Hypothesis: Yes, it’s possible to live peaceably cheek-by-jowl with these howling psychos. But who would want to?
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a column titled “What’s Ripping American Families Apart?” Though Brooks offered no answers to his question — “I confess, I don’t understand what’s causing this,” he wrote — he did cite important data. For example, he linked to a 2015 study in the Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science, which reported that at least 27% of Americans are estranged from a member of their family. Having addressed this subject regularly on my national radio show for 20 years, in print (“Adults who do not speak to a parent,” Jewish Journal, July 19, 2011) and on video (PragerU Fireside Chat No. 72, March 6, 2019), I can attest to the prevalence of the catastrophe of an adult child who has chosen to sever all contact with a parent. Men as well as women have wept on my show when talking about their alienated son or daughter.
Like the Times readers who wrote about their pride in not becoming grandparents — their child having decided not to have children because of climate change — I again encountered derangement among New York Times readers.
That virtually no Times reader took issue — let alone judged — the sons and daughters who removed themselves from their parents’ lives was bad enough. What pushed the responses into the mentally unbalanced category was that many readers actually explained these life-crushing decisions by blaming capitalism, poverty, former President Donald Trump and, believe it or not, climate change.
Of the scores of examples, here are a few:
Peter, Chicago: “That’s what global capitalism does best. Social destruction.”
Boone, Wild West: “My wife is estranged from four of her five siblings, and it’s totally due to Trump, who they continue to support, which is simply inexcusable. I totally agree.”
Susan T., Brooklyn, New York: “Fox and Trump are the main reasons for estrangement at this time.”
Mike, Fort Smith, Arkansas: “Trump and Fox News created an entire generation of crazy people who nobody can relate to.”
Hate to have to break this to ya, buddy, but I’m afraid it wasn’t Trump or Fox who did it. For instance:
SB, New York: “If my mother or father became a murderer, terrorist, (or a) Republican…would I still love my parent. Here the answer is less sure.”
GBR, New England: “In the past several years, my view of them (my parents) as people dramatically changed. Can you guess what did it? His initials are DJT. Sometimes one can have loving parents who treated you well, advocated for you, gave you opportunities, encouragement, and support…but who are just not good people when viewed with an adult…”
OH yeah, these assholes sound PERFECTLY sane and reasonable to me. They were doubtless perfectly normal, well-adjusted, good-hearted folks until that bastard Trump came along and magically transformed them into the wretched psychological dumpster-fires they now are. BT (Before Trump), they had been warm, affable, levelheaded—the sort loved and respected by neighbors, co-workers and bosses, casual acquaintances—people generally regarded as pillars of their community.
But AD (After Donald)? They’re bitter, hateful, sanctimonious, intolerant, obssessive, sometimes even dangerous. They’re quick to excuse their own shortcomings by blaming other people for them, expecting the indulgence of a compassionate, live-and-let-live attitude should they miss the mark in any way. But then they suddenly become inflexible, vengeful scolds whenever someone else fails to meet the exacting standards they impose on all others, from the high and mighty all the way down to the teenager who bagged their groceries unsatisfactorily, or the insufficiently-subservient waitress at lunch.
Sure, these miserable excrescences are broken all right, and badly too. But they were that way before, and it damned sure wasn’t Trump, Fox News, the weather, or binary-cis-het Breeder whypeepo that broke ’em. But it could be worthwhile to identify a culprit here nonetheless, and Prager has a suggestion for where to start looking. Issues? They got ’em, many and varied, all riding them like they were a rented mule. But essentially, if you dig down deep enough, you’ll almost always hit the ubiquitous “Daddy didn’t love me enough!” layer from whence all else erupts.
If you want to know how the left has screwed with people’s minds, hearts and consciences, just read the comments sections accompanying New York Times articles. Then read comments accompanying Wall Street Journal articles. You may not agree with them, but you will encounter nothing so comparably irrational or mean, let alone deranged.
As if all the above LGH (Left-caused Global Heartache) lunacy t’weren’t enough to persuade you of the inadvisability of even thinking about trying to live amicably within a hundred miles of even one of these fascist headcases, spoon up another helping.
Go back a decade and people were able to civilly discuss the issues of the day, even highly controversial ones. Are any friendships now ending because of disagreements over the contents of the massive infrastructure bill His Senility’s administration is pushing? Probably not. Nowadays the subjects that make you non-person to those on the left are all those hot-button matters surrounding identity – your attitude toward police, BLM rioters, George Floyd, Trump, Proud Boys, Antifa, the border wall, Trump, critical race theory, immigration, and which bathroom transgenders should use.
So what has changed? How did it come about that widely held opinions freely expressed over decades are now considered so unutterably bad by those on the left that they must break off relationships with those guilty of such wrongthink?
