The State Must Collapse When Self/Other Recognition Dissolves (Part II)

We have a growing problem.  Urban crime was bad in the Eighties, terrorist attacks were no minor annoyance as the millennium turned over, and Mexico’s gang violence has steadily percolated even through small-town neighborhoods… but will the future’s greatest physical dangers be posed by our own children?  Our college campuses have become nurseries for pathological introversion and extreme incivility (including overt violence).

I wrote last time about the dissolution of self/other recognition, which might meaningfully be characterized as a morbid slide back into early childhood.  Certain young people, especially—but also many old enough to know better—cannot distinguish, apparently, between a source of personal distress and a global crisis.  Their preferred method of bridging the gap from the near side of the ego’s deep chasm to the wide world’s busy traffic is, perversely, to lay upon that world the responsibility for a weak will or for poor personal judgment.  Thus everyone around them must tread eggshells if they are “unfriended” on social media; all males everywhere are responsible if they wake up without their memory and their panties after a wild party; and mainstream society is positively un-Christian—as a sudden burst of pious inspiration seizes them—if laws impose a minor inconvenience upon their need of a “hygienic procedure” for cleaning out the uterus.

Again, my position is that “they” are “we”, or at least are our children.  “They” would not exist in this degraded form if we were not creating and sustaining a degraded environment.  What, exactly, are we doing to bring this twilight of insanity down upon ourselves?

I can think of a few things: four, for sure.

1) Contemporary life is too soft on us: it excuses us from confronting basic realities.  We all know what a debilitating obstacle is posed to us by a little fluctuation in temperature.  Now that our central heating and air-conditioning have groomed us to dwell within a “comfort spectrum” of about ten degrees, any intrusion of forceful weather upon that meteorological safe zone must indict some epochal catastrophe like planetary climate change.  So for other aspects of modern living: success has emasculated us.  I hear proponents of the MAGA persuasion crow all the time (in ironically rugged, robust language) about the high-tech atrophy of our vigor as if it were a measure of our civilization’s triumph… and I suppose it might be, from a certain perspective.  “We don’t need to conserve fuel,” they bluster.  “We have shale oil!  And look at how free the car has made us, and how many jobs it creates!”  But such lavish “freedom” has also made us prone to yearn for or demand frivolities—and even corrupt pleasures—with a passion out of all proportion to the worthiness of what we desire.  The rebellious children of the “bring back progress” voting bloc are, of course, still more addicted to imaginary “rights”.  Not having an iPhone appears to be a social injustice tantamount to slavery for some people, and catching a few scowls for sporting spiked purple hair is the equivalent of having to wear a Yellow Star.  Come on, will you?

2) The cause of highest impact in our collective crisis of incivility, I’m convinced, is the Internet, in all of its “social media” ramifications.  A generation of young people has now been reared without an adequate degree of integration into broader society, but seduced, instead, into artificial worlds inhabited by various “human tokens” (profiles, avatars, selfie-plated façades) that may or may not reflect faithfully the real beings projected in them.  Retreat into such fraudulent communities is so general that it absolves even passers-by on a sidewalk of having to look up and say “hello” (or to avoid physical collision).  It is not beyond the pale of possibility that many college students know no one in the conventional sense.  Hence they haven’t learned how to suppress certain utterances that will not be of communal interest or are not cast in terms appropriate for a mature audience.  Their “feelings”, naturally, are the source of whatever concern happens to consume them today; and people who do not share this concern are callous and brutal (since everyone in the online group, of course, acknowledges that each personal grievance belongs at the top of the Cosmic Crisis list).

Unfortunately, the electronic god that giveth also taketh away.  A spat with an e-friend—or, Heaven forbid, disgrace before an entire e-community—can send the young person’s world into a tailspin.  All is over.  Life is no longer worth living: the future is sealed.  Nothing remains but to pull the plug.  We hear or read all too often about teens committing suicide because they have been “flamed on SM”—and the moral of every such tragic story is supposed to be that we must fight online bullying with more seminars, more “awareness”.  Malefactors guilty of over-indulging their slanderous thumbs have even, I believe, been prosecuted, sometimes successfully.

Am I the only one who identifies the greater problem here, and indeed the only substantial problem, to be the “victim’s” woeful failure in developing a functional, resilient, mature ego thanks to a brief lifetime spent hypnotically before a screen’s glare?

3) I will surely be derided for volunteering this further point—and readers familiar with my “obsession” concerning the subject will likely roll their eyes… but I’m convinced that we spend far too little time in physical activity.  Exercise.  I could immediately ramble off the names of three or four major spokesmen for the American Right who routinely scoff at physical fitness as if it equated with some left-wing, New Age adoration of yoga or veganism.  To these “philosophers”, unnecessary activity seems to imply a rejection of technological innovations like the elevator or a voice-commanded Siri or Alexa.  It’s anti-free enterprise!  It’s un-American!  Eventually (and sooner rather than later), our rugged-individualist cream puffs are going to have to decide if they want artificially engineered organs replacing vital portions of their abused and malfunctioning bodies… or if they believe that such engineering may intrude upon the spiritual territory that they claim to hold dear.  Many will work out some kind of compromise in their thoughts, which will naturally spill into their jabber within minutes; and virtually none of them will notice that, in the process, their worldview has fused with that of their enemy-unto-death, the utopian progressive.

Indeed, there may be no more graphic and more specific case of “conservative” America ideologically plunging into the swirl of young-progressive socialism and dehumanization than we find in this contempt for the body as it is—as God has given it to us: a delicate ally whose proper care and maintenance teaches us a discipline of the soul.  In fact, speaking of a bridge from the internal subject to the social object… your body is a dress rehearsal for building such bridges, is it not?  Yours but not yours, obeying but betraying your commands, it needs to be flattered, bullied, cajoled, and overruled at various moments so that your true intent may translate into an undistorted action.  It doesn’t belong to the World Beyond… but it is the ambiguous doormat of that intimidating mansion.

Much of our present misery appears to spring from an utterly inept identification of body and soul.  You are what you look like: your sex, your height, your racial or ethnic characteristics.  No wonder so many young people grow suicidal when they peer into the mirror, or else struggle to maintain a false visual persona on the Internet!  No wonder we all seem so preoccupied with having our DNA tested!

And then, when the verdict cannot be finessed as we would like, the gush of anxious hormones within us is responsible for our mood.  Pills, bring us pills!  Political Left and Right apparently select from different menus, but everyone places an order.  The face in the mirror isn’t responding when we tug the reins: we must stir some magic potion into its feed.  Whether you consume legal or illegal anti-depressants, however, you are addressing the cracks in your soul’s temple by hanging pictures over them.

I’ve often been shocked at the number of young people being treated in some fashion for depression.  I ask them if they exercise at all—if they bike or play tennis—and the answer is always negative.  The electronic black hole into which they have been sucked causes much of the paralysis, as does the broader servicing of all wants and needs by gadgetry: in other words, this crippling flaw in our culture is actively nourished by the previous two. I might add (if doing so will not make a socialist of me to eyes that see only in black and white) that Numbers One and Two above are themselves fueled by the “creative genius” of the capitalist spirit—which, while powering our mainstream like a mighty dynamo, does not appear to have found a reliable source of profit in our eternal spirit.

4) This brings me to my final culprit: the collapse of our culture’s spiritual scaffolding.  I am not going to write anything so insipid as that Americans don’t attend church with their erstwhile regularity.  That would be the parent’s explanation of what has happened to his child—but here I am suggesting that the parent look to his own practice.  What, exactly, is this “church” whose negligence is so often cited as the reason for our degeneracy?

