Dichotomies of Convenience

During intellectual discussions, I’ve heard people respond to an issue by saying that they’re of two minds. I can understand that some issues are so complicated that they do not have a single simple answer. On the other hand, some people, particularly politicians intentionally dichotomize many issues.

A traditional example concerns air pollution. We point an accusatory finger at third world countries for burning so much coal and filling the air with carbon. At the same time, Wyoming, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Kentucky mine megatons of coal, which are exported to India, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, and other emerging economies. Needless to say, there’s a tidy profit for the US coal producers—gross revenues average around 850-900 million dollars per month just for the coal that is exported.

I know it’s difficult to break away from “the way we’ve always done it,” but c’mon.

On the other hand, there are some dichotomies that totally boggle my mind—and my mind is so twisted that it takes a lot to boggle it even a little.

Let me lay it out as best I can:

  1. The Republican Party has for many years (including almost all of my life) professed to be the political party most supportive of business.
  2. The Republican Party, or at least large swaths of it have proclaimed that COVID-19 is no big deal; it will miraculously disappear by Easter 2000; it’s a hoax; don’t worry about it; Yada yada.
  3. Based on #2 (above) the Republican Party is not a promoter of vaccinations, social distancing, masks, or other preventative measures.
  4. Reiterating #2, COVID-19 is no big deal.
  5. However, when the omicron variation of the COVID-19 virus appeared in South Africa earlier this week, according to Kiplinger, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished Friday off 905 points (-2.5%), while the S&P 500 closed down by 2.3% and the Nasdaq Composite was lower by 2.2%.”

If it’s a hoax, why would the stock market be so nervous? If, on the other hand, it’s not a hoax, wouldn’t businesses prefer to safeguard their investments?

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