Processed thought-like substance

You’re no doubt familiar with the wonders of those little plastic cheese slices.

Nowadays, people tend to just buy actual cheese.  In my childhood, my parents bought those plastic-wrapped singles.  If we were really splurging maybe there would be Velveeta – same company, differently-wrapped slightly-different-flavored product.  But it was what I thought of as “cheese” because if there was cheese in my sandwhich at lunch, this crayon-orange stuff was it.

Years later, having assumed control over my own cheese procurement and consumption, I noticed of course that this was “processed cheese food.”  It was not cheese as commonly understood by humans, but was close enough in taste and texture to be permitted a label that called it a food resembling cheese.

In a similar fashion, many of us grow up being taught something that’s called thinking, but isn’t.  And for a child, well, that’s good enough.  Who wants to blow nine bucks for a pound of the really good stuff when you can drop $1.79 on sixteen slices of “cheese food” and the kid’s none the wiser?  Likewise, children need to be able to get up to speed quickly on all sorts of topics as they begin their school years, and it’s a lot faster to give them the basics without bogging their brains down in the process of acquiring and testing information.  They’re beginners, so we streamline it for them.

The problem is that too many of them stroll about all day long getting by on that old, streamlined process.  They test what they know by seeing if it satisfies an emotional need or confirms what they already concluded.  Instead of going out and learning, they accept what they’re told from certain pre-approved sources.  When difficulties arrive, they frequently assume that it’s someone else’s doing, and blame the person who points out the problem as if that person caused it, rather than just noticed it.

It’s a poor way to live, of course.  If I screw up and give up a bad goal in one of my games, it is superficially correct, for example, to blame the shooter – if he didn’t shoot, or if he had missed the net, I wouldn’t have looked like a terrible goalie!  But you’ll notice that this approach doesn’t make me a better goalie.  And the ones who pay the price are my put-upon teammates, forever working half the game to scrape out a goal, only to see it given back in fifteen seconds.

The irony is – and for all their love of irony, the standard-issue unthinking hipster misses this constantly – is that they notice this instantly in everyone else.  To take the example I started with, if they went into a bistro and were served a sandwich with locally-sourced field greens on artisan bread, topped with a gooey slice of Kraft, they would flip their organic gourds over it.  And imagine what they would do to their fellow who sheepishly admitted that he actually preferred the chemical approximation to actual cheddar!

They wouldn’t be caught dead doing that in every unimportant pursuit of life, but the important stuff, requiring actual thinking instead of processed, thought-like substance?  Hm.  There’s a quandry.  Just where quality would last forever, they get a false sense of economy.  Case in point, uncovered by the good Professor, after the jump…

Does this mean we should all go back to Chick-Fil-A?

This seems like a slam-dunk idea.  After all, we all love healthcare, and we all love someone else paying for it, so we should not patronize the businesses who refuse to go along for the ride!  Q.E.D.

Well – not so fast.  What if we were actually thinking?  What if we were evaluating our current knowledge and skill based on the outcome of our previous efforts?  Let’s take it step-by-step.  First step is, everyone needs basic medical care.  Second is, someone has to pay for it.  This is where we hit our first check.  Who is this someone who pays for everyone?  The answer seems to be “everyone” at this step as well.  And so we hit our second check, which is “How does everyone pay?”

You’ll notice that this has been quite an issue for a while, and I won’t derail the post to try to answer it now… I just observe that this is a debatable point.  Some people think that we should simply all toss our money in all together, regardless of what kind of services each person uses.  Some think that if you can pay for your own directly, then that should be enough.  But just where the debate really takes off, the thought-like substance class declares that no further debate is admissible.  And their answer to this point is neither of the two I’ve mentioned, but a third and entirely indefensible answer.  They think that everyone ELSE ought to be paying.

It should be but a moment to realize that this is the one impossible solution to the problem – every individual is an else to some group, therefore “everyone else” quickly just boils down to “everyone.”  But they don’t see that.  Hence the graphic above, that those pesky “other people” are refusing to buy in, and therefore ought to be rewarded with bankruptcy.  Don’t ask how the answer to a few thousand layoffs is to inflict millions more, leaving all of them flat broke.  They can’t answer that question any more than they successfully answered the “How do we pay” question.  All you get for your troubles is blame for noticing these problems.  When these problems wind up being fatal flaws to their way of thinking, you will then be blamed for causing the problems and thwarting the solutions.  (On one level our recent national election was example par excellence – the Democrats blaming the Republicans for causing the things they merely noticed and warned about, and successfully turning it into four more years of blind failure for the whole country.)

But even before we get that far, there’s a fatal flaw to this proposal to Boycott ALL the Things.  Two, in fact.

One: Remember, there isn’t really such a thing as “everyone else.”  Therefore, everyone – all of us- pays for the Universal Health Insurance the government is busy trying to bake into our healthy little artisanal cake.  To have anyone NOT paying increases the share for all who remain, because they are still sucking down health care just the same as anyone else.* So driving even more people out of work by refusing to buy from these companies means that people who would otherwise be covered and paid for by said companies, is now not.  Those companies are gone, kaput.  Their former employees are still covered, however.  (For that matter, so are the now-bankrupted employers who no longer have revenue to tax/penalize to cover these costs.)  That means that we’re footing their extra bill, which means that every job lost to this boycott makes the problem worse, not better.

*And how long before such people are considered greedy, like those who have “too much money” or a lot of anything else?  How long before they are told how much they’re allowed to have, the same way as the eeeeeevul insurance companies do when they exclude pre-existing conditions?  So the “solution” really only causes more of the problem, and is dealt with exactly the way we were told was a moral failing.  It makes you wonder why this was such an important thing to do – so much so that even discussing it and trying to understand it was also considered a moral failing.

Two: These non-thinkers have been trying like the dickens to avoid paying for their own needs, and are just noticing that hey, business owners actually don’t like paying for their needs any more than they themselves do.  But what is considered virtue in their own actions is now, magically, despicable when someone else follows their example.  Logically speaking, the non-thinkers could just as easily boycott themselves for “avoid [ing] paying for healthcare.”  After all, they will also have to start economizing to handle their own increased tax bite… probably by not buying as many pizzas, tacos, and burgers.  In fact, they will be forced to economize because their favorite bistro is likely to start charging a buck more per sandwich to pay for birth control for the barista and the waitstaff.

Either that, or they’ll swap out the real cheese for Kraft Singles.


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