We were horrified, and rightly so, at Adolf Hitler’s solution to the problem. But we haven’t got a solution to the problem either.
August 16, 2014
[No. No any sort of mythical “Jewish problem.” The problem Doug was talking about was what to do with those people that are “unfit” to support themselves because they are too stupid, crazy, or lazy. In our society we are on track for an Idiocracy type “solution”.
Doug and I talked late into the night on this and other somewhat related topics.
The problem as I see it is that our ethics are appropriate for a tribe but they don’t scale to a population of a million people let along a population of 300+ million. When we see someone, children in particular, hungry or in need of care we help them even if they will never be able (or choose) to support themselves.
In a tribe of a 100 to 200 people everyone know everyone else and the peer pressure significantly reduces the freeloader problem. As soon as there is anonymity freeloaders become an essentially unsolvable problem. And with large numbers of people combined with a society in possession of advanced technology in the essentials of life it now becomes possible to support those that cannot support themselves as well as those who chose not support themselves.
And with that support of those who cannot and choose not to support themselves we end up, literally, breeding more of them. We are scared, perhaps even justifiably horrified, of the risks of the government assuming the power to mandate some people not be allowed to reproduce or to raise their children the way they see fit.
I see horrific outcomes in either of the two “solutions”.
There is at least one other potential solution. It is, as I see it, the least unpleasant of the available alternatives and as you might expect, the least likely path for our society to take.
That potential solution is for our Federal government to stay within it Constitutional bounds. If the individual states or counties or cities wanted to experiment with government welfare or “free healthcare” then those experiments could have run their course over the last 200+ years.
What I expect would have happened is with enough of these type of experiments being run that people would realize there are some people that we just have to let “nature take its course” with. We would have a lot fewer freeloaders. We would have a constant, but small, set of tragic cases of people that could not support themselves and could not convince family and/or friends to support them.
There would be heart wrenching cases and people would organize charities (Shriners, Elks Club, Eagles Club, Salvation Army, etc.). to help those for whom help was appropriate. The decision to help or “let nature take its course” would be done in more of a “tribe environment” for which our ethics were “designed” for.
I don’t see how our society can get from where we are now to the “least bad of the available options” without a lot of pain, suffering, and death. It’s like trying to solve a global optimization problem when the slopes of the sides of current local optimum are steep and high.
Nature is “going to take it’s course” with us. All of us. I’m certain many, perhaps even a large percentage of, people will survive the big “challenges” ahead. But I cannot predict if those challenges will send our descendants to the stone ages or to a Star Trek universe. But one way or another this ethical problem will “resolve” itself if we don’t resolve it.
Nature is testing it’s own “solutions” right now. Ebola, economic instability, and even the immigration issue are in beta test now. They may not be released soon or even ever if people do the right thing. But if we don’t then full production of something awful is coming soon.—Joe]