Usually, when you encounter an item with no definitive price tag, it is because the item is significantly overpriced. When a customer must ask for the price, the salesman can estimate wealth, gullibility, and many other things before finding a way to screw the customer. It also provides an opportunity to sell the customer, rather than merely counting on the item and its price to convince the buyer.
In simple terms, forcing another to be open about his wants, and being closed off on your own, gives a man a decided bargaining advantage.
Lately, we’ve seen this at work with Antifa, BLM, #TheResistance, and other assorted left-wing groups. Grievances are produced, from slavery, to the plight of Native Americans, to American foreign adventures in the Middle East. Being honest with ourselves, some of these grievances have at least a historical merit to them. But for such leftist groups, the price for burying the grievance is obfuscated behind buzzwords and jargon. We must dismantle the cisheteropatriarchy, we must check our privilege, we must become a positive advocate for change. Everything from microaggressions to cultural appropriation are cited as examples of these things.
But I ask, what change?
Allow me to step into the shoes of one of Babylon 5’s villains, Mr. Morden, and ask the question: “what do you want?”
Well, leftists? What do you want? What is your price for putting away identity politics and your incessant portrayals of right-wing racism, sexism, homophobia, and islamophobia? These portrayals have silenced some of us, enraged others, and sent many conservatives running for the political closet. And once there, they still voted right-wing. Thus we now have one Donald J. Trump, despite all predictions to the contrary.
Some of us, like the esteemed Francis at Liberty’s Torch,have made peace with the incessant accusations and said something to the effect of “if you think that means I’m a racist then fine, I’m a racist. Now what?” Others, like myself, maintain that the portrayal of racism as the greatest of all evils is a mistake, dredged up because of the relative historical freshness of Nazi evil, and America’s own struggles with slavery. These evils most Americans are familiar with, but judging from the proliferation of Che Guevara t-shirts, the evils of Communism are less well understood.
And so racism becomes the number one evil in America, a sort of 21st century red scare, except there are even fewer to play the part of the reds (and many more actual reds).
All of that is immaterial, however. What is the end goal of the leftist? What does he want? What does his ideal America (or world, for those of a globalist persuasion) look like? Who gets to live there? What becomes of us and others who do not fit this progressive vision of the future?
When asked, leftists are often quite silent on the price. Just today, one explained that I should google the matter (never mind that I’ve exhausted google as a resource for this) because she didn’t want to “perform free emotional labor” on my behalf. Naming the price is now something that, in itself, costs money. Imagine if you asked the salesman what the price of a thing was, and he replied “you have to pay me to find out.”
Like the little psychological trick of decreasing sticker shock with slick salesmanship, the left understands that by hiding the price, they increase the possibility of ripping off some gullible idiot. Namely, us. And it works well enough on some. Enough that the thought of being accused of racism or prejudice is enough to elicit outright fear in many, not just an answer to the question.
Once an accusation of racism is leveled, very little is sufficient to dismiss it. Do you have many friends of the race in question? RationalWiki tells you that this is insufficient (after all, Hitler liked one Jew). You’re still a racist. What if, instead, you married a black woman, loved her and her family, and had a child with her? Well, you’re still a racist, because as some Puppy-kickers explained on Facebook (they have since deleted the posts in question, but I saved a screenshot, and Brad Torgersen can confirm it), black pussy doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. The Puppy-kickers even made this into a t-shirt. This argument was recently resurrected on Twitter by Talib Kweli Greene where he explained that if you marry an Indian woman, you’re still a racist, you just like Indian pussy.
So your friends, family, and relationships are dismissed. The accusation still stands. And remember, you are guilty unless proven innocent. And to prove your innocence, you must embrace leftist politics. That is the only accepted coin. And even by doing that, you would still have to abase yourself thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, a woman who murdered her own 4 year old son applied to Harvard, and was denied. Naturally, this had something to do with racism, according to Vox.com. Of course it has little or nothing to do with being a convicted murderer of a child.