The left’s favored narrative that mainstream media uses its megaphone to propagate is that of “asymmetric polarization” – that conservatives have become radicalized by Republican politicians and FOX News. The notion flies in the face of the reality that most Democrats now hold views that barely existed in the electorate twenty or thirty years ago, including that biological men should be able to use women’s bathrooms and compete in women’s sports if they consider themselves to be women.
Significant new research has been published debunking the asymmetric polarization myth. Kevin Drum, a former writer for uber-progressive Mother Jones Magazine recently posted a series of charts showing long-term trends in attitudes by political party on a variety of culture war issues. In almost all cases, whether it be abortion, guns, immigration, or religion, Democrats’ views have shifted more sharply to the left since 2000 than Republicans’ have toward the right. In fact, on some issues like same-sex marriage and taxes, Republicans’ views have moved significantly toward the liberal position, although not as radically as Democrats’ have. Drum’s findings are consistent with those of Pew Research, which show that since 1994 the median Democrat has shifted far more to the left than the median Republican has to the right. The conservative Democrat is now an even more endangered species than the liberal Republican.
Political scientist Zach Goldberg has done some of the most extensive research on the rapidly changing political ideology of white liberals over the last decade that is remaking American politics, and the relationship between media, especially digital media, and the change in those attitudes, something he characterizes at the “digitalization of moral outrage”. This contrasts with the relative stability of attitudes of white conservatives.
“Due at least in part to digital media, white liberal attitudes that more or less endured for decades have been drastically overturned in the space of months or single years. In contrast, the attitudes of white conservatives – and conservatives in general – have moved at a more glacial pace, if at all. For liberals, the lack of awareness of how fast and far their attitudes have shifted fosters an illusion of conservative extremism. In reality, the conservatives of today and not all that different from the conservatives of years past. And it’s the frustration with white conservatives’ inability or reluctance to keep pace with liberals on the path to enlightenment that is intensifying our political divide.”
It is curious to me that I have lost so many friends in recent years that I have known for as much as three decades when my own views are, if anything, significantly more moderate than the more doctrinaire conservative views I held in my younger Reaganite days, at least on matters of economic and foreign policy. That was before the age of social media, but I certainly was not shy about expressing my views. Back then my liberal acquaintances were tolerant of those views, but now some consider them to be beyond the pale.
Those who become indoctrinated in this ideology of wokeness are susceptible to becoming part of bullying mobs who vandalize property and scream epithets at outdoor diners. Both in the physical world and in cyberspace, they become crowd-sourced dissent suppression campaigns by volunteer thought police. For the ideologically indoctrinated, unfriending someone either in person or online is both an act of performative righteousness and part of the left’s broader campaign of systematized incentivized compliance. The threat to end their friendship with you deserves to be viewed as a form of bullying into ideological acquiescence.
Myself, I’m more inclined to view it as them doing me a big favor, one for which I’m deeply grateful.
When their demand is your silence if not your full adoption of their ideology, there is probably little you can do to maintain a friendship with someone who has become so outraged by and judgmental of your beliefs and values.
And I should want to maintain a “friendship” with a judgmental, intellectually constipated rage monkey WHY, exactly? Help me out, I’m drawing a blank over here.
Some may be one-time acquaintance or former co-workers with whom you have maintained an online connection. Others may be real life relationships nurtured in person over a period of time. Being true to oneself means not being silenced, and for most of us there will be more such pain and lost human relationships in the years ahead as tensions escalate. But that is a decision every person needs to make individually.
Now I’m supposed to feel “pain” when some cognitively-addled freak declares on the social-media outlets I never use that he/xhe/zhir/them/it is no longer my “friend,” eh? Sorry and all, but…meh. Sayonara, sucker. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord etc. Check ya some other time, unless I see you coming beforehand.
What does it portend for the future when people with different political outlooks no longer even talk to each other or consider each other as friends?
Same as what we’re getting now, only bigger, harder, deeper, and lots more of it. LOTS.
Here’s the thing: I’m sick and damned tired of trying to explain myself to people who aren’t listening; trying to debate rationally with hysterical nitwits who aren’t rational; trying to be civil with obnoxiously self-righteous twits who don’t even know what the word means; and pretending to be “friends” with nutcakes who explicitly, loudly hate my guts and want me and mine dead, dead, dead.
I could quite easily live next door to just about anybody at all, without hassle or angst, as long as they’re willing to leave my ass the fuck alone. That is the one and only requirement I have, and it is NOT negotiable. I don’t think that this one tiny little ask—mind your own business, and keep your nose out of mine—is over the top, not at all. Certainly, it is noway nohow unfair, seeing as how I make it standard practice to see that it goes both ways. Clearly, the Outraged Left does not agree.
Well fine then, fuck it. Let’s everybody stop pretending that what’s staring us in the face isn’t really there at all, and just get on down to business.