Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Time for Forgetting

At a time when diverse Muslim sects are still fighting wars that date to over a millennium ago, when supposedly serious American thinkers are demanding reparations for crimes committed over a century ago, and when Palestinians would rather refight yesterday’s losing war than to provide for their own prosperity, it is worthwhile to take a deep breath and ponder David Rieff’s point: sometimes it’s better to forget the past.

Rieff argues his point cogently in a long essay from the Guardian. His new book In Praise of Forgetting will be published in May.

Since today is Sunday and many people will be attending services at the Church of the Liberal Pieties, it is important to debunk what Rieff calls an “unassailable” piety, the one that extols the virtue of remembering the past.

Rieff expresses it well:

… most decent people still endorse George Santayana’s celebrated dictum: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The consequence of this is that remembrance as a species of morality has become one of the more unassailable pieties of the age. Today, most societies all but venerate the imperative to remember. We have been taught to believe that the remembering of the past and its corollary, the memorialising of collective historical memory, has become one of humanity’s highest moral obligations.

He continues and asks the salient question:

But what if this is wrong, if not always, then at least part of the time? What if collective historical memory, as it is actually employed by communities and nations, has led far too often to war rather than peace, to rancour and resentment rather than reconciliation, and the determination to exact revenge for injuries both real and imagined, rather than to commit to the hard work of forgiveness?

Some people—you know who you are?—continue to fight the last war. They are not merely remembering the past; they are mired in it. They continue looking backwards, as though they could change present reality by rewriting the past. It’s better than working.

Rieff explains that political leaders of all stripes have been prone to this form of grievance mongering. They use it to unify their nations. All political leaders need to do so. Thus, the goal is worthy, while the means of achieving it are sometimes not:

Collective historical memory is no respecter of the past. This is not simply a matter of inaccuracy, wilful or otherwise, of the type one encounters in the many contemporary television miniseries that attempt to re-create a past historical era – Showtime’s The Tudors, say, or HBO’s Rome. When states, political parties, and social groups appeal to collective historical memory, their motives are far from trivial. Until well into the second half of the 20th century, the goal of such appeals was almost invariably to foster national unity. It would be comforting to believe that damnable regimes have been more given to this practice than decent ones. But the reality is that such efforts to mobilise and manipulate collective memory or manufacture it have been made by regimes and political parties of virtually every type.

One recalls that after the Cultural Revolution in China, after the arrest of the Gang of Four, the leaders of that nation closed the book on the horrors of the immediate past. It set about to revive a nation that had been destroyed by Communism.

Had Deng Xiaoping and his co-leaders chosen to belabor the past, to settle scores, to punish all of the Red Guards, the process would have so thoroughly consumed the people that nothing else would have gotten done.

Rieff states it well:

These are the cases in which it is possible that whereas forgetting does an injustice to the past, remembering does an injustice to the present. On such occasions, when collective memory condemns communities to feel the pain of their historical wounds and the bitterness of their historical grievances it is not the duty to remember but a duty to forget that should be honoured.

Were anyone to ask me where this cult to memory originated, I would suggest that one of its intellectual sources must have been Sigmund Freud. Didn’t the famed Viennese neurologist teach us that people suffer in the present because they have forgotten past traumas? Haven’t we all seen movies—like Suddenly, Last Summer—where recalling a forgotten trauma produces instant cure? Don’t we all believe that the work of psychotherapy involves excavating the past, finding the root cause to our problems and reconstructing a more complete life narrative?

I have discussed some of these points in my book, The Last Psychoanalyst. Therein I also expressed some of my own objections to Santayana’s dictum. After all, many trauma victims are suffering because they cannot forget what happened to them.

The Freudian fiction is just that—a fiction. It does not represent what really happens when people suffer traumas or when they fall ill. Even in those cases where a trauma causes people to change their behaviors and their routines, the key to treatment is restoring and recovering behavior and routines, not recalling or reliving the past.

Today’s most effective treatments, cognitive and behavioral therapies, do not rely on a consciousness of the past or on recovered traumas. As you surely know, some recovered memory treatments have not only been proven to be useless, but they have been shown to have induced people to recall traumas that never happened.

In a world where people are being taught that they can solve all of their problems by remembering the past, they are being seduced into a medical condition called “Hyperthymesia.”

