Well, that's when I don't even know what to say anymore. Crazy stuff gets said, so fast and furious, that I can't even keep up anymore. I see one headline that I really ought to write about -- say when a conservative radio host thinks that we should just make slaves out of any immigrants that don't have legal authority to be in the U.S. and then Ted Cruz actually agrees with him -- because it is just so damn Out There, something else happens to make that old news. And truthfully, it wasn't even much news except in the progressive blogs and news sites anyway. I can't keep up. We are living in Crazy Times and hardly anyone really wants to acknowledge how far off the rails things have come. Yeah, yeah, I know. Things in the United States always has been pretty damn strange, such as the 1960's with Nixon, the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, etc. Maybe it's just now that we have access to instantaneous information that is very unfiltered from what we used to get from three television networks and the local newspaper.
What I just find so difficult to deal with (like I said in the title) is the fact that not only do the people spouting all this nonsense not acknowledge how crazy they sound, they will call the people who call them out on their craziness crazy themselves. There is no common ground or understanding anymore. There are multiple sets of reality these days and if you were to make a Venn Diagram out of them, the circles that represent the predominant World Views that people hold today would barely overlap.
I have degrees in engineering and science and have really come to value logical thought based on agreed upon facts and rational conclusions based on those facts and logic. I cannot seem to cope really well when facts and logic are just tossed out the window. I have no basis in which to operate in that kind of universe. I have no way to interact with those who operate with the notion that firmly held opinions outweighs facts and logic, and the more you believe in something, the more it becomes an unalienable truth.
I have been having a running feud with my brother for several years now. He is what I would term a Conspiracy Theorist. He has tried to make me listen to him and his truths about 9/11, Agenda 21, the Fed is trying to destroy the U.S. on purpose, etc. But he refuses to believe that global climate change is anything but a huge conspiracy. He can't explain why any of these would happen and who would gain from perpetrating such a thing. He can't tell me why our government would purposely be involved in the destruction of our landmark buildings in NYC and murder thousands of our own citizens, but yet, I am being closed minded when I won't listen to his own "facts and data." He can't tell me why climate scientists from 35 countries and respected institutions such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic Society, Science, NASA, NOAA, etc. would all perpetrate this huge hoax. He refuses to tell me why he needs to believe that. But here's what really gets me. When we talk about this, which isn't very much anymore, he refuses to even acknowledge when I ask him a question he can't answer or have made a point. It's just like I haven't said anything. And when I really pressed him on one point, he just said, "Well, it's kind of obvious that we can't talk about this." Yeah, he was right, because he refuses to have this discussion honestly.
And that is what is I think is at the heart of the matter for me. People, and I am saying this in general and not just political, economic and social conservatives in the early 21st Century in the U.S., have an enormous capability for self-delusion and rationalizing away anything they don't find convenient or that doesn't fit in with their nicely arranged World View. They will do anything they can to cram disconcerting input into their world view (see my previous post about Fundamentalist Christians and dinosaurs) or else ignore that input altogether. And I find that unacceptable. That is not logical. I sound like Mr. Spock.... But this is a reality. People do this to me all the time, and I don't know how to deal with it.
I am getting ready to retire from my job, which also has a lot of these same issues I just discussed, in a year or so. I am going to retire to this nice little house we are buying and just retreat. I am not sure I will even look at the internet other than to check e-mail and see what time the film I want to see starts at the movie theater. Our society, I admit, has worn me down. I can't cope, except at a very minimal level.
More about this in a later post, if anyone is interested.