Leftists Suffer from the 'Streetlight Effect'
The self-righteous leftists among us suffer from the streetlight effect, "a type of observational bias that occurs when people only search for something where it is easiest to look." This refers to an old joke:
A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, "this is where the light is."
Consider the self-styled environmentalists in the Biden administration successfully strangling the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. If they looked beyond the streetlight, they might notice that China was giving permits for two new coal plants a week, and that [in 2022] "the coal power capacity starting construction in China was six times as large as that in all of the rest of the world combined."
Another fashionable belief is "systemic racism", the idea that racism is structurally built into our society. The streetlight here is pointing at whites in America, and telling them to cleanse themselves of racism, while there are problems much worse than racism out of sight of the light. Presumably the diversity consultants and Woke authors don't know or don't care about the recent "Great African War", which began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1998 and eventually got fighters from all over Africa involved. "The International Rescue Committee estimates that the war and its aftermath caused 5.4 million deaths."
Do you remember any demonstrations for the non-fashionable idea of getting involved in an African war? I don't.
Whatever ingredients make for a fashionable cause, the idea of fighting in the rain forest of the Congo does not. The idea of saving the planet, just by changing to renewables and haranguing the oil companies, does make for a fashionable cause.
Talking of environmentalists and Africa, have our advocates of green energy expressed any concern about the following?
Global cobalt demand ... [has] exploded with the arrival of electric vehicles and now is skyrocketing in tandem with government EV mandates and subsidies. ... Cobalt mining involves unimaginable horrors. "Cobalt Red", by Nottingham University associate professor of modern slavery Siddharth Kara, exposes the excruciating realities that Stop Oil and Net Zero campaigners strive to keep buried – along with the bodies of parents and children killed in cave-ins or dying slowly and painfully after being maimed or poisoned in cobalt mines.
Professor Kara took multiple trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo, risking his health and life to document conditions for desperate Africans in a region that holds 72% of the world's known supplies of cobalt. He estimates that 70% of this cobalt (half the world's entire supply) involves some measure of child labor, while much of the rest involves near-slave labor.
Maybe someone should glue himself to the U.S. Capitol building in protest! On second thought, not the Capitol building.
What's wrong with a cause being "fashionable"?
Laura Seay wrote this two years ago in the Washington Post:
In April 2014, members of the armed group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 seniors at the Chibok Government Secondary School for Girls in northeast Nigeria. Within weeks, their plight had become a hashtag, growing from a Twitter movement initiated by a Nigerian activist to thousands of Facebook posts, to pop stars, actors, rappers and the first lady of the United States tweeting to mobilize their followers to demand their safe return.
In response, the United States and several European governments mobilized resources to assist in the search. But it would be more than three years before many of the schoolgirls — now young women — were freed from captivity in a negotiated settlement with paid ransom. Seven years later, 112 others remain missing. ...
The specifics ... captives recorded, of hunger, abuse, beatings and other maltreatment are extraordinarily detailed — and frightening ... [but] the Chibok campaign did little to help victims of other kidnappings in the region, whose situations didn't show up on international radar. What does it say about our society that our attention span is so short? After all, there is virtually no movement today to find the rest of the Chibok girls, most of whom were married off to Boko Haram fighters to bear children and live difficult lives in the forest. Why don't we, as a society, still care?
Of course, we could argue that there are so many things in the world we can't do anything about, and at least there was an effort. But paying ransom has not stopped Boko Haram, and the story gets forgotten, and fashions change.
Then there is "Israel Apartheid Week," which is widespread over campuses. and not just in the United States. Whatever you think of that particular issue, how many American protesters have you seen protesting the following?
Hamzeh al-Masri, a Palestinian political activist, appealed to human rights organizations on August 1:
We, the people of Gaza, ask you to look into the crimes of the Hamas organization... and mention those crimes. We call on you to protect us from this organization that does not stop kidnapping and torturing citizens inside Gaza.... We call upon you once again to protect us and rescue us from the Hamas organization as soon as possible.
It seems morality is selective.
Nor will you see the protestors for Palestine utter a peep about the plight of the Muslim Uyghurs, a people who have been rounded up, put into camps, and subjected to all sorts of horrors by the Chinese, who are settling their area with non-Muslims:
There was a controversial remark by a co-owner of NBA's Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya. He said,
"Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs, okay. You bring it up because you really care, and I think it's nice that you really care, the rest of us don't care, I'm just telling you a very hard, ugly truth." ...
Palihapitiya said the United States should "take care of our own backyard" before pointing the finger at other countries, citing ongoing issues in criminal justice. He went on to describe human rights on a global scale as a "luxury belief."
Chamath may sound cruel, but in fact, how many of us have thought of any of the issues I've mentioned in the past year? How many of us even know about them? It is easy for your local campus leftist to parade for all the woke causes, which generally are directed at the rest of us. But it is hard to take them seriously when so much occurs outside their worldview.
Image via Pixabay.