Americans Ask All the Wrong Questions
Mostly liberal Americans, but still…
This is one of the famous passages from the Sherlock Holmes books:
Just as Sherlock Holmes was struck by the dog that didn’t bark, I can’t help but notice that there are an enormous number of people in America that refuse to ask the most obvious questions. This is on every level of our society, all the way from many regular Americans up to the highest levels of government. Incidentally, in many cases, it doesn’t take any special skill to notice this, it just requires being old enough to have been around when America was a much more functional country. We’re not talking about hidden scrolls or secret wisdom here; we’re talking about much more conspicuous things.
For example, it seems like we have an awful lot of teachers and school boards today that aren’t asking, “How do I do a better job of teaching students about reading, writing, math, and history?” Instead, they’re wondering how to shoehorn more talk about transsexuality and weird, new genders into the classroom. In another era, people might look at exploding numbers like these and question whether schools were CAUSING this by relentlessly promoting and glamorizing transsexuality to kids:
No one disputes the suicide rate for people that are trans is extremely high, but shouldn’t we be asking different questions about the cause? Is that a problem best fixed by encouraging our entire society to lie about whether people can change genders, or should we be DISCOURAGING people from changing genders in the first place because it’s not possible and greatly increases their chances of suicide? Since we’re on this topic, maybe people should have questioned what the ramifications of treating men who declare that they’re women might be for real women. How would that impact women’s sports? How about the danger of putting men claiming to be women in women’s prisons? What about women being forced to share locker rooms and bathrooms with men? These all seem like extraordinarily important questions that no one bothered to ask before promoting transsexuality became one of the highest priorities of the American Left.
Of course, there are plenty of other issues along these lines that impact a lot of other regular Americans.
Everyone complains about how toxic social media is, but you don’t hear a lot of people ask, “Am I personally making social media more or less toxic?” We live in a society full of people obsessed with getting fame and attention. Go watch YouTube, look at the things people say on Twitter for likes, or if you have a really high tolerance for garbage, force yourself to look at the cascade of stupidity that comes across TikTok. Is what people are doing for likes worth it? Is it worth it to get almost naked, spread your legs, and pose suggestively on Instagram if it gets you a lot of likes and follows? Do people ever ask, “What good parts of myself do I have to give up to become a dancing monkey for a bored, unhappy, degenerate public?” Is it all worth it if you become famous? Most people seem to think so, but maybe they should ask themselves a different question. “If fame is so wonderful, why do some many rock stars and movie stars OD?” “Why do so many ‘stars’ seem unbalanced and unhappy when you read the vile comments they post on Twitter?” It’s also worth pondering, “Why do their opinions matter to us so much, since if anything, rock stars, actors, actresses, and God help us all, INFLUENCERS, probably know LESS about real-world problems than the average person?”
We can go on with this, but the place the lack of smart questions really shines through is in politics today.
The one ever-present question that people in DC seem to have stopped asking at all is, “How do we pay for this long-term?” That’s a pretty big question that never gets answered.
There are so many other questions that seem obvious.
Like, “If people don’t ‘trust the media’ or ‘trust the science’ on COVID or global warming, do they have a good reason to feel that way?” “How does it make sense to ban plastic bags and plastic straws when half the stuff people are bringing home from the grocery store is covered in plastic?” “Is creating bills that are thousands of pages long in backrooms with lobbyists and giving members of Congress only a day (or less) to read them before a vote going to produce good legislation?” “What laws can we take off the books?” “What regulations can we get rid of?” “What federal agencies should go away?” “If the government is slower, less efficient, and more expensive than the private sector at every turn, shouldn’t we almost always be looking for ways to make government smaller instead of giving it more power to abuse?”
One thing that has been striking in recent years, whether you’re talking about rioting, looting, or bad behavior by protesters, is that people in power used to try to RESTORE ORDER and CALM THINGS DOWN. Fewer people get killed that way. Fewer businesses get burned. There’s less of a chance that the other side will retaliate. Today, the question seems to be more, “How do we use this to hype our side up?” instead of “What could happen if we let this get out of control?”
