An Armed Citizenry or a Totalitarian State: No Third Option

One reason for the Second Amendment remains constantly (and deliberately) unmentioned—but it should be brought fully into the open.

Citizens have the right to bear arms because an armed citizenry is far less likely to be overrun by a national police force (such as Barack Obama yearned after in his vocalized daydreams) or a military machine turned against its own populace.

Ironically, the leftwing mistrust and detestation of “racist, trigger-happy” cops recedes beyond the vanishing point when the issue of gun control arises.  So, too, the Left’s formulaic nightmare (realized only in Hollywood’s infinite reenactments) of a military coup led by bullet-headed fascists: it’s a nightmare only if the uniforms adorn the cause of nationalist traditionalism.  Let them be worn, instead, by progressive totalitarians, and a dictatorship or police state suddenly becomes the first stage of Nirvana.

The contemporary Left, you see, stands for anything but liberalism.  Its adherents salivate at the prospect of suspending individual liberties permanently so that “experts” and “the enlightened” may have exclusive say in how the ship of state is navigated.  Gun confiscation stirs the left wing so passionately today precisely because progressives know that forcible takeover and subjugation of the entire nation will be all but impossible until we are disarmed.

The Left’s much-advertised concern for children is pure crap—and I treat it here with the contempt it deserves.  Numerous common-sense and immediately feasible strategies for defending our schools have already been advanced.  Imbeciles like the English teacher who quipped, “I wouldn’t expect a security guard to walk in and teach Shakespeare, so I shouldn’t be expected to carry a gun,” are perhaps sincere in their complete misconstruction of the issues (nobody is proposing that all teachers—or any teacher—be required to bear arms); but the ideological puppeteers behind these wooden-witted Pinocchios know exactly what the endgame is.  Once the United States is reduced to Mexico (a hell of political corruption being fled by its terrorized citizens), then the next Barack Obama can steer the state wherever he likes.

I own no assault rifle and have no plans to buy one.  I don’t see myself, at my age, mowing down stormtroopers from my bunker with a fifty-caliber machine gun.  But I’ll admit that I am pleased to have such types sown about the neighborhood secretively, just as I’m glad to know that some teachers are packing on my campus, though I personally am not.

Frankly (since I am being very frank today), I incline to believe that securing our individual freedom is already largely a lost cause.  I have written many times before of the “Phoenix Lights”: a UFO incident in 1997 for which I have personal confirmation, which was viewed by thousands, and which was “camcorded” by dozens.  It has nagged at me for years.  If only it were an air show staged by extra-terrestrials… but I draw ever closer to the conclusion that our own “black ops” were testing us in some way.  The extreme carelessness of unleashing so many craft to execute “impossible” maneuvers over a major city has always particularly bothered me as nonsensical… unless, of course, the whole display was fully intentional.  Why would ET come out of the woodwork suddenly after staying so well hidden as to render himself an urban legend?  But why would our military make the same gaffe?  I don’t know… to see how we would react, maybe?  To see just how panicky people would become, how quickly the panic could be managed, how cooperative the media would be in deriding and then dropping the story, how soon eye-witnesses would shrug and drift back into their daily routine?  If such was the purpose of the “blunder”, then it must have yielded answers that mightily pleased its designers.  Verdict: the American public could be overrun by force majeure in discrete locations without breaking into full-scale riots, and the media machine would ensure that the rest of the nation drifted back to sleep within days, if not hours.

If anti-gravity technology coupled with speeds of Mach 20 or 30 already exists on off-the-grid airbases, then whether you or I have an AR 15 doesn’t make a whole helluva lot of difference to staving off the imminent police state.  I guess the only remaining question of any consequence is whether the uniforms on that airbase belong to nationalist or progressivist totalitarians… and I’m not at all sure that the answer would, in fact, be consequential.

