Random Reflections: Phobias, Mandates, The American Mind
It is possible to criticize sexual attitudes or behaviors for reasons other than irrational fear of those attitudes or behaviors. It is likewise possible to dispute the theoretical denial of biological sex for reasons other than irrational fear of men who want to believe they are women. Thus, to categorically label all disagreement with the progressive push to normalize attitudes and behavior that were once regarded as deviancies as “phobias” is to forestall reasonable public discourse, by means of moral manipulation and the social stigma of pseudo-psychological “diagnosis.” It is an attempt to reduce to mental illness even the simplest question as to whether a man, for example, merely because he calls himself Mandy and wears makeup, ought to be allowed to compete in women’s events at the Olympics.
To mandate — to make mandatory — is to assert coercive authority over another’s behavior, which is to say over the proper realm of his private choices. It is to force the other to perform an action that you believe is best, regardless of whether or not he prefers to do so. A parent asserts the moral authority to mandate private behavior when he tells his child, “Clean up your room, or you cannot go out and play with your friends.” This authority is, all things being equal, regarded as legitimate because the child is, as it were by definition, legally and morally dependent on the parent, and the parent, in turn, is responsible for the care and upbringing of the underage child. A government, therefore, which assumed and exerted such mandating power over the private behavior of its citizens, or to the extent that it did so, used to be referred to, with perfect precision, as paternalistic. And paternalistic (i.e., assuming father-like authority, treating citizens as children) used to be understood, in the freer nations of the world, as a synonym for tyrannical.
Former Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who found himself under attack from Donald Trump and his cult dogs, in 2020, has gone all canine himself, it seems. During an interview with MSNBC, Vindman claimed that had Trump been impeached in 2020, before the pandemic picked up steam, the 600,000 Americans dead from Covid-19 would be alive today. Yes, he actually said that.
To be fair to The United States of America, I have strong reason to believe there are still at least ten or twenty people in that country who have not completely forsaken reason and human decency. Unfortunately, it’s only the other 328 million who get to speak into microphones, thus creating the false impression that all Americans are morons.
No, Donald Trump did not kill six hundred thousand Americans. No, Alexander Vindman, if allowed five minutes to activate his non-tribal brain, does not believe that no one would have died of Covid-19 had Trump been impeached. But this is what the former greatest nation on Earth has been reduced to.
How, on his premises, would Vindman judge the leadership in every other country that has a significant number of Covid-19 deaths? And how, precisely, would he propose that the United States federal government ought to have acted in response to this unfortunate but far from Earth-shattering pandemic? And how in hell does he know what the best course of action would have been, even assuming that the federal government in a constitutional republic actually had the authority to do whatever in the world he thinks would have worked better? Does he think he knows more about pandemic response than, say, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the leaders of the CDC, who have reversed and back-pedaled on all their own certainties so many times that no one could even define exactly what their basic recommendations are from day to day? Does he think the miraculous vaccine solution (irony alert) would have just popped immediately out of President Pence the day after Trump’s impeachment, like Athena bursting from Zeus’s head?
I am not a believer in the pseudoscience of IQ and intelligence testing, but seriously, what is in the water over there that is causing such a severe seepage of American IQ points, from every tribe and sector of society, seemingly by the day?