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Speaking of which, what are the long-term potential consequences of letting millions of illegal immigrants, terrorists, and drug traffickers enter the United States at will? What does it do to the respect for the rule of law? How many Americans are raped, robbed, and murdered, as a result, each year? How much does it drive down the salaries of poor and lower-middle class Americans that have to compete with people that are here illegally, aren’t paying car insurance, aren’t paying healthcare, and are cheating on their taxes if they file them at all? This sort of uncontrolled immigration helped lead to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Down the road, that couldn’t be a problem for us, could it? How much thought has been put into any of those questions by people pushing illegal immigration? Pretty much, zero.
Joe Biden didn’t even ask whether it was a good idea to kill the Keystone Pipeline and hamper drilling before he jumped into the idea with both feet. Now, he’s been reduced to begging Saudi Arabia for help that America wouldn’t need in the first place if the Left wasn’t declaring war on oil, coal, and natural gas. Here’s a key question, “How many blackouts do we expect to have in the coming years because we’re shutting down viable power sources and replacing them with wind farms and solar power that have no hope of filling our energy needs unless there are massive advances in the technology?” Maybe we should think about that before we systematically destroy our best sources of power?
Speaking of which, I don’t hate electric cars. I rode in a Tesla for the first time a couple of months ago and loved the design. However again, are the people making this non-stop push for electric cars asking basic questions about it? Can the electric grid take a massive spike in electric cars? What about all the Americans that aren’t just using them to drive around a city? How many Americans are going to have their needs met by a car that may add 3+ hours in charging time to a 12-hour drive to see a relative or go on vacation?
Perhaps, most importantly, the Left now only seems to ask, “How can we force people to do what we want?” instead of, “How do we convince more people that we’re right?” How many people on the Left have asked, “How does that play out in the long-term?”
Liberals spent most of the last two years furious at Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for blocking their attempts to get rid of the legislative filibuster in the Senate, stack the Supreme Court, take control of elections, and make Puerto Rico and DC into states so that they can have an advantage in the Senate. The question they kept asking is, “Why won’t Sinema and Manchin do what we want?” The questions they should have been asking are, “What would Republicans do with these same powers?” or more importantly, “How do we avoid a civil war, coup, or revolution if these become the new rules we live under?” Incidentally, Democrats should be asking that same question every time someone says, “How do we confiscate more guns from law-abiding people?”
People in politics have a “kid in a candy store” mentality today. It doesn’t go any further than wanting whatever the tastiest thing is right at the moment. It’s “how do I get what I want right now?” as opposed to any other questions like, “How much does this cost? Is it good for me? Can I really do this every day? Is this going to make me sick?”
If we ask the wrong questions, we’re going to get the wrong answers. If we only ask, “Can we do this?” we may not ask, “Should we do this?” We need fewer people asking, “How do I get what I want right now?” and more of them asking, “How do we hold this country together and make this a better, stronger nation for our children?”
The good of this country seems to have long since been rendered unimportant and certainly non-essential by most politicians. Those who want the best for the country wouldn't make it past one term if they were sincere and actively working toward that end, to wit, DJT.
Good post! Delving into the reasons why we live under such a fog of mass insanity is difficult. There are many complexities as you point out. For me, always taking cover under the guise of Occam's Razor, because simple is how I think - I view it from one rather limited perspective. Our Faustian bargain with Big Tech is now legendary. We have caved at every new turn. The simple truth is Big Tech demanded a certain passive-aggressiveness from us all. Once social media developed into a thing it clearly selected for these behaviors. Engage in passive aggressive behavior for long enough and it results in anger - the kind most humans don't overcome. Stay angry and helpless feeling long enough and you get toxic narcissism. Toxic narcissism is a mental illness. This is where we are at now - lost in a fog of mental illness, mass hysteria, or whatever it is people are calling in this summer.