Fear is a Drug

“I’ve had enough of danger
And people on the streets
I’m looking out for angels
Just trying to find some peace.” — George Michael

As I try to put together the pieces of the complex web we weave I begin to see a number of patterns. The number one arrow in the conservative quiver is fear. The fear of the “other” will do in most circumstances, but the most insidious fear is the fear of ideas.

We spent the last day or so talking about the fear of the immigrant. While I think there is credible fear of the immigrant themselves, most of that fear actually surrounds the idea of opportunity. That never gets wrapped up in its own packaging. Instead we attach the very worst to those coming. They are murderers, terrorists, drug dealers or mules. They are coming to steal our homes, our resources, and maybe even our women. Better not leave any beloved family pets outside because they might steal those too.

Drill down to the base of that well and you’ll find little to not justification for any of it. The most hilarious example was the Minnesota woman that was just sure that immigrants would steal her lakehouse…in Minnesota. These aren’t Canadian immigrants she was talking about. Mexican and Central American immigrants would steal her lakehouse…in Minnesota. Somehow common sense isn’t so common.

I also made mention of someone at my church praying for an end to critical race theory and gender affirmation in public schools. We shouldn’t be teaching these things. Except we aren’t teaching critical race theory and never have. They can’t even tell you what it is for crying out loud. Of course, the gender affirmations are another thing entirely.

A colleague just today complained about pronouns. Somehow we have conflated simply accepting people where they are and who they want to be with teaching people to be those things. Somehow being those things becomes conflated with grooming. Hearing this from government officials and thought leaders that have credible accusations against them for sex trafficking and sexual assault is like a bizarro universe where up is down, left is right, and right is wrong.

At the center of all of this is fear. It is fear of the other, but it really is fear that we exist in a zero sum reality. When one group gets more rights and more opportunities then rights and opportunities are taken from us. We cannot acknowledge that African Americans and other ethnic groups have had the legal deck stacked against them. If we acknowledge that then we give them more opportunities, more justice, and more tolerance. That would somehow mean fewer opportunities for us, less justice for us, and less tolerance.

Even if we were to agree to certain economic realities we would have to acknowledge the fact that not everything has to work that way. Justice doesn’t have to go to the highest bidder. Tolerance doesn’t have to bend to those that are already winners by a genetic lottery. We can all have justice. We can all have tolerance. We can all have love and be loved. There’s more than enough to go around as long as we break away from the shackles of fear.

Don’t Be Afraid to Care

“Long you live and high you fly
Smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.” — Roger Waters

This weekend I did one of those things I always promised myself I wouldn’t do. Facebook is a place for silos. People form groups of likeminded individuals where they can complain about how stupid other people are. Occasionally, I make statements on my public wall. I always live to regret this. People jump in and comment. Others come in and retort to those comments and a whole war of words begins.

In this case, I published an modern adaptation of the story of the good Samaritan. One of the things I love about Jesus’ parables is how they challenge our sensibilities. When they are modernized or fully explained through historical context they throw everything on its ear. They punch you right in the gut which is what they were precisely designed to do.

The adaptation addressed immigration generally and the collective stunts by Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis more specifically. The answers to the screed demonstrated both the mental gymnastics we subscribe to make ourselves feel better and the misinformation we see put forth on a regular basis. As a general nod to my regular readers, I thought I’d recap some of those.

  1. Liberals are for open borders

I should point out here that one of my friends (and a regular reader here) pointed out that leftists are for open borders. Liberals are not leftists. It would be similar to the difference between moderate Republicans and libertarians. It’s a pure form of ideology most of us do not possess. All that being said, most Democrats are not for open borders as any reasonable person would define them.

More migrants have been arrested under Joe Biden than ever under Donald Trump. The same was true under Barack Obama than Trump. Trump has always employed a “speak loudly and do little” approach to key issues. Now, whether these record arrests are a good thing or not is open to debate. I respect leftists even if I don’t always agree with them. So, we will leave that debate for another day.

2. Those coming are illegal and it amounts to an invasion

Someone actually used the invasion term in their response. Both terms are inflammatory. However, this is one of those areas where I get the backlash. Those that are sympathetic to the cause of migrants insist on calling them undocumented saying that a human being cannot be illegal. It can’t be illegal to exist. Unfortunately, this is one of those instances where the politically correct term probably triggers conservatives more than it helps the conversation.

