“This is one of the things I find funny about the radical Left protests on campus…. You want to have it both ways. You want to be a fledgling member of the elite and a champion of the underprivileged. So, how narcissistic can you get? You want to have all the benefits of having all of the benefits, and you want to have all the benefits of having none of the benefits, because just having all the benefits isn’t enough for you.”
-Jordon Peterson, University of Toronto Psychology Professor
“The empire could no longer afford the problem of its own existence.”
-Joseph Tainter on the collapse of complex societies
The extraordinary thought disorders of this moment in history are equally distributed across the political spectrum. They’re an inevitable product of what Sigmund Freud identified as the discontents of civilization, but they grow especially acute as that civilization enters an economic crack-up zone. The craziness is equally distributed while the nation’s wealth is not. The old middle, or center, is imploding both economically and psychologically, concentrating distortions of reality at each end, Left and Right.
The disordered thought in Trumpism is as self-evident as (a) covfefe, though it came into being out of the authentic pain of those classes that bear the brunt of accelerating collapse. The thought disorders among Trump’s adversaries interest me more, because they emanate from the far more educated ranks of society, the place where rational leadership is supposed to spawn. If you can’t depend on those people to think straight in difficult times, then it raises the question of what exactly is the value of an advanced education?
For instance: the incredible new idea put out by CNN that it is verboten for officials in the government — the president especially — to meet with the Russian ambassador to the United States. I’ve asked this question before, but obviously it needs to be repeated in the face of this persistent nonsense: why do you think nations send diplomats to other lands if not to meet with and communicate with government officials? Since when — and why — are we shocked that a US president would meet in the White House with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister? Did previous presidents not meet with Russian diplomats? Did incoming officials in earlier election transitions never meet with Russian diplomats on the way to assuming their duties? And if they did meet, what do you suppose they talked about? The Baltimore Orioles pitching prospects? The newest fusion cuisine? Or serious matters of mutual geopolitical interest? Do American diplomats in Moscow avoid meeting with Russian leaders? Why do we even bother to send them there?
Whether it is a misunderstanding of reality by the educated people who work on Cable TV news, or a malicious twisting of the public’s credulity, it is producing a grievous breakdown in collective coherence with the potential of causing enormous political mischief in American life. The Dem/Prog “resistance” may think that it is taking a bold stand against a rogue government, but it is only making itself look dangerously unreliable as a supposed alternative to Trumpism.
Otherwise the Dem/Prog Left is dissipating its political and cultural energy in a species of quixotic agit-prop campaigns against reality and ultimately against the project of civilization itself. For instance, the crusade to erase any firm notions of American manhood. Case in point: the front page story on Friday’s The New York Times website: How to Raise a Feminist Son.
For children to reach their full potential, they need to follow their interests, traditional or not. So let them…. Offer open-ended activities, like playing with blocks or clay, and encourage boys to try activities like dress-up or art class, even if they don’t seek them out, social scientists say. Call out stereotypes. (“It’s too bad that toy box shows all girls because I know boys also like to play with dollhouses.”)
From the Times article, art by Agnes Lee
In case you’re wondering why pop culture is so saturated by and preoccupied with comic book superheroes it’s because American men are no longer permitted to enact the petty heroics of everyday life, including the ability to support a family by working for a living. (What a quaint idea, I know!) So there is nothing left for them but absurd grandiose fantasies of what it means to be a man. Destroying the boundaries between sexes, and denying that biology even enters into the matter, will only make it more difficult for this nation to navigate through the straights of extreme economic distress.
Second case in point: The trend this year among college students demanding new racially segregated dormitory arrangements, in the name of “inclusion and diversity.” It’s one thing for 19-year-olds to be confused but quite another, and more interesting, that adult college deans go along with this deranged hypocrisy — and so far, I have not heard of a dean or college president willing to oppose this arrant affront to reason. The ultimate victim of all this nonsense is the truth, or course. If you think that truth doesn’t matter, you’ll be very disappointed with the way things turn out in Covfefe Land.