The events of recent decades have been ominous.
The events of recent weeks more so.
…But what seems to me new about this moment is the political road rage, the thuggishness of masses of Americans who not only are venting about insane nonsense, not only are undermining their own interests acting as marionettes of laughing corporate predators, and not only are taking down democracy around themselves in order to do so, but are in fact also destroying the entire Enlightenment project of rationality-based management of public affairs as well. The single most frightening characteristic of this movement, to my mind, is that fact that no amount of evidence or logic could persuade these folks to abandon the lies they’ve attached themselves to, like a pit bull clamped to the leg of some poor SOB’s pants.
No, this isn’t about lack of intellect or the remotest correspondence to reality. It seems pretty clear to me that this is almost entirely about fear. This is the empire crashing, and the former master class within it crashing as well. Both are falling to ordinariness and worse. They always were ordinary, of course, and always tools for exploitation by economic predators, but at least back in the day it wasn’t such a struggle to be middle class. And, most importantly, they could always feel good by telling each other that at least they were better than the hated bitches, darkies and fags. Oh, and Arabs. Beating them up, literally and figuratively, was (and remains) a good way to remind yourself of that superiority.
But now even that small bit of compensation is gone. Your country can’t win a war against a bunch of third world ragheads. Your boss is cutting your salary again. The womenfolk have their own source of income now, and no longer have to put up with your blundering sexual advances to keep a roof over their heads. Perverts are marrying each other left and right. And now – WTF? – there’s some Harvard-educated spade in the White House, along with, even worse, his uppity-looking Harvard-educated all-superior-like even spadier woman.