Adaptation, Normalcy Bias And Our Rapidly Changing World

by William Skink

Adaptation is something that organisms do in order to survive. It is defined thusly:

An adaptation is a mutation, or genetic change, that helps an organism, such as a plant or animal, survive in its environment. Due to the helpful nature of the mutation, it is passed down from one generation to the next.

Here is another term worth considering in light of what is happening, normalcy bias. It is described at Wikipedia as

a tendency for people to believe that things will function in the future the way they normally have functioned in the past and therefore to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare themselves for disasters, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations.

With these concepts in mind, let’s take a look at good old Pete Talbot and his latest post, titled Coronavirus decisions: guns or generosity.

In this post Talbot is using a global pandemic to set up a false binary because he hates guns and conservatives that much. It begins with this:

The choices we make during the COVID-19 pandemic say a lot about society as a whole.

We can strip the grocery store shelves bare, leaving little for those who don’t have the resources to stockpile. We can load up on guns and ammo.

Or we can volunteer to deliver meals to the elderly and disabled. We can buy gift cards at our local restaurants and retail businesses. We can donate to the community food bank.

I am so goddamn tired of this sanctimonious bullshit coming from the likes of Pete Talbot, a supposed progressive here in Missoula who pretends to stand up for the poor and vulnerable, yet remains conspicuously silent as critics like me point out actual public policies that exacerbate inequality, like Tax Increment Financing.

After 10 years of working in the non-profit sector with the very populations Talbot uses to forward his anti-gun agenda, I know a thing or two about the systems coming under immense pressure from the coronavirus, and that is a BIG reason I stocked up on things like emergency food rations and ammunition years ago.

Pete Talbot and the other partisans pretending to be reporters at the Montana Post are hopelessly stuck in a normalcy bias that prevents them from understanding how the world is changing. They are not alone. There are many people trapped in a mindset that will lessen their chances of survival as the scope of what is coming takes shape.

The economic depression that will result from the popping of the everything bubble is now fast approaching. Does Pete Talbot really think the benevolent billionaires who run public policy will allow the system that has created their wealth to be radically changed in order to benefit the broader public without a fight?

Anyone who thinks there is value in clinging to things like a two party political system is allowing normalcy bias to prevent their imagination from envisioning a different world.

Instead of fretting about gun sales, how about we identify the real threats we are facing, like the consolidation of wealth under neoliberalism and the globalization that has been implemented by those who seek to centralize more power and control for themselves.

We are all panicking to some degree as the world around us rapidly changes, and while we are feeling anxious about our own personal lives, you better believe those with power are positioning themselves to protect what they have and to get more of it.

If you want to expose yourself to sanctimonious lectures and preparation shaming, please, go read the Montana Post.

If you want non-partisan assessments of current events and a poem every now and then, keep checking in here.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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5 Responses to Adaptation, Normalcy Bias And Our Rapidly Changing World

  1. Big Swede says:

    Pete’s been overplaying Lennon’s “Imagine”.

    People have been buying guns to protect their families and possessions. Unlike Peter they don’t have absolute faith in the government for protection.

  2. Pete Talbot says:

    As I was composing my post on guns v. generosity, I knew it would be red meat for you. But if my options are loading up on guns and ammo, and being stuck on this planet with self-righteous survivalists like you and Swede, or taking my chances that not everyone is in it for themselves and may come to the aid of others … well, I’ll take my chances with the latter.

    • I’m not sure if you have the cognitive capacity to remember things from years ago, but I got my first firearm because of unstable people I interacted with working at the shelter. I’m going to assume you have never been attacked by a meth user, or received letters at your home from a schizophrenic woman who wants to kidnap your children.

  3. Eric says:

    Why the run on weapons? It’s simple – people are scared.

    If you back a mouse into a corner he will fight.

    When you can’t go buy a pound of hamburger, or a bottle of Lysol, or a case of water bottles it shakes some people up. When people’s businesses close like they did last week, with no money coming in, people get scared. Don’t underestimate the power of uncertainty.

    I’m currently living in a downtown, ground floor apartment, in the middle of the homeless population.
    I have what I call ‘walkers’ going by our patio and windows night and day, and NOT to have my 12 gauge behind the door would be foolish.

    When I take out the garbage late at night there is a Colt .38 spl revolver in my pocket.

    It doesn’t make me a preppier, or paranoid, it just means I’m prepared.

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