(NOTE: The following is not meant to bash other countries. It is simply demonstrating that the whole world has problems and there is no magical realm where everything is hunky-dory. There are certain people in the United States, both left and right-wing, who have no idea what is going on outside their borders, including the problems facing other countries at this current time. I can only hope that this will slap them into reality.)
There is a lot of bullshit spread around social media via memes. I see it on both the left and the right. The right believes in conspiracy theories, evil satanic enemies, and religious dogma. The left, in the meantime, always seems to believe there is a fantastical utopia on the other side of the fence. There is enough coverage of the stupidity that is Q-Anon and Trump worship. Today I’d like to discuss the myths believed by the extreme left, at least as far as social media memes are concerned.
Myth 1- Atheist societies are never oppressive.
Clearly the authors of these memes have never studied recent history. Need I go into the often violent religious oppression of countries behind the Iron Curtain during Stalinist Communism? Or maybe we can just discuss modern day China, where censorship revolves around atheism and you are not allowed to watch any media involving time travel or ghosts. But go ahead and believe there is no oppression related to atheism if you wish.
Myth 2- There is no gun violence in Britain because guns are banned.
First of all, guns are not banned in Britain. There are hunters and gun collectors in the UK. The only difference between Britain and the United States is more stringent gun control and more difficulty with obtaining a license. Furthermore, if there was no gun violence in the UK, there would be no need for the public service announcement where the mother shoots her son in the head. There is gun violence in the UK, just not the mass shootings that occur here in the United States.
Myth 3- There are no conservative extremists in Canada.
It doesn’t take much research to shoot down this myth, which stems from a hope for a utopian dream world on the other side of the border. There are, in fact, some really nasty conservatives in Canada, those stricken with the same degree of insanity as America’s Trumpers. In fact, there are Trump fans in Canada who were cheering him on during his presidency. They are burning down 5G towers around Toronto because of conspiracy theories concerning the technology. A conservative extremist climate change denier ruined a whole Facebook group I was a part of and he was not American, either.
Myth 4- Racism is just an American thing.
Um, no! My mother ran into a British couple at a temple in Asia who were calling all the people around them “monkeys” and laughing. Getting back to Canada, we have the police departments who ignore violent crimes against indigenous women, leading to phenomena such as the Highway of Tears. In Australia, where Asian hate is epidemic, a woman on a bus harassed a Chinese rider while the other passengers looked on and some laughed. And don’t get me started on the civil war and ethnic cleansing that took place in Rwanda. The fact of the matter is that racism is everywhere, and it’s disgusting.
Myth 5- Only the United States was selfish about coronavirus.
Um, need I mention the name of a certain British prime minister and members of parliament who held big parties in the middle of Covid restrictions? Then, of course, we have the big anti-mask street protests that took place in Canada (among those conservatives who supposedly don’t exist). And, back at the beginning of the pandemic, we have the Italian troublemakers who ignored Covid protocols because they didn’t want to give up their coffeeshop hang-outs. One of the only countries who didn’t show some display of selfishness during the pandemic was New Zealand, where, surprise, it was actually managed successfully.
Myth 6- People are financially better off in other countries.
Yes, this is true in some countries, but not the ones mentioned in the memes. The United Kingdom is dealing with the same problems with inflation, housing issues, and job losses that we are seeing here in the United States. In Australia, the cost of housing has grown so high that most Millennials can’t afford to buy a house. New Zealand is likely to lose their social security benefits by the time Gen-X reaches retirement age. It’s not just bad here in the United States.
Myth 7- Only Americans can be idiots.
No… Just no. There are idiots all over the world. Go on YouTube and see the Canadian youth who can’t pronounce their way out of a paper bag. Or the terrible grammar of British and Australian narrators. Then there are the Brits on social media who boast that they don’t care what’s going on in other countries and say that Americans are weird for doing so. Don’t even get me started on the foreign tourists who do such stupid things with the wildlife in American national parks. That’s right, humans are stupid. And they are stupid all over the world, including the United States.
Myth 8- Abolishing the police is better than reforming them.
I’ve also seen memes that say that abolishing the police and replacing them with citizen committees will put a stop to racism. Um, so non-cops are never racist? Have you been to the South and heard the average person speak? As for the abolishing the police in general, someone tried this in a police free zone in Seattle. Guess what? Gangs took over and started threatening people for protection money. They went from one corruption to another. It’s human nature to be tyrannical assholes, especially in lawless situations. Believe in your fantasy society all you want. It doesn’t work!
Myth 9- In Japan…
I’ve been hearing since the 1990s how Japan’s education is some fantastical thing that no one else in the world can beat. Apparently in Japan kids in the second grade are doing calculus and after school they all go to another school, and they never take school breaks. First of all, Japanese children do have term breaks and a lot of companies pay for vacations for their workers, so you would imagine said workers want to take their children with them. Secondly, you are thinking of cram school, and that only happens in certain grades before entrance exams. As for those exams, you only get one chance and if you have a bad day you are screwed for life, something most of these meme posters seem to know nothing about. And no, second graders are not learning calculus. Geesh!
Myth 10- Green energy causes no environmental damage.
Some are better than others, but there is no form of energy that isn’t without consequences, some of them serious and unacceptable. Some consider nuclear energy green, but it uses a great deal of water and creates nuclear waste. Wind farms kill raptors and bats and use vast amounts of land, tearing into delicate ecosystems if not placed carefully. Then there is flash steam solar, which not only mines fossil water sources in the desert, it also uses toxic chemical coolants. Geothermal power is also a water hog, runs the risk of contaminating water tables, and creates toxic waste. About the only form of green energy that doesn’t cause many environmental consequences is photovoltaic solar built into an urban landscape, and even then you want to watch what materials you are using.
Look, I get it. Life can suck sometimes. It’s uncertain and there are some scary parts to it. We could talk all day about economic woes, climate change, healthcare problems, and education pitfalls. There are maniacs running for political office. Mass shootings plague our schools and public places. That being said, we are not helping anything by living in fantasy worlds and pretending that everything is alright. The whole world has problems right now, serious ones, and until we acknowledge said problems, we will never find solutions to them. There is no such thing as a utopian wonderworld, and there never will be, but we can do something to fix the issues we have today if we face them head-on.