Fantasists pursing a collective delusion

Two articles on the same issues entered my inbox almost simultaneously, both with a similar message but told differently and with slightly different imagery. Different versions of being at the end of times. I will remind you again at the end, but you really ought to read both in full.

First Peter Smith at Quadrant Online on Invasion of the Principle Snatchers.

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig played in the last version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers…. Alien pods float to earth and begin converting into those whose actual bodies disintegrate while they sleep. The result is lookalike people whose minds are regimented and insensible. They also have the nasty habit once they have virtually taken over of shrieking in unison at people they spot as still being human.

He is of course talking about our modern youth, those who teach them, and our education system in its vast expanse of empty space, plus the social media that surround them all. A phenomenon and a half, since it would be one thing if they stood for some kind of principle that showed at least a trace of self interest, but these zombie-fellow-citizens are as near insane as anything I could imagine. How they think they are creating a better world is unknown to me.

Then there is this from David Solway: The Insanity of Progressivism Comes Right Out of Gulliver’s Travels. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a movie so at least there are some people under 40 who may get the reference even though won’t see themselves in it. But this, no one will get, not one in a thousand of these millennials, not their teachers, and I suspect, few others as well.

Our intellectual classes today are utterly disconnected from reality. As Milo Yiannopoulos writes in a review of the film Joker, “We are reeling from a disaster still unfolding, the unmaking of reality at the hands of millennial progressivism.” Indeed, when it comes to unmaking reality, our cognitive elite may as well inhabit the parody world of Gulliver’s Travels. Proposing blueprints for radical social change and meddling in the complexities of domestic and economic policy, they have come to resemble Jonathan Swift’s pixilated “projectors” in the Academy of Lagado (Book 3, Chapter 5), a conclave of intellectuals and academics “full of volatile spirits acquired in that airy region” of vacuous irrationality.

Swift of course thought he was writing satire. Instead, many idea much like this come out of our schools today.

In its effort to save the nation, Swift’s Academy put forward various endeavors to advance the economy, improve education, and become energy-self-sufficient. For example, it proposed “extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.”

Sounds as plausible as anything anyone has come up with recently, although perhaps knocking over power stations and running water uphill are a bit more farfetched. As David writes, worrying, and not without reason, that some readers may not appreciate that he think’s they’re insane:

Swift inadvertently foretold our “social democratic” and progressivist future as typified by the Democrat Party’s “Green New Deal.” This project is designed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions; to convert 100 percent of power sources to renewable energy installations, thus replacing cheap, reliable energy with expensive, unreliable energy; to retrofit every building in the country in the interests of efficiency, at a cost destined to bankrupt the nation; to supplant air-travel with high-speed rail; to eliminate cows as methane infidels; and, among other vacant notions, to provide, in the words of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “economic security for all those who are unable or unwilling to work”—with regard to the latter, a lifelong paid holiday exploiting a shrinking working class.

And if you are looking for a paragraph that captures the insanity of the times in which we live, you will search a long way before you find something better than this.

Indeed, on the major issues of the historical moment—climate change, the war on terror, national borders, “social justice,” gender politics, race conflict, post-colonial theory, immigration—the tribe of progressivist mountebanks wherever we find them get everything wrong, opting for measures that only magnify the problems they affect to settle. We should not be surprised to find Lagadian absurdities in abundance, as for example: journalists who advocate exorbitant spending to neutralize debt (Paul Krugman); politicians who endorse socialized medicine, at a cost of trillions (Barack Obama); senators who propose tax rates over 100 percent (Elizabeth Warren); teachers who believe that history is a narrative to be manipulated for ideological ends (Howard Zinn); leaders who champion near-unlimited Muslim refugee migration, generating communal strife, outright violence, and unsustainable welfare expenditure (Angela Merkel); philosophers who affirm that truth is a relative concept—except for the truth of their own claims (Michel Foucault); revisionists who deplore the “mindless authority in European writing” (Edward Said); writers who promote violence as the road to millennial harmony (Slavoj Zizek); feminists who advocate the homicidal culling of men to create a better world (Mona Eltahawy); sciolists who argue that Islam is a “straight path” (John Esposito, Karen Armstrong); charlatans who claim a cooling world gradually entering a new Little Ice Age is actually warming (Al Gore, James Hanson, Michael Mann); medical practitioners who promote transgenderism and sex re-assignment surgery since the biological bodies we are born with are merely physical accessories (Ray Blanchard et al.); post-colonial theorists who claim that successful free-market societies are profiteering relics (Homi Bhabha); geo-engineers who recommend shooting particles into the atmosphere to block the sun’s harmful rays (John Holden); Luddites who want to selectively eliminate the fruits of technology and kill jobs (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez); and so on.

