I’m not sure whether it’s my own predilection for negativity or if this is a more universal problem, but the negative aspects of life, or people or politics are always more visceral and “real” to me than the positives. On a personal level, the incredible kindness of my friends, family and teardown team are not as “present” for lack of a better word as my own feelings of doubt, general hopelessness and a self-hatred I thought I’d left behind after “Disruption”.
Of course, sometimes you only need to see what you could be when you have no perspective on how good things still are compared to the mild picture you may have in your head. For that, I can look to the people protesting virtually everything in this country in the most hyperbolic and frankly stupid ways, the slogans and “points” meant to justify perpetual anger and the coming “be ashamed, America” diatribes almost assuredly coming from Slate and Salon before the 4thof July. These are the people who can only see negativity and appear to enjoy marinating in it and despise anyone who doesn’t choose to join them in their occasionally self-hating orgy of depression and hatred. This is especially true of white liberals who espouse hatred of white people with zero understanding of the term “irony”.
Those ways include chanting “shame” at everyone because Game of Thrones existed. The Handmaid’s Tale thing for the Kavanaugh hearings, innumerable Harry Potter references and the usual Hitler, tyrant, Russian puppet criticisms directed at Trump. The latter three are, as many on the Right have observed, accusations that should be used with reverence toward their subject matter but are instead hurled casually. “Hitler” is now effectively a euphemism for “someone I don’t like” as opposed to the undisputed monster he was. A “tyrant” exists in North Korea or China or Cuba, someone who usurps power, doesn’t let it go and rules with absolute authority and cares little for the phlight of his people. A tyrant is notpresently in the White House. The Russian story is an unfalsifiable boogeyman and is therefore false to say nothing of the evidence that it is infact false.
The only point that I can make about the Game of Thrones and Handmaid’s Tale references is that at least the protest generation has found something other than Harry Potter to make ill-advised political statements out of. Chanting “shame” is a TV show reference first and an actual statement second And the idea that women are even remotely close to living the lives of the Handmaid’s Tale world is patently absurd. This is before you get to the part where they were angry that a person against whom there was absolutely no evidence wasn’t being convicted. In this way, it seems the people protesting in the style of the Handmaid’s Tale would prefer the “guilty until proven innocent, and you can’t be proven innocent” style the authoritarians in that show seem to prefer.
And then there are the activist slogans that come from this crowd. The first one of course is “if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” This is a slogan that serves multiple purposes. The first is the idea that if you have a shred of joy in your life, you aren’t paying enough attention to the things that are wrong in society. Second, that the things that are wrong in society should vex you so deeply that you are reduced to an angry, dribbling fool who just wants to “do something” to fix it, your understanding of the complexity be damned. Finally, it’s meant to imply that because the speaker isangry and is paying attention, that a) they got there first and b) they therefore are, and always will be cooler than you since you’ll always be the comparatively new guy in this mass of anger and guilt.
In case you are not persuaded by this demand to be angry, there is the privilege card to keep you in line. The fact that you are able to see the good things in life and not get spitting mad about what’s wrong with society is a sign of privilege. Your political disengagement is a sign that you are in a comfortable enough position that you don’t have to engage with the problems facing America and aren’t you just so damn special? Now, of course, rational solutions are never reached, nor problems thoroughly understood through anger, especially of the unthinking activist sort. Rather, problems should definitely be engaged from a calmer, more rational disposition but again, calmness and rationality are signs of privilege.
I recently made a turn from the stuff I’ve been reading. I’ve spent most of my reading time focusing on evil, primarily as the universal fact that it is, and not what the activist seems to think only exists in “those people”. But I have also been careful to make myself aware of the good in the world that does exist. For the last several months especially, I’ve been reading more on the foundations of Western Civilization, the philosophies that founded the nation and indeed how truly unique the nation was and still is. I’ve no shame in realizing how very tiresome it is to be forced to acknowledge the bad when acknowledging the good, but not being allowed to the reverse because it’s offensive. Just once in a while, I’d like to be allowed to admire (and will do so even if I’m “not”) the fact that my right to free speech is enshrined in my country’s founding document. I have a right to a firearm that citizens of Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and China have absolutely no concept of. The states have a right to determine their own laws which allows my home state of Texas to be the fanatically proud individualistic place it is, save for the encroaching liberalism, and California can be an example of how to price your poor out of basic needs.
The problem exists in the fact that many people have seen the government as representative of the country and not the people. Rather, they have associated the people with the worst of their political party.
The government is massive, inefficient, cold and overbearing. 2016 is an example of what kind of people lead the way on what government looks like. The people on the other hand, at least the ones not so politically entrenched as to base their friendships on their political opinions, are giving, kind and generally decent.
But to be honest, I am tired of being told I need to be ashamed of everything from my skin color, my country, my opinions, all of it. The truth is this country isn’t a cesspit. Yes, we’re the only country without socialized healthcare but nobody has explained how to actually payfor the damn thing for over 300 million people. Bear in mind that California killed the project because it would nearly double the budget. We should also not trust the government with such a massive task when they have proven so wildly ineffective everywhere else. Yes, we are a nation with innumerable privately owned firearms but we see what happens when governments have all the guns and things go wrong andwe see what happens in gun free zones. Yes, we are nation with a racist past. But, we have made incredible progress over the last several decades and should work to continue that progress. But we can’t. The people “leading the way” now see racism in everything, adopting a Red Scare approach to fighting it. In doing so they destroy innocent lives by having done away with “innocent until proven guilty” concept. Further, just 6 years ago they were talking about how we’re all good little boys and girls now we elected Obama (against whom all criticism was, naturally, racist), only to switch back to using racism as a euphemism for “disagreement” when Trump was elected. Whatever the better world looks like, the people who own the rights to the pejorative “racist” aren’t leading us there.
I am done being told I need to be angry or I’m not paying attention. I’m finished being told to be ashamed of my country and its founding, when I probably have a better understanding of the history and founding philosophy than some identarian who took the public school story and added a dose of Shaun King. To be honest, I’m done being led by the nose to “salvation” by people who say they know what a great, peaceful, united country looks like, and use coercion, shame, guilt, hyperbole and truly offensive historical references as their primary weapons.
When this country finally starts to operate at its best, we would be unstoppable. When we are allowed to revenerate the ideas of individual freedom, rational thought, deep and complex discussions carried out in in good faith, when the people who know what they’re talking about are allowed to make the policy (for example, guns and self-defense law should not be determined by a pacifist or big government advocate), then we will be the country the activist claims to envision.
But, for at least one day (and possibly a few more) they are welcome to continue their destructive focus on the problem of evil. I have studied evil for 6 years now. I’m aware of it but I do not see it in places it doesn’t exist and to be honest, studying exclusively evil for the last 6 years is woefully detrimental to ones view of their world and their country. We have problems but we simply cannot wallow in them for as long as we have and not be allowed to look for something good in our country.
So here it is. We are about to celebrate the founding of the culmination of the ideals of Western Civilization, the birthplace of free expression, rational thought and individual freedom in the modern world. A nation built by people who gave their lives for it in a battle against and victory over the most powerful nation at the time and political fight far more contentious than most have ever been told where the union could’ve broken in a day.
We. Are. A. Miracle.
And that is worth celebrating.