Ultimately, the choice is this: convert to leftism, or risk being tarred as a racist with no possible way to prove otherwise, because you are guilty until proven innocent, and all evidence except leftist political sentiments will be summarily dismissed as insufficient.
Meanwhile, a reasonable man might be inclined to ask the price of buying this weapon off the left. What would it take for them to put it away?
Their rants and raves on this matter are difficult to parse. Ta-Nehisi Coates penned a long piece in support of reparations, and when I first read it I expected a concrete answer to the question “what do you want?” Instead, we were treated to a historical lecture on the plight of blacks in America. We already knew this. Everybody knows about slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination against blacks. How can anyone not know? The media has been bombarding us with these things for as long as I’ve been alive. And if the media wasn’t, BLM sure has been making a rather more raw effort at doing so. We get it. These things happened, and blacks got a raw deal.
What I want is a price. What are the demands? What do they really want?
I suspect the reason the demands aren’t named is that the sticker shock is likely to be quite mighty. I recall reading some time ago (and I can’t remember where presently, but if any of my readers know, please reply in the comments) that one black leader suggested a one-time payoff of $1 million to each black citizen. That bill would come out to approximately $36 trillion, approximately double the GDP of the United States, and likely an impossible sum. But to be honest, I suspect the left’s real demands would be much more expensive, and involve something much more Marxist than a massive one-time payment. The left would probably want to ensure the racist right-wingers never got to express their racism again, and would need to be actively suppressed. Somebody has to be the kulaks when things go bad, after all.
In the end, it’s just like Barack Obama’s campaign of hope and change. What change? How much will it cost? Hopeful for whom? These are questions the left leaves unanswered. There are never any (accurate) price tags on their merchandise. And so, I’ve no interest in buying.
Read the whole thing, it’s a very important point to understand. The motive is always power. If casting Rightists as Nazis will help them obtain power, they will do it. If casting them as people who like cats will do likewise, they will do that too. The point is to find a lever which moves you; to find something that that will get under your skin and force you to obey them. Francis references this point in a quote from the book:
‘You are ruling over us for our own good,’ he said feebly. ’You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore-’
He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O’Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.
‘That was stupid, Winston, stupid!’ he said. ‘You should know better than to say a thing like that.’
He pulled the lever back and continued:
‘Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others ; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.
O’Brien has the virtue of honesty in this scene, at least. But then, he is in a position where the truth will actually serve better than the lie, at least for that one moment. He will lie as readily, if not more so, if the lie will serve his purpose. We are currently in a time when tyrants wish to justify their rule over us in terms of our own good. We are not wise enough, you see, to govern ourselves. More and more functions and decisions must be made by the Party.
But the time will come when the O’Briens of the world will be more truthful about it. It is about power, no more, no less. Trouble is, this will only be admitted when the usefulness of the existing weapon has expired. When saying that we are governed by our supposed betters, for our own good, no longer produces a benefit, the claim will be discarded. By the time this truth is admitted, it will likely be too late to do anything about it.
When SJWs discuss oppressive power systems, they are really lamenting the fact that they have not been able to fully impose such systems of power themselves. If and when they do, the mask will come off readily.
There have, however, been a few radical Leftists who have admitted these things semi-openly when it suited their purposes. Saul Alinsky is a great example. Reading his Rules for Radicals exposes a man for whom causes are merely weapons in the pursuit of power, not articles of genuine belief. Now, true believers do exist, of course. And one difficulty a Rightist has today is separating the true believers from the power seekers. One is to be pitied, perhaps. Not the other.
As Francis points out, however, this pity of the true believer can actually be a weapon, too. Our desire to be nice to such people is used against us by the power seekers behind them. Useful idiots form a sort of ideological human shield to protect tyrants. The practice has a long history in physical warfare. Place innocents in a target likely to be bombed, and then accuse your enemy of killing civilians. This helps a tyrant gain a moral high ground position in the eyes of the mass media. We should not be surprised that in politics, a similar tactic is used.