The contemporary American church disdains none of the digital sophistication that riddles other aspects of our life as it woos visitors—especially, yes, young visitors.  The services I have observed at my son’s church (a very prosperous one) impressed me on two scores.  First, the expertly manipulated lighting and the music seemed to lure participants into subjective fantasies of ecstasy normally attributable to drugs in the harsh brilliance of day.  Second, the purpose or “mission” of the church was very distinctly oriented to social welfare: relief for the Dominican Republic, offerings for underprivileged school children, and recruitment of racial/ethnic minorities for the church’s membership.  Not necessarily bad objectives… but when did the church become an appendage of our paternalistic central government?  At what moment did this high-tech service encourage reflection—honest and intense self-examination—during a sustained silence?  I witnessed various opportunities for writing checks and for feeling good with a little “go, team” fist-pumping.   When was death stared in the face? Where was the message that our mortal life doesn’t really matter except as a proving ground for and a window upon the transcending life of the eternal spirit?  Where was the discussion of how poverty is sometimes to be embraced, or how the gift of sympathy may be worth more than material largesse?

Such an interpretation of Christianity renders it very hard to distinguish from other varieties of collectivism—and collectivism isn’t a successful integration of self and other.  It is a complete absorption, rather, of the former by the latter.  Yet at the same time, “religious experience” of this order seems almost solipsistic.  The other has to exist so that the self may feel worthy by serving it; and an other that needs to be waited on hand and foot like a mute paraplegic is a mere egotistical construct, not a distinct human creature who will prosper spiritually from the encounter.  The term I hear frequently used to designate such clumsy gestures at social conscience is “virtue signaling”.  Precisely.  You’re telling the world in semaphore that you are a marvelously decent, caring person: you’re not perceiving, assessing, and addressing specific realities with respect to their full impact on your neighbor.
My son isn’t much interested in this particular church, for which I am grateful… but I’m also distressed that he may not find a better option.  I have rarely succeeded in doing so myself, in our land of plenty.

Dads and Moms, if you want to know why your bouncing babes are now overturning squad cars and demanding that wealth be confiscated and redistributed, maybe it’s because of the morally bankrupt “social justice” sermons you made them sit through during their formative years.  Or maybe it’s simply because they nonsensically conflate violence with peace as they struggle to find a script that projects them as concerned adults.  When the chasm between self and other is negotiated with disastrous ineptitude, such whopping contradictions are not unusual.

Getting back on track is going to require effort of a kind and magnitude that seem well beyond human capacity… but through God, all things are possible.  American mainstream practice is not that god, though it was once kept helpfully on the straight and narrow by a more mature spirituality.

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Society Collapses When Self/Other Recognition Dissolves (Part I)

Sometimes an attempted trail of reason, in working its way through cacophonous riot and poignant sentiment, doubles back on itself; sometimes, in honest perplexity, you write contradictions.

I wondered if, in the course of the past two weeks, I might have sealed myself in a rhetorical labyrinth.  I recall declaring myself ready for a formal, political severance from people who think my kind fit for a death camp merely because of our genetic composition (viz., “old white guys”)… and then, a few days later, I appeared to hold mainstream society responsible for producing that poison, and I confessed a certain pity for the little vipers who bore it in their bite.

I have put myself on trial, therefore: am I being contradictory?

In my defense, I would first observe that the idea behind a looser American Confederacy, with the secessed Caliwashegon enforcing no citizenship requirements whatever and taxing her few productive members to the hair roots, was one of self-teaching.  The newly formed republic would be free to prosecute her utopian experiment fully, as the rest of us watched in great interest.  The cadets aboard this space ship would be at their stations, not to suffer punishment, but to see if she would fly. True, I was convinced that the experiment would be truly punishing: the foolish upstart states would repent and come begging for readmission to the broader group under the Constitution’s terms.  I still believe—firmly—that such an approach is infinitely better than imposing the Southeast’s will (for instance) upon the Western Seaboard.  I wrote, indeed, that if the US had embraced this policy a century and a half ago, the nation would not have slaughtered three quarters of a million of her citizens, industrial and fiscal imbalances would have been reconciled, and slavery would have died of is own primitive torpor.

Now, as for the people who shower me with porcine epithets because I’m an “old white male” and feel themselves inspired by holy zeal to spit accusations of rape, assault, racism, and genocide in my face when I enter a restaurant… why would I not, a fortiori, be willing to give them their own island whereon to learn good manners as they spray each other with excrement like Yahoos?  Actually, I would be entirely willing to do that, for their numbers overlap almost perfectly with those of the Far West Utopia.  Austinites could emigrate back to California (where most of them come from these days).

Yet at the same time, I believe I was extending an important point last week, which was the following: new members of the spit-and-spray species would arise among us even as we rejoiced in their formal exile, for something within our socio-cultural engine is churning them out.  There’s a reason why bratty children exist, and it must be sought in the quiet suburbs where their virtuous parents reared them.

As I mulled over all of these complex connections, my mind drifted back to perhaps the most disappointing day of my career as a college professor.  I’ve related it before, many times: I had grown vexed with the rate of absenteeism in an upper-division English class, and I vented my irritation one day by quipping that X, Y, and Z must be missing because Question 4 had driven them to suicide.  I believe several coeds probably wanted me dismissed that same day.  Little did I know—for I have only found this out within the last month—that suicides among young women have spiked dramatically over the past decade.  Should I have known that at the time?  Should a teacher construct a demographic profile of each class—detailed with the moment’s hot-button issues—before Day One and prepare himself to steer clear of possibly delicate subjects?

I didn’t apologize for the remark, and I wouldn’t today.  It was quite brief, clearly intended as a joke, and indexed both to an undue amount of whining about homework and (as noted) a sloppy level of participation.  I will go further now than I ever have before in my defense: suicide is always an apt burlesque of a situation where difficulties are melodramatized, for suicide itself is always melodramatic (if you exclude examples that ancient Stoics offered of resisting a tyrant, some of which are physically impossible).  No misery in this world justifies self-murder.  Such a response indicates a disastrous lack of proportion (often equivalent to an utter absence of faith).  We are not mocking the victims of suicide when we use it as a trope for excessive drama any more than we’re denying the seriousness of alcoholism when we hold up drunken behavior as buffoonish.  We may grieve over a brother who ruined his life in a fanatical religious cult or through a gambling addiction: that doesn’t mean that the bizarrely warped thinking in one situation and the surrender of self-control in the other cannot be scorned.  It certainly doesn’t mean that either behavior “deserves respect”.

Perhaps I can best convey my position as an educator with an analogy.  Picture, if you would, three houses.  Two are private residences adorned to the taste of the occupants: the third is a temple.  To me, the subject matter of that advanced course in English grammar was the temple wherein we were all meeting to honor and absorb as much cultural tradition and wisdom as we could.  One of us, say, didn’t usually wear shoes in his personal dwelling, and one of us liked to have loud music running in hers.  In my opinion, all such personal predilections should become irrelevant the instant we cross the temple’s threshold.  I’m not in your house, and you are not in mine: we are collaborating in a service which, done properly, should join both of us—along with our entire culture, if not our species—in a harmonious unit.  So I wear the slippers prescribed for respectful entry, and you temper your ear to accept the rhythms of gongs and chimes.

