Think of an evil that has affected everyone in modern society directly or through a loved one: cancer. Imagine that everyone talked about cancer on social media, and constantly posted grisly memes showing its effects on the body.
Imagine your opinions on its causes, treatments, and cures are a litmus test for friendship. Imagine posting that you hate the idea of chemo but sometimes it's the lesser of two evils, and you get responses calling you stupid or crazy or evil.
Not to diminish the seriousness or gravity of cancer, but wouldn't that be weird?
Of course, there will always be people who think of cancer almost non-stop, because they or a loved one is afflicted. They post status updates about their struggles and their real friends understand. Or, you may be a medical professional and cancer is on your mind a lot. You might frequently report recent developments on cancer. That's all good and necessary.
But would anyone condemn American society for not focusing enough on cancer? Who would post:
WHY ARE YOU WATCHING FOOTBALL AND THE KARDASHIANS WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE CANCER??? WAKE UP, AMERICA!!!
That'd be crazy because entertainment - which gets our mind off the serious subjects like cancer - helps make life enjoyable, and why live if not to enjoy life?
We understand that implicitly. Small talk with strangers while waiting in line or beside you on a bar stool don't drift toward, "So who in your life has cancer?" No, we drift toward "How 'bout them Cubs?"
It's a light topic, it's something common in the news, and if the response is, "I don't know, I don't follow sports," then the conversation goes somewhere else light and general.
The State is worse than cancer. Not always in any individual instance (most people would rather get an IRS audit than cancer), but overall it impairs and destroys more lives. It's the main obstacle to health and human flourishing. It is the common, greatest enemy of humanity, but is so insidious that most people don't realize it. That's why enlarging the State is some people's life's work, while others dedicate their life to working peacefully to abolish or minimize it.
But most people are in the middle who really don't pay that much attention... until they do. Which is, during the 18-month Presidential election "season."
That's inevitable, I suppose. And I'm as guilty of posting political stuff on social media as anyone. But I do it for much the same reason I'm writing this now: This isn't right. We don't have to do things this way.
I have no ill will toward Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Divorce is a terrible thing. But when news hit that they were getting a divorce, they briefly made America sane again. Attention was briefly diverted away from the ridiculous Presidential campaign, and toward a subject - celebrity gossip - we would discuss during normal times.
The Cubs, by reaching the World Series, provides a similar but healthier diversion. Anything that gets people talking about something other than politics helps make America sane again.
In all areas aside from politics, we tend to talk - perhaps not reasonably but at least honestly. Bad news about a celebrity? "I hope it's not true because I really admired him." Comparing athletes? You can point to objective criteria but be called out for your biases.
Politics is different. George Washington famously said, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence,—it is force!" When discussing "government" or The State,we have the un-reason, the in-eloquence, that comes with trying to justify violence and coercion. Justifying evil is insane, and The State is an unnecessary one.
So bring on the World Series! And the next superhero movie! And the Real Housewives or NCIS!
Bring on whatever you enjoy, no matter how unimportant it appears to others. Because if it helps keep you sane during this insane time, it is very important.