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Response to Mosby (Reply #46)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 03:17 PM

54. Revelations About the Parsing of Words

Last edited Sat Jul 11, 2020, 03:52 PM - Edit history (1)

Got it. When you said teachers should get back to work because other essential workers are "somehow managing" in the face of repeated exposure to non-mask-wearers, you actually meant to say teachers should get back to work because other essential workers are "trying to manage" in the face of repeated exposure to non-mask-workers. I get it. You're saying the same thing, but a little more timidly the second time around, indicating you're open to trying to understand where your thinking on the matter may have gone awry.

Unfortunately, no amount of word parsing can overcome three unavoidable truths essential workers (yourself included?) are now facing with what is only the beginning stages of an already badly botched and mismanaged pandemic:

1.) Nearly 3.2 million Americans thus far, a sizable number of them being essential workers, did not "manage" to escape (whether by 'somehow' or by 'trying') from the devastating effects this virus forebodes for their own future health and the economic welfare of their families.

I will repeat again what I realize may be a difficult thing to initially grasp about the truth of the millions who have been infected but are not dead as of yet: COVID-19 has the rare ability to cross the "blood-brain barrier." If you do not understand what that means and what that portends for those you may be thinking have "managed" their situation, LOOK IT UP.

Over 3 million Americans, with millions more to come, who are infected with the initial strain of this coronavirus are now at risk for developing debilitating neurological diseases, which will cripple their ability to maintain their jobs and will put additional burdens on our crumbling healthcare systems. Brain damage is not to be taken lightly!

On top of this, untold millions of Americans who, having contracted the first strains of this virus, are either asymptomatic infected or have "recovered" from milder symptons without realizing the cause of their initial illness. These people are also now at risk for developing future neurological diseases if even one particle of this virus crossed over the blood-brain barrier. As an unknowingly asymptomatic essential worker who thinks they're dodging the bullet, this could very well be you.

2.) By this evening, 135,000 Americans will have been declared dead from this coronavirus. This is already 5,000 more souls than when this OP was written only a few days ago! Many of those who have died were essential workers. None of those now dead (nor the tens of thousands more to come) were in any conceivable way able to "manage" anything at all about their exposure to COVID-19. Dead is dead, and that's not "managing."

3.) Viruses multiply exponentially when allowed to run rampant. Both the infection count and its corresponding death toll are surging in the U.S., rising exponentially by the hour, and we are nowhere near the peak. Simple mathematics tells us that the exponential risk factor to our essential workers rises correspondingly every workday. If you don't have at least a layman's understanding of virology and exponential mathematics, then sure, the beginning always looks like "somehow we're managing."

These are the three irredeemable facts that no amount of vaguery about this or that particular group of essential workers is able to obfuscate.

In light of these facts, particularly the first one, do you not now see the absolute irony in insisting that teachers, whose very stock-in-trade is their brainpower, must now sacrifice their brains to neurological disease because...why is that again?

Oh yeah...because we live in a society of idiots who think it's a good idea to relegate teachers (or any other "essential" worker, for that matter) to the lower dregs of an arbitrary wage scale. Yep, got it.

"Essential" = "Expendable"

Apparently, Betsy DeVos forgot to send out her memo referring teachers to the edict set forth in "Math for Dummies During a Pandemic": "Low Wage = Essential Worker = Expendable. So get back to work, damn it!"

So many of the greatest follies in human history begin with a determinination about which groups are "expendable." Expendability in America is assigned based on wages. As a society, we prescribe the lowest wages to those seen as "servants" to the masses. This is, of course, an unfortunate hangover from (or some might say merely an extension of) our roots in slavery.

Few will actually acknowledge aloud the corporatist/political belief that low-wage workers are considered "expendable, renewable resources" because that would be just a tad bit too revealing about who we really are as a nation.

So, instead they label these service workers as "essential," which has such a nicer, feel-good ring to it, don't you think? (Funny how their paychecks don"t reflect the "absolutely necessary; extremely important" dictionary definition of the term. Shhh...just never you mind about that.) Note too the parsing of language and, importantly, the difference in pay scale between those deemed "critical workers" versus those labeled "essential workers." Hmm...

The most important thing to keep in mind about the term "essential worker" is that semantics are everything when it comes to manipulating behavior. Thus, "essential workers" is the perfect label to use when, at the height of a pandemic, corporations and their political puppets seek to convince large numbers of the lowest-paid workers that they must now become "heroes," laying down their lives if need be, in service to "the economy," i.e. the already wealthy.

Sardonic, isn't it, that the very same persons demanding such sacrifice cannot abide the thought of taking on too much inconvience themselves, let alone any actual suffering "for the good of the masses"?

