In December of 2003, just a few months after starting this blog, I wrote Pressing the “Reset” Button, my response to this question posted at Jay Solo’s now-defunct Verbosity blog:
I know, I haven’t exactly been keeping up with the “of the week” part, but this one ought to make up for it. This question will require some explanation! First I will type the primary question. Then I will explain what the hell I am talking about, and ask any subsidiary questions that come up in the process. Enjoy!
Do you expect the “reset button” to need to be used in our lifetimes? For the sake of a common number, let’s define “our lifetimes” as the next fifty years. Hey, I could live that long, given my genes and medical technology.
I was recently discussing with someone the concept of the Second Amendment as the government’s reset button. Ultimately a major reason it exists is so the populace cannot be prevented from being armed, or easily disarmed through registration or excess regulation for that matter, in case we must ever take back the government and start again if it gets out of hand or something akin to a coup happens and the imposters must be reckoned with.
It says that the government provides for the national defense, but we retain the right to self-defense, and to keep and bear the tools needed for that, including defense against the government if it ever turns its might inward or ceases to represent us at all. It’s not a separate entity, after all. It’s us. If it ceases to be us, it ceases to be in our control, it needs to be taken back into the fold.
Do you think this will ever be needed? In the next fifty years? Do you think it will still be possible after another fifty years of those who want as much power, and helplessness of the populace against it as much as possible, chipping away at or disregarding our ability to reset things back to sanity? How about contrarians; do you think the reset interpretation is erroneous or, even if not, will never be needed?
I know I said that I was done writing überposts, but apparently I
lied was mistaken. I ran across something earlier in the week that triggered in me the urge to write again. I fought it off valiantly but obviously lost. Either eject now, or go get yourself an adult beverage and settle in for another 5,000+ word wall-o’-text.
You can read my answer to Jay’s question, but it boiled down to “Yes, but ineffectively.”
In the intervening twelve-plus years I’ve done a lot of reading, observing, thinking and writing. I’ve currently got a bookmark folder entitled “Civil War” with about fifty links in it, and those are just the ones I knew I’d eventually want to go back to. Apparently I’ve been ruminating on this particular essay for a couple of years without realizing it. The piece that finally forced me back to the keyboard is a year-old post over at Sultan Knish, No Truce With the Left. It echos a lot of the sentiments I have posted here over the years, but as Daniel Greenfield is wont to do, he says it more eloquently than I. A short excerpt:
The left does not care about gay rights. If you doubt that, consider how many of the left’s favorite Muslim countries have gay rights. The left has recently divided its campaign passions between gay marriage and defending Iran. Iran denies the existence of gays and hangs them where it finds them.
The USSR treated homosexuality as a crime even while it was recruiting gay men as spies in the West. Cuba, the darling of the American left, hated both gays and blacks. The ACLU backed the police states of Communism. If the left supports an enemy nation, the odds are excellent that it is also a violently bigoted place that makes a KKK rally look like a hippie hangout.
To understand the left, you need to remember that it does not care about 99 percent of the things it claims to care about. Name a leftist cause and then find a Communist country that actually practiced it. Labor unions? Outlawed. Environmentalism? Chernobyl. The left fights all sorts of social and political battles not because it believes in them, but to radicalize, disrupt and take power.
The left does not care about social justice. It cares about power.
That is why no truce is possible with the left. Not on social issues. Not on any issues.
Do read the whole thing.
I was reminded of another old post, this one at a blog that still exists, though it hasn’t been updated in several years. I’ve quoted from it before, and I shall here again. While the author, Glen Wishard, was obviously in error about the lifespan of “the Marxist ideal,” (see: Venezuela) his warning preceded Daniel Greenfield’s by more than a decade:
The rise and fall of the Marxist ideal is rather neatly contained in the Twentieth Century, and comprises its central political phenomenon. Fascism and democratic defeatism are its sun-dogs. The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it. Political activity becomes the highest human vocation. The various socialisms are only the most prominent manifestation of this delusion, which our future historian calls “politicism”. In all its forms, it defines human beings as exclusively political animals, based on characteristics which are largely or entirely beyond human control: ethnicity, nationality, gender, and social class. It claims universal relevance, and so divides the entire human race into heroes and enemies. To be on the correct side of this equation is considered full moral justification in and of itself, while no courtesy or concession can be afforded to those on the other. Therefore, politicism has no conscience whatsoever, no charity, and no mercy.
