Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

Comments (16) (Please sign in to comment)

  1. dtroutma

    dtroutma GoComics PRO Member said, almost 3 years ago

    About mutation, and evolution; bugs with high reproduction rates, and short generation spans, handle change much better than mammals. Big problem, indeed.

  2. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, almost 3 years ago

    As mankind acquires more power, he acquires more responsibility. Once, nature was something over which he had no control. A man had to live with the world as he found it, and all that mattered was his own personal survival and that of his kin. Whether he survived (or not) made not the slightest difference to nature or even to other members of his species.

    From the moment he began to clear ground to plant crops, dig wells for water, cut trees for fuel, and kill animals because they annoyed him, that began to change. When he did it well, he flourished. When he did it wrong, he was not the only one (or thing) to suffer. He made gardens out of deserts, but just as often made deserts out of gardens.

    The easy movement of information gave him new means to fight disease; the easy movement of people and goods gave him new diseases to fight. Organization gave him new powers, and new responsibilities. Once, a safe water supply meant a well of his own. Now it means something very different. ( Anyone out there who wants their city’s water supply to be provided by a for-profit company, without regulation or oversight? )

    In the 18th century, there was no such things a “public health”: government at any level had nothing to do with health. Streets could be open sewers, and quarantine (as in, imprisoning the sick in their houses and leaving them to their fate) was about only tool available to fight raging epidemics.

    Finally it was discovered that collective action could do wonders to improve this situation: public water and sewage systems were not created for convenience, they were created to fight the spread of cholera and dysentery. Vaccinations were made universal and public health workers hired because it was learned that protecting everyone was the only real way to protect anyone. In a modern industrialized state, a disease-ridden workforce is no asset. Products and practices were banned that poisoned people, or were found in practice to result in frequent injuries or death because we came to realize that, in the old phrase “no man is and island, entire unto himself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. … Every man’s death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.”

    While we cannot utterly prevent one another from killing ourselves or even each other, we have a common interest in each other’s wellbeing and in each other’s fate, and a responsibility to do what we can and may to preserve one another.

    Some people seem to preach “every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost” a philosophy which they are pleased to call “personal responsibility” but which is in fact just its opposite: it is rather the shirking of all responsibility. They pretend that things like climate change, floods, famines, the spreading of deserts, the creation of new strains of the disease, are not man-made. They pretend that we are still living in a world where the strong self-sufficient individual is all that is needed or wanted, and all limitations or burdens placed upon him by his fellow men are a necessary evil at best, and an evil tyranny at worst. (Not that efforts for the common good cannot become excessive and tyrannical, even when well-meant: they certainly can! Still, there is a difference be use and abuse. And that something may be abused is no reason to ban its use altogether. Something these very people in other contexts will themselves maintain.)

    Perhaps they do not intend their rhetoric to be taken seriously, to be taken literally, that they want to reduce government to little more than the armed forces and a system of courts and prisons used to maintain the established social order, but why should we assume they are not in earnest, and really do want to pull down what it has taken a couple centuries to build up?

    This has been a long, slow evolution. Personally, I think it will continue, even with missteps and detours. That eventually new solutions will be found for new problems. But it is possible it may fail as well, if the “look out for number one” and the “I’m a winner and I don’t give a damn what happens to losers” mentality continues to flourish.

  3. Enoki

    Enoki said, almost 3 years ago

    A couple of gallons of chlorine in the gene pool will take care of most of that…

  4. emptc12

    emptc12 said, almost 3 years ago

    We were so smug. The Martians of H.G. Wells might have the last laugh, after all.

  5. emptc12

    emptc12 said, almost 3 years ago

    Very enigmatic. The world will end with an eyelash? (according to one on-line translator, “wimper” is Dutch for “eyelash”) :) No offense, we all make typos but this one especially tickled me.

  6. Respectful Troll

    Respectful Troll said, almost 3 years ago

    MichaelWME and Doughfoot bring great clarity to this topic.
    If people become sick from illnesses that can’t be easily cured and/or are easily spread, truck drivers will quit driving products across the country and many workers will stay home from jobs out of fear of getting ill.
    The threat of illness is not just to the individual, it is also to the society… the nation. A plague of unrestrained flu or some terminal airborne virus could do more damage to our nation than a nuclear bomb.
    This is another reason why our nation needs something like the ACA. Preventative medicine provides the education people need in order to respond properly when a medical emergency effecting a populace occurs.
    It is sad that people so often don’t see the flood drowning their neighbors until the waters are at their own doors. Throwing money at a problem AFTER it occurs is always more expensive than investing in prevention.