However, this is where the truth needs to repeated. If I want to claim asylum I have to do so in person. That’s the law. Once I claim asylum then I am officially an asylum seeker until my case is adjudicated. Therefore, whether you prefer undocumented or illegal is irrelevant because neither apply. As one helpful commenter pointed out, the vast majority of asylum seekers actually appear at all of their hearings. That of course goes against the popular narrative that they just skip them.

3. They are criminals that come here to commit crimes and steal essential services

This didn’t come out in this particular discussion, but it undoubtedly is in most people’s minds. Let’s consider this logically. Most people that come want a better life for themselves and their family. Maybe they get a temporary visa, are seeking asylum, or maybe they skip that part of the process.

Let’s even assume the last one is true. What would it benefit them to participate in activities that would get them deported? They don’t want to call attention to themselves. Most just want to work hard, save as much as they can, and improve their situation long-term for their families. Are there bad actors? Sure, but they commit far fewer crimes per capita than those that were born here.

They aren’t invading our country. As a general rule they aren’t bringing drugs, terrorizing citizens, or invading your home with pitchforks, weapons of war, or any other such nonsense. They are people. They love their families and want what is best for them. They want to work hard and follow the rules. It is fair to question how many of them we should allow in. It is fair to determine if their fear is credible if they are seeking asylum. It isn’t fair to treat them inhumanely or to use them to score political points. It also isn’t fair to lie about them or characterize them as something they are not. They are human beings. They deserve better than that.

Awaiting Conversion

“I can’t stand this indecision, Married with a lack of vision.” — Roland Orzabal

I used to write these every day. Schedules change and with those changes in schedule routines also change. Yet, more than different schedules comes the changes of priorities and life circumstances. Simply put, these topics are a little heavier and with increased heft comes the need for more down time so these thoughts can hit with the right gravitas.

The conversion thoughts hit a number of people in different ways. That’s always the hope as people are in a different head spaces at different times of their lives. For most, the question came down to what to do when a friend or family member gets stuck in a silo of hate and self-centeredness. As Mick Jagger said, “I spent our first trip I tries so hard to rearrange your mind, but after awhile I realized you were disarranging mine.” There has to be a line somewhere we draw in the sand where our efforts have to stop.

All the while we can never truly give up. It’s like a beloved family pet that has gotten away. There will come a time when the posters around the neighborhood come down and you stop circling the block looking for them. You stop calling the vet to see if anyone had turned them in. Yet, there is that lasting hope that one day they will come back. Occasionally they do. When they do we rejoice just like the shepherd with the lost sheep. If they don’t we try to remember the good times and remember them in the best light possible.

I sat there at my last council meeting (pastoral council) and listened as one of the members prayed for an “end to critical race theory, gender affirmation, and all that jazz” in our public schools. At first, I was gobsmacked that someone would pray for an abandonment of tolerance and understanding. How does one reconcile what seems to be a good and decent person with sentiments that seem so indecent? This is when we have to remember that the forces of darkness have somehow taken something that was already there (anger, fear, insecurity) and planted seeds that have taken root.

We make our mistake when we attack the plants that have grown from those seeds and not the source. The anger, fear, and insecurity is real. It’s there for a reason. It is legitimate. We just find that others are using those things for their own ends. So, when we attack those ideas and call them out as intolerant then we are in effect “cancelling” them because we are discounting that anger, fear, and insecurity. We are discounting them.

We cannot let the wayward members of the flock escape into the wilderness of despair and hatred. We must continue to reach out. We must show that there is a better way. It will be rough and there will be times where we will need to temporarily retreat for our own sanity. Yet, we can never completely write them off. One day they may return to our door and we can rejoice how he or she that was once lost has been found.

Conversion

“Well, I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home.” — Steve Winwood

We often reach the moment when we realize that we are arguing over the same thing over and and over again. I’m reminded of that Yogi Berra quote about Deja vu all over again. We choose our words carefully and we make points artfully, but often our best laid plans come undone because we just don’t have the right words at the right time. So, we try and try again.

Given all of this, I know this is covering old ground. The most powerful moment of the Anderson Cooper interview that I shared earlier came when Stephen Colbert shared a powerful thought on grief. Cooper asked him if he agreed with the statement that punishments from God are not also gifts. Then, asking whether he was grateful for that thing he wish had not happened.

“I want it to not have happened, but if you are grateful for your life, which I think is a positive thing to do, not everybody is – and I am not always – but it’s the most positive thing to do, then you have to be grateful for all of it.”

