Thursday, December 30, 2010

Immobilizing Defeatism

Here's an actual conversation I had recently:

"Why not sell the eggs from the chickens?"

"Oh no. No no no...somebody will get sick, and then they'll sue, ya see?"

"How about bread, then? There's the new law that allows you to sell homemade bread without a..."

"Look, if somebody gets sick, or even thinks they get sick, they're gonna sue for everything ya got."

"Which isn't a whole lot..."

"No. But it's something and at least you're not in jail cuz somebody thought you gave them the runs!"

"Yeah. Well, you were talking about some inventions, some good ideas there..."

"That ain't nothin'...ya gotta get a patent, see? And once you get a patent, then China gets ahold of it and starts makin your invention, see?...hell, even if you don't have a patent, China's gonna get your invention with or without it."

" selling things, no making things."

I used to call this the "Sixty Minutes mentality". You know, the television show that terrified people with the latest, newest fad to rip people off.

The "Sixty Minutes mentality" or what I now call the "Fox News mentality": The notion that hyper-vigilance or immobility is the only sane response to a world that includes risk and danger. And the tendency to spend inordinate amounts of time guarding against the freak incident you recently saw on television.

It comes in the guise of empowerment, but manifests as an immobilizing defeatism.

Perhaps that's where Fox News wants us to be.

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