  7. Respectful Troll

    Respectful Troll said, almost 3 years ago


    What are you suggesting, Enoki? Your comment can be read as something that might be harsher than you intend.

  8. magicwalnut

    magicwalnut GoComics PRO Member said, almost 3 years ago

    Thank you, Doughfoot, for your thoughtful, intelligent commentary. Every one of your comments is an education.

  9. emptc12

    emptc12 said, almost 3 years ago


    Don Marquis’s archy quotes two fleas talking in “certain maxims of archy”:
    millionaires and
    bums taste
    about alike to me
    don t cuss the climate
    it probably doesn t like you
    any better than
    you like it

  10. hippogriff

    hippogriff said, almost 3 years ago

    Respectful Troll: I found Enoki’s comment clear enough – step up the genocide against the poor and “üntermenchen” that is the heart of Teabagger philosophy.

  11. The Wolf In Your Midst

    The Wolf In Your Midst said, almost 3 years ago

    @Respectful Troll

    “…and many workers will stay home from jobs out of fear of getting ill.”
    Not if some so-called conservatives get their way. “Show up no matter what, or get fired” is a perfectly acceptable business policy to them, since allowing worker-friendly things such as unions and health care might cut into profits a little.

  12. Respectful Troll

    Respectful Troll said, almost 3 years ago

    @The Wolf In Your Midst

    We are discussing different levels of threat, Wolfie. In a fairly limited ‘plague’, you are right. Where citizens can be contained by national guard troops and life can go on as usual for the vast majority of Americans, workers will bow to the wills of their employers.
    In my scenario, the illness is much more widespread and virulent. Drivers won’t carry cargo without armed escort and food/meat processing plants slow or even stop due to sick and/or absent workers. Factories where vegetables are canned and meat processed, if in operation, will become armed camps to defend themselves from people who are lacking in food. Fresh water will become a concern in my scenario unless the treatment plants are able to maintain capable staff and if sewage backs up, typhoid and dysentery will make our hypothetical flu/virus/infection even worse.
    Perhaps the wealthy will be able to use their resources to keep them supplied for a time, but in the real world, even they will ultimately face the consequences of a nation brought to a standstill by contagions barring a miracle. Once their defenders start falling ill, whether police or military, we will see which of the many scenarios displayed in movies about plagues that bring down civilization plays out.
    I don’t think Bruce Willis or Dustin Hoffman will be able to help.
    This is just one more reason why we need a healthcare system that contains preventative healthcare. If a person knows they won’t suffer financially by going to see a doctor about that lesion on their leg, or a fever, a doctor might find a problem before it becomes a national one.
    Before AIDS/HIV was identified and its cause recognized, my uncle went to the VA hospital for an operation. He was twice decorated for his service in WW2, and had a lot of life ahead of him. One of the pints of blood given to him during his surgery was HIV positive. He died three years later, and because of his culture and mindset, he died alone and in shame because, despite his forty plus year marriage, he felt stigmatized by the prejudices that surrounded the disease at that time.
    We don’t know what the next big killer will be… swine flu, bird flu, a variation of Legionairre’s disease or HIV… but history warns us there will be another plague of some form. What we do now will determine how well, or if, we survive it.
    The wealthy you mention do include, sadly, liberals who also care about their bottom line. But in a true disaster, the tidal wave sinks all boats equally.
    I’m a cynical optimist with tendencies towards idealistic pessimism. You should have seen my Myers Briggs test. lol.

  13. Respectful Troll

    Respectful Troll said, almost 3 years ago

    They still do, Night-Gaunt, especially if they have immunity deficiencies, asthma, or other illnesses.

  14. dtroutma

    dtroutma GoComics PRO Member said, almost 3 years ago

    night-gaunt49: just a “by the way” one of my two NDE’s (at age 8) was the result of penicillin- cardiac arrest is “interesting”. Fortunately, the doctor was only minutes away.

    Needless to say, I’m cautious about taking ANY new drug, okay, sometimes a tad paranoid.

    Yes, it IS “interesting” that a lot of bacteria can survive the same “antibiotics” that will KILL US! That word “antibiotic” is a lot broader spectrum than some folks realize.

  15. Robert Landers

    Robert Landers said, almost 3 years ago

    That is simply because: (1) You do not actually read anybody’s posts with different opinions than your own, or (2) You just don’t read at all. I wonder which it is?

  16. Load the rest of the comments (1).