(Bold emphasis in original.) Read that whole thing, too. It’s not long. But remember this, as I’ll be coming back to it – “The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation….”
Another bit I’ve quoted here repeatedly demands another airing. Ironbear of the also defunct blog Who Tends the Fires? wrote in 2004:
I have read a great deal of history. And I have read a great deal of past political debate and discourse. Like (Billy) Beck, the last time I recall that we were this irrevocably divided between major factions was in the 1850’s and 1860’s – and we actually went to war within ourselves over it.
The divide is once again that stark, and that bleak. It’s not “1968 all over again”, it’s 1858.
Unlike the first one, the dividing lines don’t cut across states. Like the first one, the dividing lines are drawn across views of the ownership of men…. of whether we are owned by ourselves or by The State.
It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of “cultural war”, or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism… the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put – and over who’ll hold the reins. It’s the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.
This is a conflict of ideologies…
The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.
At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the “American” Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and “re-education” of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as “common good”. That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who’s highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.
The movement of the boot across the throat.
Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?
The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It’s not possible for them to compromise with those that they’ve managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they’re convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who’s core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There’s no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there – the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendency where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.
And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads – to the ovens of Dachau.
Billy Beck is the author of the quote up on the masthead of this blog that goes, “All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.”
Another of the things that has prompted me to write was the recent Brexit vote and the reaction that has inspired. The problem isn’t limited to the US, it’s worldwide. Charles Krauthammer once wrote, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” It’s become obvious that this is true not just in American politics. I did a Google search on the phrase “Conservatives ruining future.” I got 881,000 results in 0.39 seconds. There’s a Facebook Page. It’s the #1 hit. It was founded March 11 of 2013. The page has 107,842 total Likes.
A search on “liberals ruining future” got 1,080,000 hits in 0.44 seconds. The #1 hit there? Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. a New York Times Magazine article from June 8, 2012 by one Steve Almond – “famous” for resigning from his position as a non-tenured adjunct professor at Boston College for their selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker in 2006. Excerpt:
This, to be blunt, is the tragic flaw of the modern liberal. We choose to see ourselves as innocent victims of an escalating right-wing fanaticism. But too often we serve as willing accomplices to this escalation and to the resulting degradation of our civic discourse. We do this, without even meaning to, by consuming conservative folly as mass entertainment.
If this sounds like a harsh assessment, trust me, I’m among the worst offenders. Yes, I’m one of those enlightened masochists who tune in to conservative talk radio when driving alone. I recognize this as pathological behavior, and I always make sure to switch the station back to NPR before returning the car to my wife. But I can’t help myself. I take a perverse and complicated pleasure in listening to all the mean, manipulative things those people say.
Read that whole essay. I dare you.
Oh, there is a Facebook page for Liberals are Destroying Our Future as well. Apparently it was made in June of this year. It has, at the time of this writing, 132 Likes.
I came across the phrase “conservatives are ruining our future” in a piece about the Brexit vote. A few minutes of Googling and I felt like I needed to take a shower. And to finally write this essay.
“Those people,” Professor Almond says. The Other.
One thing that has, if not changed certainly accelerated since I wrote “Reset” Button has been the increasing “othering” by the two sides. Just a few weeks ago I wrote Remember “Civility in Politics”? That piece was the motivation for putting Beck’s quote on the masthead. As Roberta X noted, also in 2012, othering is the necessary prerequisite that justifies violence and murder. It only takes one side to do it, but it doesn’t have to be a one-way street. The Sultan Knish post referenced above is one such, obviously. Another is Admit It: Decent Folks No Longer Have a Place in the Democratic Party, a piece written by Steve Pauwells and published at Clash Daily in February of 2014 (I told you I’ve been working on this piece for a couple of years.) Excerpt:
With so much to choose from in the political/cultural Left’s fetid trove of ludicrosities and obscenities, I’m not sure why this particular outcropping of obnoxiousness set me off so sharply – but it did. And reminded me of a harsh truth that simply must be acknowledged once and for all: these are bad people– the Democrats, I mean.
I know, the frontliners in the GOP too frequently are prodigies of gutlessness. Boehner and company? An embarrassment of don’t-create-a-ruckus, go-along-to-get-along accomodationalism, for sure.
But Democrats? They’ve nakedly, ineluctably morphed into the party of evil. As I said, harsh; but undeniably true.
