Fantasists pursing a collective delusion

Two articles on the same issues entered my inbox almost simultaneously, both with a similar message but told differently with 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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