Many times over the last two weeks I’ve attempted to blog. Each time, useful thought gets blocked by the same perception: The crazy; it’s just too thick.
Each day I think I’ve processed the latest craziness enough to blog something coherent. Useful even. But then new waves of craziness wash over the world. I don’t know what to say. I can’t write good sense against the onslaught of the crazy. I don’t know how civilization is holding together under tsunamis of crazy.
But then, of course civilization isn’t holding together — and I’m not just talking about the one-two punch of totalitarian don’tleaveyourhouseism followed without pause by riotandlootallyouwantism.
Early on in the protests against George Floyd’s murder, some Authoritah spokesthing from Minnesota pleaded for angry, fed-up people to “let the system work.”
But everybody (including millions of the formerly oblivious) saw the system working. The system is Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck. The system is a harmless drunk pleading for his life while cops consider his ongoing torture-murder to be business as usual. The “system” now arrests the cops because public pressure demands scapegoats, but the everyday workings of that same system protected Chauvin against 18 previous complaints and the system still hides the nature of those complaints with the justification that a government-paid thug’s privacy trumps all public interest.
Eventually, the system will get yet another cosmetic reform or two, then go on as usual. Because the system works for those who own it, and that’s not only not ordinary black people, that’s also not the rest of us.
At least this time there have been calls to disband or defund police departments and undo the power of the unions that dedicate their existence to protecting the worst cops from consequences. It’s just talk, but at least it’s talk in the right direction.
But the dictatorial governors and mayors who’ve found totalitarianism to be such a delight during the Covid crazy need harsher enforcement than ever if they’re going to continue to enjoy the fun of one-man (or one-woman) power. So no. Derek Chauvin may go to prison (though for a much shorter time than you or I would for kneeling on someone’s neck until he died), but nothing substantial is going to change.
One of those Minnesota authorities also called the early-but-increasing riots an attack on civil society. And so the arsons and looting have become, without a doubt. Some of the non-governmental violence is just human nature unleashed after being long pent up. But some is the real deal, a vicious death wish toward humanity.
But at the point the spokesthing spoke, his idea of “civil society” was most vividly represented by … Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck.
And if that’s what you’re trying to protect, Mr or Ms Authoritah, you can keep your version of civil society. Nobody else needs it inflicted upon them.
And how about the bizarrity of arresting people for playing in parks or opening businesses while applauding large street gatherings, even when said protests devolve into arson-and-loot fests?
We not only have bold-faced politicians perpetrating such nonsense, but now we witness over 1,000 alleged doctors and “public health experts” coming up with the strangest justification for supporting this month’s often-violent protests while condemning last month’s non-violent anti-lockdown protests (because last month’s protests, you see, were “white supremacist”). These docs say they still advocate “social distancing,” though it’s okay for protestors not to … oh well, read the letter yourself.
If you can make sense of their so-called science and reasoning, you’re a better man than I am.
Or maybe you’re crazy.
And the crazy literally does burn. It burns black-owned small businesses in the name of helping black people. It burned — and this enrages my bibliophilic heart — the most iconic science-fiction bookstore in America, and its companion mystery store. Goodbye, Uncle Hugo and Uncle Edgar.
Left wingers rant that the damage is being done by “white supremacists” or Russians. Right wingers counter that it’s Antifa’s doing. My co-blogger Silver told me months ago that we’d see riots in this country before the end of May, and the core cause would be the craziness, despair, desperation, and sheer boredom of those shoved brutally against the wall of poverty by the idiotic Covid-justified crashing of the economy.
I don’t know who’s at fault. Probably all of the above (though I really don’t think any Russians have anything to do with it, and if any supremacists are involved, most likely they either aren’t white or, of they are white, they’re ballsy to the point of suicidal insanity to be in those places at these times).
But when I read that Uncle Hugo’s was gone, I grokked the real attack on the real civil society — and on civilization itself. What kind of savage would break the windows of a bookstore, pour in accelerant, and torch any sort of books — let alone precious first editions and autographed copies in the genre that’s so marvelously envisioned great futures and so presciently warned against terrible ones?
This is savagery beyond the worst stereotypes of primitive cannibals. This is the deed of people who’d cut the very source of life out of the veins of civilization.
And cops? Except for a few who’ve spoken, or even marched, in solidarity with the peaceful factions of demonstrators, and a few who are trying to do a tough job in tough circumstances, they seem mostly to be showing (as if further evidence were needed) exactly why they’re increasingly loathed by those with open eyes.
Seriously? “Lighting up” people on their own porches? Blasting a mother of a dead son between the eyes with a rubber bullet, simply for filming them? Shooting pepper spray or tear gas directly and deliberatedly into the faces of people who’ve done nothing more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Destroying a medical aid tent?
Yes, you vicious bastards. Thanks for showing us so graphically who you really are. Your concept of “civil society” we don’t need.
Who’s worse? The arsonists and looters? Or the “protectors”?
Oh wait; they’re one in the same. Different employers. Different uniforms. Same disregard for individual liberty and the true fruits of civilization.
The crazy, the crazy. It burns. It’s not possible for a sane person to comprehend it (or at least not this sane person).
Yet it’s easy to see that the crazy is erupting now from atop a very stable, deliberately constructed platform that’s been built to support it.
The platform has been patiently constructed for decades from deconstructionism and intersectionality and the well-tutored belief that reality is whatever any (politically favored) individual imagines it to be, and that no culture or idea (except of course those of the holder) is superior to any other. It’s been constructed on a belief that brute force (i.e. government) can accomplish anything, while individuals are stupid or evil. Constructed by putting faction loyalty over principle. Constructed — literally — out of “money” created from nothing.
As Silver could tell you, creating money from nothing is in fact probably the most dangerous force, the one that makes all the other “from nothings” possible.
But however it was created, and by whomever, the platform from which crazy now gushes like oil above a derrick in an old-time Hollywood movie is elaborate, sturdy, and not easily torn down.
In fact, we no longer have the intellectual or moral tools for tearing it down at all.
Even the last remnants of our iconic belief in free speech are blowing away in tatters. And it’s not only social media pecksniffs who’ve decided they’re entitled to do our thinking for us. Now WordPress, the blogging platform, has joined the mob.
For now, at least The Western Rifle Shooters Association is no more. And it’s the usual reason: some unspecified violation of some unspecified standards.
I’ve met “Concerned American,” who owns WRSA. He’s a good guy. Sure, his commitment to a free-for-all comment section frequently confirmed what the enemies of gun owners say about us and sometimes got exceedingly gross (one creepazoid, whose comment CA ultimately removed, managed to insult Kit Perez, her husband, me, Jews, Mexicans, and all women in a compact — and really amazingly horrible — 12 words). But it was all part of the great freedom marketplace of ideas. WRSA did not deserve to be guillotined in the cause of groupthink.
The crazy. It not only burns, but it burns like a wildfire across the Internet and the entire culture.
This goes way beyond the newsworthy craziness of the Covid lockdowns and the madness of applauding arson and looting. This crazy destroys the foundations of liberty, of free thought, of genuinely civil and civilized society.
Many hopeful libertarianish commentators have predicted that in the long run the current chaos will produce good — because it will inevitably lead to decentralization, greater distrust of authority, the collapse of urbanization, etc.
Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s what we’ll have to go through to get there that scares me.
The crazy, the crazy. And the tyranny, intellectual darkness, and violence that go with it.
Gods help us all. And until the gods act, let us all help ourselves and our neighbors.