Question Asked, Question Answered.
In yesterday’s post about “Yob culture” in Britain, I asked the nearly rhetorical question, “How do human beings disconnect from reality this way?” Referring, of course, to the brainless idiots who are attempting to fight that “Yob culture” with red and yellow warning cards and the like. It’s really a broader question, though, and as I read Bill Whittle’s latest piece Sanctuary, I found his very plausible, logical answer:
Here’s my thesis: Civilizations fall because they become so successful that their citizens become, over many generations of increasing security and prosperity, further and further away from the reality of the human condition. The quest for “better” becomes so successful that after a few generations of hard work and ingenuity we have nothing left but the quest for “perfect.” More and more effort produces fewer and smaller results, because the quest for perfection is asymptotic. Perfection is unattainable.
But when things are this good – and relative to human history, life in 21st Century America is far, far better than it has ever been, anywhere or at anytime – then merely being very good is, well, kind of disappointing to some people. There was a time when the voices of dissent came from the poorest and most downtrodden. Not any more. America has gotten so rich and successful that our poor and downtrodden live like kings relative to most of the rest of the world. The standard of living for the poorest American states are de facto better than those in Scandinavia, to say nothing of Egypt or Somalia or Haiti. No, today the loudest criticisms of the West come not from the bottom, but from the top: millionaire filmmakers and Harvard University professors and columnists who live in luxury skyscrapers. These people have never met real savagery, but they’ve seen it on Hogan’s Heroes! Anyone who can compare the US Marine Corps with the German SS has obviously never had to deal with either. There are millions of photos of people protesting President Bush. There is not a single photo of people in the street protesting Hitler. This tells me something. This should tell the Bush=Hitler crowd something, too. But it doesn’t.
Reality has left their building.
Fits the available facts. Makes sense to me.
UPDATE, 5/20: Solarvoid comments.