Why the Hell are people losing their minds? I don’t know. Why did St. Vitus’ Dance sweep Europe? Why did tulips get so expensive during the Tulip Craze? Why did the witches hang?
I suspect what’s happened is a convergence of things. First the #MeToo movement, which mostly has been a force for good, is entering its moral-panic phase. Second, the Internet accelerates groupthink and extremism for all the familiar reasons. Third, a lot of Democrats have concluded that the only way to win the party’s presidential nomination is to prove you can be the most fearless jackass in the herd (See, Cory “Almost Spartacus” Booker) and the presence of Michael Avenatti in the market has put inflationary pressure on everyone’s asininity. Fourth, as I keep writing (even at book length), we are turning politics into a form of tribal entertainment where it’s easy to convince ourselves that our opponents are existential monsters.
And fifth, as politics has become a secular religion, the Supreme Court has become like a Roman Temple and people are terrified that Kavanaugh is a less indulgent priest. If the Supreme Court wasn’t the institution where a single swing justice — not coincidentally the one Kavanaugh is slated to replace — decides how human beings should define themselves in the world, people wouldn’t be freaking out nearly so much.
Read the whole thing. In his New York Times column this week, Ross Douthat concludes that “we all sense that in this political disaster, we’re seeing a glimpse into a cultural abyss.” What comes next?
A column by Barton Swaim in the Weekly Standard that Glenn linked to earlier today argues that “The Sexual Revolution Is Over:”
What comes next probably won’t be some 21st-century form of Victorian public morality. But neither, if I’m right, are we likely to advance further into the realm of sexual chaos urged upon our society by young radicals a half-century ago. Everything comes to an end, including revolutions.
Thursday’s hearings also “may be a watershed moment in Identity Politics,” a blogger at Maggie’s Farm writes:
This was a great example of how identity has been weaponized for political gain. Don’t think this is the end of Identity Politics, though. The Democrats need identity to survive. Mao’s Cultural Revolution relied on hearsay and Identity, and was implemented shortly after the Great Leap Forward had failed to propel the nation forward economically. The Democrats are failing massively. They are launching their own Cultural Revolution. I’ve warned friends of mine who are sympathetic to the ’cause’ to be careful. Movements like this eat their young.
In any case, as Rod Dreher writes, it’s also “The End of a Trusting Society:”
Look at what Brett Kavanaugh now has to put up with: an Erik Brady column in USA Today saying he shouldn’t coach his daughter’s basketball team because he might be a pervert. Excerpt:
The nation is deeply divided. Sometimes it feels like we don’t agree on anything anymore. But credibly accused sex offenders should not coach youth basketball, girls or boys, without deeper investigation. Can’t we all agree on that?
“Credibly accused”? This is beyond disgusting — and it’s in a major American newspaper. How does it differ from this, had USA Today been around in 1954:
The nation is deeply divided. Sometimes it feels like we don’t agree on anything anymore. But credibly accused communists should not work in Hollywood without deeper investigation. Can’t we all agree on that?
Gosh, I can’t imagine why Judge Kavanaugh was upset in his testimony, can you?
This is the world we are creating for ourselves.
The Washington Post, through its then-subsidiary publication Newsweek assured us at the start of 2009 that “We Are All Socialists Now.” Apparently the socialist state that DC elites had in mind was East Germany.
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