Rieff explains it:

Hyperthymesia is a rare medical condition that has been defined as being marked by “unusual autobiographical remembering”. The medical journal Neurocase: The Neural Basis of Cognition identifies its two main characteristics: first that a person spends “an abnormally large amount of time thinking about his or her personal past”, and second that the person “has an extraordinary capacity to recall specific events from [his or her] personal past”.

To the sceptical eye, the contemporary elevation of remembrance and the deprecation of forgetting, these can come to seem like nothing so much as hyperthymesia writ large. Remembrance, however important a role it may play in the life of groups, and whatever moral and ethical demands it responds to, carries risks that at times also have an existential character. During wars or social and political crises, the danger is not what the American historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi called the “terror of forgetting”, but rather the terror of remembering too well, too vividly.

It is certainly not easy to forget, to let bygones be bygones. After all, the dead cry out for justice and many people believe that they can only solve today’s problems by punishing those who perpetrated the crimes of the past.

Many people who are obsessed by settling scores, by punishing perpetrators and their descendants, by reading history into a guilt narrative are not going to be doing very much else. In order for people to get along, to live in peace and harmony, they need to put the past to rest, to draw a line on it.

Rieff shows how difficult this is by recalling the Edict of Nantes. Surely, you remember it:

A good place to start might be the Edict of Nantes, issued by Henri IV in 1598 to bring to an end to the wars of religion in France. Henri quite simply forbade all his subjects, Catholic and Protestant alike, to remember. “The memory of all things that took place on one side or the other from March 1585 [forward] …” the edict decreed, “and in all of the preceding troubles, will remain extinguished, and treated as something that did not take place.” Would it have worked? Could such bitterness really have been assuaged by royal fiat? Since Henri was assassinated in 1610 by a Catholic fanatic opposed to the edict, which itself was eventually repealed, we can never know. But is it not conceivable that were our societies to expend even a fraction of the energy on forgetting that they now do on remembering, then peace in some of the worst places in the world might actually be a step closer?

The Edict of Nantes shows that it's easier said than done. There will always be a few outliers who refuse to move forward. It is effectively much easier to continue fighting, especially when that is all you have ever done. Unfortunately, the more people live in conflict the less they know how to live at peace.


sestamibi said...

Rieff is employing one of the cardinal principles of Ingsoc: "Whoever controls the past controls the future".

I guess we might as well forget 9/11 too, and remember that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia (oh wait, was that Eastasia?)

Ares Olympus said...

Certainly this is an important question, but it might need some distinction. I'd consider its important to "depersonalize" the past.

And it works both ways - for perpetrators and victims. In the first case, a first rule of objective law is that the crimes of your parents are not your crimes. Although guilt might linger, or be encouraged if the families harmed by your parents actions continue to remind you.

OTOH Trump would disagree - he thinks bombing civilians in response to terrorism is fair game. If a terrorist kills someone, and that terrorist is dead, Trump would say we should bomb the families of the terrorists. He would say deterrents matter, and a suicidal bomber is less likely to kill if he knows his family will be killed for his deeds.

Or the cold war, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) follows the same logic. If an enemy nation nukes your cities, you don't let bygones be bygones. You launch your intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuke their cities, because if you don't, your enemy will be emboldened and might nuke more cities. But the important thing is to have a "proportional response", so if your enemy nukes a city of 1 million, you have a right to nuke one of their cities with 1 million, no more, no less. And anything else threatens to escalate conflict.

But is there a "statute of limitations" on response? So if you happen to have 3 nuclear weapons on-hand, you can use them immediately to retaliate, but if your weapons fail to launch because you were negligent in your maintenance, how many years can you wait before its "too late" to respond?

But maybe you don't have any nuclear weapons. Or maybe it wasn't a nation who attacked, but a small group of terrorists who are hold no territory, and then there is no clear targets of revegence even if you have your missiles ready to fire.

Then all you have is millions of dead people, and perhaps you can accept the loss, accept the dead did not deserve to be killed, and honor their losses by putting up a memorial to the lives lost. And for refusing to retaliate, you can also gain sympathy to other nations.

