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The Modern Ethos: Everyone Else is at Fault

Over the past week, several Caribbean islands have been completely ravaged by the serious CAT 5 hurricane widely known as Irma.

Meanwhile, the Weather Channel and other domestic news stations focus on the state of Florida and the hundreds of stranded travelers at Miami and Fort Lauderdale international airports.

During these interviews, we hear complaints about the same devastating hurricane disrupting their luxurious vacations, while some poor-planning procrastinators alongside them lament being stuck at the airport.



In the modern world, it appears as though everyone else is at fault, whether it's an insufficient supply of water bottles, shortages at grocery stores, too few airplanes to service their airports, or not enough gas at the local pump.

People and their governments have become masters of complaining and concocting sob stories while they've become increasingly naive about taking personal responsibility over their own lives.

Of course, the looming devastation attending Irma's landfall upon the peninsula of Florida is a gravely serious event.

It is precisely because of its reported enormity and intensity that nearly every major news outlet has focused so intently on its path and the models projecting its direction.

Residents and tourists alike have benefitted from advance warnings as far out as a week before anticipated landfall.

When the alarm bells and whistles have sounded this far in advance, those who eventually wait until the very last day or minute to vacate their homes in the hurricane's decided path are plainly procrastinators more worthy of contempt than pity.

This attitude, however, is not contained to the Western world.

In 2013, a record-setting super typhoon by the name of Haiyan pummeled the islands of the Philippines, taking the lives of more than 6,300 people.

Haiyan would become the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record and the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever recorded.

A year later, bodies were still being found in the storm's aftermath.

A documentary chronicling the storm's story reveals a rather familiar sentiment of a local man who immediately casts blame upon the local media outlets and their failure to adequately report on the expected storm surge.

In fact, media outlets released numerous reports of this very kind, yet the residents of the Philippines simply failed to grasp the totality of those reports and the severity of the approaching storm.

However, the emotions surrounding loss seldom yield any semblance of logic, so it is completely understandable to imagine a grieving man foregoing sensibility in favor of mourning.

Yet there is far less intellectual accommodation granted to the sympathetic observer who leans on his own emotions when he is safely insulated from the immediate effects.

Ultimately, we are made no better for sympathizing in the face of contradiction, merely catering to a self-defeating cycle of passive complaining simply because there is always a faceless entity to blame.

This can only accomplish a world of rampant dishonesty, convenient half-truths and an erosion of the integrity of self and personal responsibility.

After all, if we are to be free, we will remain vulnerable to both the upsides and the downsides of that freedom, and we are inherently responsible for ourselves in navigating them along the way.



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