And so on indeed. Read them both, and to the end.

I will just mention that David Solway may be the Jonathan Swift of our times, except that it has become impossible to exceed in satire the reality with which we are now surrounded.

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16 Responses to Fantasists pursing a collective delusion

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Instapundit says it best:

    Look, guys, I appreciate your hard hitting pieces as much as the next person, but when you set out to be a small, Christian satire journal and you become America’s paper of record, it pains me to say it, but you’re doing it as wrong as the New York Times, which claims to be reporting news while writing tawdry and predictable Marxist pulp fiction.

    Yep, the Babylon Bee has now supplanted the New York Times as America’s newspaper of record.

  2. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    peak insanity is here, the fall from here is slow and dark

  3. Walter Plinge

    I’ve learned something: where the reference in Princess Ida comes from:

    HILARION. To get sunbeams from cucumbers
    They’ve a plan,
    CYR. & FLOR. They’ve a plan;
    HILARION. They’ve a firmly rooted notion
    They can cross the Polar Ocean,
    And they’ll find Perpetual Motion
    If they can!
    ALL. If they can!
    These are the phenomena
    That ev’ry pretty domina
    Is hoping at her Universitee we shall see;
    These are the phenomena
    That ev’ry pretty domina
    Is hoping at her Universitee we shall see!

  4. I_am_not_a_robot

    … a cooling world gradually entering a new Little Ice Age …

    Paleo-climate studies suggest that the Earth will descend into another very big ice age in a few thousand years if not before, predicting what is relatively imminent climate-wise is as irritating and irrational as the converse à la Gore, Hansen and Mann.
    No-one knows.

  5. Here is a very interesting video that shows what’s happening in this Brave New World:

  6. Fat Tony

    I_am_not_a_robot
    #3256259, posted on December 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm
    … a cooling world gradually entering a new Little Ice Age …

    Paleo-climate studies suggest that the Earth will descend into another very big ice age in a few thousand years if not before, predicting what is relatively imminent climate-wise is as irritating and irrational as the converse à la Gore, Hansen and Mann.
    No-one knows.

    There seems to be 2 equilibria (?) – warm like now and ice ages.

    If this is the case, then the transition may occur very rapidly – not 1,000’s of years but a lot less.

    Bit like a ball sitting on an inverted bowl sitting on a table top – when the ball moves from the top of the bowl, it moves very quickly to the table top.

  7. Iampeter

    And if you are looking for a paragraph that captures the insanity of the times in which we live, you will search a long way before you find something better than this.

    That paragraph does indeed capture the insanity of our times but not the way meant.

    It captures the package deal mess, a confusion of issues, full of self contradictions, typifying the real problem with today’s education, which is that we don’t teach our children how to think.

    That’s why we have grown men, a whole political movement, claiming to support capitalism but then supporting someone like Trump.

    Read them both, and to the end.

    Why? What did you really take away from either of these?

  8. JC

    That’s why we have grown men, a whole political movement, claiming to support capitalism but then supporting someone like Trump.

    Support Trump,m or support what Trump has done such as

    1. Lowering the corp tax rate to 21%
    2. Allow pipelines to be built carrying needed energy to the wast coast.
    3. Reducing tons of green red tape
    4. Appointing decent judges to the judiciary.