But it would be something—a last hurrah, if not a last hope—if our spoiled-brat children and useful-idiot educators and policy-makers could at least see the noose being knotted for their necks… or could, at the very least, abstain from volunteering to slip it over their heads.


The Next Generation Is NOT Our Salvation

We’re in trouble… or maybe the die is already cast, in which case we’re beyond trouble and deep in the garbage dump.

Our young people, as was borne in upon me this past week, gather virtually all of their news from… not CNN, not Yahoo’s sidebars, not Facebook, but… Twitter.  Yeah.  Virtually everything they know about the world comes to them in bursts that cannot exceed 240 characters.

Either that, or they tune in to unfunny puppet shows staged by the Kimmel buffoon and whoever succeeded what’s-his-name’s mock newscast.  (Sorry… but I’ve never watched any such fare and don’t care enough about its purveyors to track down their handles.)  After all these years of hearing that the professoriate was responsible for radicalizing and lobotomizing our youth, I now realize (and I had long suspected as much) that it really ain’t so: students are too absorbed in their “smartphones” to be programmed by any professorial bloviation.  It is through the incoherent flickers of those devices, precisely, that they see and “learn” everything.

I had dismissed several classes of freshmen (or “beginning undergraduates”) for one class meeting so that they could go research a project, though I showed up at the usual place and time myself just in case some few should wish to discuss any issue informally.  Much to my satisfaction, two of my most thoughtful students were waiting in an otherwise empty room during two of these periods.  So I had two stimulating private conversations… whose lasting impression on me, nevertheless, was quite depressing.  Here is some of what I “learned”:

That all CEO’s everywhere have simply pocketed Trump’s tax breaks for businesses in the form of salary increases;

That private industry operates only to maximize short-term profit, whereas the public sector is staffed by people who are dedicated to helping humanity;

That the rightwing fear of gun legislation’s proving a slippery slope toward universal confiscation is mere paranoia, whereas the progression from gay marriage to man-boy and three-party marriages now evident in Germany can simply not be happening (though I’m the one who actually reads German, my sources must be wrong);

That the NRA is massively underwriting political resistance to new gun bans, whereas the talk of George Soros’s underwriting the race riots in Jefferson (for instance) is an utter canard;

That the NRA donated three million dollars to Marco Rubio last year (the leftist Guardian puts the figure at $4,950);

That the Second Amendment was intended only to put meat on the table back in frontier days;

That shooting a spray of bullets into a crowd is essentially the source of all our mass-murder incidents, and that well-aimed single shots are not a concern;

That, contradictorily, Britain’s ban of handguns has eliminated school shootings and should be emulated;

That Britain had a rash of such shootings before the ban;

That the machete attacks in Xinjiang province a few days ago which killed at least thirty and wounded over 130… wait a minute… say what?

I could go on.  These, I repeat, were two exceptionally intelligent young men.  You see what’s happened: not that some evil conspiracy has filled young skulls with mush, but that the accidental result of our massive shift to e-communication has bred a generation that hasn’t the patience to double-check dubious assertions and shows an insatiable appetite for prepackaged info-morsels, especially when these latter are soaked in a worldly cynicism sure to make their regurgitation sound “mature”.

For some reason which I’m at a loss to understand, my Facebook page has lately been bombarded with “friend requests” by Nigerians, Arabs, and residents south of our national border.  Am I becoming big in the Third World, I asked myself (skeptically but hopefully)?  Well, if Americans don’t want to listen to me, I’m only too happy to preach elsewhere.  Then this morning the truth (or part of it, at least) came crashing down on me.  Most of my requests come from young people—and most of these are trying to hook up with someone.  No, they’re not interested in my columns; they’re doing what my students do during class—looking for love and adventure.  And in that, too, they are utterly clueless.

My friends, I leave you with this cold gust of grim reality.  Any course we attempt to chart into the future must assume that the youngest generation of voters is held thrall by utter claptrap (e.g., the young libertarian enthusiasm for socialist Bernie Sanders).  If we save them, it will have to be done in spite of their best efforts to destroy us all.  We’ll have to hide the lifeboats somewhere… obviously, not on the Internet.