Along with leading the charge in bankrupting America fiscally, Dems have gone whole hog in ransacking the soul of her citizens, as well. These towering disgraces have nailed their colors — Pink? Lavender? Red? Mortuary Gray? — to the mast of legalized baby-killing, perversion of sex and genuine marriage, institutionalized envy and victimhood. Defecating on our military and law enforcement is a party-wide pastime for these wretches — cloyingly using cops or troops as political props when convenient, otherwise icily cutting their legs out from under them at virtually every juncture. This braying Donkey caucus thrives on distorting facts and debauching history — that is, lying — and turning American against American: black or Latino versus white, woman versus man, young versus old, taker versus producer. Since God specifically clues us in that He “hates” those last two bits of odiousness (Proverbs 6:19), are we allowed to call their proponents what they are: wicked?
Another, also from 2014, is The Fascist States of America, posted at the Zman blog, Excerpt:
Way back in the olden thymes, I got a close up look at the Cult of Modern Liberalism. This was back in the early Reagan years when I was a part time employee for the Congressman Clarence Long. I was just a kid and a nobody, but Susanna, his wife, took a liking to me and that gave me the run of the place, so to speak. I used to have lunch with the Congressman two or three days a week. He was a nice man, but about as interesting as vanilla ice cream. That’s true of every elected official I met in Washington. privately, they were very dull.
The interesting people were the aides and activists. The ones on the Right were full of excitement about finally turning back the liberal tide. Even as a kid, I thought they were delusional, but they were fun. On the other hand, the old liberals defending the status quo were scary. They were deadly serious and ideology was everything. These were not people interested in free and open debate. They were not all that interested in the free market of ideas. They wanted to win and they were not interested in deviationists in their midsts.
The lesson I have carried with me ever since is this. Unless and until the Right comes to terms with what they are facing, America is doomed. These are not people with whom you can reason or compromise. They are fanatics. To quote myself, “The Liberal is out there! They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”
Psychologist Robert Godwin over at the blog One Cosmos wrote How I Cured Myself of Leftism in 2005. Pertinent excerpt:
At this point in time, I am more inclined to think of leftism as an intellectual pathology rather than a psychological one (although there is clearly considerable overlap). What I mean is that it is impossible to maintain a priori that a conservative person is healthier or more emotionally mature than a liberal. There are plenty of liberals who believe crazy things but are wonderful people, and plenty of conservatives who have the right ideas but are rotten people. However, this may be begging the question, for it is still puzzling why people hold beliefs that are demonstrably untrue or at the very least unwise.
One of the problems is with our elites. We are wrong to think that the difficulty lies in the uneducated and unsophisticated masses–as if inadequate education, in and of itself, is the problem. As a matter of fact, no one is more prone to illusions than the intellectual. It has been said that philosophy is simply personal error on a grandiose scale. Complicating matters is the fact that intellectuals are hardly immune to a deep emotional investment in their ideas, no less than the religious individual. The word “belief” is etymologically linked to the word “beloved,” and it is easy to see how certain ideas, no matter how dysfunctional–for example, some of the undeniably appealing ideas underpinning contemporary liberalism–are beloved by those who believe them. Thus, many liberal ideas are believed not because they are true, but because they are beautiful. Then, the intellectual simply marshals their intelligence in service of legitimizing the beliefs that they already hold. It has long been understood by psychoanalysts that for most people, reason is the slave of the passions.
Read that whole thing, too. Of course, the Left tried to “prove” that Conservatism was a mental disorder. Turns out, not so much.
The thing is, the more I study the more I agree with Godwin, the Zman, Daniel Greenfield and Steve Pauwells. And the more certain I am that the Left concluded long ago what Charles Krauthammer says they did. Zman characterized the “aides and activists” on the Right as “delusional, but they were fun.” The old liberals were “scary. They were deadly serious and ideology was everything.”
And that’s the difference. For one side it’s a competition. For the other side, it’s a war. A holy war.
When Barack Obama was running for his first term as President, his wife told us:
Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that, that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
Hillary Clinton in her 1969 Commencement address at Wellsley said:
What does it mean to hear that 13.3% of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That’s a percentage. We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction.
Al Gore in a 2010 New York Times op-ed wrote:
Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
What is socialism if not an attempt at human redemption? Remember, “The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it.” Not achieve it – agitate for it. Outcome doesn’t matter, only intent.
