Somebody posted on Facebook within the last few days that over the last year 20% of Americans have sought psychiatric treatment. I have no idea whether that statistic is accurate or not, but for my money it seems a tad low.
Besides the obvious psychiatric disorders involved in electing the politicians that now rule over us, there seems to be something more deeply ingrained and long-term afoot.
And no, I’m not talking about crowds tasering each other at Christmas shopping specials on Thanksgiving Day.That kind of stuff has been going on for centuries, only the tasers are new. I’m not talking about random shootings either. That stuff is been going on too.
I’ve traveled quite a bit in this last year and I’ve noticed that auto rental companies, for example, have gotten particularly aggressive about marketing optional insurance to drivers.
In recent trips to both Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Savannah, Georgia the counter folks at both Hertz and Budget worded things in a way to create an ominous tone about declining the optional insurance.
They both said something like: “If you decline the insurance you do realize that you’ll be responsible for the FULL amount of the vehicle if something happens… and that will go down on your permanent record as recorded by the NSA?”
They were very nice about it when the insurance was declined down in Savannah (Hertz), but in Fort Lauderdale (Budget), they were extremely and even inappropriately aggressive.
I was traveling with my son and a friend, and the friend casually nodded an assenting “uh huh” and wound up with another $20 a day charge on the bill.
That brought the bill about 50% higher then it would’ve been without the “optional” insurance.
When asked about that prior to signing the agreement, the person behind the counter said that we couldn’t change the agreement, that she’d already run the credit card and that it was impossible to opt out of the insurance.
When called on the B.S. insurance, the clerk practically threw a paper form at us saying that the paperwork was already filled out once and the clerk wasn’t going to do it again.
Regular readers won’t be surprised to discover that that’s when I really put on the charm.
Wholly through my logic and persuasion (eye roll), the comrade in question eventually yielded, and was, if not exactly agreeable, at least compliant with our requests.
My charm, I have to say, was so overwhelming that my son slowly sidled away from me until he found a place to sit about 100 yards away.
But I was left wondering: What the hell is wrong with people?
Besides the group decision made by car rental companies to engage in these very poor business practices, the employees are acting like unemployment is at 3.5% rather then a practical rate of over 20%.
I would expect behavior like this during boom times, but not during stagnation.
But then something else happened that made me think that perhaps there’s something deeper going on here.
On the way home from Thanksgiving I flew on Delta Airlines, which is a company that I very much admire and generally enjoy traveling. I booked seat 25B, which is an exit row and has the distinction of being the only seat on that side of the plane in row 25. In addition to the extra legroom, I get elbow room too. I would have nobody on either side of me in seat 25B. I paid a $59 premium for the seat and for another $16 I got a day’s worth of Internet service and was planning on writing for the three hour trip back to Denver.
Happy Thanksgiving I thought.
While boarding the plane however I was handed a new ticket and was told that my seat needed to be changed because they had a different aircraft flying from Atlanta to Denver.
But as I walked down the aisle there it was, in splendid isolation, old 25B all by itself. Sure enough this was a McDonnell Douglas MD–90 just as originally booked.
When asked about the discrepancy, the stewardess and the copilot made vague statements like “Well I know on the way BACK we have a different airplane.”
The problem was that I wasn’t talking about the flight on the way back to Atlanta. I was talking about the current flight that we were on now.
Similar irrelevant answers followed until I finally said: “Look, I understand. You double booked the seat and you had to kick somebody out of it. I get it. But instead of lying to me could you just apologize and leave it at that?”
The answer sadly was no, no they couldn’t.
I even have to apply online for a refund for the premium seat. They don’t refund it as a matter of course.
And I’m still confused as to why they felt it was a better business practice to keep up the lie they had been caught in then to confess the truth and apologize.
The easy answer of course is that’s what they see their betters doing in Washington Wall Street and state capitols near you.
So, I’m beginning to believe that the malaise in America now goes deeper than the body politic.
I’m beginning to believe that people are having trouble distinguishing between what is true and what is a lie. Today all you have to do is repeat a thing often enough and it becomes true. I understand, for example, that the Obamacare website has been fixed. And if they repeat it often enough it will become true at least in peoples’ imaginations
Winston Churchill once said that Hitler was possible because his country stopped being able to recognize evil.
I believe that Obamanomics, Euronomics and Abenomics is possible only because people can no longer recognize even their own lies. They can’t distinguish between what is true and the fantasy that exists only in their imagination.
And if you applied that definition to a single individual, there’s only one word you can use to describe it: psychosis.
Hopefully in 2014 over 50% of American voters can find help.