Big Brother’s Heavy-Handed Promotion of Interracial Couples on Popular Media

You may have noticed that about fifty percent of couples in all very recent TV commercials are interracial.  No, I haven’t actually tabulated the results of a weekend survey… I have more pressing things to do.  But the percentage is well over ten percent, or even a quarter.  I’ll stick with approximately half.

That’s pretty high.  In the restaurants and grocery stores of the world where I live, one out of every two couples are not interracial.  I realize that my neck of the woods is far off the main road; I realize, even, that in places like San Francisco, acquiring a mate of another race is taken as proof of one’s moral superiority. I’ve known for some time that in cultural enclaves where no one believes in yesteryear’s God and where social transformation exerts a mystical magnetism, people seem always to be seeking ostentatious new rituals to demonstrate their spiritual purity. Sometimes other people are the victims offered on the progressivist altar—as when, say, you cozy up to someone because of her skin color without giving a second thought to her feelings.

But San Francisco is not a cross-section of American life: not just yet.  In flyover country, couples whose racial past is very visibly different compose, I would guess, well under ten percent of adult pairs.  Probably under five.

The advertising industry’s estimate of the typical, then, is so distinctly at odds with what one actually sees in most places that one must ask, Why the miscalculation?  It appears deliberate; and for that reason, it doesn’t appear a miscalculation at all, but a move calculated against coordinates other than reality’s.  What are these coordinates, and why are they being used?

Are private-sector peddlers of cars, pizzas, smartphones, and home-improvement items eager to encourage us to mate and marry outside our race?  Why would they feel called upon to fulfill that mission?  Social engineers, of course, have a very obvious interest in dissolving ties of family, community, religion, tribe—of anything that competes with Big Brother for our abject allegiance.  Those who belong to nothing will always be easy recruits for the State’s all-encompassing march into a transformative future.

Okay… but why are for-profit enterprises carrying so much water for Super-Nanny’s bath of brainwash?  What other reason for it could there possibly be than that they mortally fear some sort of bad press or boycott labeling them unsympathetic to the goal of stamping out racism?  They don’t want any trouble… and so they get out in front of the shakedown, hanging the right colors on their doorstep before Big Brother’s goons come around demanding to see their papers.

So how long before overtly gay couples start turning up on Home Depot ads?  How long before Chevrolet commercials end with a declaration that their workplace has a zero-tolerance of sexual harassment?

I don’t like this.  I have utterly no problem whatever with a blond Jack marrying a Japanese or African Jill (as long as they’re not doing it just to make one of those West Coast statements).  My wife is either 1/16th or 1/32nd Cherokee; Elizabeth Warren informs us that either of those percentages would be significant.  I’m not arguing that people should marry within their race.  I am questioning why depictions of our lives projected in our media are being distorted to reflect somebody’s version of Shangri La.  If the intent is to influence the impressionable (i.e., the young) toward pairing up with those of different races, then we are NOT being left alone to pursue the mate of our choice: we are being tactlessly nudged—the more impressionable among us, at least—into the ethic of ostentation, of showing off one’s moral superiority by selecting a mate of a certain appearance.

How is this any different from the Cult of the Blond that prevailed when I was a boy, and that induced so many women to dye their hair?  Answer: that was a silly, superficial cultural prejudice, while this is yet another theater opening up in the vast war against culture itself. The social engineer’s futuristic spaceship needs cadets, and the training program has begun.


Orwell Has Arrived

A German woman of a certain age named Mona Maja published an impassioned plea on YouTube last week for her fellow citizens to join her in a peaceful demonstration.  The emotion in her voice was driving words out at a rate I couldn’t quite keep up with—and my German is none too perfect, anyway.  On top of that, she was filming in a suburban back yard, apparently, that admitted frequent streams of background noise.  Yet this much I can assert: there was no incitement to violence whatever in her speech (unless anxiety over the high probability of being spat on, raped, or knifed on the city sidewalk is incitement in the form of a call to self-defense).

