It is now a fully settled cliché that the year 2020 is a sort of cosmic beacon for madness and chaos. Maybe yes… and maybe no.
Life is pretty quirky all the time. There are always things about which we could be panicked, but how we respond as a society makes a big difference. When I was a kid, we were worried about global cooling, nuclear war, killer bees, acid rain, rabid raccoons, and so on. Some were real threats, some not so much, but threats always exist in the world. That fact has been central to the evolution of all life on our planet (and beyond).
But we didn’t have the Internet when I was a kid, and the news media still valued the illusion that it was principled and fair.
During my teen years, one bit of common wisdom was that a warning light on your car probably meant that the warning light was broken. (This is still true, despite technology, as the erroneous “low tire pressure” warning on my car proves.) Well, what if our society’s warning lights are broken?
Or worse, what if they’re rigged so that they are really just expressing approval or disapproval of the person driving?
One thing that should be said of 2020 (and the three years leading up to it) is that it’s been clarifying. J.B. Shurk attributes this to President Trump, but one could argue that he was the mechanism by which the American people produced clarity. He’s like the tracer in positron emission tomography (PET). As he flows through our country’s system, we can see all the things that were already going awry.
Shurk’s full explanation for each is worth reading, but here are 10 of his findings from the 2020 PET scan. Shurk phrased them as “‘Consensus’ Lies President Trump Has Shattered Forever”; I’ve rephrased them as the truths that have been revealed (and taken out the partisan edge where it wasn’t essential):
- The press does choose sides
- There is a Deep State
- Democrats don’t own Black and Hispanic votes
- MeToo is not about protecting women and children
- Climate change alarmism is about raw power
- Free trade does not require wrecking U.S. manufacturing and enriching China
- Defending unborn babies is not a losing political issue
- Judges are often partisan
- The Left is purging history and the Constitution
- The Obama Administration was not scandal-free
In all this, it is fair to question whether the toxicity of a tracer agent is worth the possibility of the diagnosis. Generally, though, the radiation seems to have been less than feared, and the agent has had some amazing health benefits in its own right (deregulation, shifting the courts back toward interpretation of the actual law, international peace accords with no new wars, and more).
That brings us back to the question of whether we can trust the sense of panic. Of course people who’ve been profiting from our worsening civic health hate the test that is finding the source of our illness, and they’ve got direct access to the switches for those warning lights.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?