success. This is where the xenophobia comes from. Immigrants are coming to take your job. Of course, we all know that’s not true, but the con is an emotional con. We don’t think well when we’re angry and scared.

The second con is essentially a con of conflation. Look at all the free stuff people get. This con has been going on since the Reagan years with his Welfare Queens that are almost certainly black and driving around in their Cadillac. It’s a complex web they weave. It’s built on a number of lies and half truths but it focuses on misdirection more than anything.

Even if we consider ourselves enlightened enough to see through one of the major lies, we find ourselves vulnerable to the others. Sure, many of us know that most people on welfare are white. Congratulations. You saw through one of the major lies. The second question we have to ask ourselves is how good do they have it really?

Notice how few details you see. There are always stories of people buying Air Jordans, T-bone steaks, and lobster on their Lonestar card. Yet. there is rarely any hard and fast data about how much someone actually gets on government assistance. They really don’t want you to know. The dirty little secret is that it’s not much. It’s certainly not the kind of life 99 percent of us would want to lead.

It doesn’t mean there isn’t waste or people that game the system, but we really have to ask ourselves what that all matters. If that money goes away and returns to the government coffers does my life become any better? If we make their life miserable and force them to fend for themselves am I any better off? We really need to ask ourselves why we think denying others the basics of human life makes our lot in life any better.

A large part of the con is that this money has never made it back to us. That is unless you are in the top one percent financially. If you are then I’d kindly accept a donation to keep this blog up and running. Otherwise, it’s not going to you and me. So, when we find ourselves struggling to get by it is fair to ask what’s in it for me. It’s at this point that we have to remember both parts of the con.

First, this is not a zero sum game. You can help the vast majority of people all at the same time. That of course brings us to the second part of the con. When we are struggling it makes no sense to ask why they get help and we don’t. That diverts our attention away from us and onto them. It is more productive to simply ask why we don’t get help. Who is it that isn’t helping us? Who is it that actually is actively making our lives harder than it needs to be? The answer is usually related to those pushing the con.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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