Archive for the ‘rage’ Tag

What Is Wrong With Us?   1 comment

This is Lela. The book is going well and I’m emerging from the writer’s cave. And, I’ve been thinking.

Incivility 1We’ve arrived at a point in our history where gangs of hecklers chase politicians from restaurants and Senate hearings lack all semblance of decorum. Perhaps it’s not surprising that family members and friends part ways over politics.

Is there something in the water? New examples of incivility and violence toward dissenters appear every day. Last week, when I needed a break from editing, I casually browsed several sites online. There was a professor advocating castration for white Republicans; celebrities mocking Kanye West (a black man) for praising the president; strangers leaving death threats on the phones of politicians, judges, and their families; anonymous University of Washington students publishing false accusations of rape; and some wicked soul mailing the poison ricin to government officials.

Only a quarter of a century ago this ongoing malevolence would have shocked most Americans. Sure, conservatives and liberals debated each other, but those disagreements resemble a dialogue in Plato’s Academy compared to the scream-fests of 2018.

 So, I identified five possible reasons for this devolution in civility.

Twenty-five years ago, the Internet and cell phones were in their infancy. Twitter was a noise made by sparrows in the yard. These devices are wonderful but allow every bozo with an opinion—including myself—to shoot that opinion into cyberspace instantaneously and often anonymously. From school bullying to Supreme Court nominations, our technology gives us the power to destroy a fellow human being with threats and insults.

Remember when many people, liberals and conservatives alike, poked fun at political correctness on campus? It stopped being funny a while ago. PC remains rampant in our educational institutions, but now graduates of the liberal universities that popularized trigger warnings have injected PC into the world of business and government. In our public universities, we have long tolerated professors calling for radical changes to American society. The former students of these professors are now agents of this transformation sitting in boardrooms and on government committees.

Google “Americans ignorant about history.” Magazines as different as The AtlanticAmerican Heritage, and National Review feature articles lamenting this lack of knowledge about our past. In 2011, for example, a majority of adults didn’t know that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. Others can’t identify the Bill of Rights, the Gettysburg Address, or the reason for celebrating Independence Day.

“Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana famously remarked. He actually was being optimistic. Instead of repeating history, we may instead descend into a dystopia we never imagined. Fifty years of steering away from courses in basic civics and denigrating American achievements have produced a bumper crop of malice against history.

Many Americans have taken politics for their religion, fanatical as any Reformation Calvinists or Catholics. We make gods of our politicians and demons of our opponents and their leaders. We are on the side of the angels, and they conspire with devils.

“Follow the money” is a journalistic axiom. So, let’s follow some money. Of the 25 richest counties in the United States, 11 are located in the area surrounding DC. The Capitol also hosts administrators and employees of government, think tanks, lobbying groups, and private businesses involved in federal endeavors. Do you think poison becomes less dangerous when it is combined? Of course not. The source of our conflict is not Austin, Boise or Minneapolis, but Washington D.C.

Incivility 2We’ve been in a slowly developing “cold civil war” for about two decades now, but it has a feel to it that suggests it may become a hot civil war with very little encouragement. And that’s bad because the blue religionists just spent the last month gathering verbal stones to exterminate their chosen target. Hillary Clinton is calling for an escalation of hostilities. There’s no reason to suppose the left would hold back if the vitriol increases. They don’t even seem to be intimidated by the knowledge that red America is much better armed than they are. Perhaps because their leaders know that whoever starts shooting first will be the loser … which is what almost always happened in similar situations in history. So is the next step for the blues to start building guillotines so they can lop off the heads of their opponents? It certainly seems like they wouldn’t find that unacceptable any longer.

I can’t offer any grand solutions, but I have one small suggest. Let’s talk and ask each other questions without all the cacophony of the mainstream media and the politicians. Let’s actually listen to one another and calm the heck down so we can find a way lay aside our differences and return to being a country that isn’t on the verse of a civil war..

Posted October 23, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide, Uncategorized

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American Civil War 2?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyI’m writing an apocalyptic series. When I first started, I didn’t really think the US would be headed toward a civil war before my son’s beard completely grew in, but the last year has me rethinking that feeling … at times.

