I just got back from a two week vacation. It was my first time ever going overseas! We went to Iceland because airfare to Iceland is cheap. We also went to Scotland because it’s very close to Iceland and airfare from Iceland to Scotland is also cheap. It was a pretty fun trip and my first time leaving North America. Do I feel like my mind is expanded or something? Hmm. Not sure. I do know that there are definitely homeless people in Scotland, but nowhere near as many as in San Francisco. I guess even with socialized healthcare society can still fail people. I’m not sure I actually saw anyone homeless in Iceland, but there were definitely some people living rough. While I realize neither Iceland nor Scotland is going to really stress my ability to survive in the world far outside my normal experience, it did help me put some things in my country into perspective.

The United States treats its poor people just horribly. But it’s not just the income inequality, lack of any social safety net to speak of, and inadequate public healthcare. It’s the way everything is so punitive, even on a strictly social level. Forget the laws for the moment and just examine the way we live. If something goes badly for someone, we’re automatically asking what they did wrong to deserve it. If someone doesn’t do something we like, we immediately want to punish them. Hell, we even punish our dogs when they do anything we don’t like. It’s just automatic. Is this because of the Puritan foundation behind our country? I think it might be. I just didn’t see the same kind of rush to judgment in Reykjavík, Glasgow, or Edinburgh. And I definitely didn’t see the urge to punish, either. It’s not something I was expecting would not be there. I didn’t even realize it was something that pervaded so much of my life until I was somewhere that did not have it.

Oh, it’s also incredibly weird staying in a place where the sun literally does not set.

In the spirit of depressing revelations about the world, check out this dinosaur news. Yes, conflict dinosaur amber is a real thing.