Finally, the "essential worker" designation has the added corporate benefit of inciting those who aren't so pleased about their own "you have to risk your life to keep your job" situation into calling for other low-wage groups, like teachers for example, to have the same label slapped on them---"If I have to do it, you should have to do it too!" Neat little trick of pleb-on-pleb jiu-jitsu, huh? Corporations just love, love, love that... especially when there are back-to-school profits to be reaped!

You know who's the only bad-ass, take-no-prisoners teacher in America who also loves that idea? Miss 'Rona, that's who. Yep, she's ready to school us all with a lesson we'll never forget.

Logical Fallacies & Other Such Nonsense

I'm sincerely interested in what's behind the central premise you first postured whereby you're saying: These particular groups of low-wage workers (your examples being retail, restaurant, grocery, food processing, and casinos) have been deemed essential (i.e., expendable); therefore, that particular group of low-wage workers (teachers and school staff) should also be deemed expendable.

I clearly see this as your thesis statement, but I am genuinely curious as to the evidentiary support you might offer that would make this a persuasive argument. The only "reasoning" you offer in support of your premise is a false binary choice: "Would you prefer we all stay home and you could forage for food?"

In the field of logic, this type of false choice is called a "nullary logical connective"---or, in colloquial terms, an "absurd proposition"---for which either answer (yes or no) is necessarily false because the conjunction "and" is itself a false connective between the two parts of the question (i.e., one does not actually correlate to the other given the existence of alternative outcomes).

But, I do get how the mind can easily make that illogical jump. In any cursory examination of the fall of great civilizations, we see the sentiment that gives rise to such thinking; it is, in fact, an easy sentiment to come by when made from a point of privilege:

"It's either 'Die plebs, die!' or we're all going back to the days of nomadic barbarians!"

Fast forward to America, 2020:

"It's either 'Die essential workers, die!' or we're all going to be foraging our own food!"

Nothing new to see there. Anyone who has ever peered into the mirror of history has seen this choice presented to mankind over and over and over and over again, ad infinitum. Indeed, it's a false dichotomy that's toppled many a civilization---a downright philosophical conundrum, if you will.

You've heard the phrase echoed by some about men being "children of God," no? How is it that you suppose children learn? Any teacher will tell you that much of our learning is achieved through repetition. Both success and failure are rooted in repetition. It is no different for the individual than it is for entire civilizations across the arc of time. So, let's use this moment to examine how the repetition of bi-furcated fallacies always result in unnecessary death and human suffering:

You're saying essential workers have been exposed to 10s of thousands of people not wearing masks and because these workers have not ALL died yet (never mind the debilitating diseases to come for those who survive their initial infections), we should go right ahead and throw more low-wage workers into the mix, like for example, the teachers, right?

Okay, okay, maybe "all" is not a fair assessment. Only the psychopaths and a certain percent of sociopaths would actually subscribe to that. Let me revise:

You're saying essential workers have been exposed to 10s of thousands of people not wearing masks and because only a certain as yet unamed and unknown percentage of them will be condemned to die or suffer in service to the masses, we might as well go ahead and throw in another group of low-wage workers, like for example, the teachers. Better?

Ahhh, and therein is the rub, isn't it? It's that "certain percentage" whose very lives you will have to deem to be of zero value if you continue down this path of logical fallacy.

So, tell me, what percentage of death and/or health degradation amongst the low-wage "essential workers," a group highly skewed toward people of color, is acceptable to YOU personally in service to your needs? Go ahead, name your body count.

Is it 1%, 5%, 10%, 25%? Maybe your tipping point is actually much further down the scale. How about just over the halfway-mark? So, perhaps we should say 51% of the designated expendable workers should have to die and/or suffer future deadly diseases to fulfill everyone else's needs.

Does that work for you, 51%? In the name of serving the comforts and desires of the masses, is that your acceptable rate of death and suffering for essential workers? I wouldn't fault you for it. That's the number at which many throughout history finally cry uncle, because, after all, at that point the balance of profits begin to shift for those who've been reaping the benefits of such sacrifice.

A little too steep a price, you say? Fine, let's go backwards: 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%? Go ahead, name your death price. DO IT. If that's the hill you wish to die on (no pun intended), state your selling price with conviction and honesty, rather than hiding behind logical fallacies.

It's uncomfortable, even squeamish, to name your price in terms of body count, yes? But name it you must if you wish to actually persuade anyone to your side of an argument that is both logically and ethically flawed. Never fear though, history has proven that many men will gladly follow you down that rabbit hole if you but name your price.

About the "Food Supply"

Interesting that you name "casinos" as an "essential service" given that this pandemic has provided the 1%ers an opportunity to play a brand new game of chance called "You Bet Your Life" while comfortably laying wagers from the sidelines about who gets to die for the sake of another's haircut or the ability to wipe one's ass with two-ply instead of one-ply toilet paper.

