The Monopoly on Normal

The state is defined by some as being the entity that has a monopoly on violence. 

But there’s more to a society than just who has the guns. There are other forms of control. 

I’m more interested in the entity that has a monopoly on normal.

And that entity is not necessarily just “The State.”

What is acceptable?

What can you do?

What can you think?

Who is it that you can criticize? And who is it that you can’t?

And who makes these rules?

There’s this tendency, which I find laughable, of constantly deriding the 1950s as an era of overwhelming, stifling conformity, a boogeyman to be invoked every time we beat our chests and crow about “how far we’ve come.”

And while certain things are better–many, in fact–in other ways thigs today are just as stifling. 

Every era has its problems. And every era has standards that you will be nudged to comply with–at first gently, and then with increasingly greater force. Until, eventually, the guys with the guns, threatened or actual, will come pay you a visit.  Continue reading “The Monopoly on Normal”

Virtue for the Virtueless

Virtue signaling is self-love. It is narcissism. It is masturbation. 

Virtue signaling is virtue for people who hate virtue. 

It is the realm of the empty. When there is an empty space, the devil slips in. 

I am out of explanations for apologists to this latest round of jihad in London. 

It feels like I wrote about the Manchester bombing yesterday. Close enough. 

I am nearly as angry at the people who allowed these conditions as I am at the jihadists themselves. 

I am nearly as angry as the people who defend the jihadists as I am at the jihadists themselves. 

What compels someone to bend over backwards to defend an evil totalitarian ideology that has as its stated goal the death or conversion of every human being that does not ascribe to it?

Why the virtue signaling?

It’s self-love as a way to assuage self-hate. 

Anything that stands in the way of feeling good about oneself despite the gnawing void in the soil is treated as anathema. 

Even things like the truth. 

I’m out of any other explanations. The metaphysical it is. 

Maybe we’re getting near the end. Maybe humanity is just choosing sides now.  

What happens next? I don’t want to think about it. 

What a time to be alive. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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Learn the Hate

America. It’s a divided place. This is no great revelation born of years and years of study and contemplation, but a conclusion one can make by scanning the Internet or television or media of your choice for ten seconds. 

One-third hates the other third, and the remaining third doesn’t care. 

But those two side that hate each other, boy is there a lot of enmity. 

This “blue state/red state” divide has gotten worse since these terms came into vogue around 2004. 

The red side accuses the blue side of living in a bubble. The blue side claims the bubble is a myth. 

The bubble is a myth? Please. I live in it. 

I’ve got a red-state core but I love and travel in blue-state circles, so I notice things others might not.

There’s a lot of hate, yes, but there’s is precious little understanding about why. 

And I think this is a big problem. 

It’s as important to understand why the other side hates you as it is to understand why you hate the other side. 

I hear a lot of the affluent, highly educated urbanites laugh at Trump’s constituency, but underneath the indignation and political disagreement is a layer of genuine hurt: These folks don’t understand why many reject them and the work that they do. 

Being called the “deep state” for merely doing their job. Distrusted as the cause of economic misery. And worst, being accused of not caring, which to this set is what really stings. 

They’re supposed to be the compassionate ones! What gives? Continue reading “Learn the Hate”

The Great Unveiling

Psst! Pay attention. These are exciting times! 

People are asking questions. Big questions. Challenging things that nobody challenged before. 

Did you ever wonder why things seem to work the way they do? Have you found yourself scratching your head at the mountain of bad decisions made by the powerful among us, those we may in a fit of charitable sentiment call “our leaders”?

They can’t all be that stupid, can they? They’re not all short-sighted and venal. Right?

Right?

We’re all familiar with The Wizard of Oz and the great and terrible wizard’s admonition to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

I know, I know: The analogy is too obvious. But things become cliche for a reason. 

I think we’re on the verge of seeing something similar. It’s kind of exciting. 

But “exciting” doesn’t always mean “pleasant.” Continue reading “The Great Unveiling”

Make America Humble Again?

While neighborhood-scouting in the tony areas of Northern Virginia with my family, I saw a house proudly decorated with signs reading the following:

MAKE AMERICA HUMBLE AGAIN

I wasn’t able to get a picture since I was driving, but here’s how they looked: They weren’t homemade, so I know there’s some enterprising company wishing to express this sentiment (which only seems to arise when a Republican is president, but I digress), and there are obviously people who want to pay for this sentiment. 

The text was meant to simulate something, a name-card, maybe, reading “Make America ________ Again,” like a political mad-lob. The word “humble” was written in a cursive script in the blank space, and the whole thing was on a pinkish background. 

Not the sign, but the closest picture I could find.