Nevertheless, YouTube removed the video after it had attracted about 150,000 views on the grounds that it was “hate speech”.  (The video was republished on Facebook, where it has topped half a million views: we’ll see how long it is allowed to run there.) If your daughter is murdered by a Turkish “refugee” and you organize a march to protest the passivity of the police, then you are a hate-monger and rioter in today’s Western world.  That’s the Orwellian society that is threatening to overtake us on this side of the pond, as well.

Netflix has lately been trying to force down my throat a documentary blaring the praises of feminist ambulance-chaser and courtroom stormtrooper Gloria Allred.  Also salient on the docket of recommended choices are opinion-flicks featuring Michael Moore and Robert Reich about how to repair the capitalist system they so love (hint: it begins with outlawing the profit motive).  Something called Dirty Money keeps trying to run a trailer every time I log on; the series tag promises to reveal how corporations are laundering money for drug cartels and otherwise outbidding Satan for the rule of Hell.

That’s all fine and dandy… but I’m still awaiting the exposé about how Eric Holder’s DOJ covertly ran guns to said cartels in order to get so many innocents slaughtered that the public would cry out for the Second Amendment’s repeal.  (The gambit was partially successful; a dozen kids were murdered with the guns at a birthday party in Juarez, for instance.)  My eagle-eye is still cocked, as well, for the bold new docu-drama that will follow a progressive-utopian Secretary of State as she abandons her personnel to an overseas mob and later sells massive amounts of uranium to a nation whose leadership once vowed to bury us.

Still on the lookout, too, for the first of Dinesh D’Souza’s many documentaries to make the Netflix roll call.  Still waiting for ANY of them to appear.  D’Souza, you may recall, did hard time over an unwitting violation of an obscure law governing political contributions for whose infraction only minor fines had been levied before. Courtesy of that forementioned lion of justice, Eric Holder.

Last month we were told to lament and deplore the repeal of Obama-era codes claiming to enforce “Net neutrality”.  Let’s see: YouTube is closed to any non-progressive point of view, individualist appeal, or inconvenient news flash: Netflix… closed; mainstream television… closed; Facebook and Twitter… as apt to close suddenly as the Symplegades.  But the Internet remains dangerously reflective of actual public opinion.  It’s lopsided.  Views that garner about 15-20 percent approval on a good day do not receive a “fair”, half-and-half manner of exposure.  Yeah, we really need to fix that—to “netfix” it.  And anyone who says otherwise should be indicted for hate crimes and sent away for a couple of years to rethink his position.

Welcome to what we called, in my youth, the Free World.


Why Are Aliens Represented as Morally Superior?

Patient Seventeen, recently uploaded to Netflix, is the only documentary I’ve ever seen that succeeded in shaking me up over the subject of alien abduction—and I’ve seen a few such flicks, as well as many an interview.  Most abductees leave me uncharitably thinking in categories of a) the female wallflower of a certain age who has sexual fantasies, or b) the nerdy male straight out of a Gary Larson cartoon for whom playground bullies have assumed supernatural stature in his traumatized memory.

And some such “victims” surely fall straight into these categories, along with the more vanilla one of attention-seeking hoaxer.  Then again, if real victims of extraterrestrial home-invasion exist, one can well imagine why they would not come forward; for my categories, as I say, are not very charitable—and neither are they exclusively mine.

Patient Seventeen, however, doesn’t fit the pigeonhole.  He’s a strapping fellow who rides a motorcycle to his construction jobs, and who wants very much to believe that the minute metal fragment in his leg does NOT have an unearthly origin.  Once the late Dr. Roger Leir removed the object, though (whose entry had left not a scratch that Seventeen could recall), the tests were conclusive.  A total of thirty-six elements had combined to form the alloy, many of them extremely rare on earth and several quite dangerous to manipulate.  Zinc isotopes, furthermore, were present that not only could not have originated in our solar system, but could not even belong to our corridor of the galaxy.