But you also might say "never again", and spend years ruminating on "how it happened", how your defenses failed, and how you could have stopped the attack. Like 9/11 we determined it was terrorists in jets with boxcutters, and directing the airplanes into buildings. So now 14.5 years later we have increased security on our jets, and people still have their pocket knifes taken away, because there's a chance they could be a terrorist and it could happen again.

So how many years of "increased security" do we have to have to protect ourselves against a next attack? Of course, attacks still exist, and the active threat remains. So there can be no forgetting.

And Israel was created after WW2, after the holocaust where millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazi State of Germany, but Jews have been persecuted for centuries before that. So Jews can't ever dare forever.

But this takes me back to the start. We shouldn't forget things - shouldn't forget the dark side of humanity, the historical events that made the world today. However we don't have to "take sides". We don't have to identity ourself personally as perpetrator or victim by association of our parents crimes or humiliations.

So it may be possible to see we're all angels and devils at heart, and not project our darkness onto others, but see whatever we imagine we see in others, is also in ourselves.

Like myself, I've seen addiction causes even family members to act dishonorably, and so I can see that without blame. But I've never been harmed in a profound way, so my hatreds have yet to be tested.

Ares Olympus said...

Given the presidential elections now, it also makes me think of Nixon's "Southern strategy" after Johnson signed the Civil Right Act of 1964 (50 years ago!), and flipped the political map north/south as the Party of Lincoln flipped from Northern states to southern states to protest Johnson's desegregation of the South.

Racism is one of those things that should be forgotten but now we have white and back resentments, so southern value whites are largely beholden to the Republican party, and Blacks are largely beholden to the Democratic party.

And it would seem partisan politics itself encourages these resentments to continue indefinitely. Everyone has their symbols of past injustice and evidence how that injustice mades the current world unjust.

Well as Stuart repeats: Rieff explains that political leaders of all stripes have been prone to this form of grievance mongering. They use it to unify their nations. All political leaders need to do so.

So the problem with memories of something lost is an illusion that "Someday we'll get back our glory days, if only we can cement our political power a few more years."

Meanwhile politicians realize they can make unlimited and unrealistic promises to their grievance group of benefits, and use the opposition party as an excuse why progress isn't made.

And New York billionaire Donald Trump strangely has become the southern savior of the southern white values. It really doesn't make much sense.

I guess the BAD kind of forgetting is the one where you've been figting so long, that you forget why you're fighting, and only remember the hatred you've been taught, and those who seem to block you from going back to the beloved past you or your ancestors lost.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Could it also be that our rationalist, materialist age is the cause of this? Is this the next iteration of "Nothing is real"? I sense a great, painful reckoning is coming... to bring the West back to reality.

Rieff offers forgetting, which is a form of make-pretend that Freud propagated with his fiction, as your indictment in "The Last Psychoanalyst" delivers. Yet Rieff's conception of forgetting is a substitute for what humanity truly yearns for. Tolerance is another substitute. Like staring into the he Glowing Box, it is also passive because it is easier. It makes no demands. You just... forget. It's like making life into "Regarding Henry."

There's no room for love, creation, rebirth. You just move on. Is like Oprah's catharsis of "closure." It's phony.

Forgetting also makes you a small gazelle fawn on the Serengetti. You become the helpless one. Forgetting is a luxury. Forgetting makes you into a moronic dilettante. An ostrich. That is a metaphor for the West today: a hobbling fawn.

Whatever happened to forgiveness?

Forgiveness isn't make-nice. It's a choice. It is an active view of who will stand for the promise of what a relationship can be. What is the higher goal? It's not to forget. Forgetting is almost as selfish as vindictiveness is. Should Lincoln have forgotten the sacrifice of the nation when he offered such generous surrender terms at the close of the Civil War? Should Gerald Fird have pardoned Nixon when a juicy trial could induce a national reckoning of presidential sins?

Rieff's suggestion (or prescription) is more of what ails our Western world where nothing is worth fighting for. It's just better to just... forget. After all, if we forget, we won't know it's happening again. We get to endure it over and over again for the first time. Sounds a bit like our grotesque entertainment culture.

You can forgive another without rolling over. You can forgive your violent neighbor and keep your gun around with the safety off. What animal on the Serengetti forgets there are lionesses and cheetahs around? Rieff wants us to be fools.

