Here in the United States in the year 2018, there are a number of common, widespread misconceptions that seem to prevail with masses of the public. These misconceptions do not seem to be based on any particular evidence, but are rather cultural beliefs. I’m going to start by simply listing what I see as the major misconceptions, later I will discuss the evidence to back up these statements, and list relevant references.
- The United States is, will soon be, or could easily become, energy independent.
- Here is a good starting article: GOP Tax Law Bails Out Fracking Companies Buried in Debt
- All issues and problems of our time, not matter how large or small, have a technological fix.
- The stock market is like going to the casino, and only those ‘in the know’ can make money.
We have seen in the last few years Uber and Uber style services take off. These services decentralize taxi; there is no dedicated taxi driver, nor taxi itself. Anyone (almost) can join up with Uber, working as much or as little as they want. One important innovation is the app on your smart phone. You can be walking down the street, and hail an Uber electronically. In urban areas, an Uber may pick you up within minutes.
Now imagine driverless, electric Ubers. Low maintenance, no range concerns (the Uber always comes fully charged), no driver needed. Plus the normal uber benefit of maximizing seat usage. This could really keep costs down and be extremely convenient. The stigma of the bus would be gone, as well as the high cost of the taxi.
In this environment, many that own cars in urban areas may desire to be car free. After housing, the cost of owning a car is typically the highest costs that a person typically endures. Without that cost, people would have much less stress, financially.
And this is not mentioning all the other benefits: Less traffic. Less noise. Less air pollution. Much less dependence on fossil fuels, with a pathway to fully renewable transportation systems. Roads would have less cars, and those care would share the road more efficiently, so much less roadways would be needed, which would greatly lower the costs to society, typically in the form of taxes. It would also have significant environmental benefits.
Today I had to unexpectedly say goodbye to two: Ron Eureka and Willie Oden.
I have worked with Ron for nearly twenty years. When we both worked in the office, I used to see him frequently and we got to know each other quite well. Over the last few years, we became a bit distanced, as I saw him very rarely.
Below is a link to a Jim Morrison song that he put in the last email he ever sent me.
Willie and Dorothy have been our neighbors for 20 years. They have been wonderful neighbors. In the summer we would often have conversations over the chain link fence. His yard is adjacent to ours and about the same size. He was suddenly diagnosed with level 4 lung cancer, too late to be treated.
May they both rest in peace.
Tonight I went into a local grocery store in a relatively good mood. My workday was over and the weather was exceeding warm for February, in the sixties. I went in the neighborhood grocery store to pick up a couple things we needed for the evening, milk, ketchup, etc.
My mood quickly changed when I noticed a younger, bit overweight man browsing an isle. He was in jeans and a sweatshirt, no sign of any kind of uniform or marking on his chest. I was watching him because I noticed what was on his belt. At first I thought it may be some other kind of device, because I was looking at three clips. But as I saw his other side, I saw the handgun on his right. He as walking slowly away from me and I just stopped and stared, without realizing what I was doing. When he got out of sight and checked out I resumed getting the groceries I came for, but in a much different mood. I found myself inspecting everyone around me much more carefully, looking around isles before stepping out. I was feeling fear, fear of other humans.
I have to ask, how is it that people feel safer this way? It has never made me feel safer to see ordinary citizens with guns, only more fearful.
Ohio is and has been very liberal in its gun laws; practically anyone can carry a gun almost anywhere, except in places with alcohol, and there is some restrictions in motor vehicles. Below are some relevant links:
Possession of firearm in beer liquor permit premises
Firearms in a motor vehicle
State preemption of local laws
All three of our boys, and our daughter-in-law, have worked in retail. Modern day retail establishments are open nearly all day, most seven days per week. This means that many hours will be worked at odd hours of the day, and weekends, especially for newer workers, lower on the totem pole. To make it worse, schedules usually change in retail for the workers from week to week, so that the retail employee never knows his or her schedule more than one week out.
The effect is that there is no family continunity. Meals can never be planned much in advance. There is no ‘normal’ rhythm to the family for any kind of routine activities, be it work, meals, or recreation. I feel this can only affect family fabric in a negative way.
The next time you go out of a retail store late in the evening or on the weekend, give that some thought, how you are supporting the continued fragmentation and dissolution of the American family.