10 things to make Americans thankful for this Thanksgiving
If you are tempted to take this for granted, remember that some European settlers during the First Thanksgiving era faced famine and were forced to “dig up corpses in graves and eat them.” As frustrating as you can find your loved ones today, thank you for not having to consume their rotting flesh.
It is undeniable that the insane glut of food in the United States makes the persistence of hunger here a brutal crime. But we can stop committing this crime at any time, so let’s be grateful for this opportunity and take it.
Not to be food
If we could talk to animals, they would be amazed if we spend zero percent of our lives worrying about being eaten. Constantly being hunted is an essential aspect of life for virtually every animal on Earth except us, and so was it for us. No longer worrying about the lions tearing our children to shreds can perhaps take some zest out of the human experience. But on the net, it seems like a big improvement.
If you read fantasy books as a kid, you might have been disappointed growing up to find that the world isn’t full of dragons in underground lairs sitting on huge golden treasures. But giant warehouses of wealth exist: they are called libraries.
This is not a metaphor or ploy to flatter The Intercept’s heavy librarian readership. The foundation of all societal wealth does not lie in individuals like Elon Musk, which is clear from the fact that he spends most of his time messing around on Twitter. Rather, it is the knowledge, laboriously generated over the centuries, of how to manipulate physical reality and civilization in the best order. It’s everyone’s common heritage, it’s found in libraries, and dragon librarians love it when you mine as much wealth as possible.
Infections from minor injuries were constantly killing people, and no power could protect you. President Calvin Coolidge’s son suffered a blister in his toe in 1924 after playing tennis on the White House courts without socks on. A week later he died of sepsis.
The difference between yesterday and today became apparent to me recently when I had an infected nail on my thumb, which swelled alarmingly. But a prescription for antibiotics, and I no longer have to worry about my imminent demise. The instructions warn “DO NOT GO FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER TAKING THIS MEDICATION”, and also that you may have bulky diarrhea months later, but I agree with this compromise.
We should especially appreciate antibiotics at this time because we have not understood their miraculous nature, and through overuse their effectiveness is precipitously diminishing. Famous writer Tom Wolfe published a book in 2016 denying the reality of evolution, then died soon after from an infection caused by bacteria that had evolved to become resistant to antibiotics. It’s awful, but you have to admit it’s also a a little funny.
Sexy time of all kinds
If you are ever confused by human behavior, remember that we are the descendants of thousands of generations of the most excited apes in history. This has great explanatory power in almost all situations.
American culture was terrified of this and tried, like King Canute, to order the horny tide not to enter. Now we seem to be getting more relaxed about it, accepting that as long as all parties agree to it, all people get up to is good. This can only be positive in the long run – and perhaps even the only thing that can prevent a global thermonuclear war.
Mites on your face
Almost everyone has a lot of tiny, translucent mites that live on their face. They nestle in your hair follicles and eat the oil that your skin gives off. But you were not born with them; most people recover them from close contact with their parents. The touching advantage here is that when your grandparents and parents die, you can see the distant descendants of their mites living on your face, right now.
Dean Baker is an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank in Washington, DC. If you don’t know it, you are absolutely missing something. He would be one of America’s greatest public intellectuals, if we cared about things like the intellect or the public.
Baker did an incredible job preventing the privatization of Social Security 20 years ago. He was also one of the few economists to warn of the real estate bubble that caused the 2008 economic collapse. Most importantly, he constantly imagines creative ways to use the tools of economics and the economy. rationality to build a better world for all. Given how few other economists do, it might as well be illegal.
If you want to learn more about Baker’s point of view, this interview – with someone who describes him as “one of the world’s most important economists” – is a good place to start.
It sounds made up, but in 1931 Thomas Edison apparently told friends this about the future: âI had put my money on the sun and solar power. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until the oil and coal run out before we tackle this. “
The recent fall in the cost of solar power is absolutely staggering and exciting. If global warming destroys human civilization, it will at least be because we have chosen destruction, rather than because a zero carbon civilization is technologically impossible.
Economic opportunities for us, grandchildren of Keynes
The great economist John Maynard Keynes wrote an in-depth article in 1930 entitled âEconomic Possibilities for Our Grandchildrenâ. In it, he predicted that 100 years from now, humanity’s challenge since we arrived at the scene – that is, the brutal struggle to physically survive – would be resolved.
At this point, said Keynes, “man will be faced with his real and continuing problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic worries, how to occupy the hobbies, which science and compound interest will have earned him, to live wisely and pleasantly and well.
Just in time, the United States is reaching this point. We are more than wealthy enough to provide food, shelter and medical care for absolutely everyone. We also clearly have enough television and podcasts. Indeed, we may have to invent artificial intelligence just so that something can consume them all.
The question now is whether we are wise enough to give everyone the chance to face Keynes’ “enduring problem” and the tools to deal with it. Maybe or maybe not, but we’re about to find out.
Little peer pressure on cranberries
Thank goodness we are only supposed to eat this terrible swamp fruit once a year.
â¦ And more
Once you start thinking about gratitude, it’s hard to stop seeing things you’re grateful for. Frankly, you should be thankful that this article is not 10 times as long. If you have anything you are especially grateful for today, please visit me on Twitter, where I would like to share your thoughts with the (mixed) blessing of the Internet.