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Captain Trump — Making flying Great Again

In trying to find a way to explain that one can be concerned about the state of the nation, from a completely non-partisan position, Sam Harris offered an analogy.

Personally, from what I’ve observed, I think the analogy is a bit unfair to Trump, but I do think it nails the point that in the middle of a pandemic and the greatest economic shutdown in history, one should be able to express concern about leadership without accusation of simply being a shill for the other side:

The Analogy:

Imagine you’re on an airplane, cruising along at 30,000 feet, and at some point on the descent, you see the pilot come stumbling out of the cockpit. He appears just visibly drunk, or insane. Let’s say he gropes one of the attendants.

He gets on the PA system and begins bragging about how rich he is. And maybe he starts castigating the passengers for having insulted him. He might say, “If you want me to land this plane, you have to be nicer to me.” — i.e. something completely out of keeping with the role and responsibility he has to safeguard the lives of the people on that plane.

Then he could launch into a conspiracy theory about how the airline is actually run by a shadowy group of maintenance workers, who’ve been undermining him. He thinks they’ve been monkeying with the instruments in the cockpit.

And maybe he fires the co-pilot, and sends him to the back of the plane, telling him not to move.

He could do a dozen other things like that, in the span of an hour, that prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that this isn’t a “normal” situation. This is not a normal pilot.

So when it comes time to land this plane, the danger has been horribly magnified. And — as a passenger — you’re simply worried about this.

Now, imagine worrying about this out loud, and then noticing there are people on this plane that are actually inspired by this pilot’s antics, and goading him on.

He’s now threatening to punch some old woman in the face, and people are yelling he should do it.

And then people are turning to you, as you worry about this out loud, and accuse you of having “pilot derangement syndrome”, and that you should stop worrying and just enjoy the flight, and that Captain Trump is making flying great again.

So the question is: How much of your concern about dying in a plane crash, is due to partisanship? It should be obvious that that’s not even a variable.

Published inSociety

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