There is little agreement as to the dating of the current crisis, other than it seems to have started sometime after the end of the Cold War. Dating transitions from one period to the next is a form of sorites paradox. America is culturally, politically and economically different than it was fifty years ago. The point at which the turn began seems to be around when the Cold War ended, but the forces behind the transition may have roots going back a long way.
What can say about this age is that it has been defined by uncertainty. As Tucker Carlson has noted on several occasions, a lot of things have happened that no one thought would ever happen. He likes to use the election of Donald Trump as an example of something so impossible that it forces you to reconsider your biases about what is and is not possible. Anyone old enough to remember when Trump became famous in the 1980’s understands Carlson’s point.
Of course, the Trump election was not the first time something happened in politics that seemed impossible until it happened. In 1990, no serious person thought Bill Clinton could be president. The reason is no serious person knew his name. No one had to as the idea of a corrupt governor from a small state like Arkansas rising to national predominance for something other than crime was ridiculous. Presidents needed to be from big states and appeal to normal Americans.
The Clinton-Trump connection is useful for understanding the weirdness of the current age, because the two of them have a lot of connections. Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were golf buddies and bonded over their carnal interests. They both hated Hillary Clinton for the same reasons. Both had a thing for shady land deals and the shady people who operate in that space. Their existence is more a symptom of a larger problem than the cause of anything we see today.
Putting the personal comparisons aside, the transition from the old way of doing things to this new way is evident in this comparison. Bill and Hillary Clinton were spectacularly corrupt politicians, but once they were out of office no one thought it was a good idea to keep pursuing their criminal activity. That was the old thinking. The new thinking has the FBI raiding Trump’s home over a petty issue. In that Clinton-Trump window, much has changed and changed unexpectedly.
That brings us back to the point Carlson likes making and that is we have to reconsider everything in light of recent events. Every day old barriers are falling away to new and bizarre forces. Even in the racial lunacy of the 1970’s, no serious person would have proposed erecting shrines to a dead drug addict. Today, cities all over the world have George Floyd memorials. Putting aside the politics, the weirdness of this suggests some sort of mass psychosis is at work.
Some will be tempted to wave this away as normal. In every age, people complain about change. It feels like the world has gone mad. Romans thought the spread of the weird new Jesus cult was madness. People at the dawn of the industrial revolution saw their lives completely altered by events. This time of great uncertainty was what motivated Marx to look for an explanation for the great upheavals around Europe in the 19th century. Change often feels like madness.
The thing is prior transitions had an obvious point. The Jesus cult was different but it was not that different. Even the skeptics could understand the attraction of this strange new religion that was spreading through the empire. The decline of the feudal order brought increased prosperity, so even though lots of new things were happening, lots of good things were happening. The same was true of industrialization. There seemed to be a logic behind the massive changes.
The current age is simply weird for the sake of being weird. Why are Western leaders trying to destroy the agricultural sectors in the West? They claim Gaia commands it, but what are they getting from this? As far as religions go, this strange new form of animism does not offer the believer much of a return. Christianity not only dangles the afterlife out there, but the promise that the wicked will pay for their sins. Gaia promises vengeance on all mankind, regardless of their righteousness.
The general weirdness is most obvious in our politics. The reaction to Trump by the political class was crazy for the sake of being crazy. The guy was desperate for their acceptance and would have signed whatever they put in front of him. These are people purpose built to fleece the sucker, yet when this opportunity arose, they were suddenly too pure to be spoiled by his presence. Their reaction was the exact opposite of what a lifetime of behavior would have predicted.
The same can be said for the ongoing pogroms against Trumpism. The 2020 election was the ultimate flex. Logic says they should have immediately closed the books on Trump and erased him from the collective consciousness. This is how all ruling elites have handled things. The ancients would remove all public references to a disgraced person and forbid mentioning his name. History said both parties would put Trump on ignore in order to purge him from the culture.
This raid on Trump’s villa is like how Hollywood has an addiction to subverting expectations with casting. They cast a black actor in the smart role and a pixie in the tough guy role. Even though this is now normal, they insist they are subverting the expectations of the audience. The raid on Trump subverted expectations as even the most jaded did not think these people were that stupid. In one move they turned Trump into a martyr and themselves into villains.
Now, the uncertainty and randomness are part of the plan. The belief set of the ruling elite says that subverting expectations is necessary to break the habits of mind that keep humanity from transitioning to the glorious future. A big part of the Gaia cult is the belief that smashing things will free us from the things that vex Gaia. Smashing up political custom and tradition by violating the old rules is another effort to break free from the past in order to ascend into the glorious tomorrow.
This strikes normal people as nuts, but up until a short time ago the idea of Donald Trump being president sounded nutty too. A year before he took the oath of office, the phrase “President Joe Biden” was a punchline. We live in a time when a man with severe dementia is president. If you can accept that then it should not be hard to accept that the motivation of the ruling class is a weird set of mystical beliefs that require them to destroy the foundations of civilization.
Once you wrap your head around the fact that there are no rules, then it is easy to see that all things are now possible. Dostoyevsky famously said, “when God is dead, all things are permitted.” Friedrich Nietzsche, a devoted fan of Dostoyevsky, would notice this and cause a lot of trouble. Nihilism rejects generally accepted or fundamental aspects of human existence. The West killed God a long time ago, so it is only natural that we have reached the point where all things are permitted.
As an aside, you cannot help but laugh at the fact that the people in charge are obsessed with finding Hitler. They check under their beds every night and have teams scouring the bushes for any signs of Hitler. This is their license to overthrow the laws of the natural world. They attack the very idea that knowledge is possible, because that is white supremacy. Perhaps Hitler’s revenge was to leave a puzzle so frightening that it eventually drove his enemies into madness.
The universe does have a sense of humor, so that could be the answer for the madness, but the universe does not have unlimited patience. Reality is the thing that does not go away when you stop believing it. The only thing nature abhors more than a vacuum is the lack of rules. This spasm of weirdness will eventually slam into this reality and someone will push aside the current ruling class and reinstitute the rules that must govern a society. Weirdness is not eternal.
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