Like citizens languishing under a corrupt and cowardly king, we are afraid to attack the source of power. We grin and bear it, carrying on even though the emperor has no clothes and in fact, is working against our own and his own interests. Self-destruction is not self-interest.
But we are told these assumptions are good and right, and that any denial of them must be ignorant, selfish, cowardly, cruel, illiterate, impoverished, horrible and socially ostracized.
If you wonder why whole companies can go bankrupt, and whole nations can collapse, or even whole towns disintegrate, this is how: everyone is following the lead follower, and they’re all laboring under the illusion of this moral “right” being absolute.
Anyone who does notice that the emperor has no clothes gets shouted down and called a jerk.
As the disaster approaches, people go more into denial, not less. They don’t want to be the first person to break the truth barrier.
In the meantime, you get rewarded for passing on the pleasant illusion. Assumptions are easier than grim confrontations with reality, and the work and change, and the facing of fears, that they require.
So when you go down the street to the grocery store, and the guy behind the counter says, “It’s another great day and our republic of moral righteousness is strong!” you don’t say no. You nod and smile. And get the heck out of there.
True, at the weekly meetings of your poker league or drinking club, in the falling hours of the night — when the world is asleep, and in your tiredness you blurt out what you’re thinking and not what you want others to think you are thinking — someone will mumble a few words to the effect of, “The illusion is failing.”
Everyone nods, grumbles, and goes home. There’s nothing to do when for each one person who identifies a problem, there are another 92 who will with full knowledge deny it. Why? Because they want the guy at the grocery store to like them, hire them, date them or socialize with them. And more people are acting like him than those who think critically about the issue and say, this illusion doesn’t add up.
The biggest illusions of our age are two things that become one: equality and freedom.
Equality means we are all politically equal, in theory. In practice, it means that we all have equal stature within society, and equal amounts of latitude in behavior codes, and ability to take on any role.
Freedom means we all have the ability to do whatever we want to do, which requires us being equal. These two terms converge on the same meaning: each person can do whatever they want, as long as they can pay for it, and the more freedom we have — and thus the fewer leaders, values, cultures, customs and standards — the better our society is.
During the period of 1965-1968, we extended this to sex and reproduction. Why bother with that outdated idea of marriage? We don’t need that. What we need is freedom.
Well, shucks, that was only 40 years ago. What has been the result?
For most of my generation â€” Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980 â€” there is only one question: “When did your parents get divorced?”
Our lives have been framed by the answer. Ask us. We remember everything.
When my dad left in the spring of 1981 and moved five states away with his executive assistant and her four kids, the world as I had known it came to an end. My mother, formerly a regal, erudite figure, was transformed into a phantom in a sweaty nightgown and matted hair, howling on the floor of our gray-carpeted playroom. My brother, a sweet, goofy boy, grew into a sad, glowering giant, barricaded in his room with dark graphic novels and computer games.
I spent the rest of middle and high school getting into trouble in suburban Philadelphia: chain-smoking, doing drugs, getting kicked out of schools, spending a good part of my senior year in a psychiatric ward. Whenever I saw my father, which was rarely, per his preference, he grew more and more to embody Darth Vader: a brutal machine encasing raw human guts.
Growing up, my brother and I were often left to our own devices, members of the giant flock of 1970s- and â€™80s-era migrant latchkey kids. Our suburb was littered with sad-eyed, bruised nomads who wandered back and forth from used record shops to the sheds behind the train station where they got high and then trudged off, back and forth, from their mothersâ€™ houses during the week to their fathersâ€™ apartments every other weekend.
The divorced parents of a boy I knew in high school installed him in his own apartment because neither wanted him at home. Naturally, we all descended on his place after school â€” sometimes during school â€” to drink and do drugs. He was always wasted, no matter what time we arrived. A few years ago, a friend told me that she had learned that he had drunk himself to death by age 30. – The Week
If you want to know what sexual liberation means, that is what it means.
We are told (ad nauseam) the stories of pitiable women trapped in loveless marriages, and how divorce has liberated them. They’re now free! Equal!
What we aren’t told is that people who screw up their marriage the first time tend to screw it up the second time, as shown by the divorce rate per marriage. In other words, if they trapped themselves in a loveless marriage, they will go find another loveless marriage, or another loveless relationship.
In the meantime, their divorce puts the kids in the middle. What divorce says to kids is this: “You were not planned, you are the random result of our random decisions, and you are not particularly a focus in our lives — we, your parents, are more interested in our own pleasure than your future.”
Not a surprise if they drink themselves to death. They never knew they were loved.
Yet in the meantime, our society is showering us with propaganda for equality. Our parents want nothing to come in the way of their fun and pursuit of happiness, even if they never find that happiness. They do this for the social image of “love,” not the reality of love.
We, the pretentious species, like to think that We Are All One.
You can see this slogan — or variants of it: one love, unity, peace, we are all equals — written in both the propaganda of this regime and its products. Did the regime command those products get made? No: it was done by the citizens, to the citizens.
And this is what One Love looks like:
My father was a second-generation San Franciscan with Hungarian roots and my mother was a recent immigrant from Sweden. Their favourite musical artists were Tony Bennett and Doris Day, and they kept their hair clean and tidy. All this, for me, was a problem. When I was growing up, I’d bike the long mile from my sleepy San Francisco neighbourhood to Haight-Ashbury. The Haight was so bright, so crowded, soâ€¦ fragrant by comparison to where I lived that I knew, even as a kid, I had missed out on an entire era â€“ that I was still missing out.
The year I was 10, a girl I’ll call Nina joined my tap-dancing class. She had blonde hair and wore the same tap shoes and dance clothes the rest of us did. I didn’t pay her much attention. My eyes were focused on a beautiful hippy-looking woman watching us practise. She was at least 15 years younger than the mothers around her. Her wild butterscotch hair extended down to the back pockets of her bell-bottom jeans. Who was this woman, I wondered. She was surely a hippy, I thought. At the end of the lesson, Nina called out: “Mom, I’m cold” and the beautiful woman handed Nina a poncho. I knew then that I’d do everything in my power to make Nina my best friend. – The Guardian
How fascinating it all is! The bright colors, the openness, love, and happiness.
We are looking at the media image of hippies, here, which is pitched to us by the biggest media powerhouse in history. Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and even the Marxist schools of academics agree: hippies=good, 1950s family-centered conservative (and possibly Christian) life=bad.
But I had wanted to believe that Nina’s parents, with their single lives and unconventional ways, were something that my parents were not: true representatives of their decade, of their city, of youth.
On the drive back, Nina was still embarrassed about her father’s behaviour the night before. When he dropped me off, Nina and I said goodbye as though it was any other goodbye, though we both knew it was more than that. Come summer, her mother would be taking a job in another city and Nina would be leaving San Francisco, leaving me.
The archetypal rootless, directionless, miserable family. There is no continuity or stability. Instead, there are parents seeking pleasure, and children along for the ride.
Oddly, it was this attitude that produced the rise of “baby bangles,” or offspring for the purpose of showing off to others and keeping up with the Joneses, which was adopted not only by hippies but by yuppies.
Leftism/liberalism creates a mentality of the individual against society, civilization, and any rules or standards. Absolute freedom is the only goal.
This doesn’t leave room for the family, or culture, or even any kind of behavior raised above that of a rutting, consuming and recklessly self-indulgent individual.
It gets masked behind constant self-expression, “freedom” and other platitudes, but the essential attitude is: me first and me only.
In its wake, liberalism leaves shattered generations, alienation, resentment and loneliness. No wonder our society is doing the sociological equivalent of drinking itself to death.