Saturday, August 14, 2010


Conversation between workers at one of my clients today (financial services):

worker1: "They wouldn't have budget problems if they'd just get rid of the wasted $10 billion a year for the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)."

worker2: "Yeah, I heard they're going to cancel my military insurance because of no money for it."

I've always said that I believe in the inherent goodness of people. Lately, I'm not so sure. If people are not bad, at the least, they are invariably stupid.

Even if you granted the $10 billion a year figure, it would be dwarfed by the $664 billion for the U.S. military. The very military that pays for insurance for one of these two morons and for the education of the other. But these two Mensa members didn't even get the $10 billion right. The annual budget for the NEA is $155 million. A single F22 Raptor is $150 million. It's remarkable that people actually entrust my clients with their money when they seem to have no true knowledge of it themselves.

I didn't have the heart or patience to correct them. People believe what they want to believe. They will not seek out opposing viewpoints. They will seek out outlets that reinforce their prejudices. I don't even think we need to venture a guess as to where these two got their info.

The lesson here? Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant. I am honestly so tired of the willful ignorance that I face every day. Perhaps if we reversed the money spent for wars and the military and put it in more funding for education and the arts, maybe we'd be on the right track. Hell, even if we could just eliminate the funding for military, we'd be on the right track.

"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." -- Elbert Hubbard


wunelle said...

You've beat me to a similar post. It becomes impossible to have a sensible, civil discussion about political matters when we leave facts and reason behind. I hear conversations like this one you overheard every working day of my life--and not infrequently, it seems, coming from the TVs that play Faux "News" all around my workplace.

To hear these guys talk, our whole problem is welfare and social programs, crack mothers and deadbeat liberals who want a handout.

From Wikipedia:

"The 2009 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's defense spending combined and is over nine times larger than the military budget of China. The United States and its close allies are responsible for two-thirds to three-quarters of the world's military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the majority)."

dbackdad said...

Wunelle said, " ... It becomes impossible to have a sensible, civil discussion about political matters when we leave facts and reason behind" -- Exactly why I usually do not weigh in when I hear these conversations. People with these inclinations will not change their opinions when faced with facts. Quite the opposite - they will become more entrenched.

Laura said...

I'm not sure if people are inherently good or bad, but I do think that the only think keeping (most) of us from our baser animal nature is socialization. Case in point - those two morons are acting very selfishly. They view the world in terms of their own needs rather than what might be good for everyone and maybe cause them a little bit of discomfort. People may not be inherently bad, but they are inherently selfish. We have to be taught to consider others. Those who are never taught (or never learn) this, will act like those two guys.