Exception, not the Rule

Exception, not the Rule

There are two ways in which we are essentially helpless.  We don't get to choose our parents, and we don't get to choose our time to live in.  All we know is now, and now, by any measure of quality of life, is pretty good.

Which makes it all the more necessary to say is that the quality of life available to me, and probably to you, today, is the exception, not the rule.  

For instance, participatory democracy in the span of human history, has been the exception, not the rule.  More common forms of government have been oppressive, intolerant, and authoritarian, with the spoils of life enjoyed by far fewer than those who have Netflix accounts today.

The justice system and legal codes of today are the exception, not the rule throughout human history.  More common would be an entire lack of anything even approaching justice or even shadows of fairness based on evidence or legal consistency.

Our lack of pervasive hunger is the exception, not the rule.  Throughout history, far fewer people have been able to eat as regularly as I do, and when they have eaten, they've consumed far fewer calories of poorer nutrition.

The fact that we live in a developed country where is is indoor plumbing and consistent access to electricity is the exception, not the rule.  To anyone who enjoys the beauty of camping, imagine the squatting over a hole as your ancestors did for millennia.

Average life expectancy worldwide is about 72, and much higher in the US.  Track that back a thousand years to a less developed world, and life expectancy drops to 30.   Take away all the comforts, medications, technologies, and life-extending procedures of today, and suddenly many of your friends and colleague pass away before you would have had your quarter-life crisis.  

That gays and lesbians are publicly out in society and active in the community as couples and as individuals is the exception, not the rule.

All the comforts that I know today, from artisinal breweries, to a day-care system, not to mention addictive social media, these are all exceptions to the long duration of human history.  Even the word processing program I'm using to type this essay, Microsoft Word, again, the exception, not the rule.  What would the world be like without supermarkets where I can buy any food item instantly and affordably.  This is an exception, not the rule.

Transportation, utilities, banks, motor vehicles, air travel, golf clubs, I could go on.  All exceptions, not the rule.  We continue to move forward as a society because of access to cheap energy.  We fight for an America that is free from fascism because we have the time and leisure to do so.  If we were in the fields or in the factory all day, who would be left to fight against Trump?  We can see how China uses oppression, surveillance, and an authoritarian penal system to quash dissent and ensure regulation of society.  If we hold our ideals near, are we so comfortable that we have forgotten the past when life's challenges went well beyond our "first-world problems"?

If you care about protecting freedom, teach your children about your parents, and your parents' parents, and the struggles that they endured.  Then wake up with a fighting spirit and do something revolutionary every day.  I'm not going to tell you what that is.  It could be a small act of kindness for which there is no gratitude and no reward. But you need to define that for yourself.

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