big

See if you can spot what all of these terms have in common: Big Government, Big Pharma, Big Oil.

That’s right. It’s the word “big.”

“Big Government” refers to the idea that when a government tries to do too many things, it gets carried away like an overbearing boss who can’t keep his nose out of your projects. Some people believe this idea is correct. “Big Pharma” refers to the pharmaceutical industry, which some people believe is responsible for horrors such as repressing information that might cure cancer so that it can sell more cancer-treatment drugs. “Big Oil” refers to the oil industry. Or lobbyists for the oil industry. It refers to a group of people for whom personal profit, even at great cost to others, is the most important thing in the world.

You’re very smart, so you’ve probably already spotted the other thing these terms have in common. They all suggest a single-minded conspiracy of powerful people who don’t care about you. They want your money or they want to control you. They are meeting in dark rooms and and smoking cigars.

It’s true that groups of people can do a lot of damage in the world if they work together, but it’s also very difficult to find any group of people wherein everyone is an evil genius. Most people are not cackling in the dark, looking for new ways to harm or oppress you. They have their own stuff going on.