Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Stop Being Shocked

None of the recent horrors you witnessed this last week, not the massacre of Jews, not the betrayal by public figures and popular activist movements, not the moral insanity of our universities and cultural spaces, happened by accident.

For the past decade or so, an elite consensus began to emerge. It was marketed as a worldview of optimism, of progress and justice brought about by the dawning of new correct morality. It favored using the power of digital monopolies and elite institutions to reeducate Americans in new and better ways of thinking, writing, speaking, and being.

But something was bothering from the very beginning about these ideas, and the people pushing them. Every time we pressed on one of the newly mass-embraced policy proposals or narratives - intersectionality, decolonization studies, the Iran nuclear deal, Russiagate, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, critical race theory, COVID lockdowns—a weird thing would happen: The idea itself fell apart at the seams within seconds of contact with reality. And yet its defenders got more sure of themselves, more performatively boastful, more passionate and gleeful about smearing anyone who dared to question them.

The more we listened to freshly minted universal experts, the more we were struck by the increasing lunacy of their pronouncements and the seemingly automatic acceptance by the media  on every topic under the sun, always said to be backed by ‘studies’ and ‘science.  Where COVID-19 came from, how many genders there are, which skin tones and personal experiences qualify a person for protection status and which do not, whether it was OK for a Syrian dictator to bomb and gas 500,000 of his people, whether the U.S. should ally itself with a Holocaust-denying medieval theocracy, whether the president of the United States was secretly a Russian agent, whether large American cities should let drug addicts and violent schizophrenics get high on the streets and steal stuff—and more.

Over time we were struck by how little the ideas themselves seemed to matter. What so many people seemed most attached to was the power.

The increasingly strident calls for forced uniformity of opinion and perception struck us as dangerous and wrong. Organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union, once the protectors of the vulnerable, became handmaidens of power.  Internet monopolies merged with the federal government to produce a censorship and surveillance apparatus that would ensure that only the voices of some could be heard. Think tanks and politicians and journalists gave cover for policies that seemed obviously destined to set the world on fire.
* by the Editors of Tablet Magazine

~ Thank You WHATFINGER NEWS for the Linkage! ~

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