Thursday, March 24, 2016

Living in a Fantasy World

Fantasy can be fun. Movies, books etc. that show life outside what we live on a daily basis entertain us. They are especially attractive to children who do not yet fully understand the world we live in. Who among us, when young, did not think that maybe we could learn to fly like Peter Pan or to use magic to get what we wanted?

That is normal for children. Adults however, if they want to live reasonable lives, must face reality. Tinker Bell will not sprinkle pixie dust on us, nor will we find any magic wand capable of creating the food or anything else we want. As we grow up, we should learn that we get what we need by understanding reality and working with it, not by trying to change that reality – or worse, by pretending that reality is different from what it really is.

Sadly, many “adults” today do not seem to understand those simple facts, and their fantasies do more than their share of damage. We have just seen this in Belgium as Islamic fanatics murdered people at the airport and a metro station. Much of Europe has swallowed the line that, if only treated kindly, those fanatics will become good, law-abiding people. That is an attractive fantasy, but reality refuses to go along. If those European rulers were to look at the record they would see that the fanatics have never changed their goals nor their willingness to use violence to achieve those goals. Their pixie dust is an illusion. Those fanatics believe that they have a divine mandate to impose Sharia law on the world, and they are willing to die to reach that goal. No amount of kind welcoming will change that.

Nor is our U.S. president immune to such magical belief. He wants to admit Islamic “refugees” by the thousands, but offers no way to separate the dangerous potential terrorists from the real refugees. That kind of magical thinking gets people killed.

But why do we have leaders living in Fantasyland? In a democratic system there is an obvious reason: too many voters live in Fantasyland, voters who think government has some magical solution to all our problems. They fail to notice that:

Government has no magical source of goods or services to provide to the people. It only has what it takes from those people.

Government has no source of wisdom beyond that of ordinary people. Imperfect people select government functionaries from among the imperfect people actually available in this imperfect world.

Government has no greater integrity than that of those imperfect people who select other imperfect people to hold power.

Voters must think reality, not fantasy. Our security, our economy, and our freedom depend on it. We must reject the pie in the sky fantasy that many politicians promise. Those promises may sound attractive, but the real world rejects them.

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