Imagine that fifty years ago, someone walking along a beach stumbled upon a lamp, out of which popped a genie, offering to give the person a glimpse into the future as a reward for releasing him from the lamp. The person probably would be able to suspend their disbelief and give it a go. Once he got the glimpse of the future, he would be so stunned by what he saw, that he would quickly assume he is having some sort of hallucination and run off in terror. That cannot possibly be the future.
There is no getting around the fact that our present is unimaginably weird, relative to our standards of just a generation ago. People like to laugh at what people a century ago imagined was the future, but those past predictions were based on the assumption that crazy people would not take over the country. They feared that left-wing radicals would win and impose communism. That was a legitimate fear, but mentally disturbed men in dresses was not a concern. Why would anyone think such a thing?
What makes it weirder is that we are not living in an age of bliss. We have real problems that need attention. Yet during the transition from Trump to Dementia Joe, supposedly serious people sat around a conference room table wondering how they could recruit a man in a dress to join the administration. No one in the room, presumably, bust out laughing. Some take comfort in believing that they know it is ridiculous, but there is no evidence to suggest this.
In his confirmation hearing, not a single Senator dared ask Rachel Levine to explain how we test for transgenderism. We have a simple test to determine sex. A mouth swab alone is enough. If we were to come upon the remains of person who claimed to be a third sex, how would we know? What is the difference between someone who thinks they are invisible or imaginary and someone who thinks they are a sex other than what their DNA says? Does Dr. Levine accept genetic science?
The point is, there were any number of ways to politely reveal that this person is either insane or a sociopathic grifter. Richard Levine would never have gone very far on merit, but Rachel Levine could be president one day. No one dared take this approach, because they are not allowed to challenge the orthodoxy. In the case of Senators, they have been selected precisely because they have been conditioned to never challenge the prevailing moral orthodoxy.
This is how our public discourse has become increasingly bizarre. As soon as you exclude realty from the debate, you are left with various forms of unreality. Since none of the unrealistic options can possibly lead to a solution, the debate breaks free from the problem itself. The measure acceptance is no longer about facts and reason, but some other standard. In a liberal democracy, the standard becomes attention, as in what gets you the most attention.
Take the case of Saint George Floyd, peace be upon him. The state put on a medical expert who explained Floyd’s cardiovascular condition. It is hard to know, given the bizarre testimony that followed, but the state probably hoped he would add authority to the claim that the cops were negligent when handling Floyd. On cross, he was asked a simple question. “Would George Floyd be alive today if he had just followed instructions and got into the police car as the cops asked many times?”
If Chauvin is acquitted, that is probably the moment the jury realized the absurdity of the show going on in court. This question never gets asked in any of these traffic stops that go bad, like the latest one from Minnesota. In every one of these cases, the guy getting shot could have avoided the problem by simply not being an asshole. The prevailing moral orthodoxy says you can never question the actions of a nonwhite, so the conversation veers into increasingly weird logic.
Another example is the voter ID stuff. Right now, we have the largest corporations on the planet holding secret meetings to figure out how they can overturn election laws like the one just passed in Georgia. No one dares ask these people why they think blacks are too stupid or lazy to get a driver’s license. The fact that they have no trouble getting a license is another relevant factor. Voter ID is racist because it just is. Not one dares question it, so we have these bizarre public debates.
That is the thing about the time traveling guy from the past. He probably would not notice the trannies and perverts. So much of our public debate operates outside the bounds of reason, those things would be lost in the traffic. The fact that Joe Biden is president would be enough to cause him to question his sanity. In his time, Joe Biden is just a crooked fabulist that was the butt of political jokes. No sane people would put that simpleton in charge of anything.
Twenty years ago, the great John Derbyshire once described pseudoscience as “elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” The fact that the people who are so good at creating pseudoscience have an outside role in shaping society probably explains why we live in a world dominated by boutique ideas untethered from reality. These parlor games are much more fun that facing up to the reality of life.
In fact, reality avoidance may have become something of a narcotic. Anytime reality starts to sneak into the mind of the addict, they demand some new drug or a bigger dose of the old drug, in order to solve the problem. When the reality of sex differences undermines feminist theology, a new drug called transgenderism is cooked up and distributed to the panic stricken members of the ruling class. When the reality of transvestites cannot be ignored, we get a new perversion.
The real crisis in America is not the opioid pandemic, but the unreality pandemic plaguing our rulers. As the range of acceptable debate narrows, they are left with an increasingly bizarre set of choices. In order for them to get attention, which is the currency of democracy, they must outdo the last bizarre idea. Like an addict searching for the next high, our rulers are riding a dragon of depraved reality avoidance, taking the rest of us into the abyss where all addiction leads.
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