Hey, You Sunk My Graduate!


You do remember that cancer is still killing people this year, right?

Of course, you do.

Cancer is a Top 3 killer worldwide. It’s one of the reigning champs of lethal illnesses, a position it’s held for decades.

In fact, 99.9% of the people reading these words have had personal dealings with cancer. It’s an insidious, awful disease.

So… what price would you pay for a cure?

I already know the answer – a lot.

People would give almost anything for a cure for cancer.

So, what if I were to tell you that a cure was available? And, best of all, it doesn’t cost a penny?

That’s right. Completely free.

So, what’s the catch?

The “catch” is that, in order to cure cancer, 10 million kids have to be thrown out of school.

Permanently.

Ten million kids will need to be immediately yanked out of their classrooms and blocked from ever setting foot in an academic institution ever again.

I know that sounds like a strange solution, but I’m telling you here today that that is my price for curing cancer.

So, would it be worth it to you?

Weregold

I can sense that you’re hesitating.

Sure, putting a lifetime school ban on 10 million children is a pretty weird and harsh thing to do. But it’s in the name of curing cancer!

Furthermore, it’s a one-time thing only. Cancer will be cured forever, but kicking kids out of school only needs to be done once.

Also, most of the affected kids will be from really poor, disadvantaged families of low socioeconomic status. And conveniently, the majority of them will live in faraway places, too, so you probably won’t even have to see them.

Harsh?

Nah.  I mean, come on.  Their education wasn’t going so well anyway, so is it really that tragic if they get booted out of school?

Someone has to dig ditches, after all.

Oh?

What’s that?

You don’t think that permanently ruining the lives of 10 million kids is worth it even if it protects people from cancer?

That’s odd.

Because that’s the price that’s already been paid to “combat” Covid-19.

Barefoot, Pregnant, and Married

This year, one billion kids had their education interrupted.

Across the world, including in “wealthy” countries like the UK and United States, children’s development has been stunted, in some cases regressing.  Young children have forgotten their toilet training or how to use silverware.

But that’s a fair price to pay for stopping an evil virus, right?

No?

What about jobs lost? Businesses destroyed?

How about four countries suffering “Biblical” levels of famine next year?

How about some 200 million people backsliding into extreme poverty (less than $2 a day)?

Surely, that’s all a fair price to pay, if it stops a deadly disease!

And what about the untold thousands of girls who have been forced to marry because schools were closed and their parents lost their jobs?  What about double-digit increases in teen pregnancies?

Surely, that’s worth discussing, at least a little.

Yet no one ever wants to talk about it, and I have to ask why.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

If you’re American, you’re probably used to the phrase “sunk cost fallacy” to describe what is more accurately termed an escalation of commitment.

It’s one of those fun heuristics that leads to a hell of a lot of stupid, expensive decisions. And it’s something that we’re all witnessing playing out in real-time this year.

Essentially, the sunk cost fallacy exists because human beings have a hard time letting go of failure.

Usually, people’s response to failure is to escalate their commitment to the failed enterprise.

Casinos know this phenomenon quite well. Players who lose money at a game will then double their bets in order to try to “make up” for their losses.

And what happens? The players lose even more money.

The same thing is happening this year.

All the efforts, all the money, all the sacrifices that have been made in the name of combating a disease – they keep escalating.

Lockdowns don’t stop the spread of disease? Lockdown even harder!

Masks don’t stop infections? Double the fines for anyone not wearing a mask!

People aren’t hewing to the approved narrative? Censor and cancel the blasphemers!

Tipping Point

What’s the end game here, anyway?

Because if it’s the elimination of all diseases, that’s not going to happen.

And even if, somehow, despite all the odds, one disease gets eradicated during World War 3, that’s still not the end of the story.

The suffering is going to go on for a long, long time.

Closed businesses aren’t going to magically re-open themselves. Kids who fell through the cracks aren’t going to teach themselves to read. Starving people aren’t going to be eating manna from heaven.

On the contrary.  Governments are going to fall (a dozen have done so already). Suicide and domestic violence rates will continue to rise. Budgets will be tightened and become more “austere.”

It’s gonna make the Great Depression look like a summer picnic by the lake.

Humpty Dumpty’s Reassembly Problem

If the globe, collectively, decided to end all this insanity and return to “normal” tomorrow, the pain from World War 3 is still going to be felt for years and years and years and years.

The psychological damage is already incalculable and will continue to grow.

Are we, the unwashed masses, supposed to be grateful?

Are we supposed to say that twelve months (and counting!) of a relentless assault on our emotions, livelihoods, and happiness was “worth it”?

Are we supposed to be grateful that we didn’t die, even though our lives were destroyed?

The Price of Freedom

World War I was billed as “the war to end all wars,” so the “eternal peace” that was supposed to follow was the post hoc rationale for all the horror that people endured.

World War II was portrayed as “the end of fascism,” so an increase in the enjoyment of human rights was the post hoc rationale for all the horrors that people endured.

The end of the “Cold War” was marketed as ushering in an era where the “peace dividend” would end the arms race, thus justifying all the stupidity, suffering, money, and fear.

But what is all the death and destruction of World War III supposed to be for? Preventing a few deaths from one single disease?

That’s it??

Are you fucking kidding me?

Money Pit

Unfortunately, human history has shown that commitments are nearly always escalated in the face of overwhelming failure.

America has fought a “drug war” for years that has only increased the consumption of drugs and violent crime.

Anti-terrorism crackdowns lead to more people deciding to become terrorists.

The prohibition of alcohol leads to more drinking.

Censoring and de-platforming “conspiracy theories” leads to more conspiracy theories being believed.

Wildly expensive failed projects like the Brandenburg Airport (Germany), the “Big Dig” in Boston (USA), or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter don’t ever get canceled – they get their budgets increased.

America’s bizarro forever war in Afghanistan has already cost nearly one trillion dollars. What was that for, exactly? It would’ve been far cheaper and easier to just pay off the warlords to stop fighting, the same way the Ancient Romans used to do.

In Colombia (the country in South America), a senator has proposed a bill this month to legalize the coca (cocaine) industry.

Why? Partly because he found out it’s cheaper for the government to just buy all the coca than use the police to surveil farms and spray pesticides to eradicate it.

There are 200,000 farmer families [in Colombia] linked to coca growing. The state would buy coca at market prices. The programs for coca eradication each year cost four trillion pesos ($1 billion).

Buying the entire coca harvest each year would cost 2.6 trillion pesos ($680 million). It costs less to buy the harvest than to destroy it.

Think anyone will go for it?

Nah, it’s far too rational of a solution.

The First Law of Holes

The First Law of Holes is “once you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

So far (and remember, it’s a long way from being over), World War 3 has put us in a 12-trillion-dollar hole that’s permanently ruined the lives of millions of children around the planet.

It really is time to stop digging.

Unfortunately, all the powerful people have a shovel in their hands, so this war is nowhere close to ending.

BUCKLE UP, KIDS!

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