I want to believe that the fears of civil war are mostly overblown, but …. I want such scenarios to stay inside my books, but ….

The Good News?

I see some hard leftists and some hard rightists will to kill each other, but I don’t see even my heavily-armed neighbors shooting at one another or even at the people in neighbors within my city. Politics makes people irrational, but average people don’t shoot each other over political disagreements.

The Bad News?

Some observers disagree with me. They don’t live in Alaska, where politics is an indoor participation sport, and they think there’s a rational argument for why civil war can happen.

 

Jonathan Logan makes a thoughtful, informed argument for the plausibility of civil war:

  • For young people to be susceptible to war (the young fight while the old stay home and direct), they must not be too settled, invested, or satisfied with the status quo and they can’t be living stable lives. They require some motive, be it “making a name for themselves” or “fighting evil” or whatever.
  • Few young people in the West are willing to fight a foreign enemy for their country. (Polls find approximately 12% in Germany and 20% in the US). But when you ask if they would participate in riots against an unjust political order, the numbers shoot up. In Germany, it’s 66%; in the US, it’s about 60%.
  • For a civil war (which is really just a big riot against what is perceived to be an unjust political order) to break out, enough people must perceive the current situation as unbearable and be willing to use violence.
  • The police must be unable or unwilling to keep the two sides apart.

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyJonathan Logan’s theory goes like this:

  • There’s a growing inability of “cultural progressives” and “cultural conservatives” to engage in reasonable dialogue. Civility long ago hit the fan and was shredded by the blades.
  • For a long time the “cultural progressives” had success after success. That led to the internal perception that they were not just right but also absolutely right if only those stupid hicks (deplorables) would get out of their way. This was really the general lay of the American political landscape from the late-1960s through to the 2016 election with a couple of moderate setbacks when Reagan restructured taxes in 1986 and when Congress did the Contract with America in 1994.
  • Meanwhile, with limited and sporadic access to the reins of governmental power, “cultural conservatives” grew dissatisfied. They were pushed by progressives on a whole variety of issues to the point where they had a hard time tolerating some of the cultural changes that were forced on them.
  • Before Brexit and Trump, progressives were absolutely convinced that they were right, that they would win, and that the future would be bright. This wasn’t just an assumption. They were convinced of this as surely as they were convinced the sun will rise tomorrow morning. The election of 2016 came as a crushing surprise to them. They didn’t just lose an election. The results of that election destroyed their world perception. OMG, progressive liberals are NOT the center of the universe. The sky IS FALLING!
  • The result is widespread post-traumatic stress disorder. The progressives didn’t just lose; they were traumatized. They now experience anything or anyone that doesn’t go 100% according to their ideology as being violent, hurtful, and triggering. Their coping mechanism is to push harder, become more radical, accept less compromise. They feel that everyone else is actually trying to kill them.
  • At the same time the cultural conservatives experienced something new: victory. They’d just spent a decade in one losing battle after another. First, Bush 2 had reneged on his promises to them and then Obama had told them to sit down, shut up and let their betters lead because they were never getting into power again. Although they won the election of 2016, they are intently aware that there’s a huge mess to clean up. When they see progressives pushing back, they remember all the times conservative values were shelved, denigrated and ignored. They remember what it was like to be backed into a corner. Many of them haven’t actually left the corner yet.
  • So, we have two groups backed into corners with a huge no-man’s land between them. Both groups are deeply polarized and have virtually no shared values on which to find common ground.
  • A defining characteristic of my children’s generation (Millennials) is that they know they can expect nothing from the status quo. Add to that they lack tools for conflict resolution. Their generation is split between progressives and conservatives. Yeah, really, there are many conservative Millennials. Currently they are not the largest generation in existence and they lack influence because they are young. They, therefore, have no way to implement anything that matters to them.
  • So, the Millennials on the progressive side feel they must radicalize because it is imperative to destroy the “evil” other side. Antifa, BLM, RevCom, those groups at the center of the protests and riots, are desperate, hurting, hating, and they feel righteous in their anger.
  • Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to feel fear. Conservatives reject radicalism and the disorder that comes with it. They look at the progressive side and they see agitation, violence and hateful rhetoric. Their natural reaction is to defend themselves.
  • We’re already seeing the more radical of Millennial conservatives and progressives pull out clubs. That’s what happened in Charlottesville and Oakland. That’s a growing trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping. In fact, the progressives have planned a whole series of color-revolution-type protest/riots for November.
  • At the same time, the police are choosing to stand down in these conflicts. More often than not, they agree with the progressive sentiments, but occasionally a conservative administration will not step in the middle of a clash until someone has died.
  • And their refusal to decisively take sides is what allows the ingredients of civil war to ignite. –

