Imagine this Conversation...

July 17, 2013 10:53 PM ~  
Imagine you were taken back 200 years and you overheard this conversation (already in progress):

Lew: Well I think this whole slavery thing is pretty bad.

Karl: Well yes, any reasonable person would, but we can't just end slavery outright. That would be irresponsible.

Lew: I disagree. It is immoral, it violates the unalienable rights of men, and it should be abolished.

Karl: You are such an extremist! Can't you see the benefits in taking a more moderate approach?

Lew: I don't believe it is right to murder people. I don't believe it is right to control people. I don't think we should approach control any more moderately than we approach murder.

Karl: Well it's easy to talk about this kind of thing, but if you like safe roads, safe communities, cool cotton shirts, education for your kids, and all of the wonderful things slavery enables for us, then you should probably stop complaining, or just move to some other country.

Lew: Are you seriously inferring that the only way good things are possible is for us to perpetuate the evil institution of slavery?

Karl: Name one country where they have all these nice things and they don't have slavery. Why has it never worked in the past? Show me some sort of evidence that society would function without slavery.

Lew: I don't need evidence to know the truth. Some things are just logically true, if you can clear your mind of all the preconceptions you've been ingrained with.

Karl: That's nonsense. Slavery built this country and we'd be living in the stone age without it. Unless you can show me any evidence otherwise, then you're just wrong and your utopia is unrealistic.

Lew: Nobody is saying that a society without slavery would be utopia. There would still be problems and problematic people. But at least we'd rid ourselves of an immoral system, and maybe that would help the overall health of society.

Karl: Wouldn't there just be wild gangs of blacks roaming around raping white women and burglarizing white communities in a world without slavery?

Lew: You would be responsible for protecting yourself, but the reality is that such a scenario is nonsense in the first place. People generally cooperate with each other in the absence of rampant unjust conditions, such as those imposed by slavery.

Karl: You must not spend much time around black people.

Lew: I spend too much time around you.

---- End

That seems like a pretty ridiculous conversation, doesn't it? I mean Karl is obviously a racist asshole, an unthinkable slavery apologist. Lew seems like a reasonable guy who just wants people to be treated with basic human decency. 99% of people, if not 100%, would take Lew's side in this conversation.

Now come back to the present and substitute the word "government" everywhere you see the word "slavery."

Suddenly, after that one change, even though the reality of the situation and the validity of the arguments hasn't changed, now Lew is the racist asshole and Karl is the reasonable, responsible citizen. Make that one change, and now 99% of people agree with Karl, and Lew is shunned as the extremist.

Why is that?

My theory is that people don't like to be uncomfortable, especially with intellectual matters. People don't want to think that they are slaves to the state, so they simply refuse to allow that logical line of thinking to enter their minds. Call it cognitive dissonance or even Stockholm syndrome, either way it is the sad state of our present society.