In 2008 I wrote The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, a book review of sorts of Brian Anse Patrick’s The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage. It was a bit more than that, more like an exposè of the media’s statist orientation, but the pertinent portion for this essay is this excerpt from Patrick’s book:
They (journalists) truly seem to believe this, that they have access to information to which philosophers and scientists have been denied. I spoke once to a journalist who worried out loud about “compromising” her objectivity when covering a story.
The claim being advanced here, by assumption, is that journalists can truly convey or interpret the nature of reality as opposed to the various organizational versions of events in which journalists must daily traffic. The claim is incredible and amounts to a Gnostic pretension of being “in the know” about the nature of reality, or at least the reality that matters most politically.
An ecclesiastical model most appropriately describes this elite journalistic function under mass democracy. Information is the vital substance that makes the good democracy possible. It allows, as it were, for the existence of the good society, a democratic state of grace. Information is in this sense analogous to the concept of divine grace under the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church. Divine grace was essential for the good spiritual life, the life that mattered. The clergy dispensed divine grace to the masses in the form of sacraments. They were its intermediaries, who established over time a monopoly, becoming the exclusive legitimate channel of divine grace.
Recollect that the interposition of intermediaries, the clergy, along a vital spiritual-psychological supply route was the rub of the Reformation. The clergy cloaked themselves in the mantle of spiritual authority rather than acting as its facilitators. Many elite newspapers have apparently done much the same thing, speaking and interpreting authoritatively for democracy, warranting these actions on the basis of social responsibility.
It is not accident, then, that the pluralistic model of social action largely discounts journalists as an important class. In the same way the decentralized religious pluralism generically known as Protestantism discounts the role of clergy. This should be expected. Pluralism and Protestantism share common historical origins. American pluralism particularly is deeply rooted in the Reformation’s reaction to interpretive monopoly.
Journalists, particularly elite journalists, occupy under mass democracy this ecclesiastical social role, a functional near-monopoly whose duty becomes disseminating and interpreting the administrative word and its symbols unto the public. Democratic communication in this sense is sacramental, drawing its participants together into one body.
I would go so far as to include public educators in this ecclesiastic order. It is their job to indoctrinate each new generation in The Word, The Light and The Life. After all, human redemption is the goal, and Government is The Way.
By way of example, look at this piece – an April 14, 2014 New York Times column by the Times‘ token “conservative*,” David Brooks entitled A Long Obedience.
The Israelites in Exodus whine; they groan; they rebel for petty reasons. When they are lost in a moral wilderness, they immediately construct an idol to worship and give meaning to their lives.
But Exodus is a reminder that statecraft is soulcraft, that good laws can nurture better people. Even Jews have different takes on how exactly one must observe the 613 commandments, but the general vision is that the laws serve many practical and spiritual purposes. For example, they provide a comforting structure for daily life. If you are nervous about the transitions in your life, the moments when you go through a door post, literally or metaphorically, the laws will give you something to do in those moments and ease you on your way.
The laws tame the ego and create habits of deference by reminding you of your subordination to something permanent. The laws spiritualize matter, so that something very normal, like having a meal, has a sacred component to it. The laws build community by anchoring belief in common practices. The laws moderate religious zeal; faith is not expressed in fiery acts but in everyday habits. The laws moderate the pleasures; they create guardrails that are meant to restrain people from going off to emotional or sensual extremes.
The 20th-century philosopher Eliyahu Dessler wrote, “the ultimate aim of all our service is to graduate from freedom to compulsion.”
Which would explain why the US Code of Federal Regulations sections concerning handrails run to nearly 1000 words. Same for doors.
Statecraft is soulcraft! Nothing compels like fines and jail time. It’s spiritual! Submit, heathens, or face the Inquisition! It’s for your own good!
Now, look at how heathens and especially apostates are treated. Brendan Eich gets forced out of his CEO position at Mozilla for contributing to California’s Proposition 8 supporting a ban on gay marriage. Larry Summers, President of Harvard was forced out of that position for various apostasies. Columnist Mark Steyn is currently fighting a lawsuit over his Global Warming heresy. Scientist Matt Taylor was forced to verbally self-flagellate for wearing a sexist shirt during a television interview after landing a probe on a comet. The list goes on. And now it’s becoming instiutionalized – the new Democrat Party platform includes a plank calling for the investigation and prosecution of Global Warming skeptics, a tactic already embraced by a number of Attorneys General in fifteen states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands.
The Gun Rights movement has managed to get a couple of outdoor magazine journalists fired for supporting bans on semi-automatic rifles, and the rightwing internet did manage to cost Dan Rather and a few others at CBS their jobs over Memogate, but our track record is nothing compared to the Left’s.
