I have a perverse need to deconstruct memes that convey political or ideological messages that strongly resonate with large numbers of people.
Many of these memes are long on emotional appeal and short on logic, which is why I feel compelled to deconstruct them.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that there are more and more of these types of memes that well-meaning and decent people are propagating on social media.
There are just as many right-leaning memes of this sort on social media as there are left-leaning memes, but the meme that opens this post is a left-leaning meme that propagates the biggest liberal fallacy out there…
The fallacy that an egalitarian utopia is both infallible and achievable.
All political ideologies are built upon such well-meaning, but fallacious thinking and it is upon this basis that I deconstruct the meme that opens this post.
1. Healthcare is not a privilege in this country.
While we do not have single payer healthcare, no one can be turned away from an emergency room without treatment regardless of their ability to pay. That is the law at the federal level.
On that basis alone, this part of the meme is built around a fallacious premise.
However, to be fair, if the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans had not spent the better part of the last three years trying to deconstruct the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and enabled more Americans to acquire affordable healthcare insurance, this would not be a problem.
Of course, this being a pandemic, free healthcare would not make much of a difference. Italy and China have single payer healthcare. How did that mitigate this situation for them?
2. I am absolutely elated to see that parents are now forced to do what is and always has been their job…
To be the primary educators of their children.
Teachers supplement and reinforce what is supposed to be taught at home.
Great teachers do have a hand in raising children, but it is not something all teachers are capable of doing and with class sizes being what they are, to say that teachers are helping parents raise kids is not exactly accurate, nor does it generally reflect reality.
3. “Socialism for me is good; socialism for thee is bad” is part of the fabric of Americana.
Ergo, to say that people change their minds about socialism in the face of financial uncertainty or limited resources is ludicrously predictable.
However, my quibble with this part of the meme is that it confuses socialism with welfarism.
I might add that there will always be vulnerable people in any country’s population that require our collective support, especially in times like these.
Inequality is the inevitable result of abundance. Not everyone is suffering as a result of the measures being taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. I am lucky to be among those who are fairing this turmoil well.
However, the degree to which this situation is affecting individuals is a result of educational, vocational, and career choices at the individual level.
I agree that in a country as wealthy as the United States, giving assistance to those in industries and vocations directly affected by government measures to protect the public should be protected financially. However, let’s not use a crisis to proffer the fallacy of an egalitarian society being an achievable or realistic goal.
4. Everyone is important. Every vocation provides value to society. However, grocery stockers will never be as well-compensated as doctors, for good reason.
The skills and education required to be a doctor are not quite at the same level as the skills and education required to be a grocery store stocker. That does not and will not change regardless of the circumstances.
The grocery store stocker is no more important now than he/she was a month ago or will be six months or 60 years from now. We can apply the same logic to truck drivers, warehouse workers, and all of the people down the logistics chain who provide the goods the grocery store stocker is putting on the shelves every day.
Does this mean the compensation for these important functions should be on par with an ER doctor’s important function?
Mundane functions are not fully appreciated until they are no longer functioning or are ordered to cease functioning. However, that does not mean these fine people should be compensated beyond what the market dictates just because temporary circumstances have placed more demands upon them.
Kinda up to these folks’ employers to adjust their compensation and many grocery store chains are indeed paying their staffs more. Just as they should.
5. My only quibble with this last part of the meme is that there are always more than two kinds of people.
There is at least a third kind of person in this situation…
“It isn’t happening to me, but I care anyway and I’m doing what logic dictates I should do, not what fear and ignorance compels me to do”.
-The Rational Ram