Stephen Colbert

A visiting priest made this connection last night in a way I had not previously thought of. Essentially he said that gratitude leads to conversion. The world conditions us to exist in a grievance state. It is not fair that he/she has that thing, that success, or that person in their life. It is not fair that I worked harder than that person and that they got something. They got that adulation. They got that recognition.

Approaching gratitude from a non-faith perspective might be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Essentially, we are given so much and yet so much more is expected. The world has conditioned us to be the oldest child in the prodigal son story. We’ve followed the rules. We did what we were supposed to do. The spoils should be ours in the end.

It’s a powerful story and it’s a powerful draw. So many around us are caught up in this web. Those people are the faith leaders around us. They look at those with the free health care and scream unfair. They look at those with the loan forgiveness and scream foul. I worked hard. I played by the rules. Why are you taking my money and giving it to them?

Except it was never ours in the first place. At least it wasn’t in any real sense if we think of the cosmic forces of the universe. In a cold, hard sense those funds were already taken from our checks. Someone just made a decision about where those resources would be pooled. In the cosmic sense, we really shouldn’t be here in the first place.

My wife and I have enjoyed watching a video series called “What if..” Essentially they ask what would happen if any particular disaster were to befall Earth. Maybe it’s a flood. Maybe it’s a series of storms. Maybe it’s something crazy like a second moon or larger moon. Each one results in a horrible death. Tweak the structure of our atmosphere just a little and you get the same result. Death. Move the planets or change the sun and you get the same result. Death. It can either be frightening or awe inspiring depending on your particular perspective that day.

Now, one could jump off this line of thinking into an environmental hysteria, but that’s not really the point. If we are people of faith then we believe that something more powerful is out there looking over and protecting us. If we aren’t then we know nature is far more complex and powerful than any of us could ever imagine.

The point is that we don’t even deserve to be breathing right now. We get to breathe right now. We get to live. We get to enjoy the bounty of this creation. Life is a gift and no matter which cosmic force we believe created it, we should live our lives at least giving a simple nod to that force. When we realize we are the lucky ones then we also realize that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else gets. Justice obviously should exist and should play into these things, but worthiness of luck is not a thing. None of us are truly worthy of the luck we have been given. Rearrange one molecule here or there and it all disappears in the blink of an eye. So, who cares if someone is given a free phone or a bailout check?

Persecution Complex

“If you want money for people with minds that hate. I’ll tell you brother, you’ll have to wait.” — John Lennon

There is an episode of South Park where some of the boys go watch “The Passion of Christ” by Mel Gibson. They concluded that it was a snuff film that sucked. They embarked on a pilgrimage to Gibson’s house to get their twenty dollars back. They found a downright batty Gibson who seemed determined to be tortured.

I suppose that plot line follows. If you watch a number of his movies that seems to track. He gets tortured or beaten down in most of them. He was Jesse Pinkman before Breaking Bad. I suppose conservative thought seems to be arriving at the same place as Gibson.

https://mobile.twitter.com/JennaEllisEsq/status/1275215576684802049?cxt=HHwWgsC9xfDzvLIjAAAA

As some of you may know, Ellis is one of the attorneys that was supposed to help Donald Trump overturn the election. Unfortunately, she is probably a C level attorney in an A level world. For those that don’t want to go down the rabbit hole, she is essentially saying here that if we want to cancel their Christianity then she will go down fighting. Good for her.

Studying conservative thought these days is a fascinating study for those of us with some psychology in their background. Sigmund Freud came up with his defensive mechanisms and the password here is projection. See, when your movement is about canceling stuff (abortion, CRT, history, LGTBQ+, ect) then I suppose it makes perfect sense for them to believe everyone else thinks the same way.

As you might surmise, there were a ton of good responses to her twitter. My personal favorite was the woman that retorted that Donald Trump spent more time in Stormy Daniels than he has a church. Well played ma’am. This projection goes beyond just Christianity into just about everything else. If you want to guess about their plans and their confessions you can simply wait to hear what they are accusing you of doing.

The idea of converting any human being into a god is distasteful. We don’t have Biden flags. We don’t camp out at Biden rallies. We don’t paste Biden bumper stickers all over our cars. We don’t worship the guy. So, you can focus on gaffes, past cringeworthy statements, or his son’s laptop. We simply want a decent human being and not a deity.