Oh, wait. We made Piers Morgan go home. But then Jeremy Clarkson has actually punched him. We’re not a patch on that.
However, it appears that the only place where we’ve held off the Left has been on the topic of gun control. Why is that?
I believe it’s because that’s the only topic on which we have a consistent, coherent and widespread philosophy. It may be as simple as “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” but it is shared by a large number of people who may otherwise be politically apathetic. The Left is made up of a gigantic mishmash of self-contradicting ideologies and agendas, but they all share one underlying belief: The political Right is evil, intolerable and must be – not defeated – but destroyed if the Future Is To Be Saved.
Eric Hoffer in his 1951 book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements wrote about the rise of the mass movement WWII was fought against. (Strongly recommended, if you’ve never read it.) I wrote about this in my 2005 essay Reasonable People, and this excerpt is again pertinent:
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: “No…. We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one.” F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: “It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can’t, because we haven’t got any Jews.”
For the Left, any not part of The Body are the new Jews, and I think we understand that – some of us at least subconsciously. Estimates are that about 100 million new guns were purchased by individuals since 2006, along with a LOT of ammunition, mostly handguns and semi-automatic military-pattern rifles. This was not done in anticipation of handing them in at some future date. So, we have the numbers to thwart them in the legislatures and for now the courts are going our way, but pretty much nowhere else are we making headway because they’re True Believers and we (mostly) still think of the Left as the Loyal Opposition. We don’t want war. We, after all, have a lot to lose. But as long as they’re fighting a war and we’re not, we’re going to be on the losing side.
In 2010 Angelo Codevilla wrote a very influential piece, America’s Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution. This was one of the first mainstream pieces I can remember reading that expressed the idea that our government was not divided by the Democrats and Republicans, but it is instead occupied by what Roberta X refers to as “the two halves of the Running Things Party” – as Codevilla calls them, “the Ruling Class” – and they aren’t interested in listening to us. Pertinent excerpt:
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.
Apparently not this year. Read that piece if you haven’t already.
So one third of the nation is politically engaged. Two-thirds of us feel ignored and abused. Now a chunk of those who feel that the Democrats don’t represent them are the really hardcore Left who are angry that Obama didn’t implement whole-scale Socialism upon his inauguration, but most of the disenfranchised are pissed at the government’s profligate spending, reckless abuse and accumulation of powers and complete lack of accountability.
The aforementioned Billy Beck in a 2005 post, “A Pack, Not A Herd”, said:
Carol Ann Rand, of the Georgia Libertarian Party, once pointed out to me that the commies have it all over us when it comes to organization, because they’re the ones who are built for “unity”. “Trying to organize libertarians,” she said, “is like trying to herd cats.”
He also said in a lead-in piece entitled Coming Distractions:
Here is the central problem surrounding what you people are talking about:
There is no coherent and cohesive philosophy underpinning it.
But you people are talking about blowing the place up, whether you know it or not. That’s the only way it can go, as things are now, because there is no philosophy at the bottom of what you’re talking about. Once the shooting starts, all bets are off.
Which echoes what I said in answer to Jay Solo’s question two years earlier, though perhaps more apocalyptically. That’s what happens when individuals press the “Fuck It” button.
It is generally accepted that two hundred and forty-one years ago, a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, about a third of the population was loyalist, a third neutral, and perhaps a third in favor of revolt. In January of 1776 Thomas Paine published his magnum opus Common Sense. By July it had sold over 150,000 copies, and changed a nation. Created a nation. The people had a philosophy behind their rebellion, even if it was “FUCK KING GEORGE!” We have no such unifying philosophy. “Treat me with benign neglect” is not a philosophy.
They’ve got hate, and a holy mandate to build Utopia – on our corpses, if history is any guide. We’ve got a populace that knows something is wrong, but has been robbed of the education necessary to grasp exactly what and then reason themselves out of the problem. Robbed by the same forces that are intent on building that Utopia. Instead, a significant portion voted for Donald Trump, mostly out of sheer frustration. Another example of pressing the “Fuck It” button.
This does not bode well for us.
(*David Brooks is “conservative” for a New Yorker. That puts him to the left of pretty much anybody in Texas outside of Austin.)
Happy (In)Dependence Day.
UPDATE: Gerard Van der Leun reposts a 2010 piece on this topic you should read..