I recently received an email from Move-on, a leader in Progressive Democratic advocacy. They are very concerned about book banning (specifically Maus). I can’t say it better than they do:
Across the country, book bans have risen dramatically over the past year, led by far-right politicians intent on stopping kids from learning about race, sexual orientation, gender identity, different cultures, or even just an unbiased history of our country.
It is a blatant, despicable attack on our freedoms and an attempt to control the minds of our kids.
We cannot, and will not, let it happen.
Notwithstanding the point here, the very best way to get a kid to read something is to tell them they mustn’t. I mean there are only dozens of websites where you can read this particular graphic novel right now, among a thousand more.
Move-on’s mail listing includes nearly half the country, and it’s the half that enthusiastically endorses the silencing, masking and strait-jacketing of the non-compliant “other.” They comprise today’s cancel culture, yesterday’s witch hunts, and McCarthyism before McCarthy was vindicated. When they perceive the other half of the country canceling, or even just questioning, something they like, it gets self-righteous, indignant, angry, and ugly real quick.
No doubt, most of this is Democratic fundraising theater. Still, many of us wonder about what goes on inside the heads of modern leftists. This short tutorial may help:
Government, if you own it, is good. Hence Joe Biden is good. Kamala Harris is good. The DOJ and FBI and DoD and CDC and FDA, and the Department of Education are all very good. They were not good in 2019 and 2020, but they are now.
If government is good and the source of good, all must obey, honor and respect it. “Let’s Go Brandon” is code for thinking disrespectful thoughts about the President, therefore it must be eliminated from the cultural language, and those using it and thinking it must be vilified and condemned.
If government is good (and it is when we own it), it does not lie, cheat or steal.
If government does not lie, the CDC at any given moment is telling its best truth to the American people. Those who question the CDC and FDA “truth” and do not follow its “rules of the day” are disobedient.
If government does not cheat, suggesting that government-managed elections have been stolen are lies, not to be tolerated, and insurrectionary.
If government does not steal, suggestions that the vast federal and state administration is not giving us our moneys’ worth in terms of legislation, services, education or justice is disrespectful, disloyal, and ungrateful.
The Move-on message went on to say, “Make no mistake: These are attempts by Republicans to wage a white supremacist culture war and march our country closer toward authoritarianism.”
Authoritarianism, rule by a central authority, necessitates threats and punishment to gain compliance, both generally and specifically. It does not coexist with a decentralized, self-governing, organic authority, of people living their lives as they decide. Some people believe a just and stable balance between the two may be achieved, but the authoritarians know better, and in this they are correct.
Now, Move-on is “opposed” to “authoritarianism.” The message concludes with this uplifting statement, “As we have done in the past, our grassroots, people-powered movement will fight back, and together we will succeed.”
To understand this conundrum of confusion and hypocrisy, we don’t really have to examine Marx. The animating philosophy for what is dividing the United States is less about marxism and more about narcissism.
There is also a real tension between love of statism, and love for individuals and the natural world. Half the country values and recognizes actual people, actual life, and the actual environment. Half the country thinks making choices based on their own values, including religious values, makes the world a better place. The other half have decided that individuals are ignorant and selfish, human life is ugly, religion is dead, and the environment so massive that it takes the forceful power of states, even a global state, to impact it. They believe no one can make the “right” choices, and if even if they could they wouldn’t. Statist politics can and will do what needs to be done, even if these deeply caring people simultaneously admit that it hasn’t so far.
Half the country believes, and seeks to align with, a higher natural power, and most feel a little bit lucky to be here. Nearly as many believe than man via government is the only real source of power, including over science and the natural world that science purports to explore. They believe life is about leverage of that power, and gratefulness has nothing to do with it.
Half of the country is not really scared of the other half, only mystified. The other half, however, is frightened to death. Narcissism has destroyed their joy. The state they openly worship (when they feel they “own” it), wastes their liberty, rapes their planet, obliterates humanity without a second thought – while demanding unending loyalty and complete trust. Without any alternative to state power, they grow more and more paranoid, delusional, and confused. They indeed are standing at the abyss, staring into it.
What will snap this half of the country out of their frightened narcissistic, anti-human, state worship? Perhaps it will be actually stepping into the abyss with a World War III, prosecuted by a barely sentient Joe Biden and a fiscally and morally bankrupt United States. Maybe their late-to-the-party discovery of government lies about the COVID program – bio-warfare origins, money for cronies, expansion of the surveillance state, population reduction, and a global shoring up of obsolescent and vestigial authoritarianism – will do the trick.
Will they find spiritual peace and rediscover a “live and let live” value system?
I hope so. The US empire – on the American continent – aka the “United States” is crumbling, collapsing and scraping by. Few even argue this point anymore. The system has already failed, its toolbox empty, its visionaries dead, its books burned to ash long ago. The replacement systems are up and operational, surging in some arenas of human interaction, and continuing to strengthen and unfold in others. A natural, secessionary division and reorganization of populations and power is already happening. Both halves of the country will be actively involved in and impacted by this reorganization, which will seek to consolidate shared values to some extent geographically, and politically.
Those locales, territories, and new states that embrace a philosophy of liberty, respect for life, and fundamental anti-authoritarianism will jealously guard their hard-won independence. The costs and the sacrifices they made to get there will be fresh and bright in their memory. Given a more human scale of life, and a more vivid sense of their duty to their community, people will be wiser and perhaps warier. None of this will be good news for our large endemic population of narcissists, statists, and hypocrites. Most will be asked to simply “Move on!”