The Fallacy of “Special Problems”

The wokes tend to see certain social problems as “special problems.” It’s based on the idea that certain problems deserve more attention than others. For example, poverty in a slum town in a South American country, or hunger in a certain part of Africa. Or, as some woke Filipinos desire, many people in this country getting killed from drug war-related events, and calling this as a reason to overthrow government – which is stupid. Other “special problems” are climate change, which Greta Thunberg infamously had a tantrum on, or the Australian wildfires. They want to call other people to help on these, and those who don’t help, they attack as “evil people.”

I disagree with that, of course. Attacking other people is nothing more than fake moralization. Really, if someone is not with you on wanting to “save the world,” why attack or shame them? Often, the answer is that such an attacker is a troll or shill.

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It’s also because there’s this false value going around, that if you “rebuke” or “call out” someone doing something “not good,” you get brownie points. The problem is that you can make a mistaken “call out,” mistaking something good as bad. Or, something is bad to you, and you want to convince others to change their opinion and agree with you, don’t expect instant success, especially if you’re trying to force people (like convincing someone that Duterte is a tyrant – sorry, that’s not a universal truth, if truth at all).

The people who coin “special problems” are likely the ones who are so comfortable and spoiled in their modern society, that when they see others in a “less fortunate state,” they become alarmed or offended that they want to do something. That sounds good at first. But some end up not knowing what to do. They might send money carelessly, dictate interference in that “special problem” place, or, as stated above, attack someone who they assume is related to it. Or they “like” or share things on social media, assuming it will help. And the results are either floppy or backfire.

The fallacy that such people hold on to is that their way of life is the standard for all. So when they see others in a “lower” state of life (even if it is not really lower), they will try to impose their lifestyle (and their woke values) on those people. But that is arrogance and stupidity. Imposing your “modern lifestyle” does not guarantee improvement in the lives of people. Can the other people maintain the western lifestyle imposed on them? Is it economically viable for them? Do they agree with the different values of the lifestyle? It is more complex than most think.

People who identify “special problems” also tend to think of themselves as special. It’s intellectual arrogance. Certain “intellectuals” identify a “special problem,” and these “intellectuals” want everyone to follow their way. They end up being dictators. So they try to attack others, trying to make it look like they’re heroes, but end up being revealed as trolls. Such is the case of Raissa Robles.

One other obvious issue is that “special problems” imply special treatment, with the risk of taking attention off other problems, such as insurgencies, crime (especially drug-related crime) and freeloading.

This view also tends to be spurred by childish idealism, which is great for noticing problems. It’s easier to notice something when you’re emotionally triggered. But solutions require a more sober, less emotional, reason-driven approach. For example, on Australian wildfires, a woke person may call, “let’s get together and put out the wildfires!” But seriously, no one can do that.

Saying problems are not special does not mean opposing any solution. That is the strawman that troublemakers will accuse me of. They are all still problems that need to be solved. The question here is how to approach solving them.

As I explained before, the nature of problems is local. In my piece on climate change and environmental concerns, I said the problem of trash is best solved by the locals, instead of a group from another country dictating them what to do. Even if some “international” efforts have good ideas, imposing the solution is the worst way to implement it. You have to ask nicely and not force locals to do what you want.

The same goes for wanting to impose carbon tax on pollutants. That measure will likely create more problems than solutions since it is a broad brush-painting method that will ignore specific situations and conditions of different people.

Poverty, disease, hunger and many other problems have always been problems because they occur naturally. Racism is among the products of human efforts to survive. They are not special problems in any sense, and don’t have greater priority over others. Giving aid has been a popular method, but even after so much aid is given, the problems are still there. Efforts to provide aid in Somalia, for example, led to the infamous Black Hawk Down incident. Aid stopped, probably because there was a realization that it wouldn’t work in the long run.

Getting all people in the world to do the same thing, to move together at once to be on the same page, to unite on something – that sounds good on paper. But in practice, it is a pipe dream. People have natural differences that they can’t compromise, because they need these differences. People don’t always need to move together, sometimes, they need to move differently, because that is what works for them. And think of it this way: if someone wants to to impose their ideas on the whole world, whether on peace or beauty or anything, aren’t they becoming a dictator? Someone calls for unity: whose kind of unity, yours?

The solution to “special problems,” or any problem you might discuss, is what I’ve been saying: helping yourself is still the most important kind of help. That is what empowerment is all about. You empower people by helping them become self-sufficient, or able to solve their own problems. If efforts are still focused on giving hand-outs, they won’t solve the problems at all. Many problems are created by or kept unsolved by entitlement. The end of entitlement is perhaps the best solution for any problem, special or not.

6 Replies to “The Fallacy of “Special Problems””

  1. Solve your problems, do not fight them…because they will fight back in return. Problems of the world are very complicated…different people have different problems. People solve them in different ways; because you have to take inconsideration, their: cultures, religions, tribal beliefs, political and social conditions, etc…

    What maybe food to a person, may be poison to another person. What maybe “holy” to one person, maybe outright ” evil ” to another person.

    Take the example of the foreign aids, from rich countries given to poor countries. Foreign aids become addictive like “shabu”, if given for a long term. Foreign aids recipients become lazy, since they require people, not to do much work, to work for their basic necessities…

    With regards to climate change, the Planet Earth, is changing everyday…Climate change is cyclical. There had been times, that some lands, were once ocean floors; and some ocean floors are now islands and continents. Evolution is real…as some animals that were once roaming the Earth like the dinosaurs, are now extinct. You cannot prevent nature, from doing what it wants to do. Like the Taal Volcano erupting. However, the seas, forests and oceans, must be taken cared of by us. The Planet Earth is our home…it is insanity to destroy your own home.

    It is up to us to solve our problems, foreigners will never do it for us; because they will do it for their own self interests !

  2. “helping them become self-sufficient…”

    How do we honestly apply that when practically everything is based on competition?

    1. How do we honestly apply that when practically everything is based on competition?

      That is a common fallacy. Everyone is not uber-career oriented and not every businessman is so into the “best in the business” mentality.

  3. A good point. I doubt I can give a satisfactory answer. But for me, that’s where things like the humanities, arts, religion and others come in. They appeal to our humanity and balance our competition with our compassion. Key word is balance, so we try to be kind to people without letting them take advantage of others and not feed freeloaders.

    1. Yes, balance is key. Competition can bring the best or worst. And taking advantage only take place when the other side is weak.
      Why doubt if you can give a satisfactory answer?

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