The signs got me thinking about the concepts “America” and “humility,” which is a persuasion win on both the signmaker and the sign-hanger’s part. 

But given what I know about America specifically and geopolitics at large, was America ever humble?

It’s the same way people wonder if America was ever great (hint: It still is, but mostly in relation to most everywhere else). 

America began life as a gigantic “Eff You!” to the most powerful empire in the world. 

It prevailed against incredible odds, and somehow survived the difficult decades after, to emerge some two centuries later as the world’s only superpower.

It’s kind of hard to be humble with a history like that. 

Look, we all know it’s not going to last. All empires–because that’s what America is, like it or not–have their ups and downs. And they change forms. 

Look at England, for example. It’s not the same country it was in 1066, or even 1966.  And yet it persists. 

America isn’t even that old, and we already don’t exist as founded. We haven’t for a lot time. 

America as founded died a long time ago, and is now firmly in the “smells funny” phase.  Continue reading “Make America Humble Again?”

Other People

It’s always about “other people,” isn’t it?

When we judge, we act like we alone are uniquely above any criticism. Everyone else is the problem. We’re the solution. 

We all do it, even those of us who try to be aware of it

Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Words to life by right? 

Yes. But this isn’t a command to never judge–take a look at the next part:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

–Matthew 7:1-2

In other words, be very careful what you say to others. And don’t be a hypocrite. 

Of course, evil should be judged harshly. Or things that can lead to evil. But don’t be so self-righteous to think yourself immune from this, or bristle when you get the same treatment from others. 

To many, evil is subject to interpretation. I tend to stick with immutable principles like those given by God, but your mileage may vary. 

So that’s evil. But what about stuff you disagree with? Or that you just find silly or annoying?

What about other people’s habits and mannerisms that just irk you?

“They do this, they do that, they just piss me off!”

But maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you.

If what other people do doesn’t affect you, or isn’t evil or doesn’t lead to evil, who cares?

In other words, pick your battles. Make them worthy of your time, energy, and judgment. 

As with most good things, though, this is easier said than done. 

I fall into this all the time. Social media makes it easy. 

Mockery is fun. Ridicule is a coping mechanism. Complaining lets off steam. 

But I wonder: What do people say about me and people like me?

Probably stuff I would object to as untrue

Exactly what other people say. 

Someone has to be right though, don’t they? Something has to be true and the other false. 

Usually. 

I know we’re a divided nation, and that’s fine. There needs to be a contrast between different ideas and their consequences. 

This is why my maxim is to attack ideas and not people. Continue reading “Other People”

Uncivil Society

How do you know it’s time for a divorce? The answer is different for every couple, but sometimes taking to the streets and smashing and burning stuff when you don’t get your way is a good sign. 

I’m obviously talking about this week’s U.S. presidential inauguration, culminating with the actual swearing in of our county’s new president today.

And people can’t talk about this without losing their minds!

You might be screaming “Not my president!” at the screen right now. Sure. Okay. But reality being what it is, he is your president, like it or not. 

And one half of the country clearly does not like it, to the point that they’re trying to stop the swearing in from happening. How, I’m not quite sure, but it sure sounds violent. 

There are two certainties about politics though, which you need to keep in mind:

  • There is fraud in every single election going back over 100 years. 
  • Everybody wants integrity and ethics until their guy gets in office. And then it’s time for defense mode. 

You’re dreaming if you believe otherwise. 

Like I’ve said before, people (read: rioters) are governed by their worst-case fantasies

Listen: Nobody will be rounded up into internment camps. That seems to be everybody’s biggest fear. But it is not going to happen. 

    And yet here we have rioting based on fantasies. 

    Even if things start going really well for the country, expect more rioting and agitation for the next four years. 

    I find it hilarious that so-called anti-fascist movements the world over are some the most violent, fascisistic, and yes, racist and hate-filled people around. 

    Anyway, my point is this: I don’t see how the country will ever “unite” or “heal.”

    I mean, it’s not even policies at this point. It’s fundamentally different views of human nature.

    This divide has been there for generations, but I would say that the year 2000 was the turning point. It might be irreconcilable now. We’ll see, but I’m not hopeful. 

    The days of each side wanting the same thing, but differing on the approach, are over. The end goals are completely different. 

    Decent people on either side can coexist. But there are enough radical, violent, and well-funded nutbags with evil intent around to ruin things for everyone. 

    Good job. 

    So what happens after Trump is sworn in? I don’t know. All I can hope for, as I did on Election Day, is that nobody dies. 

    Of course, someone did die on Election Day. Because this is America in the 21st century. 

    Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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