It came to us in a blinding flash that almost every thorny and complex issue batted about by today’s “thought leaders” and “policy experts” can be summarized with almost 100% accuracy by just two words. Fact is, we always knew something of the sort was true, and the concept is as old as humanity, but still, it does seem to do an amazingly efficient job of saving time, slicing through ribbons of argument and rhetoric, and getting directly to the point that lies behind almost all of these issues.
Example: Yesterday, Ta-Nehisi Coates published a 15,000 word essay examining in excruciating detail every possible argument supporting the payment of “reparations” to victims of slavery. To attempt to take this on in a point-by-point rebuttal will be the province of people as obdurate as an Army mule; no one will read a word of it, just as very few will actually read all 15,000 words so carefully wrought and cleverly organized by Mr. Coates.
Example: An armada of analyses have been trotted forth in support of the necessity for wealth redistribution, with calliope peals of fault-finding, rainbows of justifications, symphonies of statistics and tapestries of yarns (“Sophie, a single mother of nine in the Hough district of Cleveland…”).
Example: Sea levels will rise, droughts will ravage, winds will blow, cataracts will pour, conflicts will escalate, civilizations will crumble, and entire cities will sink beneath the waves.
Example: Poverty drives crime, social inequity drives poverty, privilege drives inequity, insensitivity drives privilege, ignorance drives insensitivity, and racism drives ignorance.
Example: Drug crime is actually the responsibility of the consumers, without whom there would be no demand, and the nations of consumers must bear the responsibility for the damage they do to the economies of the producer nations, and its attendant widespread poverty, social unrest and local violence.
I could go on, but I’m not in competition with Mr. Coates, who dispenses words like a vending machine spits out chewing gum, collecting a fee for each individual packet. I’ll get to the point.
Which two words summarize all the arguments put forward above? Which two words will end all discussion and get us right to the point? Easy:
Reduced to its essentials, almost every headline, opinion piece, policy debate and their kindred lead inexorably to that simple demand. Note that I did not say that it solves any of these problems. It just cuts through all the bullshit and gets right to the point: at the end of they day, all these discussions, all these arguments, come down to a demand for cash. If the cash is paid, the problems will not, of course, go away, but that’s not the point.
The point is this: how distressingly common it is to find that behind so much noble sentiment, lofty ambition, sonorous prose and purity of purpose is an outstretched hand. In the tradition of mountebanks and charlatans since the dawn of time, these swindlers, through distorted illogic, a justifiable faith in human gullibility and a deformed sense of entitlement, present a bill for a disservice rendered.