Goodman’s Gamble

Mayor Goodman is quite courageous. In effect, she is placing her town’s population of casino workers, hotel workers, prostitutes and other sex workers, bartenders, and thousands of others who are inside private, mutually exclusive buildings owned by conglomerates that use “gaming and entertainment” as catch-words for “gambling.”

My son, Chris, and I were discussing the sociological differences in cultures, especially between populations in the United States and China. We had both taken college courses in that subject, and I pointed out that the last thirty years had seen a drastic shift in educational priorities to the “scientific” side of knowledge, the common acronym being STEM.(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). As a result many former Humanities subjects, especially ones like Sociology, have been relegated to the “back burner” on the stove of academia.

Back to Mayor Goodman. I doubt she ever took a good class in the study of different cultures and their social, ethnic, religious and other habits. If she had, she would realize that the scientifically common denominators between the populations of China and the United States are close contact of sentient beings and economic and social status.

The People’s Republic of China (i.e., the Communist Party) and the Executive, Judicial and Congressional members of the ruling government in the United States (i.e. the Federal and State Federations) rule their populations according to the population’s cultural “value systems.” If these leaders are not able to influence these underlying value systems, then distrust, rebellion and (yes) revolution can take place.

Returning to Mayor Goodman. She realizes that her town’s culture is run by the gambling corporations (as opposed to the gambling Mafia, which used to literally run Las Vegas). Therefore, taking a chance is probably not a very big risk to people living in that culture of gambling and gamblers. After all, these conglomerates are not stupid. They know most of the people dying in this pandemic have a high risk of dying in the first place. These folks have pre-existing conditions that not only set them up for disaster with this novel virus, but they also place them at risk for being able to get any major health care at all, in many of the plans offered by the insurance companies that run the show in the United States.

The largest conglomerate of these health care institutions is the one I happen to belong with, a Health “Maintenance Organization” called Kaiser Permanente. Thus, she reasons, if people want to risk coming to Las Vegas to “party,” then they should heed the old corporate legal maxim, “let the buyer (or gambler) beware.” This looks like a pretty good wager to Mayor Goodman, as the risk (as it usually is in Vegas) will be on the public and not on the “house.”

Aha! There is the sociological rub. From the moment of its inception, the culture of the United States of America has been one of risk and aversion to that same risk. Do we risk making friends with these aborigine natives who have lived here thousands of years before we came to their land? Do we learn their culture and their strange pact with nature? No. Not so much. These people are too slow. They don’t expect much in the way of “progressive and profitable” advancements. They seem to be uncivilized and too worshipful of nature, not wanting to harm it or control it the way we understand our biblical scriptures to mean. So, we conquer these peoples and force them to submit to our culture of “Manifest Destiny.” By the way, Mayor Goodman would like that cultural bias of Manifest Destiny, as it basically means the Capitalist’s definition of the Golden Rule: “Them’s with the Gold Makes the Rules.”

And, the essence of what’s happening all over the planet is the same when you factor in the sociological problem of poverty and the class divide: poor folks are forced by the gamblers to live close together in order to survive. They must “rely on family” rather than “subjugate and control it” the way the wealthy meritocracy does. It’s that simple. Viruses spread fast in communities that are packed together to survive. That’s why isolation and distancing are the scientific “keys” to stopping this pandemic, and this is where the ruling governments all become Las Vegas gamblers in this game of paradoxical pantomime of life and death.

Do we set-up our sociological experiment to risk a chance that our herd will immune itself by using Nature’s law of “survival of the fittest,” whereby those healthy members of the herd gradually become immune from the virus in stages (always at risk of death, but, hey, that’s what life’s about, isn’t it?). Or, do they lie about their statistics (China) and hope nobody’s going to notice too soon? Or, do we allow individual owners of businesses decide what’s safe for those who want to “play” at their gaming tables of chance?

Of course, the “X Factor” in this rather frightening sociological problem is that most of the STEM folks tell us we, as a PLANET, if we don’t slow down our “Manifest Destinies,” whether they be Capitalism or Communism, are going to be shaken off the Earth like so many fleas on rats leaving the collective ship named the PLAGUE OF HUMAN IGNORANCE.

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Jim Musgrave

Owner/Publisher/Author at EMRE Publishing, LLC, San Diego. Former professor at Caltech (English and Project Mangement). Developer of the Embellisher (TM) ePub3.