Seventeen is never named.  Dr. Leir died within weeks of operating on him, and the lab technician entrusted with the fragment has oddly vanished; so he appears to be facing a future of psychological battles more or less alone.  I think he just might make it: he’s a fighter.  In fact, the most impressive part of the film for me was Seventeen’s confiding to the camera that he had succeeded in physically resisting his abductors during the most recent assault and came very close to smashing in some extraterrestrial skulls.  “They’re alien gangsters,” he responded when asked what he would like to tell them.  They break into people’s homes and lives unasked and treat them as insects (he used the image of wicked boys employing a magnifying glass to smoke ants).  They deserve the same reception that any other home-invader invites: a bullet.

This attitude was as refreshing to me as Seventeen’s raw account was unnerving.  I’m sick of the assumption, so often floated in popular serials like Ancient Aliens, that otherworldly visitors must automatically be considered our superiors in every way.  Though I’ve learned some interesting and useful facts from following AA (I now know a smattering about Gobekli Tepe and Puma Punku), segments frequently conclude with starry-eyed claptrap on the order of, “We have to make contact with our visitors so that we can discover our destiny.”  Umm… what?  As much as you lot might like to account for all gods in all mythologies by having recourse to ET’s flight log, these beings are not gods.  If they conduct the sorts of experiment that surviving victims like Seventeen describe, they’re much closer to devils.

Why do we believe that a smarter being is a better being—or why do we believe that physics and engineering are the only kind of “smarts”?  Among our terrestrial scientists, we no longer tolerate whimsical, invasive tinkering even on Rhesus monkeys or white rats… yet our godly visitors are wantonly kidnapping us and filling us with toxic transmitters. Is that really the sign of a superior being?  Assuming that such things are happening in any of the reported cases, they do not bespeak an advanced moral intelligence: quite the contrary.  If we ever manage to verify that abduction is a real phenomenon, then the next order of business must be our figuring out how to make the perverted little bastards behave themselves.

One of Steven Greer’s veiled interviewees (in another documentary) insisted, I recall, that the US government was staging abductions so as to have panic at a constant simmer and ready to be brought to a boil.  That I can well believe.  If “ufology” teaches us nothing else, it proves that our elected officials are lying to us on a massive scale.

It could also be that our uninvited guests are playing “doctor” with us because they are inflexibly programmed robots and, therefore, are incapable of fine-tuning their manners to the particular situation.  If that is so, then… then maybe we ourselves should go running a little less hastily into the embrace of the “transhuman” hybrid said—by Ray Kurzweil, Al Gore, and other crazed prophets of the dark side—to represent our future.


Reason Not the Need: In Praise of Vagueness

One more time, I’m going to cheat a little by pasting into this space part of an intro I wrote over the weekend for a section of my collected poems.  The introductions are getting almost as long as the stuff they’re supposed to explain!

That my introduction to this final section is proving far and away the most difficult to write may, to a cynic, indict the essential fraud of all history: the more distant a sequence of events becomes, the tidier its description grows. An alternative explanation may be that, since this period ends only because it cannot extend beyond the present moment, it has the most artificial and arbitrary of endings—not a true terminus imposed by real change; and yet another perspective might be that I’m becoming more confused as I get older.

