Late stage empires are rootless. People have no fixed pursuits because they have no consistent values. As a result, they pursue novelty to distract themselves from the emptiness. This spills over into policy because whatever the hive is excited about becomes an opportunity for marketers, advertisers, politicians and celebrities to use in their own appeal.
These “obsessions” happen periodically and sweep through like a desert wind, then depart and are forgotten. The fear of eggs as a source of cancer was one, back in the 1980s. For several years, the news was filled with scientific studies about how eggs were linked to different cancers and were probably killing us all right now. There were calls for increased taxes and regulation of eggs.
Then, it all vanished. Someone put out contrary data, or discovered some common sense, and they bucked the herd. Once one person had stood up to the great wall of conformist neurosis, others did the same and the wall came tumbling down. It had always been a phantom of our minds, as it turned out, but for most of a decade people accepted it as ironclad fact.
Another nonsense freakout was the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. If you listened to the media, and the scientists who apparently wrote studies hoping to get picked up by the media, AIDS was going to wipe us all out. It was going to become airborne and you could get it from doorknobs if you had a cut on your hand. And then, poof!, this attack of fear also disappeared.
There are other great freakouts. From the 1940s through the end of the 1980s, people were just about certain that humanity would perish by nuclear warfare. Admittedly, there was a greater chance of this threat than eggs giving us all AIDS, but it also made little sense given that the risk was widely known. Panic and obsession crowded out good sense as usual.
Since that time, we have had global warming and now global terror. Neither of these are an actual threat, but with a twist: they are visible manifestations of bigger problems. “Global warming” consists of lumping together observations of some of the impacts of overpopulation and blaming gasoline for them; terrorism is just the tip of the iceberg of the many problems of globalism, a stupid Tower of Babel project for our elites and their fawning egalitarian useful idiots.
On the flip side, some obsessions are positive. When something succeed, all the monkeys imitate it slavishly. The best example of these is multitasking, an illusion which is failing. Back in the 1990s, someone came up with the idea that the ideal dot-com employee could multitask, which originally meant that they could be on hold on the phone and still get stuff done elsewhere on their desk.
Then the idea of “multitasking” became a trend. Employers were asking janitor candidates if they could multitask. Articles and books were written about the importance of multitasking, and motivational speakers earned a living by teaching people who to multitask in daily life. And then, the first people bucked the trend. They pointed out that multitasking meant lower attention to each task, thus less depth and quality.
And now, the multitasking trend is vanishing into silence, just like all the other panics and fads.
Let us look at diversity. In the 1970s, the West was looking for allies to stop the spread of Communism through the third world. We came up with the idea of forcing them to be linked to us by economics. So we started importing them into Europe and the USA as cheap labor, enjoying the luxury of newly-affordable goods and services that provided, and the notion of the healthy mixed population — a goal of Leftists since the French Revolution at least — was born.
Over the last four decades, diversity has always been the answer. It is a form of pacifism which entails no longer struggling to rise above the lower, but mixing everyone into one big happy pool so that there is no longer racial strife and class warfare. It makes women swoon and men think about golf. The illusion being pitched is that with this problem of racial strife out of the way, we can all go back to what we were doing.
And yet the reality starts to dawn. Diversity does not mean that people are here to live elsewhere; it means they live among us. It means our children, who are still not neurologically mature, will bond with them and want to marry them. It means that they will always be given preference in jobs and customs, since we are trying to show how nice we are. It means endless costs and slowdowns making life so miserable normal people want to die.
Look for this trend to die this year. Like the others, it will blow away, forgotten in our embarrassment and irritation at having been duped for so long.