But it is important to understand who you are dealing with, regardless. A deceiver, or the deceived? Some folks may have noticed the arrival of new Leftist detractor in the comments section of The Declination, and might be wondering why I am permitting him to air his inconsistent spew. They come from time-to-time of course. And I continue to maintain that if you do not have enemies, you’re doing something terribly wrong. But it is interesting practice in spotting the difference between the deceiver and the deceived. It is tough to say with certainty yet, but I lean toward the former in his case.
The difference is in directing your own attacks. Don’t waste time on the deceived, that is a mistake. Find and neutralize the deceiver instead. Behind every batch of gender-confused, rainbow haired crazies ranting about the oppressiveness of eating Chinese takeout is an Alinsky-like figure (or perhaps more than one) using such idiots for his own personal gain.
Earlier, I spoke of hardship, and the notion that our world is a fallen world; that a utopia of man is impossible. But the philosophical principles that hold up this view are much more fundamental than all that. It boils down to something Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses in his books rather frequently. A certain degree of hardship produces resilience in a man. It tests him, teaches him, makes him stronger. Like how building muscle requires a certain level of pain to achieve. Without this pain, strength is impossible. It’s related to the concept of antifragility, something that gains from disorder, something that benefits from stress and pain. Human life is like this.
This is a fundamental bone of contention between what we account as the political Left and the political Right. Ever notice how many Leftists are opposed to the very concept of punishment (save for their political enemies, of course)? Spanking your child is child abuse, to them. Imprisonment of criminals is unfair. Some have even come the view that prisons ought to be closed; that nobody really commits a crime, for free will and choice do not exist.
Poverty causes crime, in their view. So if fault is to be assigned, it must be pinned on the evil rich people who took the wealth from the poor. Redistribution will fix it, they say.
This goes against not just human nature, but Mother Nature. Hardship produces strength. Or maybe it kills you. But either way having everything provided for you, having the eternal safety net, the assurance that no matter what happens, you will be safe, winds up sucking away human potential.
Unfortunately, this is an unpleasant truth. The child doesn’t want to be spanked, even if he must be. People don’t want to suffer through pain to gain their reward. And so they are often receptive to the charms of folks who say that all is possible without this pain. Just give the poor man some money; just give the sick man some care, and the hungry man some food. It’s so simple, so easy. And it’s so difficult for the mind to reject the idea. The simplistic morality of it is clear and easy to grasp. And it’s hard to look at person suffering, even if the suffering was his own fault, and say “no, let him suffer.”
Get rich quick schemes pop up all the time, and for all the evidence that they do not work, people still fall for them. Every diet plan on the TV is about some way to lose weight without exercise and while being able to eat things that are tasty and satisfying. Hunger and pain from a day of hard exercise… these are the prices paid for achieving the goal.
Deep down, this belief separates people rather obviously. One sees a man in pain, a man dealing with some terrible problem, and thinks immediately that society has failed him; that his pain can be taken away by waving a government wand. And sometimes, the government wand can do exactly that. It can remove the pain from that man. But at what cost, not only in dollars, but also in the soul of the man so “helped?”
Some years ago, I recall watching all of the old Milton Friedman Free to Choose videos, and there was some interview conducted with some welfare recipients in Britain. They were ordinary folks, a small family just trying to get by. But they lamented that welfare was actually holding them down. Getting a job would take the welfare away and, paradoxically, result in them making less money. But without long job experience, they could never rise up the ladder and make more money. Their poverty was made easy for them, escaping it was made difficult.
In such circumstances, I would take the job anyway. I would take the pain and the hardship of making less and doing more in an effort to escape. But the unpleasant truth is, many folks won’t, because they’ve been given an easy path. A path with less pain, less overall hardship. Good intentions or none, this path destroyed that young family. It sucked something out of them.
When you spank a child, he’ll look up at you in pain, in anger. In that moment, many parents melt. They can’t stomach that look, that moment of suffering, the tears. And so the punishments stop. But this is to the long-term detriment of the child. It’s a good way to raise a spoiled brat, a child who does not understand consequences.