I wouldn’t know that you might be offended if I remarked upon chimes being more restful than drums… but I really don’t care if you contest the judgment.  Suppress the personal here for a moment, would you?  It’s not appropriate.  In my erratically attended class, I was wholly unaware that suicide had acquired the mystique of the AIDS epidemic thirty years earlier.  People continue to say, “I’ll kill myself if her mother stays another week.”  It belongs to our general parlance: not all of us are twenty-year-old girls witnessing a crisis peculiar to their circle.

When we are nevertheless commanded by the Politically Correct to “respect the feelings” of this or that prickly demographic subset, we are being compelled to adore a new mystery.  Suicide is not a god to be venerated.  She is not Suicide.  Her name should not be uttered seldom, and then only whispered with downcast eyes.  The problem that the current generation of females has with willingly staying alive is indeed peculiar; and, like all peculiar behaviors, it arises at least partly of their own choosing.  Young women spend too much time on iPhones and are far too concerned about popularity and criticism in this fantastical alternative reality.  As an older person, I should not consider myself morally obligated to memorize a through-the-looking-glass geography in order to communicate with one of these spirits as she fades in and out of our three shared dimensions: not unless I’m a therapist and she is my patient.  I am not a therapist. The outrage directed at me as we attempted to understand subordinate clauses had all the shocking suddenness of a black student’s warning, issued to me years earlier, that I was risking my life (because of my race) by pronouncing “gangster” as “gangsta”; and in that instance, I was actually trying to understand and fuse with the trend.

The attempt to understand never matters in these cases, it seems. Only the occasion for the “wounded” party to bleed in public matters. If a catalytic brute like me didn’t exist, he would have to be invented.

I submit that something very similar to that unhappy day’s events is unfolding with the “I believe her” and “all men are rapists” micro-orthodoxy.  Very specific and personal experiences are now being forced into the collective consciousness as objects of awe commanding us brutes and clods to servile obedience.  Their causes—their surrounding reality—must be excluded from all questioning.  “What do you mean, she might be lying about the assault?  How dare you suggest that women are not universally abused!” is the contemporary equivalent of a radical Puritan’s roaring, “What do you mean, things sometimes happen by accident?  How dare you suggest that God hasn’t a plan for everything!”  We are to fall to our knees as soon as certain words are whispered.  Your bad day, once upon a time twenty years ago, must smite me like a thunderclap because others in your clique claim to have lived through similar days.  I don’t get to question the precise extent of your clique, the degree of similarity in its experience, or the causes behind that experience.

But as a free, reasonably sane human adult, I claim the right to question.  In your specific case, Traumatized Coed, I’m sorry if a boy forced himself on you during a wild party in college… but that doesn’t mean that I have to suppress the wisdom of Ulysses’ judgment when he says of Cressida, “Her wanton spirits look out at every joint.”  Shakespeare’s Cressida is not Juliet: she does things she shouldn’t have done—that a “good girl” doesn’t do.  Is there an implication that you should perhaps not have attended that party, or perhaps shouldn’t have accompanied that boy up to his bedroom?  I agree that no woman should be a victim of force… but I’m not trimming my lesson plans to absolve your conscience of any possible degree of fault or complicity.  (And I’m sorry your sister leapt off the Golden Gate Bridge, very sorry… but I’m not apologizing if an, “I’m jumping out the window the next time this computer system crashes!” leaks out of my mouth.)

And as for your claim that all men are rapists… if this were so, then raising an uproar about a specific incident would be futile, for a good half of your likely auditors would be rapist males.  Your outrage can exist only if there is a higher law recognized by all sane, mature human beings.  How is Shakespeare’s Angelo a monster unless his abuse of power in attempting to seduce Isabel offends decency and fairness—and how can his attempt so offend if all men do the same thing routinely?  (The blunt irony here is that feminist critics uniformly detested Isabel in the Seventies and Eighties for being a stodgy prude whose virginity mattered more to her than her brother’s life… what’s a little rape now and then, especially since dating options in the nunnery are limited?)

We can’t discuss issues of general importance with people who refuse to leave their house and enter the public forum—washed, wearing shoes and clothes, their favorite swear words bottled up.  We can’t conduct classes when a third of the group sits it out in an acute attack of depression or screams for the teacher’s head if he blurts, “This is killing me!”  We can’t plumb the depths of Shakespeare when we have to anticipate treading on twenty-first-century, politically sensitized toes.  We can’t evaluate a Supreme Court candidate’s credentials if the faintest aroma of alcohol in his adolescence revives memories of date rape in some unspecified portion of the population.

I can’t be responsible for not living in your house, surrounded by your furniture and saturated with your preferred sounds and smells.  Honestly, I don’t want to enter your house, because the “you” that has exited its front door screaming at me for uttering innocent quips, dropping gendered pronouns, and ordering the occasional hamburger doesn’t strike me as fit for participation in civic life.  But if you can attract enough visitors to your salon, why not declare it a forum unto itself?  Then the rest of us will be able to mark it plainly on our map as a place to avoid.

If things are happening beyond your front door that have hounded you into your little house of horrors, then we should address those together and decide if they are objectively problematic.  Don’t tell me that I may not say “suicide” out loud: tell me that people of your age and gender are neurotically sensitive to the word because of an epidemic among them.  Let’s talk about the epidemic—its causes and possible resolution—but not wail over it and keen its victims as we pour ashes on our heads. Suicide is melodrama: that’s where the discussion begins (and I say that as someone who battle suicidal tendencies off and on in his twenties, alone and quietly).

Having a phobia of the next sunrise is not normal; neither is entertaining a phobia of all males.  (If “homophobia” is a genuine article, by the way, then why isn’t “androphobia” equally so?)  Do not demand that I “honor” your cold-sweat terror of sudden air travel, solitary doors of entry, or words that end in “-cide”.  Let us begin in admitting that you have a weakness—not in condemning me for blasphemously declining a tone of abject awe.

If you felt yourself compelled to have an abortion in college after waking up without clothes or memory in a fraternity house, let us by all means discuss campus policies about “recreation”—and especially the explicit campus endorsement of unconditional sexual adventures.  But let’s also recognize that you were not whisked off the sidewalk, bundled into a car, and dragged into the fraternity house.  You arrived there under your own power, and of your own volition.  Sucking out the brains of viable babies should not be legal just because your social life took a dark turn.  Come out of your bunker for a moment, will you?

Certain people cannot be taught because of the rigorous “safe zone” that they insist upon squeezing through every classroom door they enter, and certain people cannot contribute to a public debate because of the unresolved personal traumas that impel them to quest for vengeance or broadcast their nightmare incessantly.  Yes, we should listen to the wronged and the troubled; but when they cannot render themselves “listenable”, the best thing for them might be to retreat to some commune where their unprocessed grief and fury can find infinite echoes in the howls of other tortured souls.  Sooner rather than later, those who wish to opt for sanity will have had enough, and they will flee back into the world of the living with something like a coherent grievance.

Well, I’ve just finished my longest entry ever… and I still haven’t addressed the forces within our socio-cultural mainstream that are producing fringe behavior. I’ll try again next time.

“I Believe,” “Me, Too”: Women and Transferred or Postponed Rage (Part Two)

Words like “transference” do not typically grow in my author’s garden.  “Postponement” is a little more characteristic of literary haunts, and seems to me (in my amateur’s carelessness) to point to a very similar psychological phenomenon.  That women in Western societies have delayed or suppressed a lot of rage at the male sex is smack-in-the-face obvious to me.  Today I will try to extend my case to the idea of how that rage, broken loose at last, might transfer itself to a particular target (the original source of outrage having vanished, quite often, into murky decades).