For my money, the last explanation is the most valid. I seem to have lived much of my life in reverse, so a curious failure to find the tranquility of acquired wisdom in my silver years fits the puzzle perfectly. If I was more gloomy as a young man, I also dwelt deeper in the isolation of a very concentrated and (I will admit now) comforting gloom. Now that I have found ways to push back against the world somewhat, I feel less exiled and nullified—but I also see the challenges to civilized life growing much more complex (largely because we who face them appear to be growing more simple-minded). I am less disposed now, as well, to withdraw into that old self-imposed exile and more inclined to get impatient or disgusted. I expect to see more effort made—effort to understand, to reevaluate, to prepare for necessary action, to act at the ripe moment—since I myself was able to grind a not-so-bad life out of very unpromising circumstances; yet what I observe, instead, is an escalating flight to “plug-in drugs” and “virtual reality” as well as to the more conventional hallucinogens and “artificial paradises” (in Baudelaire’s phrase) so popular in my youth.

I have a good head-start on being an angry old man. I am not a Luddite; yet I am deeply distressed, not so much that young people don’t know what a Luddite is (I didn’t, either, at their age)—but that they don’t care to find out, will recur to some handheld “device” if forced to find out, and will have forgotten what they found out five minutes later. Hell, the device is still there! “Why don’t you get your own, if you have a question, and leave me alone?”

The profits that the private sector harvests from such high-tech addiction have finally and fully merged with the manipulative designs of the public sector upon e-voters of the future, their I-Brains and I-Tastes determined by the paternalistically “helpful” software of I-nfo and E-ntertainment. Nobody seems to care; everybody seems to be happy. Corporations have more money, politicians have more power, and citizen voter-drones have more leisurely escapism (all the way to the slaughterhouse). I’m sounding now like some Sixties radical—the type whose self-serving antinomian protests I deplored as a young man and even referenced in some of my first poems. Have I again clumsily shifted gears into reverse: am I becoming more “liberal” in my old age, contrary to the cliché? Or has the true basis of liberalitas—the insistence on individual liberty—that was caricatured in Sixties hedonism become the critical issue of our onward-and-upward, “accept digital centralization or die” version of progress?

Within such anguish, George Shirley was born. Under this pseudonym, I composed many of my final poems for Praesidium. The name was drawn from the South Carolinian branch of our family tree. I imagined in George a polite but mildly jaundice-eyed country gentleman who, as a matter of strict principle, hated to offend—but who found a broader body of reverend principles impelling him to mount a resistance against the annihilation of liberal (read “freely speaking and thinking”) society. The lover of the soil and the gentle things she produced had a tincture of the rebel in him, and he wasn’t above sneaking the mare from his weathered barn for a night raid on the depot. As my poetically encrypted attacks under this guise grew more and more narrowly indexed to political trends, in fact, I became more and more puzzled and uneasy. One late edition of the journal quasi-apologized, “If George Shirley’s poetry continues to become more political, it can only be because politics continues to intrude upon our private lives.”

I’m not sure that the prominent appearance of natural images in the midst of so much diatribe is an accident or an oddity. I have always felt a vital need of nature, just as I need oxygen and water. Yet for George (and for me through George), nature isn’t identical with oxygen and water: one doesn’t protest the escalating mechanization of the times, that is, because one’s all-important health may stand in jeopardy. The motive there is not negligible… but the real benefit of nature to life that doesn’t perish (i.e., that doesn’t need oxygen and water) is its purposelessness. The woodpecker I hear outside my window just now could drop dead this instant without disrupting the smooth operation of the cosmos. In that regard, he is like art—like my poetry, I hope: he is marginal, an outlier. As we strive ever more vigorously and effectively to make everything around us contribute to an identified goal or objective (and in what other endeavor do we show any vigor and efficiency at all?), we draw ever closer to fusion with robots. Many of us consciously hail this impending union as Nirvana rather than a marriage made in Hell: that’s how dumb we’ve already become. A few of us “cling to green” (since we’ve destroyed the open-endedness of art, reducing it to an evolutionary history of the oppressed) because something in us persists in crying out for an exit, a window on airy infinity… but our political handlers are quick to exploit that longing. We must vote for them, they warn, if the moon isn’t to fall; and we must contribute more of our squalid salary to their newly formed, state-of-the-art Bureau of Lunar Salvation.