Forgiveness relives the aggrieved from a personal burden. The aggrieved effectively "gives back" the pain to the aggressor or perpetrator. "It's theirs now, I move forward, as I now choose to love... I choose to live." The forgiven is choosing to no longer be a victim. He can turn a couple of swords back into plowshares and keep the remaining sword nearby. It doesn't have to own him. Meanwhile, the aggressor seethes, angry that his foe is no longer controlled by fear.

That's power.

Forgetting is more of what our culture seeks: to not give a crap about anything. It is another step backward into passivity, sloth and fantasy. It is a denial of our humanity, with no path to rise above it. It's a form of quitting.

Forgetting is for cowards.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"And New York billionaire Donald Trump strangely has become the southern savior of the southern white values. It really doesn't make much sense."

Ares, the more you and those of similar mind make everything about those who disagree with you into "RACISM," the more you are going to feed Trump's success. People are sick of looking down the nose of PC America and being condescended to. Re-read Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and substitute "Racist!" For "Witch!" and you have today's Left.

As for the "Southern Strategy," what's next on your list? The 1980 "October Surprise"?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, how will you depersonalize the personal?

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: Ares, how will you depersonalize the personal?

I agree, that's the problem in a nutshell.

When it's someone else's OLD issue we always would like to say "Get over it."

I don't have any real answers to get there, but there are lots of ideas. First we can ask "what's personal", it reminds me of questionable ideal of "convictions", perhaps "things we're willing to die for." That question can cut to the heart of our irrationality.

And further "things we are willing to kill for" while from a practical point of view, war is senseless, and life as a slave on a world of beauty and wonder still ought to be better than nonexistence. But self-sacrifice can be real, if you believe others can go on, and we'll all die someday anyway, so the goal never changes there, whatever struggles you fight.

I remember as a teen reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, the Last battle, while the world was in the process of ending, and the dwarves were thrown into a dark barn where they sat back to back, protecting themselves from whatever danger existed in that darkness.

Meanwhile everyone else who entered the barn found it wasn't the inside of a barn, but the outside of somewhere else, the New Narnia. But no one could convince the dwarves to open their eyes and see where they were.

Somehow I imagine that rigid stance is how all "survivers" experience life, people who have been so traumatized by what has happened to them, that they don't notice that no one is threatening them anymore and they've imprisoned themselves. At least I can imagine ways of that in myself.

I do think Christianity, despite all its hundreds of schism on tiny details of belief, has vital truths, and most important that our own sins can be forgiven, and if we don't believe that, how can we seriously forgive others?

And like Dostoyevsky's ideal of "brotherly love" as a path to redemption:
"...But, until then, we must keep the banner flying. Sometimes even if he has to do it alone, and his conduct seems crazy, a man must set an example, and so draw men's souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die."

Christianity doesn't really follow rational law of self-interest at all, so we know its not meant to be practical, but since its ideals are so high, none of us can ever achieve them, then at least it gives us some awareness of the impossibilities we'd demand of others, when we can't see exactly what afflicts them.

So whatever the process, I think it contains many mirrors - inward/outward, personal/impersonal, self/other, subjective/objective, and somehow going back and forth without giving up either side, might give a path forward that excludes making someone else responsible for your problems, while not excluding your responsibility towards theirs.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"I agree, that's the problem in a nutshell."

No, you don't.

You're saying people should "depersonalize" the personal. You want to make life a spectator sport -- where you're the spectator, telling the players in the arena what they should and shouldn't personalize. You're asking them to forget. That is an extremely patronizing approach... telling people what they should and should do with their life experience and culture.

And I expect Ares Olympus to do nothing less. You're trapped in your own hall of mirrors. You've forgotten the shoulders of giants who built your culture, as you disavow it's wisdom with every contrary, relativist comment.

You're suggesting it is best THEY forget, and ignore THEIR life's experience, because that makes sense to YOU.

Yet it doesn't make sense. It's devoid of sense. That's what Rieff is fundamentally suggesting readers do, too: to become bemused, decadent pleasure-seekers.

Nay, nay. Not forgive others -- because that requires effort -- but instead just forget it, because it's really silly and unimportant anyway. Fugettaboutit!

According to you. So you deny culture, history and community because it can be violent and devastating. Yet it can be unifying and uplifting, too. What's next? Does Ares Olympus decide for others what should be deleted and emphasized because he, the spectator, knows best?

