There’s a lot to unpack here.
But my apologies to the few readers I have, you guys are the best. But I’ve been distracted lately, so I haven’t really dug into philosophy much. I’ve been trying to prepare for a post on Edmund Husserl for like, I dunno, two weeks now. Yet every time I sit down to prepare for it, my mind wonders off. So I suppose I’ve just been “burned out”.
And in order to keep my mind stimulated, I’ve been going a bit heavy on politics. Which, as I stated earlier, really makes me feel like a piece of shit.
Because politics is pornography.
Especially in our internet age. What the hell is Twitter even good for? You can’t post a meaningful and well-constructed critique of something because you’re only allowed 140 characters. So its only use is to hurl insults at each other. Which is enough to get your jollies off, but then you feel like an asshole afterwards.
That’s indeed what I did yesterday when I insulted Laura Ingraham’s dog and audience. Finally, I felt so disgusted with myself that I deleted my account. Mind you, not that I should feel guilty about insulting people that want to take away health coverage from the poor. I mean, seriously? America REALLY hates poor people. But did I really think that those insults would change anyone’s mind? There has to be a better way to engage your opponents.
But in doing all of this, you begin to realize that there are SO many bad arguments out there. One which really drives me crazy is this “appeal to the past” that the right often invokes.
Awhile ago, I was reading something that was written by an atheist biologist. Apparently he got into an argument with a Bible-thumping fundamental Christian, and the Christian just couldn’t believe that the biologist never read anything by Charles Darwin. Because to this fundamental Christian, Darwin’s Origin of Species was supposed to be the ‘Bible’ for atheists.
That’s this ‘appeal to the past’ that’s so idiotic.
And this argument takes on many forms. Some you might be familiar with are: “The Founding Fathers never intended this country to be….”, “If it’s not found in the Constitution, then the government doesn’t have the authority to….”, “Make America Great Again!”, etc etc.
This is why the National Review LITERALLY can’t go a day without mentioning how great Ronald Reagan was. Why George Will can’t stop writing about baseball. And why the Founding Fathers are considered divinely ordained prophets.
For the Conservative Movement, history ended in 1989.
And like the Bible, The US Constitution gets thrown around like it was written yesterday and not nearly 250 years ago. It’s a holy document, and all arguments begin and end with it. And also like the Bible, conservatives have probably never even read it. Look, I’m not bashing the Constitution. It has provided some relative political stability since it’s been enacted. HOWEVER, it’s idiotic to suppose that it’s infallible. And it’s even stupider to believe that we should continue to shape this country in the way the Founding Fathers intended it to be.
I don’t suppose that ALL conservatives think this way. The movement itself has been undergoing some changes, as the rise of Donald Trump indicates. So the Right ranges from old, white, baseball-obsessed men to young, white, MMA-obsessed men. The old guard is still trying to uphold the Reagan tradition, while the younger have become fixated on “strongman” policies. This younger generation are the “bros”, who spend too much time in the gym and get upset if they see a woman that isn’t attractive. This generation doesn’t have much of an intellectual base, unlike their forebears. The only policy they have is “might makes right”.
Because of a lack of intellectual restriction, the new generation of Trump conservatives can run roughshod over the country. Traditional conservative ideas like cutting taxes and fiscal responsibility are irrelevant. As long as it’s “America First” by kicking ass and building walls, then Donald Trump can do no wrong.
Politics is pornography. Public discourse has been reduced to 140 characters. And because of this dumbing down of political engagement, we have elected an impulsive, narcissistic, idiot with that has a terrible hair cut. And this, coming off the historic presidency of Barack Obama. I’m not sure if the gravity of this situation has hit the American public yet. We have descended into the world of Idiocracy hundreds of years too early.
Was the election of Barack Obama so psychologically damaging that the Right had to turn to a dipshit TV personality to save them?
I know that I’m arriving late to the scene. Smarter people than me have been outraged over this for quite awhile. I once thought of myself as an ‘independent’, that thought political engagement was for assholes. I know that I wasn’t the only one. And because of this delusion, we now have Donald Trump for president.
Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to be engaged in politics. It’s our responsibility to raise the bar. We can’t keep attacking our opponents with low-brow comments (like I was doing yesterday). We have to be smarter.
If you’re not alarmed by the fact we have Donald Trump as president, then you need to go into deep reflection. You’re alive at a time when America took a dark turn. You may think of yourself as just one citizen of many…one voice that seemingly doesn’t matter. But you have little choice. Now, more than ever, that voice needs to be heard. So keep shouting…find a platform where your voice will be heard.
Because now we need dignity in politics.
Even if you’re a Republican, do you want Trump to be your legacy? We are living in a unique time, where both sides can come together and say “we expect more out of our leaders”. And expect more out of yourselves. Twitter, and bullshit, cheap media outlets are just out there to get clicks.
Expect more out of yourselves.