Freedom of Screech

Survival Bias is a great logical fallacy to point out when your friends and family give you the ol’, “Well, back in my day!” Imagine if everyone did this.

“Well, back in my day, security screenings were the least of our worries! We didn’t even land at the airport! Everyone just ditched their Airbus 310 in the Indian Ocean and clung to wreckage in the middle of the night until they were rescued!” – Bahia Bakari, lone survivor of Yemenia Flight 626.

“Well, back in my day, we didn’t have a safety net! We didn’t even have enough lifeboats! You helicopter parents with your soft kids wouldn’t know what to do if an iceberg hit you in the face!” – Elizabeth Gladys “Millvina” Dean, last living survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, passenger at eight weeks of age (died May 31, 2009).

“Well, back in my day, we didn’t need vaccines! We got polio then we liked it so much we became President of the United States of America and got re-elected three more times because it felt so damned good!” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945.

The Russian Roulette World Champion might say putting a loaded gun to your head and pulling the trigger is a great way to make a living, but you’ll find that those who could deliver an enthusiastic rebuttal based on first-hand experience remain silent. You’ll also find the other 150 passengers on that plane, the over 1500 dead on the Titanic, and the thousands buried during the polio epidemic are withholding comment.

I know I’m preaching to the choir. The people who get it are already familiar with confirmation bias, and the people who don’t probably won’t. In the rare instances when I catch a stray reader, it’s usually some proud white supremacist who wandered here from one of my comments on KAIT Region Eight’s Facebook page (which is a breeding ground for their ilk) looking for a fight. They all give up after they realize their attention only thrills me more.

The chances of a light bulb coming on for them are slim to none, but I guess you never know. The probability of life springing forth on Earth was almost nil, but exposed to enough time and repetition, here we are arguing over politics. I guess some eons could spark an understanding in the guy with a Trump cover photo or the proud Christian mother who doesn’t understand why they won’t let Milo speak, but even the most incrementalist moderate would consider this a slow evolutionary crawl out of the muck at a pace we cannot afford.

Recently, as I fretted (shitposted) about the nature of existing online, which is to be exposed to a constant onslaught of bad ideas, someone interjected that this cacophony of wrong thinking might serve to save us from our own ridiculousness. How can we reason properly if we’re insulated from anyone who might disagree?

Haha. Hahaha. HAH. Look, guys.

I’ve seen the Star Wars prequels. I know the dangers of being surrounded by yes-people. I have my secret cabal of advisers with political views ranging from Maoist Revolutionary to “Say what you will, but Kissinger is a brilliant statesman.” If I’m confronted with a concept and my reply is, “Well, that’s fucking stupid,” go ahead and assume I ran it by a Trotskyist and a guy who voted for Gary Johnson (because he was the only other person who wasn’t busy), and they both echoed my sentiment. There’s shit going on behind the scenes you ain’t privy to, fam.

So no, I don’t have to tolerate Babby’s First Political Opinion, and if it happens to be your father-in-law or something, then shame on you for marrying into that shit and not having the fortitude to hit block when they started displaying symptoms of the disease. My hug box is secure. Now I have to deal with the Trumpanzees outside my circle because some people refuse to take out the garbage.

Maybe I’m the intolerant one. As far as I’ve come personally, you’d think I’d be more understanding when faced with Red State logic, but at least I had the capacity to learn. The reason you can’t keep comparing Idiocracy to our current situation is that the characters in the film actually responded to instruction.

This is, however, at the heart of it, silly shit. An old friend once told me, “I’ll run my Facebook however the fuck I want,” and that’s advice I’ve taken to heart. I can block your grandmother just as easily as you can and save you the explanation. Please forgive me in advance, though, if I tell her to go fuck herself before I do.

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