I kind of agree with Logan that people are currently so polarized that the ingredients are there for civil war, but I’m going to keep hoping that people will listen to their better angels and just stay home. That’s unlikely with the media stirring the pot in the pursuit of ratings. If a civil war does happen, Judy Woodruff and Sean Hannity will be culpable for causing it.

Notice, I’m not blaming this on President Trump. Why not? Because I don’t think the president is that important. I also don’t think he is seeking to tear the country apart. He is seeking to fulfill his campaign promises and, regardless of whether he does fulfillment well, he’s answerable to the people who put him in office. Let him have his turn. He’ll be out of office in three years if he doesn’t do a good job or seven years if he does and then you’ll get another shot at tyrannizing the country … or not. Maybe by that time, you polarized advocates for coercing “the other guy” will have figured out that politics is poison and that we’d all be better off if we paid less attention to it.

 

 

Cat on A Hot Tin Roof   Leave a comment

People get angry very easily. We have an inclination to defend ourselves and our presuppositions. The inclination evidences itself pretty early in life. Just try arguing with a preschooler about anything. And, it’s not substantially improved by the time we’re in our early 20s. Our 21-year-old daughter announced the other day that nuclear power is a horrible and that we should just get rid of it. When I asked what she thought we could replace it with, she informed me that “tungsten is a great source of energy”. Brad, the electrician, allowed that tungsten is a great conductor of electricity, but he had never heard that it could be used to produce energy. How dare we question her information and her generation’s commitment to making things better!

Yeah! Natural man gets angry very easily, especially when our unexamined presuppositions have been challenged.

My experience with many atheists (not all, I will say that up front) is that seething anger at God and Christians lies just beneath the surface of many of their erudite surface demeanor. But why?

A heart in rebellion is a cat on a hot tin roof. Most atheists come from at least nominal Christian homes. For most, the warm embrace of atheism begins in college as an intellectual exercise either because friends are doing it or because a charismatic professor advances the discussion. Even if the student wants to argue for faith, there are often serious negative consequences to face if they do, so they remain silent and soak in the intellectual arguments for non-faith. For many, there is no actual faith to deny. They honestly don’t know the tenets of Christianity and are unaware of the evidence supporting the Bible and they accept whole-hog the atheist non-factuals about what Christians believe, but moreover it feels good to rebel against parents, religious leaders and especially God. Intellectual pride puffs a person up and makes him feel important in the grand scheme of things. We all want to feel important, but the pervasive scientism of our day tells us that none of us really are, so finding a niche of pride in accomplishment by doing battle for the intellect is at least an existential benefit.

The enjoyable exercise soon becomes a crusade, not because they care about the world around them being ignorant, but because they themselves are deeply disturbed by their own rebellion, but refuse to acknowledge it. It’s not enough for many atheists to espouse their worldview and simply be irritated by Christians and any other religionists who happen into their pathway. No, they want to make others just as arrogant and angry, first because misery loves company and second because they feel vindicated if they can notch their belt with impressionable young people with some measure of faith in God. However, the greatest anger is reserved for those who actually believe in Jesus as Savior and in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word. We are an affront to them that must be removed from society or at least silenced, marginalized and humiliated.

Why?

Why would Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and other atheists so vehemently oppose a distinguished scientist like Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health?

It wasn’t about scientific credentials, now was it? Collins’ credentials are much stronger than Dawkins in the same field. No, their objection was based on Collins’ theism, as if that somehow taints his science. Because the last thing a close-minded atheist can tolerate is anyone with the credentials to make scientific discoveries that might destabilize their presuppositions.

 

Posted June 14, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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