We all know how to make a party of people happy: say something that makes everyone feel good, like “we are all equal, every one.” This makes them feel even better than saying something true, because implicitly you have denied truth and reality, so they feel less threatened by the non-complimentary versions of those.
The problem is that then you have entered a non-reality zone. You have just said that the deciding standard for what is important in life is not that it is true, but that people like it. This means that whatever people like goes to the top of the heap, and anything they would prefer not to notice is forgotten. It is a prescription for oblivion.
At this point, the carnies take over. Carnies are people who work as entertainers in the circus and are known for their low standards of behavior. Sexually, they are omnivorous; they tend toward hedonism in other forms as well. They tend to live in slovenly ways, behave crassly, and use every moment as a chance to whore for attention. They are masters of appearance and being entertaining, and nothing else.
The West is now dominated by carnies. When Ted Cruz takes the microphone, we are witnessing a man who knows exactly what to say, and what he should say does not vary with the facts of the situation. He says the right thing based on the entertainment demands of the moment. He knows the right words to make himself look presidential or authoritative. His job is audience manipulation, not results. Who cares about those anymore?
When President Obama makes a speech or goes to visit a foreign land, the entire process is theater. He is the carny who knows what the circus audience wants: pacifism, equality, and the feeling that what is evidently true is not true because it might be disturbing. In his hands, tyrants become heroes and real threats become imaginary threats, all while he keeps up the show under the circus tent of the good clowns fighting the bad clowns.
In the same way, Bill Nye the Science Clown knows what his audience wants: they want science that makes reality seem to be not what it is. They love irony and inversion. They want to hear that what we think of as true is in fact nonsense, so they can project into the void that nonsense is true, and Bill Nye will validate their vision with the stamp of Official Science™ in exchange for their ducats and shekels.
Hollywood has become the same way. What does the audience want? Simplistic fairy tales, so here come the superhero movies and romantic comedies. Never mind that these are so brick-stupid that if the audience were even halfway paying attention, they would throw up at how callously and easily they are manipulated. But they do not care. They simply want the sensation of being distracted, much like the audience at the circus watches with half a brain.
And what about academia? Appearance over function triumphs there as well. The science and criticism writers know that what is popular wins, so they write about topics that are popular and ensure their results match. That is easily engineered by changing the question from “what is true” to “what part of the data contradicts the obvious conclusion of the whole.” They nibble away at details, then make broad announcements and the crowd cheers.
The carnies won the minute we selected feelings over reality. We did that by putting power in the hands of groups and not individuals. Individuals can be responsible for the results of their acts, but groups never are. And groups break down because the decision is made based on internal factors, such as what the members will think of each other. Group decisions are by nature reality-optional.
At the end of the day, for carnies, it is all about a paycheck. They make the audience happy, and then the money goes into their grubby little hands, and then the party can continue with the wine flowing freely and the clothes hitting the floor. Somewhere in the back of their minds they know that it must end. Someday.