That's what concerns me about people who share this worldview. You're always judge and jury, all the while claiming everything is relative. It's like life is a show on the Glowing Box. After all, what matters is what we can see, touch, smell, measure, etc.

In a world like that, forgiveness makes no sense, or at best is a better means to some end. So, in the end, you do advocate self-interest. No love at all. Not Christian. I love people who say Christianity is nice, but it's not for them. Then they reach conclusions based on a foundation of Western Christendom, yet claim to be "open-minded." Isn't that the West today? Living on the inheritance fought hard for long ago and put to the test, only to be squandered for momentary convenience... willing to lose it to barbarians so long as it doesn't interrupt shopping or entertainment. The noble savages won't forget their past, but we'll give up ours. So embarrassing.

You cannot separate yourself from the prison of Modernist subjectivity. You subjectively dismiss what other people hold as objective truths. From your Olympian throne on Mars, you suggest summarily discard their medieval truths, to just... forget about it.

So congratulations, you are a cultural imperialist.

Thought experiment: Let's say they agree with your insistence that they elevate their subjectivism above the objectively-shared traditions of their own culture. Thusly, you are demanding the impossible of them so they will agree with your worldview of subjective primacy: self-interest. So you're not a relativist. You're a dogmatic metaphysical naturalist... that's your metaphysics.

It's inescapable, Ares. At some point, you may be forced to choose. I hope you choose wisely. Islam is about submission. Will you submit? If yes, you're a bigger fool than I thought. If no, you have to stand for something more. Sure, you may never reach the Christian ideal, but when you follow Him, you create something greater. It's not about what you "achieve" at all. It's not a zero-sun game. It's not about you.

David Foster said...

"Man loves, men hate. While individual men and women can sustain feelings of love over a lifetime toward a parent or through decades toward a spouse, no significant group in human history has sustained an emotion that could honestly be characerized as love. Groups hate. And they hate well...Love is an introspective emotion, while hate is easily extroverted...We refuse to believe that the "civilized peoples of the Balkans could slaughter each other over an event that occurred over six hundred years ago. But they do. Hatred does not need a reason, only an excuse."

--Ralph Peters

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

David Foster @March 6, 2016 at 2:35 PM:

Then let's all mutually reach Ralph Peters' conclusion and just kill me arch other and get it over with.

What a senseless quote... the people of the Balkans slaughter each other, and that's the standard by which we're all judged. I guess newspapers report excuses, and men should stand idly by because it's all futile.

Sounds like hate is greater than love. Do you honestly believe that??? If yes, what's the point?

By this logic, the people of Ferguson, Missouri should just be slaughtering white cops at will. They're not. Why not?

Why did we have a sustained peace after Appomattox? Why not exterminate all the Japanese left in 1945? Why seek a constructive end to the Cuban Missle Crisis? Why not slaughter all Cornwallis' men after Yorktown, as theHessians did in Brooklyn, and the savagery of the British in the Southern states? Why should not Washington have crowned himself king?

David Foster said...

IAC...I don't think you're understanding RP's point. He is arguing that the *tendency* of people in large groups is inherently less-benign that that of individuals in their personal relationship, not that this tendency should be yielded to.

Dennis said...

IAC and David Foster,
Isn't our version of the English language wonderful. We can say the same things and still create misunderstandings.
One of the reason this country was built on the concept of Individual rights and freedoms is precisely because of what groups ultimately become. MOBS. It is a representative republic and not a democracy for the same reason. We also protect minority views, as best we can, for the same set of beliefs.
Groups almost always come to believe they are special or better than others and more easily manipulated and used by those who seek power and control. I spent a lot of my life trying to correct the damage done by Americans who were special who forgot that many of these civilization have existed far longer than we have to date. Individuals, mostly as they experience other individuals, are more prone to see each other as individuals.
Both the Jewish and Christian religion are built on the individual as opposed to Islam which is built on the group identity. Judaism and Christianity are built on an individual covenant with GOD whereas Islam is not. Even when one looks at religious rituals one sees Islam practiced at precise times and in precise manners whereas Judaism and Christianity are practice, for the most part in an individual manner. The individual is ultimately responsible to GOD.
Love and all it entails is oriented to the individual whereas the group makes hatred far easier to practice and live.