First, to recap: I accept that many women today have been abused and violated by men in the past.  It’s grossly unfair to accuse all of us men of such behavior… but we who minded our manners were not “players” in the Seventies and Eighties, only mute bystanders.  Indeed, academic feminism, which I hold ultimately most responsible for the contemporary woman’s plight, began in the assumption that “men get to play around”.  I recall that notion from fifty years ago—I recall such blather flying from the mouth of a high school English teacher; and I further recall muttering to myself in futile protest, “Men in my family don’t play around.”

That was the point of departure: take the most reprehensible behavior of the most undisciplined males… and make it the standard which, in simple fairness, should also apply to females.  Once women began stooping to pass beneath a steeply lowered bar, men either followed their lead or… well, to repeat, some of us were left spectating from the game’s sidelines in gaping disbelief.

I didn’t write this last time, but I should say it now in so many words.  Today’s women don’t live up to men’s expectations: those times are branded “the patriarchy” and consigned to the Dark Ages.  Instead, men adapt themselves to women’s expectations in modern Western society—and the vector of those expectations was decidedly downward in 1980.

A second quick addendum: women are far less apt than men, in my experience, to be shamed by the example of an upright individual and to alter their habits accordingly.  Instead, they are likely to savage the “good girl” mercilessly until they drag her into the mud wrestling.  The female ego is stunningly fragile in that regard: it will sooner transform the whole world into a gallery of the macabre than recognize that it has allowed itself to be disfigured and corrupted.  (In that respect, women are natural progressives: they prefer blundering forward with back firmly turned on a dubious past to brooding over errors in a confessional, corrective frame of mind.)  No doubt, we men bear some of the blame for this.  To become “unpleasant” or to acquire “soiling” experiences is practically a death sentence in the female mind, whereas to a male it can be viewed as the Prodigal Son’s constructive adventure to the bottom.

Imagine, then (and here I pivot to this day’s subject), a woman whose head was filled from early adolescence with the “virtues” of freedom and self-assertion as expressed by giving her body casually to a different male every month, or every weekend… or every day or hour.  (There’s a satanic progression in such conditioning, just as may be observed when the gang recruit’s initiatory shooting graduates to cold-blooded mass-executions.) Imagine, for instance, someone like singer/actress Alyssa Milano: endowed (cursed?) with an angelic face, swallowed up before the age of consent into the most malodorous cesspool of moral degeneracy in American life (the entertainment industry), submitted to more kinds of assault and seduction than were ever seen by patrons of a Tiberian bath house, and finally spewed out with fading looks upon a pile of money with a mic and camera never far away.  At whom would such a person flail, now that she may safely throw a punch or two?  The agents and producers on whose couches she first auditioned have long, long ago drifted far, far out to sea (where, as this male hopes, the fishes gnaw their rotten bones).  The soirées where memory has “redacted” all the details with the thick black stylus of booze and drugs are not likely to yield back their secrets… unless under hypnosis or “therapy”.  In any case, much of life remains to be lived, even though the leading roles for “hot, sexy” young things are no longer forthcoming.  Is it wise to accuse Pilate of the Crucifixion at this point instead of a palace guard?

If I single out Ms. Milano, it’s because a) her voice in these matters is among the most persistent, audible, and imbecilic; and b) because I cannot quite shake myself of utter infatuation with her lovely face (male pig that I am: it’s infuriating sometimes, ladies, to be subjugated to the hard-wired male adoration of beauty).  Yet I should append here a bit of wisdom imparted by the roommate to whose nuggets I was briefly privy at the College of Willian and Mary: plain girls are easier prey, because they’re grateful for any attention they receive.  As the irrepressibly randy old Ben Franklin put it, all cats are gray in the dark.

A man needn’t be so naive as to suppose, therefore, that beautiful women were most tarnished by the sexual revolution’s debacle.  It may very well have been Plain Jane, rather, who had the widest experience of one-night stands in her bid to be pleasing and “hip”.  O vocal chorus of outraged women, address your wails to people like my roommate (who was on probation for drug-dealing, and from whose company I soon parted) for some of those raw mornings on the trash heap—but devote a strophe to Gloria Steinem, as well: louder, longer round of outraged wails.

According to the hair-rending logic of shrieking choruses… who pays?  Now that #MeToo has attracted a supportive mass of victims from the backstreets, whose neck gets fitted for a noose?  Every man a girl has ever dated?  But you can’t hang them all, much as you’d like to.  Who most deserves to be hanged… who, symbolically, is the most compelling villain?

Why, Dad, of course!  You know: the Man Who Wasn’t There, just when you needed him—the guy who was busy making tubs of money to send you to the very best schools.  During your high school years, you could coax a smile from his weary face (on rare occasions when you saw him) by bringing home A’s from Saint Tiffany’s Academy… and you secured an A in English by writing about how women should be allowed to sleep around just as men have always done.  (Did Dad really do that?  You knew he didn’t… he just wouldn’t.)  Then it was off to Rutgers or Purdue; and Daddy Dearest certainly couldn’t have disapproved of keg parties and weekend hook-ups, because he was oh-so-proud of you for getting accepting into one of the nation’s premier ivory towers.  (So maybe… maybe the other stuff really was part of his secret life.)  How were you supposed to figure out, at eighteen, that physically walking these ivy-draped corridors was a high honor, but that listening to the subversive, nihilistic rigmarole echoing through them was a plunge into the abyss?

Why didn’t Daddy explain all this to you, if he approved but disapproved?  It needed sorting out.  Why did he turn his back on you, once more and at the most critical moment?

Yes, Dad should pay… but he’s your father, and you love him (between and behind the times when you hate him).  Daddy should hang for letting you be taken out with the trash… but not precisely Daddy.  Somebody like him.  Some very prominent spokesman for his “values”: for God, country, family, free enterprise… for rationality, objectivity, order… for the System.  The System that let boys treat you like a toiletry before flushing you away.  All rise for the Pledge!

Who gets croaked for all that?  Why, Brett Kananaugh, of course.

To the Alyssa Milanos of this world, and to their Plain Jane sisters, I believe there is a weirdly logical cogency in the “I believe her” professions.  Yes, he did it!  The wrapped-in-flag Mr. Clean who made straight A’s as you were supposed to do and drew the priest’s benediction that was supposed to be yours—all the while enjoying his beer-guzzling games with rowdy mates and being Man About Campus though saving himself for his future bride… what nauseating hypocrisy!  The sham of it all!  The lie of it all!  Oh, yes, the specifics—the details!  They make it look as though the truth is on his side and the lies on yours.  You always get snared in details, because that’s how the game’s creators set it up.  So Justice Kavanaugh gets off on a technicality?  Not on your life!

He’s worse than the boy who wouldn’t stop when you said “no”, the young man whose panting face on top of you doesn’t quite crystallize from the fraternity house’s drunken mob, the boss who showed up in your apartment to go over tomorrow’s presentation and wouldn’t leave… he’s the man who facilitated it all.  The pimp.  The hypocrite who nods, smiles, collects his fee, and shuts the door on you.  He needs to hang till his face turns black and puffy.

I can understand all that.  It’s wrong-headed thinking.  It’s miserably misguided: the degree of transfer is pitiful, surely pathological.  And yet… and yet, is such a transfer of fury entirely irrational?  The lunacy must stop—but the hypocrisy which drives weaker characters to lunacy must stop, as well.

