Reflections On Where We Are Now
You never know what you have till it’s gone and I wanted to know what I had, so I got rid of everything.
— Steven Wright, stand-up comedian
I can think of no more psychologically incisive summary of this moment in the trajectory of modern civilization. Modernity, as that term relates to the philosophical and political premises of the last four centuries, has turned out to be less a civilizational project than an elaborate suicide pact. “The Enlightenment” has revealed itself as a euphemism for the most sophisticated and titillating descent into darkness.
Will we finally know what we had when it’s gone? We will not have to wait very long to find out.
The province of Ontario has reissued a stay-at-home order for all “non-essential” activities — which always leads my logical apparatus to ask: “Essential to whom, as judged by whom, and on what standard of life is essentiality being determined?”
In any case, what is a totalitarian restriction without a totalitarian police presence to enforce it? Thus, we have the province’s corresponding institution of “temporarily increased powers” for Ontario police.
Let me state the obvious to begin with: There is no such thing as a temporary increase in police powers. There is only a permanent increase in police powers, which the governing authority of the moment has decided to exercise for a limited time, but which will necessarily remain available in perpetuity for any government that chooses to exploit those new powers for any reason.
These permanent (aka “temporary”) new powers include the following, as reported by Global News:
As of 12:01 a.m. on April 17, police officers and those designated as provincial offences officers will be able to stop vehicles to ask those inside why they left their homes. People will also be required, if asked by officers, to show proof of their home address and the reason why they aren’t there.
In other words, Ontario has just created a condition of permanent, round-the-clock curfew for the province’s fifteen million residents. Whether the government chooses to strictly enforce this curfew authority at any given time has no bearing on the fact of its existence. The government has granted itself this power, and may therefore use it again, in any future condition it deems suitable. The people of Ontario, my home province, now officially live and move entirely at the whim and mercy of the government. (The citizens themselves are not worried about this, of course. Fifty percent are abject government-loving sheep. The other fifty percent feel that as long as they can get beer and/or cannabis — the essentials — all is well with the world, so who needs to go outside anyway?)
Provincial officials explained that the reason for this newly granted police authority is to “increase public compliance.” There it is — the essence of political decision-making, as observed worldwide over the past fourteen months: We made rules. There is no benefit to having the authority to make rules if people are not going to comply. We therefore need the physical coercive authority to force compliance. So we created it.
This, I might add, is the reasoning of Canada’s most “conservative” provincial government, the one elected by the voters of Ontario in a backlash against what had been the country’s most overtly communist government. As the song says, “Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.”
The night in which all cows are black.– The good news about today’s ubiquitous progressive assault on the very worthiness to live of every human being who does not accept every single detail of the very latest neo-Marxist pseudo-academic talking points: Such reductionist absolutism is inherently self-refuting, and thus eventually becomes meaningless.
If every white person is racist, then no one is racist. If every man is sexist, then no one is sexist. If every person who ever thinks or says — or has ever thought or said — anything out of step with today’s progressive vanguard, on any subject, is obsolete, then we are all obsolete, which means no one is. This progressive moral vocabulary naturally and inevitably becomes trivial, or rather trivializes itself. It is just another symptom of the West’s modern suicide pact — rendering the most forceful language of self-righteousness both vacuous and ridiculous through endless abstract idealism.