The Twitter-incited mob that shut down last week’s Donald Trump rally at the University of Illinois’ Chicago pavilion was the first skirmish in what is shaping up to be a civil war between a political Left that has lost its mind and a political Right that has lost its mind and its soul. The tensions between these two camps are so contorted and dishonest that even trying to unpack the issues puts the un-packer in jeopardy of being branded as one kind of thought-criminal or another.
The Left has lost its mind in a climax of zealotry over the new religion of social justice, with its sacred “victims” (blacks, LBGTQs, etc), its sacred tenets (“diversity,” “inclusion”), and its endless charges of blasphemy (renamed “micro-aggressions”) against heretics (“racists,” “homophobes”) who object to absolutist thought policing. This was nicely described by Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University in a recent podcast with author Sam Harris. (Skip to 1 hour 30 minutes in the long discussion.)
The religion got started on the campuses, where social science careerists ginned up an elaborate doctrine to justify the self-importance of their new departments in so-called race, gender, and privilege studies — the main point of which was to create new categories of sacred victims suffering spiritual torments (“traumas”) that could never be healed. These crypto-religious “studies” led to a multiplication of demons that had to be exorcized by an equal multiplication of diversity deans and committees aimed at punishing blasphemies — such as arguing against affirmative action (“racist”), or wearing a Mexican sombrero at a tequila party (“cultural appropriation” + “racist”), which happened recently at posh Bowdoin College.
The hysteria incited by the academic diversity corps spread readily and easily into Democratic Party politics, where badly-needed minority votes could be harvested to shore up the dwindling votes of traditional supporters such as labor unions, and make up for (you might say cover up) the Party’s complete surrender to both Wall Street and the war industry.
The religion of the social justice warriors, got a huge boost with the deaths, and subsequent canonization of the new mega-saints, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and other black youths who were killed under circumstances that were, at least, ambiguous, and, at most, due to their own poor judgment and misbehavior. (Pause for cries of “racist” to subside). The Michael Brown / Ferguson, Mo. incident and subsequent riots led to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, with its now secular (“the street”) and campus branches, and its vote-garnering panders (Hillary) in politics.
Possibly the worst blasphemy — which I will now state — is the idea that the new religion of social justice exists to disguise the vast disappointment over the failure of the civil rights movement to uplift — that is, raise out of poverty, illiteracy, and crime — a substantial part of the black population. In fact, much of the official policy of the civil rights era only made matters worse, especially the well-known failures of the welfare system with all its disincentives to economic striving. So, the well-intentioned people of the Left — a dying breed — are left in dismay and embarrassment, fighting demons, while black America chooses more and more remain an oppositional culture, apart, antagonistic, and increasingly bent on vengeance.
Enter Trump, perhaps the worst figure possible to call bullshit on this vast matrix of dishonesty, with his ugly cohort of “poorly-educated” white yahoo supporters. Why? Because the well-educated non-yahoos of both parties are too cowardly and too corrupt — too busy making money off the war racketeers and the medical racketeers, and the Wall Street racketeers, and the campus racketeers — to take on some of the central lies of our times, which Trump manages to do in the crudest possible ways.
What the politicians and the media and the cringing, pandering intellectuals of this country aren’t figuring is what happens when the political crisis of the moment is amped up by the financial and economic train wreck that is certain to come before the fall elections. The nation has already gone mad with the internal contradictions of its own beliefs. The next step will be when it literally goes to war with itself.
Am just a hack with skilz!
I'm 60, semi-retired, and live in Texas. I have had the pleasure of being in 39 different countries around the world, many of them for extended periods of time.
I am one of those that still believes in the awesome power of film, but increasingly am shooting in digital...I shoot what I like that I see...and am apt to use whatever cam is available to do the job...these days I am usually shooting with a Canon 50D, but still enjoy dragging the large format gear out every now and then...We have a small studio and a full service darkroom here at the house which helps us to keep costs down...
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