Let me cut to the chase, social ‘crisis’ IS a multibillion dollar industry. What I want to talk about here is the business of’ social problems and ‘making a career out of’ them.
This is an important mental shift because, once you make something your career, you never actually want to solve the problem. Case by case? Well, maybe. But the overall problem itself? Oh, no. That would put you out of business. So instead you either make incremental improvements, or you make your goals real vague and nebulous — and by extension impossible to achieve.
And the sad thing is, we, the American public, don’t even bat an eye at this. If this were outright corruption, we’d raise holy hell about it, but it isn’t that obvious.
I have two terms I use: “Colorado River Syndrome” and “Sacred Cow Mode.” I came up with both to describe powerful dynamics that the public has been conditioned not to question and to be functionally blind about.
The Colorado River is the fourth largest river in the United States. Yet, because all along the way, everyone and his brother, takes out ‘just a little bit,’ by the time it reaches the Gulf of California, the mighty Colorado is a dry riverbed for most of the year. Cumulatively, all those little bits add up. This is a river where ocean-going ships used to be able to sail to Laughlin, Nevada. Dry. Nada. Zero. Zip.
I was speaking to someone whom I won’t name, and he told me I should get into lecturing on a particular hot button social topic. I told him the local organizations I’d contacted didn’t have a pot to piss in. I’d already approached them. And, while they all immediately saw the value of my information, they could not afford to pay for training for both front line workers and victims.
After that explanation, he told me I was approaching it from the wrong end. He informed me that the federal government alone had slated $4 billion a year through various acts of Congress to address this ‘problem.’
Ummm, how much?
I looked it up, and it was true. Then add state, county, municipal funding and charity drives … Welllllllll, you have a serious chunk of change dedicated to this ‘problem.’
With that kind of money, I had to ask, “WHY are these local, front line, programs running on shoe string budgets and almost entirely on volunteer labor?” More than that, why were the people who desperately needed these services having to wait upwards of a year? If they got any real help at all.
It was obvious the ‘water wasn’t reaching the Gulf,’ so to speak.
When I started tracing back the money, I found the majority was going to administrative costs, lobbying and — I use this term loosely — ”education.’ The money went to pay people’s salaries, fees and operational costs. People involved in a noble cause, but who had little, if any, actual involvement with ‘victims’ they are crusading for.
Let me again stress, this is not corruption. It is, however, additional layers upon layers. The extra layers all along the ‘river’ are pulling out portions of the cash flow. By the time it got to the front lines, that river of funding was mostly dry.
This is particularly scary when you realize the ‘dry’ we’re talking about are not only the victims of crimes, but the fact quality information on how to prevent more victimization isn’t getting out to those most likely to be victimized.
All that ‘education’ wasn’t about keeping people safe, it was more about lobbying, policy change and prosecution. In short, the victim was just a sideline issue. The big money was being made by those teaching people how to turn victims into their careers.
Looking at this financial black hole, the closest analogy I could come up with as to what happens was with the Colorado River. That’s where the term ‘Colorado River Syndrome’ was born. All along that river of money, each and every one of those people dip into it.
And even more than that, they will tell you how much they are doing to help the victims of this social crisis. But when funding gets down to the actual victim, that river has long since been sucked dry. The sad thing is how often this lack in victim resources is then used as the reason why ‘more money’ has to be dedicated to the problem.
Just so you know, I am intentionally keeping the subject vague. While my experiences come from a particular field, you won’t have to look too hard into other fields to see the same thing there.
The second term I came up with was ‘Sacred Cow Mode.’ This is not only a predictable reaction, but it’s a con. Or, if it’s not a con, it’s such an intentional manipulation that it borders on one.
It starts with a ‘sacred cow’ standing knee-deep in BS — especially financial, but also agenda and behavior. But the cause itself is ‘noble.’ It is humanistic! It is against a great wrong!
That is why the cause is a sacred cow. How could anyone NOT be for such a noble ideal?
Sacred Cow Mode actually has nothing to do with the ideal itself. It has everything to do with what is going on under the name of that lofty ideal, and what happens if you point it out. In short, it’s about protecting what the cow is standing in.
Sacred Cow Mode is the aggressive, condemning verbal attacks and accusations that one gets when one mentions what is around the cow’s knees. The self-appointed priests’ of the golden calf will rage and tirade over what an evil and horrible person YOU are for daring to question — much less imply the entire subject isn’t purely altruistic. Don’t you know this social injustice is so wrong and evil that it must be stopped at any cost? What’s the matter with YOU?
In fact, you must be one of the evil perpetrators of this social injustice for daring to question their:
e) financial gains
h) some of the above
i) all of the above
I would say it’s, “How dare you question…,” but the truth is, Sacred Cow Mode is usually an outright diversion from the original question or point.
Basically, the virulence of the person’s response is designed to either shame you, confuse you, embarrass you or intimidate you into silence. This tactic not only accuses you of being a nasty, insensitive, ignorant piece of trash, it accuses you of being something horrible that ends with ‘ist.’ (See, we knew you were one of those evil people who is perpetuating this social injustice.)
Oh, the lofty ideals! The outrage! The wailing and gnashing of teeth about how selfless the organization is for working for such a noble goal!
And if that doesn’t work, they’ll call you everything in the book, allude to your sexual practices with your mother and not only will question your motives, but actually become psychic about them. THEY know what your evil plan is, and they will announce it to the world!
During all this sturm und drang, the original question of “So, where is this $4 billion actually going?” quietly drifts off into obscurity. Or so they hope.
