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.
Even some of the smarter Leftists are becoming aware of the fact that something is terribly wrong. Check out this scathing opinion piece on Liberalism, by a liberal: THE IKEA HUMANS: THE SOCIAL BASE OF CONTEMPORARY LIBERALISM.
The money quote is this:
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.