Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Finite Time and Finite Attention

I think people have officially lost their minds when it comes to the concept of priorities. In many ways, it’s ironic that someone like me is doing this post, because I’m not exactly the foremost authority on prioritizing one’s life.

By most standards, I’m a lazy bum. If you’re feeling particularly discourteous, I’m a parasitic leach. If you’re being as kind as possible, you might call me a political activist, but I think you’d be very generous in doing so.

We have a very short time on this Earth, and according to what I hear from people who have “jobs” and “careers,” it goes by pretty quickly. I seem to have plenty of time to ponder every little thing and complain about piddly crap, but apparently most people don’t have that kind of freedom. It’s a shame, because I would like to see the full extent of some people’s creativity utilized to its utmost, but they’re so busy filling out TPS reports or something.

So imagine my shock when I have seen a recurring theme from those who disagree with my view that people should stop obsessing about one thing or another, in favor of tackling a larger problem.

People tell me they are capable of focusing on multiple concerns, whether I’m suggesting people turn towards the larger societal attacks on women over isolated incidents of misogyny in the atheist community, or if I’m questioning whether it’s more offensive that Rush Limbaugh thinks women shouldn’t have access to affordable healthcare or that he used words like “slut” or “whore.”

These people are right, to some extent, because even my dogs can keep two things in mind. My dogs can bury a bone, come inside my house, play tug of war, then go back outside and recover their bone. So believe me, I understand the truth behind the claim that people can worry about more than one thing.

However, I see many people who I consider on the same team as I am wasting their limited time and effort. We don’t live forever, so every second spent working on one thing is time we cannot spend on another. You do have to prioritize what you do, because even though you grew up being told you can do anything… they were lying, and you have limits.

Take Rush, for instance. He’s been calling every woman he didn’t like a “feminazi” for years. Maybe it’s the male in me, but I think “feminazi” is more offensive than “slut” or “whore.” No slut or whore killed millions of people, and “feminazi” is more or less an attempt to equate feminism and Nazism, which is more offensive to me than claiming women are promiscuous. I guess I just don’t care if someone is promiscuous.

But the most offensive thing Rush said of late had nothing to do with calling one woman a “slut” or “whore.” No, good old small-government Rush Limbaugh thinks that if taxpayers are going to subsidize contraception, then women should be filming their sex for our pleasure.

How have liberals not focused on this aspect? This guy, who is supposedly trying to take moral high ground by claiming women shouldn’t be sleeping around… wants these women to be filmed against their will… while performing their abominable deeds. That’s enough to give you a stroke if you try to think about it too long.

All that ink, all the attention, all those blog posts… and I saw little, if anything, addressing this aspect of what Rush said.

I also see a general lack of focus on the larger issue, which is that women deserve access to reproductive healthcare. It’s not only good for the women themselves or the men they date and marry, it’s good for society as a whole. A society where families begin through planning and not by accident is profoundly better off in a number of immeasurable ways.

Liberals fundamentally don’t understand what Rush is about. Guys like Rush are there to run cover. His job in all of this is to be the lightning rod, the highest (pun intended), most conductive point, the easy target… in short, he is there to deflect all our liberal energy harmlessly away from the main structure.

Rush doesn’t mean shit. He’s ultimately disposable to the Republicans. You can take him down, and I certainly would enjoy watching him fall from grace, but the real targets are the four men still in the race for the Republican nomination and the various state legislatures that have been churning out abhorrent laws and measures specifically to attack the rights of women.

I sympathize. I am sick of talking about Romney et al., as sick as anyone probably can be. Maybe I’m way off base and this is just the right set of events and issues the left needs to instill disdain for the Republicans. I can hope. The best case scenario from all of this isn’t too bad, either: the liberal left becomes galvanized and Rush might lose his job. Not bad, as far as distractions go.

I just hope people on the left, with their limited time, effort and resources, are able to maintain their resolve beyond their mini-crusades. History does not reassure me, though. People stopped focusing on the environment, especially beyond carbon emissions, and now the land and water are polluted with heavy metals, consumer waste is still a massive problem, and companies are polluting with impunity.

So excuse me if I am a little skeptical of liberals being able to focus on multiple targets.

1 comment:

  1. Hehe, always looking to be offended. :)


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