In a recent discussion with a libertarian, he asked why I criticize a lot of their ideas because, as he points out, the world would be a lot better if we just implemented all of the libertarian ideas. Sure. That might be true, at least for some subset of those ideas, but that’s not the way the world works. Hell, the world would be a much better place to live if religion just went away, everyone stopped thinking irrationally and just behaved logically. It would be a wonderful planet if all disease magically vanished and everyone had a trillion dollars in their bank accounts. It’s a great thought, it just isn’t going to happen and we actually have to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it was.
That’s actually a problem that I run into a lot, people who are so enamored with an imaginary, magical world where everything is perfect that they’re convinced that kind of world either really exists or is possible to achieve. I disagree. There are some problems we will never solve, at least not in the short term. Sure, I can foresee a day that medical science might eliminate the vast majority of diseases and genetic disorders, but that day is not today. It is not tomorrow. It isn’t going to be in my lifetime and probably not in the lifetime of my children. So let’s stop pretending that we shouldn’t vaccinate our kids and deal with the world as it actually is. So far as we know, there isn’t a magical land we all go to when we die and even if there were, that doesn’t mean we should needlessly squander the resources we have in this life because you think it doesn’t actually matter. To quote Nick Fury, “Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on.” That means you don’t burn down the forests, just because you think some imaginary man-god is coming back to pick you up.
Unfortunately, this seems prevalent across all manner of issues; religious, social, political, you name it. People pretend that just because they can invent some magical land in their head that really. really appeals to them, that must be true and we can all bring it about if we just try hard enough. That’s not realistic. The magical land that Christians want isn’t realistic. The imaginary world that libertarians want isn’t realistic. The planet where everyone links arms and sings kumbaya that a lot of liberals seem to want, that isn’t realistic either. It’s time to do away with the fantasy and deal with the reality on reality’s terms. I don’t care how much you want to live forever, you’re not going to. I don’t care how much you want everyone to believe in your version of some imaginary god, that’s not the way it’s going to be. Lower your sights, deal with the world as it really is, not how you wish it might be, and maybe we can solve some problems with actual solutions, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.