Life in Fantasyland

America’s dangerous predilection for fiction over fact

The author, a Paradise resident, is a wildlife biologist with 50 years of field experience.

There are really only two elements in assessment of issues: fact and fantasy. Fact is defined as a thing that is known or proven to be true. Fantasy is the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

America has regressed into a country where a significant portion of the public advocates for the acceptance of fantasy over facts. This seems to be a result of the self-serving nature of a society that cannot be satisfied and has always been provided with more, often more than it actually needs for a satisfactory existence.

Therefore, it behooves those wanting to sustain their careers as elected officials to encourage members of the public that their fantasies are real and facts are just the devious results of “fake news” promoted by those who live in the dregs of society (and the media).

We have watched children irreversibly sickened by drinking water in Flint, Mich., but are told that there is no need for regulations prohibiting pollution, especially if it affects the bottom line. We suffered the loss of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., and 58 in Las Vegas, but are told that there is no need for regulation of firearms, even for mentally disturbed people.

We see the growing number of homeless and destitute people roaming our city streets and we are told that the problem is theirs and not society’s. And, when we are told it’s not an issue that Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused by nine women of sexual misconduct, we argue they likely are all liars and that Joseph wed Mary when she was a teenager anyway.

Another example of fantasy: A number of people support Donald Trump’s recent denial that the Access Hollywood tapes were anything but forgeries, even after hearing his previous apology (“I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them.”)

Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928-2014) wrote, “I … suspect that the real danger for faith lurks in its estrangement from rationality.” We are already there.