The problem is that the benefit of pain is not immediately apparent, whereas the benefit from the cessation of pain is immediately apparent. Take this quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune:
“You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind.”
This requires a certain amount of forward-thinking. The child does not yet possess this thinking, and so the spankings are a way of temporarily providing it to him until he gets the idea on his own. Pain in the now may be beneficial later.
It is also true at a meta level, at a civilizational level. Something that utterly horrifies us may, in fact, be to everyone’s long-term benefit. Consider what would have happened if the first refugee boat floating over to Europe had been sunk on sight? Some would die, this is true, and it would feel horrible. It would cause great pain. But the migrations would have stopped. Maybe there wouldn’t have been dead Syrian children washing up on the beach, because they’d have known not to get on those damned boats to begin with. Now, I suspect the future of Europe is much darker, even, than a few dead kids on the beach. Something very sinister is brewing.
America herself made a similar decision in World War II, to commit what might be seen objectively as a great atrocity: the dropping of nuclear weapons on Japan. We paid a moral price for doing this. But it was the right decision. Accepting the pain of that decision in the near-term prevented worse in the long-term.
Tom Kratman often touches on this theme in his books, where acts that might be seen as barbaric and utterly cruel on their own are actually a form of mercy when measured in the long run.
Don’t take this as an ‘the end justifies the means’ argument of the sort espoused by Communists either, however. Communists assured folks that the revolutionary utopia was just a few more piles of bodies around the corner. But it never was. The promised utopias never came, the payoff never arrived. In the end, we are forced to conclude that, to the Communist leaders, the piles of dead bodies were a feature; an end, not a means. The utopia was a lie.
In the end, the possible utility of pain is a fundamental point of contention between the political Right and the Left. The Left can’t look past the first boat of refugees to see the chaos and conflict beyond, they cannot see past Hiroshima, filled with civilians, to the piles of bodies required to force the war to a close via other means. They cannot see past the poor person struggling to make ends meet financially to the soulless culture of dependency beyond.
They are the children recoiling from a spanking, wondering why their loving parents would ever do this horrible thing to them. They don’t understand that pain can be a benefit.
The recent kerfuffle over Clay Travis and his trademark phrase “I like the First Amendment and… boobs” has flooded social media these last few days. And it brings up a fascinating amount of cognitive dissonance. Keith Reed, who immediately white-knighted on behalf of poor, offended Brooke Baldwin, posted frequently on the subject of boobs, ass, and attractive women on his public social media pages. Brooke herself frequently wears things that accentuate her breasts and has ‘suffered’ references to boobs many times before. The outrage over the mere mention of boobs is all fake.
The thing of it is, today people often take things out of context deliberately in order to feel the rush of being offended; to get attention and sympathy from others. Being offended supplies a person with increased social status. Being offended makes them powerful for a moment. So any opportunity that presents itself, even if deliberately taken out of context or obviously exaggerated, is quickly embraced. Brooke and Keith both saw golden opportunities to be offended by Clay Travis mentioning boobs.
Note that he didn’t refer to her boobs, or any specific boobs, but merely that he liked them in general. This is hardly a great secret, the notion that men like boobs.
At the same time, Leftists will lob accusations of Nazism and white supremacism at Donald Trump and his supporters. Boobs, apparently, are offensive. But calling people Nazis, effectively the scum of the Earth, is totally okay. If challenged, Leftists often attempt to retreat with “oh, I didn’t mean he was literally a Nazi” or “I’m just joking around.” We know they aren’t, of course.
Fact is, most people know when they’ve been insulted, and when something is a joke, even if word-smithing can make either seem indistinct. The reaction to an insult is visceral. You know it. For a man who has less formal education, perhaps, an insult might even go over his head in a technical manner, yet he still knows he was insulted because of context, tone, and body language.