We should no longer surrender our daughters for sacrifice, like Aztec maidens about to have their hearts cut out, to polluted “institutions of higher learning”—and we should no longer patronize an industry that degrades them for our amusement.  Both of these cultural burn barrels are radioactive with hatred of the American mainstream… and the American mainstream, in retaliation, continues to channel its impressionable youth straight into their furnaces.  Why is that?

“I Believe,” “Me, Too”: Women and Transferred or Postponed Rage (Part One)

I’m not wading into to a discussion here of the Supreme Court’s nomination and confirmation process; rather, I would draw attention to the kind of remark stirred by recent such “discussions” in certain quarters.  A college professor at a Catholic university, for instance, tweeted that she hoped male senators who supported Judge Kavanaugh’s candidacy would die a miserable death, and that they would be castrated postmortem and their testicles fed to hogs.  The “professor” was not disciplined by her institution, as far as I know.

Okay.  Please consider this hypothetical.  If I wrote (not quipped or popped off in private, but typed for public consumption) that a female who voted for X should be gang-raped, then bludgeoned to death, then have her —s cut off and fed to farm animals, I could forget about any white-collar employment forever and, indeed, forget about any job which didn’t involve getting to know said farm animals up close.  And rightly so.  Not only that… but some man worthy of the name, hopefully, would walk up and smack me into next week.

There are at least three reasons why women can spew hideous vitriol in the faces of men and get off scot free.  I’ll get the easy one out of the way first—the one, that is, whose existence no “educated” person will acknowledge, least of all the “professor” herself.  It goes like this (and I am not myself proposing it as valid).  Women often get a pass for extreme misbehavior because they’re women.  That is, they can’t control themselves as well as men and they’re more given than men to irrational outbursts.  Those who object, “Well, the provocation is extraordinary if you realize what women have had to endure,” simply confirm the passive-aggressive stereotype: viz., women absorb punishment until they can’t take it any longer, and then they explode in every direction at once.  The poor things.

To repeat: I do not write as endorsing this point of view.  I observe, rather, that it does indeed exist; and I will go so far as to say that it nestles very deeply in our cultural subconsciousness.  That’s why I will speculate with confidence that the “professor” sensed, albeit subconsciously, the presence of such a “get out of jail free” card in her invincible hand.  Her punches are free.  Their target is bound and gagged.

Now, the remaining two reasons for why savage, even insanely sanguinary remarks are routinely tolerated from female “intellectuals” and “protesters” need more space than I can give them at one sitting.  Hence I am dividing my treatment in two this week.

Today I wish to underscore the immense role played by the sexual revolution during the late Sixties—but especially by its massively destructive aftershocks during the Seventies and Eighties—in producing the kind of irrationalism we see fueling the current plague of “misandry”: not “misanthropy” (the hatred of people in general), but the hatred of males specifically.

As my wife and I arrange our new home in lower Appalachia little by little, I’ve dealt with the absence of television reception in the room where I like to work out by hooking up an ancient VCR player.  My tapes are often at least thirty years old.  One cannot sit through a stream of commercials from the late Eighties without being reminded (if one actually lived through those times) of how hyper-sexualized the marketplace was.  The consumption of alcohol and the purchase of cars, particularly, seem to have accessed the day’s most popular code for “picking up chicks”.  Shaving products, too, didn’t appear capable of occupying a twenty-second slot on the screen without a “babe” running her fingers over the smooth male jawline.

How was this wave of meretricious stereotyping able to sweep through pop culture after academic feminism had supposedly chastened the winds of masculinity in the Seventies?  The surprising answer is that one weather event directly caused the other.  Without the “freedom” to sleep around “unjudged” which feminism bestowed (imposed?) upon young women a decade earlier, the Eighties would never have been able to project the Playboy Bunny image on women in every context where they were single and young.  A certain decency had remained operative in advertising and entertainment even in the mid-Sixties.  Now the world was partying.  Females were supposed to be universally exuberant about the festivities; and any male who didn’t join in was a definitive square, at the very least—with reasonable grounds created for suspecting him of psychosis.  (“What are you all hung-up about, man?  Sex is fun—fun for everyone!  Are you one of these religious fanatics who knives prostitutes, like in that movie?  You should be in a cage!”)

Yes, that’s pretty much the way I was made to feel as a young man who wasn’t partying.  I was the psycho.  Once or twice, I was reviled almost in those very terms. My own case, I hasten to add, is not ideally instructive: I doubt that individual cases ever are.  Had I not been thrust into a children’s school where socio-economic disparities combined with my natural shyness to render me invisible, I would surely have learned how to talk to girls at an earlier age.  I would not have found myself single at a stage when the available women had either endured a divorce—and thus grown very leery of the whole “traditional lifestyle”—or else embraced since late adolescence the lifestyle of serial hook-ups.  Yet so it was.  I was a turtle in a school of tuna.

And so it is, furthermore, that listening to female intellectuals speak now about mass castration can almost make me forget my gentlemanly upbringing.  I truly think I understand how a black man would have felt forty years ago when would-be employers trotted out, “Sure, we have lots of colored applicants—but this is a thinking man’s job.”  Same thought process.  Precisely the same.  No?  Tell me how it differs.

How clear it seemed, back in the Eighties, that men who did NOT behave like predators out to “score” every weekend were shunned by single women!  Especially girls with a college education ran in the other direction if a young man happened to drop a favorable reference to marriage.  As for the less educated… even to think of marriage before giving the sexual sportscar a good spin around the block was the height of folly.  As a multiply divorced woman remarked to my wife some years ago, “You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, would you?”

The irony in that thoroughly commercialized analogy would surely have been lost on all of the many who approved its logic.  Here they were (went the new orthodoxy), freed of bourgeois inhibition to be themselves and enjoy life… and, in fact (for so goes reality), they had only reduced themselves and everyone around them to a dual client/product function.  The two people in the hook-up were both consumer and commodity.  “It” had to be “good”, or they would move on… but they were also “it” for the human “it” they were slurping from a can (as it were) or ripping from a wrapper, so the pressure to look seductive and to give pleasure was oppressive.

I know it was, because I viewed the results so often.  As much as I was tempted to wallow in the self-pity generated by my abstemious lifestyle, I could never escape for long the recognition that the joy-seekers were in fact far more miserable than I.  They imbibed drugs to fight depression.  Some even committed suicide.  A few, having quickly discovered in my company that the electric Mr. Right did not animate my terminally boring habits, appear to have found me safe enough to serve as a Father Confessor.  Not the role I had auditioned for, but…

But it was from encounters like these that I acquired whatever understanding now allows me to parse stupid intellectualist slurs of the, “All men are rapists!” caliber.  In the experience of many young women during the Eighties, sex under some degree of compulsion was part of the game.  Not every guy got rough… but every girl seemed to have known some guy who’d gotten rough.  One of them told me (how on earth did I inspire such confidence?) that a man had brutally undressed her only to find that Mother Nature had made her “impenetrable”—a discovery that she answered with a trip to the surgeon rather than to the Sex Crimes Unit (having been mocked mercilessly for long minutes by her “date”).  Another girl, volunteering (unsolicited) her “first time” narrative, told me of being forced to submit in a sleeping bag while on a camping trip with perhaps two dozen youths.  The perpetrator was a young man she had always thought “cool”; and even at the moment of confession, she seemed confused about whether she had actually been raped.

