Modern society is destroying itself.
We simply do not have the capability to speak to each other without offending, universities and student governments are buying into the feminist fable of “rape culture” that infantilizes young women and criminalizes young males for nothing other than being male. The same goes for the assault on masculinity in the broader culture where men are viewed as warmongering savages and women the paragon of virtue. Speech “codes” are being enforced and language is being politically and ideologically modified to fit a particular worldview.
It hasn’t been that long ago when Senate Democrats actually wanted to amend the Constitution to restrict the First Amendment right of free speech. Free speech for me, but not for thee – especially if I don’t like what you are saying. Sit down and shut up, we are the government and we are here to help you.
Three things are combining to accelerate the death spiral.
The first is rank ignorance – we live in a time that is so fraught with trumpery the timeworn phrase “a chink in the armor” is interpreted as a racial slur. The word “chink” as in “a narrow opening or crack” has been part of the English language since the 1500’s. There were recently a few posts of Twitter feeds where Kanye West fans were congratulating him for collaborating with a new artist – the fans were thinking that this new guy was “’bout to blow up” as I believe they put it. The new artist? Paul McCartney. Just a tidbit for the youngsters, McCartney was a member of a little known band called “The Beatles” that washed up on our shores in 1964 from Britain (that’s the island kingdom that we declared our independence from in 1776) – this little known, obscure band holds the record for selling the most albums with over 178 million.
The second part is isolationism – while the age of the Internet has increased the world’s access to knowledge, it has also coarsened and narrowed debate and has eliminated the need of people to actually be in someone’s physical presence or even to hear their voice. True communication is made up of three things – the denotation of words, the connotation that the nuance of the human voice gives them and the physical expressions of the human body and face as those words are spoken.
Two of those three are lost in our electronic society – how many times have FaceBook posts been misinterpreted simply because they are so antiseptic? How many of your FaceBook friends do you know in the “real world”? I maybe know 20-30% of mine.
The final contributing factor is the ideology of progressivism. It seems counterintuitive that a collectivist belief system would be driving people apart but the implementation of all collectivist belief systems has been based on pitting individuals and groups against each other to create conflict. Progressives are actively trying to present themselves and their policies as the cure for the very division they are creating. We have a political party and a President that believe it is acceptable to pass laws to see what is in them and to capriciously define and enforce those laws depending on how they feel about them at that time.
What a true conundrum it is to witness such a colossal paradox – to live in a time where society has the greatest access to knowledge and wisdom since the ancient Library of Alexandria and still be so spectacularly stupid, to have the greatest opportunity for individual liberty and yet be careening toward serfdom. We are living the curse of the old toast “May you live in interesting times” – because these times are certainly “interesting”, if not confounding.
We have already reached a point where a misunderstood interaction could be considered a criminal act. There are voices out there that are saying that a woman should always be believed when she claims that there was a rape – the male is automatically guilty before any evidence is collected – even though there are quite a few cases (the UVa and Duke “rape” cases in particular) where these charges were made up. At the University of Virginia, the administration is continuing to sanction campus fraternities even though they acknowledge the gang rape that brought about the punishments never occurred.
Society is quickly replacing common sense, decency, propriety and self-governance with the arbitrary authority of the state. References to Orwell’s “1984” have unfortunately become all to cliché – but while clichés represent trite and overused concepts, being such does not mean that they are false.
In The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek wrote:
“There is no justification for the widespread belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source of power which prevents it from being arbitrary; to be free from dictatorial qualities, the power must also be limited. A true “dictatorship of the proletariat,” even if democratic in form, if it undertook centrally to direct the economic system, would probably destroy personal freedom as completely as any autocracy has ever done.”
Think on that, America…