Now, I’m a First Amendment guy, like Clay Travis, so I don’t care even when I am insulted. Folks have a right to be offensive, to insult, even to hate (so long as they don’t act on it, anyway). But what does get irritating is when someone claims that I am insulting them, or offending them, when it is clear that I had no such intent. Or, vice-versa, when someone insults me, and we both know it was an insult, but he denies it and claims he was not with some seemingly-clever word-smithing.
Leftists gain a lot of power from feeling insulted when no insult was intended, and offering insult and then pretending no insult was offered. It’s a form of framing that we see very often in the media. And it’s absurdly common on social media outlets as well, where hashtags like #KillAllMen trend for a time, and then its authors attempt to escape by claiming it was a joke, and they didn’t really mean it. A woman might say “I hate men” and when challenged says “I don’t hate men.” But when a man says anything negative about any woman whatsoever – Hillary Clinton for example – she will be offended on behalf of women everywhere.
It’s a combination of Mean Girls and Clueless. It’s the sort of juvenile high school girl behavior we expect of a 90s teenager, only this is now often used by adult men too.
A hint for SJWs and media talking heads who find themselves reading this: we know. We see through it, okay? It’s not hard. Everything from tone to body language to snobbish airs of superiority you put on give it all away. We know when you’re being sincere, and when you’re being false, and you’re not fooling anybody. In fact, I’d respect you more if you just came out and said what you honestly believed. If you insulted us and didn’t bother to hide it, if you were truthful and claimed you wanted us all dead, I could at least respect your honesty. Your patronizing tone is, quite honestly, more offensive than your ideals (and those are often bad enough on their own). Your assumed airs, your narcissism and self-worship, your solipsistic attitudes… we know them, we see through them, and the only folks you manage to fool are your own kind.
Such Leftists want us to assume that they are acting in good faith, and then treat us as if we are acting in bad faith. This gives them a sort of social arbitrage in open debate, a sort of home field advantage, if you will, that the Rightist must overcome. And given the reach of the modern media, that advantage has become quite substantial. It’s time to deprive them of it. Assume no good faith. If you believe a Leftist is truly acting in good faith; if you don’t get the sense that he is lying and attempting to reframe everything to his advantage, then all is good. But be on your guard. The Leftist who avoids this tactic is becoming an endangered breed.
For the rest, treat them as you would an unruly, lying teenage valley girl. Even, paradoxically, when they are grown men. Keith Olbermann certainly has more in common with a teenage mean girl than any real grown man, after all.
We live in a time, dear readers, when things are becoming rather Orwellian. Yes, yes, I know. It’s cliche. Everybody says that, even the Leftists I often excoriate. Hillary Clinton herself suggested that Nineteen Eighty-Four was about people being convinced to distrust their leaders. The absurdity of this is obvious, but in the minds of those who read her book, it is already fact. Donald Trump is Big Brother. Or maybe he is Goldstein. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Objective reality is an oppressive illusion of the white cisheteropatriarchy anyway.
How many genders are there? However many they desire. All is subjective, all is tied to their will. It’s a convincing illusion for people who believe themselves to be wise, for they can imagine no limit to their knowledge. Such are not atheists, not in the sense that they do not believe in God. Rather, they hate God. They loathe the idea that somewhere, somehow, there is a force greater than they, someone more powerful.
For them, any absurdity can be true if enough minds can be made to believe it. And any truth can be made false by their fiat. It’s not about ending racism, sexism, or some other -ism or -phobia. It is about their power to shape your beliefs with whatever lever will move you. Long ago Xerxes learned, as many tyrants throughout history have discovered, that there is a limit to the power of arms alone; that they inspire resistance and resolve in an enemy. So much the better if the resolve can be broken before it can take shape. Break the mind before the body, and you will not have to fight your way through the 300 or worry about those famous words: molon labe.
Nice guy disease infects our society like a bubonic plague of the mind. It is there when a man refuses to discipline his child for fear of being seen as mean. It is with us when the TV sputters on and some talking head lectures us about the evils of white privilege. And with weaponized empathy, it is in every politically-charged photograph shared on social media. It is the Syrian child washed up on the shore, it is General Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a Viet Cong captured near a mass grave of civilian victims, a context lost on those for whom the picture was a mere weapon.
