What If Humans, In General, Suck So Much We Can’t Solve This Mess?

idiots screaming outside a door
The glory of the human condition on full display at an anti-Covid lockdown protest in 2020 in Ohio.

Maybe it’s a lack of sleep due to our one cat who had successful surgery yesterday keeping me awake all night with his meowing and rubbing his cone against my head, as if to torture me for making him wear it. Maybe it’s overwhelming workload at my day job. Maybe it’s the general level of anxiety that anyone who is paying attention at the moment feels. But my general skepticism that humanity, as it is today, can overcome our problems might be at its highest.

For starters, we’re merrily skipping onward toward the 800,000 American deaths mark, and this happened last night.

Also, there seem to be more people lately who are like Tristan here:

COVID is shrug-worthy and not a big deal. That’s one helluva take. No doubt, we will eventually see plenty of “while one million deaths is, of course, bad, COVID has proven to be not near as bad as the experts claimed” type posts by the Smartest Boys and Girls on Substack.

Ezra Klein has noted before that we as a society are very good at ignoring suffering. Klein used the example of the millions of deaths that occur globally each year related to pollution, and how we more or less just ignore it. This was something I heard him say in a podcast pre-COVID. I wonder if he ponders how COVID has made that concept even clearer.

Never forget that last year, a conservative talking point was “old and immune-compromised people dying is no big deal, they’d die anyway.” Or in May of this year, the worst thing was how those darn silly libs were addicted to the pandemic. Scared people are to be understood if they are conservatives. Mocked if they are liberals/progressives.

What does the death of others even mean anymore? I’ve said before, for a lot of people, the answer to the question “is it okay to murder someone” for almost everyone is “of course not” but for a lot of people, the honest answer is “it depends.” We saw that play out in social media reactions to the Rittenhouse trial.

Seriously, anyone who works in climate change mitigation, pay attention to what is happening right now. COVID is in that “sweet spot” where there are just enough deaths to worry some people, but enough for many to ignore or deny. I should probably call that the “bitter spot.” We will no doubt see that with climate change. Just enough deaths to alarm some, not enough to alarm the self-centered.

“I don’t give a shit if that west coast storm killed over 100, I live in Indiana, why should I have to buy an electric car?”

Just wait until the climate refugee crisis gets going in earnest.

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