Enough of this.  Have I illustrated my point, or have I buried it?  Allow me to reel in my intended insight from these deep, dark waters… and, as the line shortens, I begin to see that my fish may have two heads.

For one thing, the charge that men are swine whose testicles should be fed to swine is a vulgar, brutal utterance: period.  End of discussion.  Authors of such squalid, rabid visions should be scorned as intellects—and, indeed, as mature human beings.  I am a man, and I am not that loathsome animal.  I’m sure I am not alone.  If I were to say, “Well, the girls actually love a little force while it’s happening.  It’s only later, when the relationship doesn’t go where they want, that they start whining about assault”… would my coarse remark not actually be correct in certain cases?  I recall one feminist writing that there’s a difference between rape and ravishment.  Hmm.  With a No Man’s Land that broad and that gray, would my coarse generalization become justified?  Absolutely not; for a moral principle forbids the use of force, even if some women sometimes find that some degree of force ravishes them in the arms of some men.  A few people apparently like to be whipped, as well—but any hand that touches a whip always defiles itself.

Do not, therefore, throw me to the swine just because you have chosen to date nothing but pigs.

Which is the fish’s second head, or the same proposition viewed from the other side: women who came of age in the Seventies and Eighties often have a shared experience of sexual molestation because they chose, though perhaps with little forethought, to embrace the feminist ideology of the time.  Their own conduct elicited brutal conduct from the kind of man whose attentions they sought.  I do not say that they “deserved it”.  I say, rather, that they were willing dupes, exploited by an avant-garde that they idolized in youthful folly when they might have exhibited more character at the risk of temporary isolation.  I don’t hold children responsible—not entirely responsible—for succumbing to a charismatic leader who persuades them to steal candy.  I would feel outraged, however, if the same children, thirty years later, decided to sue candy manufacturers for luring them into a life of larceny or for making them fat.

Show some adult responsibility.  You made bad choices at a vulnerable time in your life.  Condemn those who exploited you… but understand that their number includes the dispensers of really bad advice as well as the brutal adventurers who profiteered from that advice.  Grow up.

Faith, Reality, and Baseball: A Strategy for Resisting the War on Boys

One of the enterprises I wanted to pursue in retirement was my work on involving boys of short stature in baseball.  The game itself, and the instruction surrounding it, has turned as dull and mechanical as everything else in our downward-trending society—yet games (more’s the pity) are no small part of a young person’s education.  One learns fast and hard rules, one must acknowledge that one may suffer certain disadvantages because of certain rules, one figures out how to turn a liability into an asset, and one emerges from it all—with honest, sustained effort—in a triumph of self-discovery and successful adjustment.

If our young people today don’t need a strong dose of what I’ve just described, then they need nothing at all.  I can scarcely imagine a group of people more adrift from basic reality—more lost in speculation about what they might be or want to be wherein no calculations of probability enter and no inventory of available resources is ever taken.

Understand from the outset: I no longer consider myself much of a baseball fan.  As now played, the game strikes me as horribly boring and inept—and the overrunning of its ranks by gigantic body types who perform superhuman feats with a sub-novitiate grasp of cardinal skills is the specific cause of my disgust.  Football and basketball virtually require extraordinary natural endowments: skills there are an adorning cornice, not a foundation.  By no accident, these latter two sports are also much the most popular with spectators on college campuses.  As our society draws ever nearer to the degenerative level of a Rome where actual sea battles were staged for the amusement of the masses, we ourselves grow ever more distant from the spectacle’s participants.  They almost represent a different species; and perhaps, with the aid of hormones and nanobot supplementation, they will soon become precisely that.

I think it well worthwhile, then, to persuade young people that they can excel at a game by identifying their particular (if not spectacular) strengths, perfecting these through practice, and offering a significant contribution to the team’s effort that draws more upon reflection and self-discipline than upon raw sinew.  That’s where baseball comes in—and where boys, especially, come in.  Contemporary Ivory Tower propaganda (which quickly filters all the way down to kindergarten, make no mistake) wails about “toxic masculinity”, labels all males as rapists-in-waiting, and applauds only the gender-uncertain who cede decisions, authority, and initiative to the Nurturing Mother (though, curiously, few women of this cult seem interested in motherhood or, indeed, in a traditional femininity of gentleness and forgiveness). Boys, in short, have never stood in greater need of a regimen that introduces them to self-control and vigorous persistence.

Unfortunately, the history of baseball has almost always garbled this hygienic message with incidental static, at least in the United States.  (In Japan and Korea, the game appears to have followed an educational trajectory more like what I should like to see.)  In America’s late nineteenth century, professional players were viewed as rowdies who shirked the productive labor of farm and factory.  Early in the next century, its practices were submitted to a considerable clean-up before any pay-at-the-gate contest was thought fit for ladies to attend. Even as figures like Babe Ruth (and Ty Cobb, too, before Fake News claimed him as one of its early victims) ushered in a heroic era, baseball’s practical and commercial parameters continued to gravitate against a positive moral message.  Games were played almost daily in numerous far-flung venues, so the players’ normal Circadian rhythms—eating habits, sleeping habits, and other bodily demands that needn’t be specified—were forever being nudged hither and yon.  As a result, late-night frolics and heavy drinking became associated with the pro athlete’s life.  Mill teams or municipal squads that squared off on Saturdays (never on Sundays!) somewhat counterpoised this unflattering image; but on the whole, women even of my mother’s generation did not wish to see their sons inking a professional contract.

Today the interference with the constructive message comes primarily from two sources.   The obvious one is the professional game’s saturation in money (following the demise of the nefarious Reserve Clause, which legally classed players as virtual slaves of their owners).  Fathers are so eager to see their sons get the free scholarship ride through college—with a shot at being professionally drafted—that, in a couple of cases I have seen personally, they start the boys on the syringe at the age of ten or eleven.  Junior and community colleges, at the same time, are being inundated with “talented” kids from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela who speak little English and can’t name the first three planets or multiply fractions but swing a bat like demons.  When boys from Third World backgrounds, in particular, ascend to the professional ranks, the freedom and the money can easily overpower them.  Then the game receives yet another black eye for being the refuge of the undisciplined and the immature.

Quite ironic: for the virtues it requires, as I stressed in opening, could not be less tolerant of self-indulgent vice.  But money—big money—now fuels the engine, and not thoughtful teaching with long apprenticeship.

That our boys need a moral lifeline of some sort thrown to them has been underscored for me during the past two weeks by the grotesque volleys exchanged over a Supreme Court nomination.  I have my own very strong opinions about where the truth lies; but in the context of this discussion, I will say no more than that the addiction of both men and women to alcohol and sex as a routine path to social integration on elite college campuses is a national disgrace—and even more: an epidemic of moral degeneracy such as no nation can survive.  Perhaps we should exclude graduates of elite schools from running for any public office or occupying any powerful position.

To the extent that my own son was able to steer clear of debauchery during his college years, I believe his devotion to baseball was the cause.  One would like to write, “his devotion to the Christian faith”… but the organized Church, as represented by most mainstream denominations, is itself in vital need of an infusion of backbone.  St. Paul was fond of comparing the spiritual life to the athlete’s rigorous program of training—but I’m afraid that today’s Church more resembles the party-animal superstar whose contract guarantees him a fortune whether he stays in shape or not.