My friends, I’m not much of a theologian. I have my faith in God, but I struggle with it as any man might. One truth, however, I believe in totally and absolutely. Our world is a fallen world. While it is full of good things, good people, and pleasant times, such are always bounded by suffering, evil tyrants, and pain. There will be no utopia of man. Protesters out in the streets holding their signs “love wins” are delusional fools, or worse. Only God could ever make such a thing come to pass, and God is the one thing they hate the most.
Let me say it again: there will be no utopia of man. Not now. Not ever. Any man out there making such utopian claims ought to be dismissed as a liar, or committed to the asylum for treatment. It is an insane belief. Everything must begin with the assumption that men are flawed, sinful beings who will make terrible mistakes. We are no angels, and no angels may be found among us.
It is not as bad as folks might think, reading all that. There is good in man too, I’ve seen it. A spark of the divine. I don’t care what social “scientists” say about the falseness of free will. They will tell us all day that free will doesn’t exist; that choice is an illusion, that all is predetermined in probabilistic or even fatalistic fashion. We are passengers in our bodies, mere observers. No. I don’t believe this. Even if their data was true, even if every experiment they’ve conducted was accurate, they are making an assumption as to the nature of man. They assume that the flesh is all there is, and all that ever will be. That no part of us is greater; that there is no divine.
If such were true, morality would be irrelevant. Nothing would be anybody’s fault. If a man walked out and stabbed another in the face, that was fate. That was determined some billions of years ago in the Big Bang. There would be no agency, no purpose to existence. No, that too is a lie, or at least another assumption on the part of the scientists that they have all the answers; that no part of man is beyond their understanding. Fools, all of them.
That’s what it comes down to, dear readers. The tyrants are concerned only with power, the useful idiots are in their thrall because they want so badly to believe that they are smart, that they have the answers, a fiction the tyrants find useful to their cause. And then there are those of us who just don’t know. Maybe we’ve faith in something, maybe not. But in the tradition of Socrates, we know we are not wise. And what a difference that makes on a man’s outlook on life.
Do you know why I believe the free market is superior to a command economy? Because in a command economy, those doing the commanding think they have all the answers, and they damn well don’t. In a capitalist economy, it’s every man trying to figure out his own little corner of things, trying and often failing. Some eventually figure out what people want, what they need, and deliver it. It’s trial and error as much as anything, but that’s a branch of human knowledge that is given too little attention those days. Even within most companies, these days, it’s all about bureaucracy and five year plans; it’s an HR meeting about why making jokes is racist. Even what we consider to be nominal capitalism is, in fact, merely a different form of command economy; another set of technocrats playing at godhood.
Even the insults on social media reflect this. It’s all about being perceived as more intelligent and posturing as more moral. It’s all appearances and no substance, as if all of these people are frightened to death that people will pull the curtain back and everyone will know they are tyrants and morons. Even competitive victimization is now a thing, where people compete for social status by claiming they’ve suffered more than another. People in First World countries who do this need to be committed. While some RadFem is complaining that a man whistled at her on the subway, people die in job lots all over the world. Slavery proliferates. War rages on. Genocide is a fact of life for millions.
It is proof that such people can never be made happy. Even at the pinnacle of technological society, in the richest, most peaceful places in all of human history, they complain about perceived imperfections because even still, their utopia is not here. And idiots everywhere cater to their delusional fantasies in an effort to be seen as nice. In so doing, they are throwing away everything our forebears labored, fought, and died to create for us. Look at Venezuela for a glimpse at the future that might await us, should they hold on to the levers of culture, media, and political power.
I’m tired of nice, my friends. I’ve no use for it. Nice is why we are here; how we got to such lunacy. I don’t have all the answers, folks. I never did, and I never will. But one thing I know is true: since we live in a fallen world, the idea that we can nice-guy our way out of every problem is a category error. It cannot be. Anyone who demands this of us is either a tyrant, or one of their stooges, and deserves our contempt.