Stop pretending that what's actually happening in our country with this runaway pandemic amidst both an ever-increasing wealth gap and a healthcare crisis that's been building to boiling point for the past three decades is somehow only about the "food supply."

I mean, come on, the whole "Yikes, you'll have to forage for your own food!!" is, after all, the very same fear-mongering excuse that certain men put forth as "reason" to not follow science, to not implement bold, new ideas, nor even to use old-fashioned common sense.

But, most of all, this particular excuse is used to great effect to most definitely NOT put into place adequate safety, testing, and healthcare measures for line workers within the food distribution chain. News flash: America's food supply industry is one whose front-end is almost wholly owned and directed by rich, old, white men safely quarantined in comfort within their gated-community mansions---NOT by the overly romanticized "small farmer" who the Monsanto and Tyson corporate execs of the world have run roughshod over to the point of near-extinction.

If you're going to carry the banner for "Big-Ag," a predatory industry that heavily propagandizes the notion that they can force you to forage for your own food at any moment if you don't let them continue profiting from human death, then at least be honest about who you condemn to die for the sake of assuaging your foraging fears.

I am, of course, talking about the actual essential workers who make it possible for you to not spend your days foraging (sorry, that's not the blackjack dealers and bartenders). No, that would be the hackers & packers in the large-conglomerate produce and meat processing plants and the pickers & sorters in the Big-Ag fields who are predominantly underpaid, low-wage immigrants and migrant workers performing grueling, tedious, and increasingly more dangerous tasks in the shadow of this deadly pandemic, all the while with their healthcare ranging from none-to-junk.

That is who gathers, chops up, and packages most of your food in America. They are considered by their employers and by the privileged class to be "expendable, renewable resources" who need not be invested in or cared for because they have no political power and are easily replaced.

Most importantly for the employers, and certainly not by accident, a large number of those "expendable" workers who save you from foraging your way through life are undocumented. This is by design on the employers' part who are fully aware of their employees' illegal status, and it has been this way in America for many, many generations. In this way, the frontline food workers, who are, of course, mostly persons of color, have no voice and can readily be manipulated into silence on threat of deportation, which for some is itself a death sentence.

Even these workers' U.S.-born children and grandchildren, upon reaching working age, are often pressed into underpaid service in the same factories and fields as their elders on threat of their parents or grandparents being deported---threats made by the employers. In this way, at least three generations of cheap labor can be squeezed out of each family.

Yes, it is indeed a very nasty business at the frontline of America's food chain where the real foragers dwell---one that has been made even uglier beyond belief by a mismanaged viral pandemic that forces these workers to play Russian roulette between death by virus, death by starvation, or death by deportation.

It is so easy for the soulless amongst us to insist these "expendable" workers must lay down their lives in deliverance of bounty to affluent dinner tables. It's easy to demand such sacrifice when those to be offered up to the altar of gluttony-on-demand are seen as "less than human" by those drowning in greed, egocentricity, and, yes, racism.

For the many Americans who only fool themselves into believing they're privileged (when an assessment of their cash-on-hand to debt ratios clearly indicate they are not), the "expendable" workers on the frontline of the food chain are simply not seen at all.

It really is so much easier to simply turn a blind eye to exactly who it is you're demanding should sacrifice their lives to fill your tummy, don't you think? Question: Are those who willfully blind themselves any less evil than the willfully greedy? Another philosophical conundrum...

So, if anyone feels compelled to continue yammering on about their foraging fears, let's at least do so in honest terms: How many of our immigrant foragers do YOU insist must die to maintain your current level of culinary desires?

Go ahead, name your price.


America is at an inflection point wherein many who come to the table lacking a basic understanding of the trajectory of human history (other than their own personal niche in that history) will be quick to whip out a sliding scale showing which "values" should be applied to which perceived "groupings" of human life.

Never mind that history has already taught us that such an approach only ever results in delaying the pursuit of more sensible, and certainly more worthy, alternatives to any given problem.

Never mind that history has also taught us that every single time we allow false dichotomies to turn human life into a price tag for something else, the inevitable result is unnecessary death and suffering. Indeed, it is this very notion that is at the heart of every war and every genocide that has ever occurred---including genocidal actions achieved under the cover of plagues and pandemics.

And now we are once again about to be schooled in the follies of the "slide-rule approach" to human life currently on display for all the world to see in how America has chosen to deal with COVID-19.

And to think, all it takes is a large enough number of persons willing to name a price as they leap down that rabbit hole of false choices. Who could have guessed it? OH, WAIT...history told us that, didn't it?

Maybe we better hold off on that whole rush to kill the teachers thing. Something tells me their services are going to be sorely needed to help pick up the shattered pieces.

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