I posted a very sophomoric video a few days ago (which became 1st part and 2nd part when I overshot YouTube’s time restrictions) entitled “Faith, Reality, and Baseball”.  I truly hate addressing cameras… but I attempted to speak on these issues with what eloquence I could muster off the cuff.  Young men, I find, will actually watch such a presentation with infinitely higher probability than they will read an essay like the one before you; and some of them, even, will be quite generous to the stammering old fool trying to reach them through their generation’s preferred avenue.  It’s clearly not the singer: it has to be the song.  Let’s sing it louder.

The “Myth of Greatness” Reflects Moral Immaturity

I solemnly promise that I have no intention of beginning where I left off last week.  Let yesterday’s rain run out to sea; I have no desire to thrash and wallow in it until a morass is created.  I will add only (without name or specific reference—and there was none last time, either) that drunkenness is a great evil, and that alcohol serves few purposes in our society that advance mature conduct, let alone physical health.  Even the innocent would be more secure in their reputation’s defense if they were well known never to bend the elbow.  As for sexual impropriety, alcohol feeds that as motor oil makes an engine’s parts turn and purr.  Yet we allow adult children scarcely arrived at the age of consent to stage keg parties on campuses whose dorms are all coed and where (in the case of the hallowed Yale, to drop a single name) we formally organize something called Sex Week.

These observations are leading elsewhere than down the road I have already traveled: I shall keep my promise.  I mean to underscore here only that our entire society, no matter which corridor of our cultural maelstrom you may choose to ride in your flimsy skiff, is a mess.  It’s difficult for me to say that this “culture” characterizes the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  The one thing that could generally be said on our behalf, as Americans, was that we allowed our people to fail: to pick their personal way, to travel it a while, and to assess whether they thought themselves to be approaching a worthy destination.  We did not force entire masses of citizens to be shoemakers or soldiers or farmers for generation after generation; and though a New England Puritan might fine you stiffly for taking a leisurely walk on the Sabbath, you could always pull up stakes and move to Mr. Penn’s colony or strike out for Ohio.  As invasive and dictatorial as local ordinances could be, they were local, and you could pass a judgment upon them with your feet.

We have not even that degree of virtue to our credit any longer.  Our professional critics in Academe will protest that we never had it—that the institution of slavery, the genocidal suppression of Native Americans, and the treating of women as second-class citizens were the oppressive underside of an experiment that has only become more apparent and more benign in growing more Orwellian.  So what if you are required to bake goodies for occasions considered by your religion to be abominable… so what if you are required to register for a program of mainstream high-tech health care though your approach to health is traditional?  You’re a pawn, yes—but you’re a well-nourished little pawn.  Big Brother is looking after you.  Did slavemasters look after their slaves?

Actually, they did, for the most part.  The narratives collected by Roosevelt’s WPA interviewers from old folks born into slavery can make very disturbing reading on this score, for many of them will sum up with a comment like, “Things was better in slave days.”  Large slaveholders could well afford to whip a runaway to death now and then as a means of intimidating the hundreds remaining to them.  Most slaveholders had but a few souls in their charge, however, and economic factors would have advised restraint even if the voice of common humanity had fallen mute.  A good many slaves in the latter situation apparently enjoyed reasonably generous housing, food, clothing, health care, and even time off by the standard of the day.  The institution itself was demeaning, to be sure—at least as much to the owner as to the slave (a fact well recognized by Alexis de Tocqueville).  Its many specific opportunities for abuse, however (such as the detestable practice of whipping, still quite alive in the Islamic world), were not universally exploited—were almost never exploited, in fact, by planters of modest acreage who owned only a cook, a nurse, and a groom.

Again, whither do I wander?  To this point: that our slaveholding past might have served us as a cautionary tale against growing arrogant, yet need not and should ever have been cited as evidence that American society was among the vilest in world history.  Point taken?  We were not “great”, as in sublimely resistant to ordinary human foibles… what folderol!  But neither were we more savage than those we called savages.  Read deep into John Young’s narrative, recorded by Frank Dobie in A Vaquero of the Brush Country, and you will find a description of several Apache women wandering separate from the tribe with their noses cut off.  These were convicted and punished adulteresses.  Their disgrace extended far beyond wearing a scarlet “A”.

What distresses me—and, to be honest, downright irritates me—about our society is its tendency (so brilliantly illustrated in accepted teaching about the South and the Civil War) to distance itself from natural human shortcomings and project these upon an Evil Other.  The antebellum South was nothing other than a proto-Nazi state, to read our history books and listen to our professional mouthpieces on the subject.  You’d never suspect that the slaves were imported by Northern ships or that several Northern states, indeed, continued the legal practice of slavery after the Emancipation Proclamation.  Not only that… but all Southerners owned slaves, it seems, and all slaveowners bullied and beat their poor human possessions.  The effort invested in transferring general failures of the society—and even in manufacturing failures for the exercise—to an isolated social segment has all the ritual characteristics of scapegoating.  We do that a lot, it seems to me.  Every human community does it to some degree… but we have a long, undistinguished history of indulging the practice.

Why are we loading all of our frustration with the electoral process onto Russia’s back?  For that matter, Russia “invaded” Crimea only after a Crimean plebiscite overwhelmingly expressed support for reunion; and the specific “ignition event” that touched off the initial fighting in Ukraine was the violent overthrow of a duly elected president by a pro-European mob.  I’m sure that my personal values resemble the “mob’s” more than Putin’s on most points… but the situation is vexed and complex.  Why must we oversimplify and caricature, selecting villains and then convicting them for clouding up our day?

Most of you will know that our own president has actually been accused in certain official quarters of creating bad weather.  Light the torches!  Bring out the noose!

We have a culture-wide problem with drugs, booze, and sexual excess (to finish where I began), so… find some men!  Any man will do (unless, that is, he’s bankrolling our “find some men” lynch party).  Let’s not apply scrutiny to our campus orgies or—still less—to the accelerating trend of decriminalizing recreational drugs.  Let’s most certainly not reconsider the policy long advanced by our best and brightest that sex, like a six-pack, is pure joy if practiced “safely” (a condom being the equivalent here of a call to Uber, apparently).  Young women seem to be having so much sex that the condoms are bursting or falling short in supply, with rampant pregnancy being the inconvenient consequence; so now the villain is a Stone Age religious bloc that seeks to enslave and “Nazi down on” women by impeding abortions.  And meanwhile… and meanwhile, the young men who impregnated the young women are all the equivalent of rapists.  Let’s not forget to hunt them down as we hunt for good sex under every bush and then locate our nearest Planned Parenthood drive-thru.

No, I kind of don’t think this is the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  I doubt that the world has seen any great nations at all, unless there’s one unpopulated by human beings somewhere that I overlooked. And, if I may qualify my peeved remarks last Wednesday, I cannot recommend a straightforward “civil abortion” of those of its citizens who make me ashamed. It’s tempting to imagine the flippant farewell, “Now, with that forty percent flushed out of our system, we can get back to the greatness that is truly us”… but we would only get back to where we are now, without some deliberate plan.  We collaborated in the creation of our disgusting neighbors.  We would do well to figure out exactly how we did so.

Secession—and I am quite serious—wouldn’t have been a bad modus operandi here.  Form a much looser confederation of states with little more than a defensive alliance uniting them; then let those that want to create a wonderland without rules search their own resources for ways to clean the human feces off the sidewalks.  They would be back, apologizing hat-in-hand, within months: they would have been forced to grow up.  So for the Southern states: all would have repented of their secession within five years if left to explore its consequences.  But, no… we couldn’t allow them to fail—better to burn them down than to let them make a mistake.  Thanks to that precedent, we probably can’t resort to the “secession” strategy today, either.  So we’ll all go down together as we forbid each other to stumble.