    As a leftwinger, of course you support none of this, do you, Plodes? But you can’t be honest.

  9. Iampeter

    1. Lowering the corp tax rate to 21%
    2. Allow pipelines to be built carrying needed energy to the wast coast.
    3. Reducing tons of green red tape
    4. Appointing decent judges to the judiciary.

    As a leftwinger, of course you support none of this, do you, Plodes? But you can’t be honest.

    1. Trump hasn’t cut any government spending, so there are no real tax cuts here. In fact spending has exploded and his tariffs are even BIGGER taxes. Taxes that have now required record breaking subsidies to the farmers he has bankrupted.
    2. What pipelines and what did he actually do that changed anything specifically?
    3. He hasn’t passed any bills deregulating anything. Some of his appointees in areas he doesn’t care about have cut some red tape. The next Democrat President’s appointees will easily undo.
    4. Who? Far-leftist like Kavanaugh who supported Bush’s unconstitutional Patriot Act and warrantless spying?

    You’ve failed to mention the disastrous foreign policies, the brazen corruption scandals, totally incompetent dumpster fire of an administration, the threatening of CEO’s and private enterprise as openly as on Twitter and so on.

    But then as a politically illiterate left winger (AKA conservative) you’re really just engaging in self delusion at this point. What else can you do?

  10. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    I see that the confidence in Trump is so great that eight States have now eliminated the Presidential primary for 2020. (Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota, South Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and Alaska. The first five decided to have only Trump on the ballot, Putin-style, while the latter three will have no ballot at all.) Meanwhile Trump supporters try to block a candidate twice elected (once with a record majority) as a Republican Governor from going on the ballot on the grounds that he’s not a Republican!
    Clearly voting is going out of fashion under Trump.
    Trumpets are running scared, and we can only hope the US wakes up.

  11. Mother Lode

    Primaries are just how a party manages itself.

    We saw when Bernie defeated the tottering sapphic lush the party through their super-delegates quietly set that aside and awarded the win to her.

    Anyway:

    Therefore political parties are free to cancel primary elections. It’s not an unheard of practice either: eight or more primaries were canceled by Republicans in both 1992 and 2004, and by Democrats in 1996 and 2012.

    It happened before Trump. The Democrats did it for Bill Clinton’s and Obama’s re-elections too.

    When someone is denied the vote in state or federal elections then there will be an issue.

  12. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    The Republican Party effectively no longer exists. It’s been stolen from its longtime supporters, donors, volunteers, voters, members and elected representatives. The Party has been overrun and forced to abandon its principles of limited government, free trade and a strong national defense.

    For many Republican voters their only options are no options except for the one the party bosses have chosen. The new class of party bosses won’t allow challenges, won’t allow dissent, won’t allow other voices. Apparently even Republicans voters can’t be trusted enough to choose a presidential candidate.
    – WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/republicans-suppress-their-own-voters-11575591629

  13. Iampeter

    The Republican Party effectively no longer exists. It’s been stolen from its longtime supporters, donors, volunteers, voters, members and elected representatives. The Party has been overrun and forced to abandon its principles of limited government, free trade and a strong national defense.

    Yea this is where I differ from the NeverTrumpers. The Republican Party, overrun with religious collectivists, AKA conservatives, were never really supporters of “limited government, free trade and a strong national defense.” They paid it lip service at best. Their ideology was incoherent and Trump is a consequence of this.
    He isn’t destroying the Republican Party or the Conservative movement, he is just the next step in their inevitable implosion.

  14. John A

    Walter Plinge #3256241, posted on December 9, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve learned something: where the reference in Princess Ida comes from:

    Indeed, Walter, it was a new one to me also. We seem to have a truncated understanding of Swift and most people would recall only Lilliput and Brobdingnag, if that. Blame the Disney cartoon version, I presume.

    But I am an outlier in the G&S Soc of Vic because I like Princess Ida for its commentary on feminism, and I like The Gondoliers for upholding the state of marriage between man and woman.

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