At least O’Brien tortured Winston terribly to break his mind, to force him to acknowledge untruths; to create in him a love of Big Brother. The nice guys today do so whenever someone accuses them of not being nice enough. They are like Peter, denying Christ, but never repenting of the denial, never realizing their own failure and moral cowardice.
To close, I offer this semi-famous quote from The Princess Bride:
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
As I get everything squared away from the hurricane, and catch up on missed work, you’ll have to excuse the short posts.
Catching up on my usual haunts in the blogosphere, I came across this gem from Francis. Pay particular attention to item number four. After 9/11, there was an outpouring of patriotic sentiment, even from many of those normally accounted as Leftists. The country united, for a time, against the attack, and put partisan behavior aside for a while. Of course, it was too good to last.
Francis (and the authors he cites) asks an important question: could that happen today? If there was some terrifying attack, could Americans unite again, fly the flag, and express pride in our country? The answer is no. Patriotism, today, is now racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and a thousand other ills. During the tenure of Barack Obama, the preeminence of identity politics over any other consideration was established. If you proudly fly the flag, say that you love your country, and, God forbid that you want to “make America great again,” you are a racist bigot. Now, “make America Mexico again” is perfectly acceptable, though.
I thought about that for a while, and it occurred to me that this is effectively the death of the America I knew as a kid. It’s just gone and I’ve no idea where it went, or if it can ever come back.
Therefore, to be precise, the class of people of whom I am speaking are “cosmopolitan” neither in the idealized nor in the demonized sense of the word. They neither bridge deep social differences in search of the best in human experience, nor debase themselves with exotic foreign pleasures. Rather, they have no concept of foreignness at all, because they have no native traditions against which to compare. Indeed, the very idea of a life shaped by inherited custom is alien to our young couple. When Jennifer and Jason try to choose a restaurant for dinner, one of them invariably complains, “I don’t want Italian, because I had Italian last night.” It does not occur to them that in Italy, most people have Italian every night. For Jennifer and Jason, cuisines, musical styles, meditative practices, and other long-developed customs are not threads in a comprehensive or enduring way of life, but accessories like cheap sunglasses, to be casually picked up and discarded from day to day. Unmoored, undefined, and unaware of any other way of being, Jennifer and Jason are no one. They are the living equivalents of the particle board that makes up the IKEA dressers and IKEA nightstands next to their IKEA beds. In short, they are IKEA humans.
These IKEA humans the author describes have no pride in their country, because they don’t really have a country. If they are American citizens, that it is only an accident of birth. Culturally they are unmoored to anything. They float from fad to fad without any grounding in anything, and they regard such grounding in other people as passe. How provincial, they think, that a man would fly an American flag. Who does that? Better to save up for the latest Gucci bag and iPhone X, while protesting the evils of capitalism.
They don’t genuinely believe we are all racist bigots. Rather, being seen as anti-America is merely the latest trend, and they wish to signal their social superiority over the provincials by eschewing such things. When they say “you’re a bigot” what they are really saying is “you’re not part of the cool club, like us.” It’s all just in-group jargon to them, to signal their membership in the IKEA class. Flying the American flag is an obvious sign that you are not trendy and hip, as they are. And, thus, you must be excluded from their circles. You are not politically or socially useful to them, so they’ve no use for you. In fact, it would be most convenient if you didn’t even exist, or if you could at least have the courtesy of remaining invisible to them and not making a nuisance of yourself.
The very notion of patriotism is foreign to IKEA humans.
Political debate with them is useless, because as Francis tells us, they don’t desire the same ends as we do. They don’t live in the same world that we do. Largely, we don’t even speak the same language anymore. Their social justice jargon has altered the meaning of words so dramatically that they can say, with a perfectly straight face, that all white people are racist, and no “person of color” could be racist against a white person. When challenged on this, they will produce their definition of racism, rewritten to support their position.
And when debate is pointless, when talking no longer gets the point across, war can’t be far off.