Once upon a time, there was a dead civilization.
It lived on as a mediocre shadow of itself. Most people wanted it to simply continue on that path, although it involved a great deal of further social decay. Others resisted, seeing no point in decaying further, and hoping to someday resurrect the dead civilization and give it new life.
All of the denialists — those who wanted to continue dying — united together to remove any mention of any alternative to continuing to die. They claimed that this was in defense of morality, truth, science, and justice, when really it was the further abolition of all of those.
The renewers, who just wanted to clear out the dead and raise up the still living, thought this baffling but not inconsistent. After all, reality-denial is how you get a dead civilization in the first place.
I am avoiding the group panic this election. Whatever the group thinks is probably lowest common denominator, which means the weaker parts of every person joined up into a great group of weakness. There are bad people, and then there is the worst enemy, mediocrity, which occurs in groups because of fear.
We should ask: did anyone really like perpetual modernity? Francis Fukuyama put his finger on this one. If liberal democracy — democracy plus civil rights and market socialism — was really the last man standing among government systems, and therefore, nothing would ever change, were we really happy in a system that was half plastic consumerism and half alien, ozone-stinking perpetual ideological quest for ever-increasing “equality”?
People are looking for sources of meaning inside, instead of outside in social quests which amount mostly to distraction and compensation instead of positive goals. In response to Fukuyama, Huntington basically said as much: people want meaning, which they find in their intuition, and this bonds them to their heritage group, faith, and culture more than abstract, bureaucratic agencies like scientific consensus, academic trends, the United Nations, and ideology itself.
We are leaving behind the age of ideology, and entering an age of realism.
Plato says history cycles. If the past thousand years were the half of the cycle that culminated in democracy and equality, the next thousand years belong to the dark half of that cycle, which pushes us more toward natural selection, intuition, realism, and other “inner” sensations.
Here is what I tell normies:
I do not think anyone really likes modern life anymore. We are at the stage where the Soviets were in the 1970s, where stuff still basically works but is becoming increasingly joyless and paranoid. True, we are wealthier and have cooler technology, but even that has stalled.
I feel like the internet is stuck forever in 2007, the self-driving cars have failed totally, our spacecraft look like they’re out of the 1950s, and even genetic engineering has been becalmed after making an ear on a mouse.
We are however living in a mass panic caused by the change from denialism to renewerism. The renewers want to stop living in Fukuyama’s perpetual liberal democracy, and the denialists want to avoid change but accept our path of inevitable doom. Reality holds a little more nuance in the following ways:
Back in the 1980s, they told us that Ronald Reagan was going to start WWIII and kick off the Fourth Reich all in one, and they were wrong, but it got them Clinton. They want back to that because they are profiting from the decline; we want to get out of the decline so that we can have something other than bourgeois condominiums, retirement funds, and libertarian ethics. Voters might be generally described as “Libertarian Communists,” in that they want society to let them act out their broken pathologies and not interrupt them, and they will pay handsomely in taxes to keep the herd at bay.
The psychology of people in democracy is closer to that of a serial killer: he wants to pursue his obsession, repeating the same primal trauma, and then have an endgame where he controls the manner of his self-destruction. That he dies? Does not matter. He never had any hope anyway.
The Democrats are ultimately doomed here because they are the ones trying to restore the past (the Clinton 1990s) and not pay attention to the reality of the now and the potential of the future. No matter what we think of the past four years, there are some new topics on the table: lobbying as corruption, the “deep state,” China, the failure of democracy demographic replacement, and American civilization’s collapse as a subset of Western Civilization.
We know this is true because they are discussing these topics in Europe also. That means that the cat is out of the bag, and we finally must face the limits of the Fukuyama-Clinton-Obama system, and look toward alternatives if we want to survive, knowing that we need not just minimally functional but an ascendent and good civilization for that survival. The years of individualism are over; the age of hierarchy are just beginning.
For these reasons, I refuse to get too alarmed about this election. I’m about to score some cigars and beers, maybe slow cook a brisket, and enjoy watching the world freak out over what is ultimately both some inevitable conflict to reach necessary change, and a whole lot of drama that is not really relevant.