I was just taking the PATH train in New Jersey and was shocked at all the ads plastered across the train for New Jersey online poker. The signs trumpeted the players becoming millionaires.
This is just sad. Very few will become millionaires but how many will lose their money–probably money they don’t have–and waste hours of time chasing a big jackpot?
Like the periodic mega-jackpots run by the state lotteries. It leads to dreams–unrealistic fantasies really–that go unfulfilled but empty one’s wallet. I buy the tickets myself but I can afford to do so.
And I also know I am unlikely to win. I foolishly hope but within reason.
Worse than these delusion-inducing activities is the greater distraction that is the new pot legalization movement. Young and old people are embracing the notion that marijuana is a positive, harmless drug that is arguably better for people than alcohol or cigarettes.
Putting aside the fact that this is not true, what is most troubling to me is, having recently re-read Brave New World, that people want to escape reality by altering their mental status. When one is high, one puts others at risk. Maybe even worse, one loses the ability to make sound decisions.
You wonder why the government is suddenly going lax on drugs? A doped-up populace is docile. Like soma, the drug that helped the people in the Brave New World to cope with their bland existence and lack of freedom, stoned people are compliant, complacent and controllable.
They won’t question how almost 92 million people–1 in 4 Americans–are out of work while the unemployment rate keeps falling. Yes, we are told the unemployment rate is now 6.7%–keep in mind that 6% is considered full employment–yet so many people are out of work, unable to find work, discouraged from seeking work and underemployed.
A drugged population only cares about Kim Kardashian’s latest outfit or who wins the big game.
And where do they see Miss Kim’s latest fashions? On their smartphones and other gadgets.
Perhaps the worst thing and one of the best on some level is the internet and the ability to communicate. While our devices have up to now brought us freedom, in the long run I believe they will enslave us.
How many times have you seen people not look where they are going–walking or in a car–because they are texting?
How many times have you seen two people out together but worlds apart, each on his own phone?
How often have you experienced being lost in some pointless article online while you should be working or paying attention to your family?
This may seem harmless now but the point with all these things is that they distract us from what is going on in the world and engaging in it. Knowing what our politicians are doing and opposing that which is a threat to our liberty should be our focus.
Isn’t it more important to know how our leaders are spending our money than to know the latest sports score?
Isn’t it crucial to be educated about our history so we can pass it on to our children and they can pass it on to theirs?
Wouldn’t it be better if we spent as much time studying math and civics as we do with our eyes glued to the screen?
We have become so self-absorbed–hooked on drugs, gambling, entertainment and don’t get me started on the dangers of porn!–that nothing outside ourselves interests us anymore. Our freedom is being eroded–think the HHS mandate, gay marriage being forced on unwilling states, the NSA spying on us while we use our devices–and we don’t care. There is no march on Washington. There is barely an angry letter to the editor.
Our freedom does not have to be taken from us forcibly. We are letting it go to engage in what we believe is more important–feeding our narcissism.