The Great American Cultural Revolution advances. It gains new territory and seeks out hegemony. It wants to control your mind and it has discovered that the best way to do it is to force you to disconnect from reality.
It’s slogan is: narrative uber alles. In other terms, reality is what the culture leaders say it is. If you do not agree, shut up! You are a bigot.
If a black policeman shoots an armed black suspect the fault lies with white racism.
If blacks riot in Charlotte, the fault lies with their being disenfranchised and having no voice, thus, no vote.
The clearest sign of the disenfranchisement of African-Americans is that the president and the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security and many other top government officials are black.
If blacks kill blacks in record numbers in Chicago and other major American cities, the fault lies with white racism.
If a biologically male human being thinks that he is a woman, then he is a woman. If you don’t agree you are a bigot and will be sent away for thought reform.
If a woman dresses in a provocative manner, you have no right to judge her. If fact, you have no idea to judge anyone for ill no matter what they do. (Perhaps, they will make an exception for the case of Anthony Weiner.) If a woman acts like a slut you have no right to say or think anything of it. It’s her business, not yours.
If a woman says that she was raped, she is telling the truth. Her accused has no right to due process of law. He can be hauled before a campus tribunal and expelled. It doesn’t matter if the woman is shown to be a liar. What matters is that he is a white male and while males are joined in a criminal conspiracy to oppress the downtrodden and disadvantaged. It never crosses anyone’s mind that some people enjoy privileges because they have earned them.
If a white person does something wrong, his action reflects on all white people. If a black person does something wrong, his action reflects only on himself. If a Muslim commits a terrorist action, you have not right to think or to speak ill of Muslims. If you are working for the Obama administration, you cannot say that the terrorist was a Muslim.
Reality is what Obama says it is, not what it is. Ransom is not ransom when he says it’s not ransom.
If Obama says that a no-account government official, someone who owes her fancy resume to her husband’s name and who has never accomplished anything of consequence, is the most qualified person ever to run for the office of presidency, she is the most qualified person ever to run for the office of the presidency.
And naturally, the economy is the best it’s ever been. The Middle East has become a Worker’s Paradise. The refugees who responded to the Obama-Clinton policies in Syria and Libya by overrunning Europe are going to save the continent from racism and sexism.
If you do not believe these things, you are a bigot and will be sent into the countryside to shovel pig manure.
Ross Douthat traveled to the outer limits of the television landscape and discovered that many talk show hosts-- stand-up comedians who are not funny-- have become agents of indoctrination. They are not telling jokes, but are mainlining propaganda into gullible young minds.
The problem, Douthat explains, is not Jimmy Fallon who runs a talk show on NBC and tends to be apolitical. The problem is a dimwitted comedienne named Samatha Bee who rails against Fallon and everyone else because she feels compelled to use her comedy routines to fight institutional racism and sexism and social injustice.
For the record Bee’s show has something to do with being “full frontal.” Of course, if she really did appear “full frontal” she might have an audience. As of now, she does not.
In Douthat’s words:
Some of them have better lines than others, and some joke more or hector less. But to flip from Stephen Colbert’s winsome liberalism to Seth Meyers’s class-clown liberalism to Bee’s bluestocking feminism to John Oliver’s and Trevor Noah’s lectures on American benightedness is to enter an echo chamber from which the imagination struggles to escape.
The revolution has advanced so far, Douthat says, that it has invaded the hitherto sacred male domain of sports. His point is well taken:
Meanwhile, institutions that were seen as outside or sideways to political debate have been enlisted in the culture war. The tabloid industry gave us the apotheosis of Caitlyn Jenner, and ESPN gave her its Arthur Ashe Award. The N.B.A., N.C.A.A. and the A.C.C. — nobody’s idea of progressive forces, usually — are acting as enforcers on behalf of gay and transgender rights. Jock culture remains relatively reactionary, but even the N.F.L. is having its Black Lives Matters moment, thanks to Colin Kaepernick.
Since Kaepernick is displaying a lack of patriotism, his protest must, our president says, be respected as an act of spirited dissent. If you hate America, you become a hero in the Age of Obama. If you riot and burn down your neighborhood, you are expressing your outrage over slavery in the Age of Obama.
It isn’t just about shutting down debate. It’s about undermining the bases for debate. It’s about denying that there is any such thing as reality, an objective reference we can use to solve disputes.
The effort at mind control, seen so clearly in the transgender debate, requires that you be judged by your ideological commitment. Your ideological commitment is more pure when you do not allow reality to intrude on your thought. You can never again allow reality to refute or throw into doubt your most deeply held beliefs. This is especially true if you are a stand-up comedian and know nothing of reality, anyway.
According to Douthat, many people have been drawn to the candidacy of Donald Trump because he has been willing to stand up against political correctness:
At the same time, outside the liberal tent, the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.
This spirit of political-cultural rebellion is obviously crucial to Trump’s act. As James Parker wrote in The Atlantic, he’s occupying “a space in American politics that is uniquely transgressive, volatile, carnivalesque, and (from a certain angle) punk rock.” (The alt-right-ish columnist Steve Sailer made the punk rock analogy as well.) Like the Sex Pistols, Parker suggests, Trump is out to “upend the culture” — but in this case it’s the culture of institutionalized political correctness and John Oliver explaining the news to you, forever.
Trump’s extremism also limits his appeal, of course. But if liberals are fortunate to be facing a Johnny Rotten figure in this presidential campaign, they are still having real trouble putting him away … and if he were somewhat less volatile and bigoted and gross, liberalism would be poised to close its era of cultural ascendance by watching all three branches of government pass back into conservative hands.
How do you undo the damage done by Barack Obama? In the Age of Obama it makes some sense that the Republican candidate would have fewer qualifications than the no-account and weaker Democrat.
So, people are voting for the tough guy. They are voting for a guy who seems like more of a guy than Hillary. True, he is a bit metrosexual—that hairdo-- and he seems to be a ladies’ man, but he does not give a damn about political correctness. He is an equal opportunity offender. He will smite the culture warriors… and that seems to be all that matters.
Trump’s supporters like him for being rude and crude and offensive. He will not spend his time trying to justify himself to the stand-up comedians.
But it remains an advantage for the G.O.P., and a liability for the Democratic Party, that the new cultural orthodoxy is sufficiently stifling to leave many Americans looking to the voting booth as a way to register dissent.
Now, enquiring minds want to know whether a President Trump will arrest the Gang of Four.