I beg to offer up some half-baked fallacies that many people still find plausible. On serious inspection, they are either unworkable, unattainable, or ill-conceived. Still, our society is often moved to accept, even welcome them.
Gun control. Many Americans are up in arms about the recent mass shootings, growing in numbers each year. Feckless proposals are constantly made urging the feds to end the sale of assault weapons, institute background checks, etc. and so forth. No serious reforms will happen while the GOP is in thrall to the gun industry. As long as Republicans keep playing on the obsessive fears of the MAGA masses, they will never give up their guns and the carnage will continue. Even dogs are shooting people.
Danger from gas stoves. We read lots of stories now about the environmental and health dangers of gas stoves. Really, how hazardous are these for most of us? Are cow burps and farts worse? And what about water heaters and space heaters that use 29% and 69% respectively more gas than stoves? Around 38% of U.S. families (124 million of them) have gas stoves, and who’s going to pay for them to convert to electric induction cooking? The average cost of an induction stove is over $2,200 and the needed electrical upgrades average around $1,000.
Netflix. If you love movies and TV series, there are plenty of alternatives to Netflix, which has become truly pathetic. “Netflix pumps out flavorless assembly line Jello in hopes something, anything, might ensnare a fan base.” If you live outside the U.S. as I do, their library is filled mostly with junk offerings, stupid kid films, repulsive horror shows, and comedies that aren’t funny. In 2022 Netflix lost 1.2 million subscribers and not only because it raised its prices.
Classified documents. Pence and Biden are now found irresponsible and guilty of harboring these papers, though Trump kept not a few but hundreds and refused to give them back. The whole process is outdated and unworkable, “national security” notwithstanding. Six years ago, looking at Clinton’s emails, we knew that “the government is classifying too many documents.” And why are government officials permitted to take them home?
The Doomsday Clock. It was created in 1947 by scientists to point out the dangers of nuclear war to the world. In 2007 it also incorporated climate change. Now, as a metaphor to alert people to incipient catastrophe it’s pretty much ignored. Last Tuesday the Clock was set to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest ever, because of the nuclear dangers in Ukraine. Are climate change and Putin’s posturing equal threats? What happens when we get to 5 seconds? The Clock seems to have become an abstract, ineffective way to promote concern and action.
These feel-good concepts still appeal to many people. And yet they are basically ill-conceived solutions for intractable problems. In our sometimes desperate need to fix things we seem to entertain solutions that create more difficulties than they solve. Like electing George Santos.