On this subject, I will use a specific example to make my point. But before I do, I want to give you two quotes.
Many people know the beginning of the first quote, but not too many people know the rest. The scary thing is it is a quote from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister …
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political,economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
The second quote is from the Austrian economist Joseph A. Shumpeter.
“The first thing a man will do for his ideal is lie.”
It doesn’t take any great stretch of the imagination to figure out how those might apply to Sacred Cow Mode or to the agendas it is meant to protect. Nor once you take that step, taking the next step about protecting one’s ‘water rights’ to the cash flow.
I promised you an example, and I will give you one from my profession. My ‘job’ is I am a teacher regarding the subjects of violence, crime and personal safety. My particular emphasis is on ‘prevention.’ As in “an ounce of …”
As you might guess, the issue of rape often comes up. Now you would think that this particular emphasis of mine would make me a welcome resource for rape victim advocacy groups and centers. After all, I inform women on ways to stay safe and avoid getting raped.
The fact is, I am commonly despised. The information I provide is often rejected and dismissed. The reasons? Mostly they boil down to ”A woman shouldn’t have to do that.’ (If you’d like to see an example of this information, you can find it at:http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/avoid_rape.htm)
Conversely, I often look at the information from other sources and ask, “Where did that come from?” (E.g., the rape avoidance tip that women should cut their hair because rapists like long hair.) Much of the information is flawed and simplistic, if not outright misleading. Basically, it does not jell with other established facts about the dynamics of violence and how it happens. (If you have a scientific bent, think cold fusion vs. established laws of physics.)
The little amount of information about prevention (flawed or not) isn’t the problem. The biggest problem is organizations actively promoting attitudes and ideals that increase a woman’s danger.
Fundamentally the premise is that a woman and do or say anything and her safety is someone else’s responsibility. The responsibility not to act is on everyone else. To put this in context, there was the time I was told — to my face — by the head of a university rape crisis center, “That a girl has the right to have fun.” This was her response to my statement that an underage girl, engaging in illegal binge drinking until she passes out at a frat party was not only breaking the law, but engaging in foolhardy and dangerous behavior.
All of that is groundwork to explain the most common Sacred Cow Mode charge leveled against me. If I DARE discuss pre-attack behaviors of everyone involved, I am accused of “blaming the victim.” (Follow the link, then decide for yourself.) This statement by advocates is the ultimate dismissal of any alternate point of view.
The irony of it all is that the idea of ‘blaming the victim’ is basically 30 years out of date. It was a very common and blatant tactic by defense lawyers in the ’60s and ’70s. This was the source of the legitimate charge against lawyers in rape cases selling the idea that the ‘girl led him on.’ Or that she ‘provoked the assault’ by dressing in an alluring way or acting in a sexually stimulating manner.
Fortunately, the gang rape case of Cheryl Aruajo started a change in legal precedent. Jodie Foster’s 1988 movie “The Accused” further ‘raised awareness.’ This, mixed with Susan Brown Miller’s 1975 book “Against Our Will” and its introduction of the concept of ‘date rape,’ redefined not only legal strategies, but also our definition of rape.
The ‘problem’ with this broader definition of rape is it really does bring into courtroom the question of consensual sex, forced sex and where does it cross over from one to another? Especially the farther down the road one gets toward the act itself and what happens afterward. I bring up that point because the issue is now less about blaming the victim. It is more about whether or not it was consensual AND what constitutes the ability to give consent. In those courtroom circumstances, the actions of the accuser do have a strong bearing. So in that regard, it might be said the rape advocates and educators are victims of their own success. People are rightfully asking about what happened — especially when it comes to sending someone to prison over the incident.
But the purpose of this article is not to discuss the legal maneuverings of lawyers in the courtroom about this sensitive subject. Instead it is to show you how Sacred Cow Mode works. If you dare ask about events leading up to the alleged rape, Sacred Cow Mode will kick in. YOU will be accused of trying to blame the victim. Go ahead and try it. Ask about the ‘victim’s’ pre-attack behaviors in a comment section after a rape story on your local newspaper’s Web site.
Because of my emphasis on prevention, I’ve spent many years on the wrong end of the flamethrower when it comes to the subject of rape. Advice that most people think is just plain common sense, gets me flamed by advocates for ‘blaming the victim.’ This is ironic because my position on rape is the rapist is entirely responsible for his actions. He is a runaway train, now get off the tracks. Or, if you’re going to play on the tracks, use caution. Yet this advice constantly gets me accused of having all kinds of sinister motives. Oddly enough, it’s coming from people who insist a girl has the ‘right’ to engage in dangerous behavior without consequences.
As you might guess, I strongly suspect job security is a factor here. Especially when it comes to the differing emphases of dealing with the aftermath vs. prevention. If you prevent it, there is no crisis. If there is no crisis, how can you make a career out of it? (Oh yeah, remember the quotes about lying? You might want to take a hard look at definitions people use to come up with statistics to show you it is a ‘crisis.’)
That is my personal experience with Sacred Cow Mode, but I’m sure you can find many examples of social injustice and noble causes that have been turned into careers and even lucrative businesses. Businesses that we are told not to question, not to ask about the sources of the information they are providing or take a close look at what is happening under their banner. We’re just told to pony up more money for these social crisis’s.
I don’t know about you, but, last time I checked, the First Amendment says I can ask questions and hold differing points of view, especially when it comes to how our tax dollars are being spent. So go ahead and ask those embarrassing questions about ‘where the money is going’ and ‘why can’t I ask?’