So we’ve been remiss around here. We need to get organized. We need to have a good chart of all the things that are worse than other things, so that we can talk only about the worse things and never about the less worse things.
This might turn out to be a fairly tall order, but never mind, I’m sure if we pull our chairs all the way up to the desk, and comb our hair, and wipe the grease from our chins, we will be able to do it.
Let’s see. Labor. Labor issues. Here in the US there are jobs that are badly paid, and jobs that are hazardous, and jobs that are both. Jobs that are both must be worse, so we can’t talk about jobs that are only one but not the other.
But then there are worse jobs in other places. So we have to stop talking about any US labor issues, since there are worse ones elsewhere. Bangladesh is apparently not good at making sure its factories don’t burn down with most of the workers trapped inside, so maybe we should talk only about Bangladesh? Is that the worst? Are there worse ones in Zimbabwe or Mali? I don’t know. I guess it takes some research to find out which places are the very worst so that you know which ones to ignore.
Disease. How do you rank diseases? Ebola is very bad. Cancer is very bad. Crohn’s disease is horrible. Severe respiratory diseases are horrible. Frankly I’m not sure I would know how to rank them. How do people get so confident about knowing how to rank things?
Poverty. There’s a lot of poverty in the US, way more than you would expect from a developed democracy. But there are a few other countries that have a higher proportion of their populations living in poverty. (Not as many as you might think though.) I guess for that one we can just look up the stats and choose whatever country is on the bottom. I think it might be Mali.
Mental illness. Which is worse, depression or anxiety? I don’t know. Both sound very difficult and bad, and I don’t know how to decide which is worse.
No, you know what, this isn’t going to work. I don’t know how to go about it. I can do it if it’s really obvious, like a small scratch is not as bad as an axe wound. But other than that? I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how and more to the point, I don’t feel as if it’s my business. I think it’s a really gruesome kind of officiousness to decide you get to grade and sort and rank other people’s miseries. That’s just not a responsibility I want to take on, because it’s not up to me.
I don’t understand why Richard Dawkins thinks it’s up to him. I really don’t. He explained it to Kimberly Winston as being because he is so passionate about the problems of women in places that are far from the UK and the US, but I don’t find that convincing, because so am I and so are many other people I know, but they don’t think that means problems of women more nearby don’t matter. I guess I’m afraid I think it’s just as simple as Dawkins finding American feminists irritating, for whatever reason, and then rationalizing that as his impassioned concern for women he’ll never have to sit next to on a stage or a bus.
Things are worse in Pakistan than they are in the UK. I wonder if Dawkins systematically ignores everything that happens in the UK.