My cousin George fully comprehends what crap this all is. Hence the more he turns his wry smile upon our “saviors”, the more he turns away from any hope offered by this world and heeds the woodpecker. And the woodpecker’s message? I think it’s this: “Live not in life but through life. Seek in everything that you are at the moment—in every circumstance that defines your current parameters—a voice transcending specific need or use. Always seek in what you see more than what’s visible just now.”


Depression: Part Two

Looking back on my youth, I realize that I frequently fought through bouts of what would now be designated depression.  There were times when I wanted my life to end; and there were one of two times when I wanted it very much not to end, but was almost terrified that I would be unable to keep myself from pulling the plug.  I never asked for anyone’s help at any such moment, partly due to pride, to shame… perhaps mostly that.  But I also think I was aware that any meaningful, durable solution would have to come from my own wrestling with the invisible tormentor.  No one could wage that battle for me.

Of course, we now know (italics of irony) that depression has no ratiocinative component: it’s just a hormonal imbalance. Silly me! Thinking never causes anything or resolves anything. We’re just bags of DNA and enzymes.

Not too long ago, I was treated to a round of contemptuous hoots from several coeds when I made an off-hand, jocular reference to suicide in class.  One would have thought that I had drawn an obscene cartoon about Muhammad on the wall of a mosque while worship was in progress.  Today’s young souls “in jeopardy”, from where I stand, are indeed rather wimpy in their approach to the subject.  Above all, I should say that they want to be noticed.  They want their issues of depression and suicide to be taken very, very, VERY seriously… because when they feel down, it’s a result of their being non-entities among their peer group—and the world’s appropriate response must be instantly and utterly to stop everything else and notice their crisis, thus remedying the potentially fatal attack of negligence.

I can’t help harboring a certain callousness here.  By the grace of God, I managed to crawl through Hell and back when I was the same age as these drama queens, and my isolation was several exponents more intense than theirs.  No one cried for me, and I sought no one’s tears.  In fact, being noticed in such a state would have disgusted me—with myself most of all, but perhaps a little with the Good Samaritan who offered consolation.  I’m not saying that my sentiments were healthy ones; I’m saying that I cannot recognize the youth that I was then in the young people I see today.

Something else I might note along the same lines: my distress was fundamentally rooted in the collapse of every traditional value—courage, honor, honesty, self-sacrifice, humility—that I observed proceeding apace all around me.  Romantic love and torrid sexual adventures were indistinguishable; attention to personal grooming lest one inflict discomfort on one’s neighbors was considered a sell-out to bourgeois hypocrisy; plangent insistence that one’s selfish needs be served did not seem to stir any accompanying sense of shame.  I could see no open path to being a young man of honor and principle in the era of Woodstock, reefers, and shack-ups.

In contrast, I see today’s vulnerable youth as hitting rock-bottom when they fail to catch onto the coattails of some bypassing trend.  For a while, having too few friends on Facebook—or getting lit up by one of them in a posted comment—was clear grounds for hara kiri.  Maybe it still is… but my hunch is that the angst has largely shifted to “social media” venues like Instagram about which I know nothing.  The problem now isn’t that there are no more Mohicans and the ways of a past you worshiped are all desecrated; it’s that you can’t acquire enough feathers in time to join the latest tribe.

Suicide is suicide: no wanton waste of a life is ever trivial.  But at least the battle I fought was one to exist as an honest, adult human in an evolving world of counterfeit, vulgarity, and even bestiality.  I don’t see these distressed kids around me as being in the least concerned about claiming an identity in God as the toxic swill of the world soils their shoes: they simply seem to want to be Bubble Number 89 in the malodorous froth.

And, yeah, that gets me depressed, to this very day and hour.  If you can’t even have the dignity and sense to feel blue about something worth worrying about, then you’re not evidence of a social trajectory that would inspire optimism in a thoughtful person.