The Paper Bag Philosophy

Paper Bag Philosophy

Hard problems require thinking outside of the box, getting out of comfort zones, walking a mile in someone’s shoes, and lots of other clichés that I’m too inebriated at the moment to list. But don’t expect politicians to do any of these things (I mean other than maybe getting tipsy on occasion). They, like most of us, are in the bag.

The paper bag philosophy is a wrinkle on the notion of group think. Each group member’s paper bag is unique, varying in size according to his or her willingness and ability to understand old concepts and grasp new ones. Unfortunately, the combined contents of all group members’ paper bags tend not to span enough of the realm of political thought to result in positive, long-term solutions. It usually doesn’t even matter how educated or experienced group members are. If their paper bags are deep but narrow or wide but shallow, as is typical, a sort of ignorant magnanimity can take hold that is hard to challenge. And, since no two bags are the same, it can be awfully difficult to convince members that they’re falling victim to group think.

Beware of the Paper Bag Philosopher

As someone who has volunteered in several local organizations, I’ve seen the paper bag philosophy play out way too many times. It’s sad, but no doubt the worst case occurs at the national/global level. With the help (wittingly or unwittingly) of paper bag philosophers, the system has been thoroughly gamed by the 1% and a false moral ambiguity muddies just about every issue, essentially allowing government, on behalf of big business, to do whatever it wants, however it wants, whenever it wants… Need an example? Okay. But it’ll have to wait for another day. Drinking and blogging is a bad mix! 😉


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