When you worship the golden calf you will find that calf threatened or stolen. We’ve seen what happens to those folks. Our number one objective is not to become one of them. If you are picking up your arms to combat the phantom menace you need to ask yourself who is telling you to do this. It certainly isn’t God.

The Shift

“It all looks fine to the naked eye but it don’t really happen that way at all.” — Pete Townsend

Before the days of Nate Silver and 538 there was Reader’s Digest. Readers Digest had accurately predicted every presidential election and then came the 1936 election. They proudly announced that Al Landon would be the next president of the United States. In fact, it wasn’t going to be particularly close. They did a simple poll of all of their readers that had a home phone. Oops.

CNN didn’t make as big a blunder as Reader’s Digest, but they are facing the same kind of cruel reality. See, they are beginning to rebrand themselves as a more conservative outfit. Obviously, they can’t outfox Fox News and they certainly don’t want to go crazy like OANN or Newsmax, so they will struggle to find their place in the landscape.

See, most networks focus their attention on the 18-49 demographic group. They are usually the group with the most disposable income, children in school, and make up a majority of the population. Fox learned a long time ago that they weren’t the key demographic to focus on. They focused on the 50+ crowd and that is why they made all their money and grew their influence.

Two things are happening that impact the traditional way that television networks look at news coverage. First, the under 50 crowd doesn’t watch nearly as much news under even old-fashioned conditions. We consume television differently. It’s hard to say whether that will change for us as we approach our fifties. Maybe we will somehow morph into the guy that wears his pants around his stomach and shakes his fists at the younger neighbors. Maybe we will be different from our parents. I just don’t know.

What I do know is that the second factor is one area where we will never go back. We cut the cord over ten years ago and is it turned out we were slightly ahead of the curve. As it turns, the under 50 crowd makes up a huge majority of those cutting the cord. Cutting the cord may or may not impact network shows. Essentially, streaming services like Hulu, Paramount Plus, and Peacock offer those shows after the fact. What they don’t do is offer full episodes of the news after the fact. Why would they?

So, CNN is learning the hard way that there are fewer and fewer people in that key 18-49 group there to watch their network. That leaves the over 50 crowd and the over 50 crowd skews conservative. So, of course they will try to do the same. It’s probably the same reason that talk radio has always been conservative as well. It’s simple demographics.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Watch the commercials on network television the next time you actually have access to it. During the day, it is focused at people that likely aren’t working. Why aren’t they working? Personal injury? Need more training? Let’s show a Jim Adler commercial or a ITT Technical Tech commercial. If it’s something like Fox then maybe it’s alternative investing options like gold or reverse mortgages. Maybe it’s one of those apparatus’ that puts on your socks for you. Advertisers have figured it out. It was only a matter of time for CNN.

This is both scary and hopeful at the same time. On the hopeful end, nothing will ever be as bad or scary as it seems. The mainstream media will seemingly have us believing that the world is more dangerous and more right wing than what we think. If the only real options are right wing news then that will be who gets to shape the narrative. The American public is actually more progressive than those sources want you to believe.

The bad news is that people do not remain stagnant. They will change based on the information they receive. If they only receive information skewed to the right then they will also shift to the right. MSNBC has cast their lot. Fox, Newsmax, and OANN have cast their lot. CNN will need to be creative to find their niche in the market. Fox unfortunately has a head start.

Lucky Man

“A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died.” — Greg Lake

My life seems to be filled with doctor’s appointments these days. I shuttle between one or another each week and it can seem hard to keep up. I have no idea if this is normal or if it is my new normal. One of them sticks out though. I get to visit an Oncologist next week. Like many people I made the mistake of looking up what they do. Cancer. My other doctors talked me off of the proverbial ledge by assuring me that they do other stuff. The diagnosis could be completely benign or the sum of all my fears. As you might suspect it probably will be something in between.

It doesn’t help that the American health system is a mess. I promise I won’t get too political, but it seems ludicrous to wait more than a month on something that could be cancer. Ironically, the long wait has been both a godsend and special brand of torture. Like most people, I prepare myself mentally for the worst. So, it won’t come as a complete shock either way and I may have even gained some perspective.

There is a conversation I watch when I come up to moments like this. It was a conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper shortly after the death of Gloria Vanderbilt (Cooper’s mother). I present to you as a special gift you can watch when you need it most.