Mendacity and Lunacy Do Not Qualify as “Views”

I’m not going to attempt to state the following ethical impasses in a “fair” manner, as a shallow mind might style it.  My overarching point is intended to be precisely that the ethical common ground is lacking to justify our being considered a single society or a coherent culture.  Personally, I find that I can neither make a convincing case for two and two being five—in pursuit of “presenting both of the issue’s sides fairly”—nor do I have any desire to gesture at such well-balanced absurdity.

A man should not have his reputation ruined over a 36-year-old accusation without any details of time and place, its supposed corroboration a string of puzzled “witnesses” who either remember nothing or remember circumstances entirely at odds with the charge.  When the barbarity alleged by the accuser is grotesquely out of tune with every other validated fact about the man, especially, elected representatives should not be queuing up at the microphone to call for his lynching.  And, no, women do not always tell the truth.  About thirty years ago, I briefly dated a very troubled woman (in an irreproachably Victorian fashion not exactly current in the Eighties) with whom I was “fixed up” by a well-intentioned third party.  I had no warning of what loomed.  When this tormented soul’s drinking problem and troubles with a physically abusive father (with whom she still lived) became more and more apparent, I tried easing my way out the door.  That wasn’t destined to happen.  Instead, I was threatened with being slandered all about my workplace if I even thought about exiting.  I had to disconnect my phone for about three months… and the pathetic threats, as far as I know, were never executed.

No, women do not always automatically tell the truth.  On the ledger’s other side, a man’s history of punctilious propriety does not mean nothing just because he’s a man.  It certainly doesn’t mean that he must be sweeping dirt under the rug, which would be equivalent to saying that the accused is guilty if the evidence shows it, and even more guilty if the evidence is missing.  Absurd—outrageously absurd.  To attempt a “fair” representation of such bigoted, perverse, self-serving claptrap would be to give consideration to lunatic hostility or runaway stupidity.

I cannot talk to such people.  I have no wish to talk to them, or to listen to them.  I am uncomfortable knowing that they inhabit my part of the planet.  If I could easily ferry one of them out of a flood’s path or travel an extra mile to retrieve an old man resolved upon dying in his rocker, I’d lean to my oars and go talk grandpa around.

Much of this malarkey is said to orbit the sacred right to abort babies.  The claim of an imminent threat to the “right” is itself false on its face: no judge can constitutionally legislate from the bench.  The real animus surrounding this case arises precisely from the contrary—and covert—objective of placing a judge-dictator on the bench as a way of circumventing elected representation.

But take the protesting, screeching Furies at their word: why is abortion the passkey to freedom and progress, and its abridgement a return to chains and slavery?  Any woman with a calendar and a pencil may circle three days of the month when she will abstain from having sex.  Is that demand medieval—or is the calendar too sophisticated a technology?

Or are the men of the world, as many of the unhinged opposition insist, so brutal that a woman may not pass a single day of the month unmolested?  Is every woman raped at least once a day?  The derangement of so paranoid a fantasy is beyond anything that Apuleius could have cooked up.  Inasmuch as most of the nightmare-fantasy’s peddlers are not clinically insane, one must attribute the whole line of argument to unprincipled mendacity—and truly arrogant mendacity, as if someone should look you dead in the eye, declare that you have horns, and expect to be believed by every observer.  These maenads are boldfaced liars by default if they are not raging psychotics.  Actually, a pregnancy for any woman outside the window of 14 to 30 years old is rather difficult to achieve even in six months of regular sexual exchanges.  Yet many of the same harridans who paint their crotches red and wave coat-hangars are also delivering ghoulishly joyous speeches and cutting YouTube videos “celebrating” an abortion (or abortions) that they have relished, apparently after refusing all contraception with a determination that would awe a Catholic washerwoman.

It disgusts me to be sharing the relics of a community with people who revel in baby-slaughter, not as a right, but as a rite.  And it disgusts me well beyond my descriptive abilities that such unnatural hellhounds wrapped in a woman’s hide should be mimicking the outrage of their virtuous sisters who have been assaulted by some male jackal.  Perhaps traditional Islam is the best answer for them: a man who will keep them shrouded and walled away from any worldly contact.  But, no, they say that they want no part of raising a family… they apparently just want the “right” to sex thirty times a month (and once more on January, March, May, July, August, October, and December).  If, indeed, they really live their lives in such a manner, it may be just possible that most men in their circle are sociopaths; for a magnet attracts stray shavings, and carrion draws vultures.

I am long, long past the point, of course, where my words have rendered me damned per saecula saeculorum and excommunicate from the community of “sensitive” people—people who never utter a hateful word and harm no one, who live and let live… who would allow you to “identify” male today and female tomorrow, and to enter two different restrooms within the space of an hour.  In my place of outer darkness, I would ask of the neighboring black hole just how all the male head-hunting jibes with such liberality.  If a woman is always to be believed and a man never, then why may the man not declare himself a woman upon the witness stand and charge his accuser with being male?  For women never lie… and our defendant is now a defendante.

I seriously believe that, if anything, my inclination to sympathize with lame ducks and crippled sparrows is excessive.  I should never have anguished so over the alcoholic woman with the brutal father, otherwise.  I’m not a stranger to depression; and, indeed, I would disagree with many of the cultural cheerleaders (with whom I tend to be politically ranked by “the Resistance”) that America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  Our society generates insecurity, neurosis, and loneliness the way a steam locomotive generates smoke.  That isn’t to say that I wish to topple everything over in favor of some hare-brained utopia: it’s just to acknowledge the facts.

For the very reason that I cry foul, however, when commentators drape the US in a Superman cape, I cry a dozen fouls when critics of the opposing persuasion spout vicious lunacy and then dare anyone to indict their self-contradiction.  For the very reason that the perplexed and confused excite compassion in me, ideological profiteers who use others’ suffering as a club to beat down their rivals for supreme power stir in me a bottomless contempt.  I can take issue calmly with those who attempt to index quality of life simplistically with per capita income; I can’t restrain my temper in the presence of those who size up my color, my gender, my age, and my probable culture at a glance, then tell me to pay a fine and go to the back of the line in sackcloth.

There’s no possible basis of community with such self-righteous stormtroopers.  There’s nothing to talk about, no negotiation to be made.  When I am in attendance at a flag-raising (since I lately wrote of this issue), I do not feel inclined to take a knee, because the gesture’s intent would be susceptible to wild misinterpretation… but I certainly don’t feel overtaken, on the other hand, by any sense of bonding with the mass around me.  Not any more.  Too many warpainted head-hunters are in their midst.  They are not my fellow citizens: I scarcely find them recognizable as fellow human beings.

Some idiotic poll or other has recently proclaimed that about half of us suppose civil war to be imminent.  Civil war… I very much doubt it.  But massive civil disobedience?  Rioting in the streets?  Refusal to pay taxes to public schools… refusal to admit those from that part of town into this part of town?  Something on the order of serial secession—something like the dissolution of the Union into five parts—such as Soviet analysts foresaw two decades ago may be in the tea leaves.  And far from wishing to avert it, I more and more find myself disposed to think that it’s our best way out of the evolving hell over which our flag waves.

I learned a while back that there’s no easy exit from a room where a bipolar, substance-addicted psychotic expects you to stay.