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OPINION

Can We End the 'Crisis' Crisis?

the word crisis written in damaged block letters
(Dreamstime)

Ralph Benko By Tuesday, 23 April 2024 09:11 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Crisis? That word is being invoked, especially by politicians and my fellow card-carrying members of the Columnist Party, so promiscuously as to almost lose its impact.

As H.L. Mencken wrote, in "In Defense of Women":

"Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary."

As the recently departed Daniel Kahneman (an economist, author, and psychologist), notable for his work and his earlier departed colleague Amos Tversky proved, people are willing to work more than twice as hard to avert a loss as to secure an equivalent gain.

Millions more will click on a link threatening doom than one telegraphing good news.

Driven as I am to get you to click I therefore am framing the good news — of far fewer crises than are being claimed — into news of a … new crisis. The crisis crisis crisis!

In a previous column I played spoiler, pointing out the mostly ignored marvels of our era.

To revert to marvels for one lingering moment, it was well within my father’s lifetime that Hans Bethe "discovered the secrets of starlight. During a late-night stroll, his fiancee, Rose … remarked on how beautiful the stars looked. He responded: 'Yes, darling, and I'm the only one on Earth who knows how they do it.'"

Marvelous!

Now let’s look at the flip side of the coin of marvels. There are now far fewer real crises than there have ever been in history. It’s Better Than It Looks!

As an aside, this time two years ago the vanishing honeybees were being presented as a … crisis. Guess what? Honeybee populations, supposedly in a death spiral, are back (and, you gloomsters, you’re gonna be in trouble, hey la, hey la, the bees are back!)

As former governor of Indiana (and easy rider) Mitch Daniels wrote in the Washington Post at the beginning of 2024: "On the list of words in danger of cheapening from overuse — think 'focus,' 'iconic,' 'existential.' you have your own favorites — 'crisis' must rank near the top.

"A Foreign Policy article in 2020 urged some "crisis" caution, listing healthcare, housing, energy, drugs, education, marriage, police violence and others as declared ‘crises’ that might not fully qualify for such an extreme label."

To Daniels’ litany let us now add: threats to representative democracy, the border crisis, the climate crisis, the risk of World War III starting from Palestine or Ukraine, deaths of despair, pandemics, inflation, potential recession, the infrastructure crisis, systemic racism crisis, the DEI crisis ...

I do not denigrate or minimize the humanitarian suffering out here.

It’s very real. And quite tragic.

Yet those who sensationalize, overusing terms such as "crisis," run the risk of desensitizing us. Or, in the words of Kurt Tucholsky often misattributed to Stalin: "The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!"

I’m nostalgic for when we conservatives used to mock progressives as “snowflakes,"a slur on the left’s fragility and easily hurt feelings demanding we provide "safe spaces" and give "trigger warnings" before "microaggression alerts" saying anything that could be taken as criticism by a canonically marginalized group.

I hereby invite all my fellow right wing spiritual justice warriors to dispatch their creeping "snowflakery" back to the left. That’s where hypersensitivity belongs.

Not among conservatives!

What’s really going on?

We evolved to pay attention to dangerous conditions.

At least O.G. knuckle draggers, like me, who subscribe to the Theory of Evolution so evolved.

Hence, those who want attention — such as politicians and journalists — are rewarded for giving us what we are programmed for. Hence … cries of crises!

Sure, we conservatives are confronting abundant challenges worthy of our heroic superpowers. But crises?

“[A]n endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary,” (Mencken).

Why? Mencken opened In Defense of Women with these words:

"As a professional critic of life and letters, my principal business in the world is that of manufacturing platitudes for tomorrow, which is to say, ideas so novel that they will be instantly rejected as insane and outrageous by all right-thinking men, and so apposite and sound that they will eventually conquer that instinctive opposition, and force themselves into the traditional wisdom of the race.
"I hope I need not confess that a large part of my stock in trade consists of platitudes rescued from the cobwebbed shelves of yesterday, with new labels stuck rakishly upon them. This borrowing and refurbishing of shop-worn goods, as a matter of fact, is the invariable habit of traders in ideas, at all times and everywhere."

It's the crisis crisis crisis.

Click, yes!

End it now.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of the 200,000+ follower "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $104T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

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RalphBenko
I hereby invite all my fellow right wing spiritual justice warriors to dispatch their creeping "snowflakery" back to the left. That’s where hypersensitivity belongs. Not among conservatives!
mencken, snowflakery
881
2024-11-23
Tuesday, 23 April 2024 09:11 AM
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