I sometimes repeat these stories because they revolve around my mind on endless loop. My mother in law was tasked with writing the obituary for her sister this past summer. Her sister was unmarried, had no children, and really hadn’t worked in more than 20 years. The task was a difficult one. She eventually turned to Pinterest for help. She used a cookie cutter obituary that ended up being like a Mad Libs obituary. Insert “she loved God” here and “survived by” there and maybe a few other generic lines.

The whole business seemed incredibly depressing. I went into a brief panic. I joked with my wife and daughter that they only needed to say that I loved God once. However, on the inside I began running an informal inventory. What had I done to make our world a better place? Had I had a positive impact on people’s lives? What would be my lasting legacy on this planet? At the end of the day I really don’t know. It’s something we don’t bother to tell each other or even think about on most days.

Every time I watch the video above, different portions stick out. The one that sticks out this time is when Cooper told us that his mother would often ask, “why not me?” when something would befall her or her family. It goes back to that nasty word I’ve talked about before: deserve. What exactly do I really deserve? Both my grandfathers scarcely made it to my current age. Any of us could walk in front of a bus tomorrow for all we know. We are guaranteed today and that is really it.

We spend most of the time in this space talking about the issues of the day and complaining about specific people in the news. Perhaps if most of us thought in terms of that final obituary or eulogy we would be better off. Whether we believe in heaven, hell, reincarnation, or nothingness, we each can leave our mark on the world. Let’s leave it better than we found it.

WWHG

“It’s getting harder
Just keeping life and soul together
I’m sick of fighting
Even though I know I should.” — Nik Kershaw

As all of my regular readers know (all seven of you) this used to be a blog about baseball. I wrote two books with the same title (“The Hall of Fame Index”) which essentially broke down players’ qualifications for the Hall of Fame. I went through a number of different tests and statistical gymnastics to determine whether particular players were a good fit.

One of those tests is what has often been called the Player A and B test. I certainly didn’t invent it. I couldn’t tell you who did, but it has come in handy more than a few times. Essentially, you simply look at two players’ numbers and remove their name. From there, it becomes pretty easy to figure out which player was the better player.

Baseball is a peculiar sport where numbers become sacrosanct. Spit out enough numbers and most of us could identify the player anyway. However, the methodology is important. We develop emotional attachment to guys in a positive or negative way. If we can remove that emotion we can make better decisions with the ballot and we can make better arguments in the sports bar.

WWHG stands for What would Hillary Get. Hillary is no longer relevant in our politics. At least she shouldn’t be. She will never run for public office again and so she should not be particularly relevant. Of course, certain people will try to keep her relevant for their own purposes. For our own sanity, you can replace her with whoever you want. Essentially, we can turn our politics into a Player A and B test.

So, when we consider what to do with ex-presidents we can ask the simple question: what would Hillary get? If she (or Bill) had brought home boxes of confidential documents and stored it in their attic what would happen to them? Even more important than what would happen to them is the question of what should happen to them? What would you argue for?

Obviously, this is where the concept of “but the emails…” will come up. Let’s keep in mind, the FBI not only investigated that multiple times but announced less than a week before the election that they were still investigating. Nothing came of it because it was determined that she did not have any secret or sensitive information that she shouldn’t have had on the private server. Was that the right ruling? I’m not an expert on email servers or confidential documents. However, we can easily apply the same test in reverse.

Our politics has become so tribal that we reflexively defend or accuse based on which team we play for. Criminalizing politics has always been distasteful for that reason. However, sometimes you have to do it in order to protect the sanctity of our nation. WWHG needs to plastered on every billboard. We need those rubber wristbands. Some people need it tattooed on their chest. If you are willing to excuse a guy taking home boxes full of sensitive documents that he had no legal right to then you better be ready to excuse the same for those on the other side.

The Liberal Song

“And then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable. Oh clinical, oh, intellectual, cynical.” — Roger Hodgson

This is a question I get every so often. It was a question my college roommate asked me when we first started rooming together. He noticed that I lived a fairly conservative lifestyle. I never did drugs, smoked dope, or drank excessively. I wasn’t sleeping around. Of course, that one may have never have been an option for me, but you never know until you try I guess.

The fact that we are still very good friends probably says something. Yet, the question was a good one. How could I live a conservative lifestyle and be a liberal politically? Of course, one issue is in how we define these things. What is the appreciable difference between a liberal, progressive, and leftist? I really don’t know and so I will simply describe where I am and let other people do the heavy lifting of applying a label for that.