Mascon said...

Black and white manifesto

Mascon said...
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Ares Olympus said...

IAC: You're saying people should "depersonalize" the personal. You want to make life a spectator sport -- where you're the spectator, telling the players in the arena what they should and shouldn't personalize. You're asking them to forget. That is an extremely patronizing approach... telling people what they should and should do with their life experience and culture.

I'm not taking absolute sides between personal and impersonal. I'm saying we gain perspective by stepping back from our personal narratives that we've created from the past, narratives that never existed as purely as we recreate them, except in our imagination.

One way to "depersonalize" is to separate facts from interpretations. That is to say, a single set of facts about the past can be used for creating a wide range of possible interpretations and narratives.

Stuart's position seemed to be that we need to blame Freud for making too much of memories, or worse, of trying to dredge up long forgotten memories that are held in the unconscious, and that this process doesn't lead to healing. I might consider Freud's talk therapy useful if it could identity facts, but I admit I'm worried there are no facts in memories, and so its mud all the way down. In fact I think Freud might largely agree, while its Jung who was interested in going down the rabbit hole, not only of the personal unconscious but a collective unconscious. So I think its all interesting, but I'd always worry there's too much unknown, and few solid facts to grab on to.

Still, you can play "what if" and make different assumptions and see if different interpretations come out. And that's possible if you're not "hooked" by a single interpretation.

My dad held some new age beliefs, including the one "We create our own reality" and I always rejected it. The problem I had is that by denying victims, I saw my dad as merely "blaming the victim" - easing his conscience to remain neutral in his own comfort while others didn't even have basic needs of food and shelter. He really imagined a soul in heaven saying "Yes, sure, I'd like to be conceived to that woman who's going to abort me."

But eventually I found someone who explained it better. So the better statement is "Act as if you create your own reality." And at one level I really can accept all souls come into the world as "full sovereign spirits", not necessarily knowing what will happen, but accepting all interpretations of experience as their own.

At least from this view, in every given moment, we have sovereign will to act in a way we think is right and honorable, despite whatever anyone else is doing. So that doesn't clarify my moral responsibility to prevent women from having abortions, but it does say I am giving others the right to their own path.

I admit I don't know much about forgetting, but I imagine the universe has some sort of memory outside of my own, deeper than humanity, so once I have personally learned the lessoned I need to learn from the past, I'll let them go. And if some lessons are so hard, I fail to ever learn enough from them, I'll keep holding on, just in case things make more sense with new experiences to contrast them with.

But that's all just my way. I may still have to find things I need to let go of, when the past gets too heavy to bear. I really think people do a whole lot of forgetting, and its our natural state.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

David: Understood. Truth be told, I don't think
much of Ralph Peters. He talks about *tendencies* and theories all the time. Yes, groups can hate, but the love of one can make the difference for many. They're called benevolent leaders, and they're not weak. People are slaughtered in the Balkans because good men would not stand up. And when good people don't stand up, lots of other good people die.

The problem we have is there aren't enough of good people, and our American institutions are neither advocating nor supporting them. Our corruption of the law makes the weak, small, clever and cunning into strongmen. Our education system is a disaster because of lawyers and their advocacy of fairytale "rights" that demand no effort or virtue.

My ultimate point is that Rieff's idea of forgetting as a prescription for what ails our civilization (or, the macro-sense, all humanity) is a load of crap.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis: I get it, and you are correct. The mob is a problem. But our Constitution was created and enumerated to empower and constrain the federal government. The Bill of Rights outlines protected individual freedoms from federal intrusion, and now the 14th Amendment is the source of, and reason for, all federal intrusions into our lives. The mob today is an unrestrained federal government that tells us how we should, must, ought live. The Washington, D.C. crowd is fast-becoming an organized crime racket, and it doesn't care what you, God or the Founders think/thought, or the principles that provide context for the Constitution in modern life. It's not about Christianity, because religion is actively being driven from the public sphere by our betters. What would they put in its place? Their own views, of course. They get to become God. And let's be straight: our domestic agenda is determined by what nine unelected justices think our country should be, and then use thousands of words to rationalize. Who checks SCOTUS? No one, no branch of government. It is now a runaway cabal.