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Monday, 02 December 2019 22:03
Special to the Daily Planet

Myth [n. miTH] A widely held but false belief or idea: legend, tale, fantasy....



The problem

Though we live in the age of information, we most assuredly do not live in the age of truth.

In today’s America, truth-seekers are vastly outnumbered by comfort seekers. The first group seeks facts that help them stay grounded in reality. The latter seeks reassurance that aids their need for security.  

With permission, today’s mission is to speak to the first group. If the primary reading agenda is to avoid funny tummy feelings, skip this one.


Myths are not designed for your protection

 If man is good at anything, it’s the creation of emotional comfort food masked as fact. There are certain things we want to believe simply because it makes us feel better.

That misguided enterprise explains the pleasant absurdity of childhood fantasy books. Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have endured because they were beautifully written and willfully devoted to life as make-believe.

For a view into how far we can stretch the bounds of reason, consider that Snow White was celebrated for meeting the needs of seven men at one time. She did so without a hair out of place, an ounce of whining, or a hint of PMS. Clearly, either the writers of that day recognized our flexibility on realism or the female gender has drastically shifted priorities.

Mind if we bank on the former and do a little myth-busting with today’s generation of fantasy spreaders? To the extent they keep our head in the clouds and feet off the ground, they’re a dangerous bunch.  

There’s no such thing as happy ever after

 One of the fantasies modern liberals bank on is the notion we could be happy if other people would just do what they should. Black people could be happy. Women could be happy. Non-heterosexual people could be happy. And, most especially, liberal-progressive-socialists could be happy – and it could be an ever after kind of happiness.

But it wouldn’t. Happiness is an internal thing and much too complex and powerful to be satisfied by fantasy. External solutions are never a replacement for internal dedications. People who win the lottery are typically only temporarily fulfilled by that success and reliably find their old miseries replaced with new ones.

If happiness is the destination, then work is the vehicle – and not somebody else’s work. The best government, benefactors, enablers or other rescuers can provide is the temporary lift of a booster rocket. Once that vehicle runs out of fuel, it becomes a rock.

The left sells the idea that their rocket has a magic fuel that will never run out. That’s a seductive promise, and a host of Americans go to the poles simply to cast their affirmation for the heroes who sell this lie. 


People who go to war come back crazy

Actually, the opposite is true, but apparently a lot of people who go to war do come back greedy. Almost half of Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s veterans are seeking disability compensation. We’ve gone from largely ignoring the vets to turning military service into a benefit lottery. With respect to those who’ve earned their disability the hard and real way, that approach mocks everything that serving one’s country is about.

Keep in mind two things when you look at long lines at the disability table. One – less than 10 percent of vets see combat. Two – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is firmly anchored to one thing – direct exposure to blood, death and violence. Any participation in war can create fear, confusion, loss of confidence, sadness  and other transient adjustment issues. But to have real trauma you’ve got to be exposed to real trauma.

So where are all these PTSD cases coming from? We’ve gotten so obsessed with PTSD that we’re guilty of turning warriors into professional powerless victims dependent on drugs, disability checks and a permanent “get out of life free” card.

No one goes through life without a measure of personal hardship in the form of abuse, neglect, hardship, illness, rejection, betrayal, or failure. No one. We are all expected to take those experiences and turn them into motivation for growth and the pursuit of something better.

In truth, most vets come back from combat zones smarter, stronger and more realistic than peers who take an easier path. That service should be rewarded, not herded into the local V.A. disability stockyard for dismemberment.

It’s called Post Traumatic Maturity Syndrome. Though they may choose to forget it, most vets have it or can learn how to get it.

Addiction as a disease Is disastrous thinking

Yes, we are actively engaged in a drug war. Per the casualty figures, we should be. Unfortunately, most Americans are running from the fight.

Nothing demonstrates our drugs-are-us folly better than the unconscionable embrace of the time worn and long-ago discredited concept of addiction as a disease.

 To the extent that some people are more susceptible to the attractions of drugs and alcohol no more validates the disease model than the fact overweight people are attracted to fast food, kids are attracted to candy, or men are attracted to women.

Way, way before we become addicted comes a step-off point that’s at the root of every single namable addiction – making the personal choice to do something dumb, illegal, or known to be harmful.

Today’s politicians, liberal journalists, clinicians and cavalry of enablers are united in pushing the disease model of addiction because (1) they want to remove the stigma of addiction and (2) it gives them a way to explain addiction without having to assign anyone responsibility. That’s bad mojo. Effective drug intervention commands the opposite.  

There should be great shame assigned to those who make choices that ultimately turn them into social predators on their way to a slab in a morgue. Being ashamed of foolish choices is better than being dead.

Then there’s that responsibility thing. No helping equation that removes personal accountability has a chance. That’s a big reason we’re so lousy at treating addicts, have so many street zombies, and continue to suffer the loss of so many of our children.

In truth, we’re not going to win with today’s current crop of addicts. We should try to help, but it’s in intercepting new inductees we find our strongest potential for success.

That takes a focus on choice and responsibility, not victimization and entitlement. Our current approach to drunk drivers offers a functional example. As the penalties go up, the drinking and driving goes down.

Addiction lore is killing as many people as Mexico’s cartels. That’s what happens when we skip reality for comforting mythology.

Socialism works

 Watching the Democrat debates is like attending a “Star Trek” convention. Everyone there is attempting to dodge the real world by boldly going where no man has gone before.

Their favored illusionary construct is the governance model called socialism.

Though liberals claim they’re not socialists because they don’t want “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole,” that is precisely what modern liberalism is all about. They forget to tell us that “owned and regulated by the community as a whole” is fully achievable by government mandated taxation policies, laws, regulations, and rules. That’s the bread and butter of the Democratic Party.

Not surprisingly, in the pursuit of power, they avoid the fact socialism doesn’t work. Even when it temporarily does, it’s because the country is small and culturally unified (Norway), the country is rich in something people want (Venezuela), or the country is willing to take a “fly now – pay later” approach to funding the fantasy (America).

Socialism is one thing and one thing only – a made-up approach to governance designed to seduce voter loyalty. It doesn’t work because people are inherently self-serving and inevitably abuse the control, defused accountability, and mediocrity central to everything socialism is about.

Today’s crop of Democrats should be ashamed of selling our young people a fabrication that will one day steal their version of the American Dream and leave them with a broken heart or worse.


Fantasy living makes one an easy target

For the same reason a good movie, fiction novel, or Dollywood are not bad things, a little time out from reality is not a bad thing.

But it remains that we don’t live in a movie, book or Dollywood. We live on a dynamic planet governed by forces of evil and nature that are actively working to harm or kill us. Dollywood’s roller coasters won’t fling us to our doom. Naïve political elitists and Mother Earth most surely will.

Those wishing to delay their demise are thus advised to put on their thinking cap over their comfort slippers. That one can do otherwise and escape harm is the ultimate myth....

Next month – We’ll tackle more myths, including the one suggesting women are on a positive trajectory toward equality.

Carl Mumpower is a psychologist and former Asheville city council member. He can be reached at






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