I classically divide politics into two halves. There are social issues where we try to define how much personal freedom individuals should have. We each acknowledge that perfect freedom does not and should not exist. You literally can’t do anything you want to do. So, the hard work for any society is deciding where to draw that line.

What I decided long ago is that my lifestyle is not necessarily for everyone. So, the logical dividing line in my head meant that others could do whatever they wanted as long as it had no negative impact on others. So, that may include sexual activity, drugs, and other things. We all agree minors deserve special protection and usually go from there. We all agree that harder drugs are impossible to use responsibly and usually go from there.

Where it gets difficult is when I go into the second category of politics and that is with economic issues. Simply put, I subscribe to two truths. The first truth is that a free market economy will always have winners and losers. If we are to call ourselves a Christian society then we have a responsibility to make sure that everyone has at least a minimal standard of living. We can disagree as to what that looks like, but we cannot leave anyone behind. We cannot let anyone starve, freeze to death, or be without a basic level of care. Again, how we prevent those things is open to debate and what exactly that looks like is also open to debate. What isn’t open to debate is our responsibility to humanity.

The second truth is that most people when left to their own devices will do whatever benefits them and them alone. This really isn’t a bad thing necessarily by itself. We are self-interested beings. We should not be surprised when businesses take advantage of consumers. Without regulation, most of us would do the same thing.

So, we need regulation. We need rules. We need guardrails. The difference between the left and the right is view of big business. The right views business as a benevolent force that brings good to the world. Leave them unfettered and they will do the right thing. That’s a bunch of hogwash. Big business does what is best for people and society when that is the profitable thing to do. The minute that profit motive points to doing something else they will do that something else.

Gas and education are perfect examples. We have been discussing college loans recently and the cost of education. The right sees those things as natural consequences of government action. If that government action weren’t there then the cost of those loans and that education would be far less. That’s patently ridiculous. The reason those costs have exploded is that right has been eliminating regulations one by one to free those loaning institutions and higher education institutions to charge the prices they want.

The same is true of the gas prices. Brandon doesn’t set the gas prices. We live in a market economy. If it were really Brandon’s fault then the gas companies would have made less profit than they did before. Instead, they have made more than ever did before. It’s almost as if that were by design. That’s because it was. It comes down to human nature and my belief that ambition must be made to counteract ambition. I seem to remember reading that somewhere once. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

How Societies Work

“I can be someone’s and still my own.” — Shel Silverstein

I suppose I have to be a teacher because I find that I repeat myself quite often. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I’m a good writer or not. That’s not really for me to say. The best writers are the ones that offer lines like above. I’ve used it more than once in this space because it packs so much into such a tiny place. It’s simple and yet more profound than probably anything I’ve ever come up with. When you read great writing like that it becomes ridiculous to consider yourself a good one.

We’ve been talking about student loan forgiveness for a few days now. I have tons of responses on Facebook and the other site I write for. Those negative responses usually fall under a few different categories. These are categories I’ve addressed before. You see? I keep repeating myself after all.

The main word we come to in all of these discussions is the word deserve. These students don’t deserve to have their loans forgiven. They haven’t done anything to earn that. Either that or we will cite the fact that they willingly entered into this contract, so they should suffer the consequences of that decision. Of course, the mere fact of suggesting that anyone should suffer anything should make us pause.

As I said in a previous piece, the idea that any of us deserves anything is presumptuous. Certainly, in a philosophical/theological sense that is definitely untrue. We don’t deserve a damn thing. However, one could claim that everyone should get a measure of human kindness. Silverstein’s quote above eloquently points out that we may think we are lone wolfing it, but all societies have a certain interconnectedness that we cannot deny. We can belong to someone else and still be our own. We can support each other and still maintain a measure of self-reliance.

We all acknowledge that the government does not have an infinite amount of cash to spend. We all get this. So, when we ask the question of whether we should forgive loans we have to look at it as an investment. What do we as a society get for that? Is that enough to justify the investment? It’s a fair question especially when thrust against other opportunities where we can invest in people.

For instance, the second argument levied is why these people get assistance and not those people. Someone asked why they should forgive student loans and not cancer patients. Of course, no one bothered to consider that we could conceivably do both. Sure, it means that other things may not be funded, but opponents love to present a false choice.

Like I said on my Facebook page. You don’t have to support loan forgiveness. Heck, I didn’t commit to it one way or another here. What we need to do is avoid those logical fallacies and myths that really don’t further the conversation along.