The Gods We Deserve

Donald Trump was apparently cheered at a college football game in Alabama yesterday, which is being reported and commented upon by Trump’s supporters as though it provides hard evidence that the impeachment proceedings are fraudulent and unjust. That’s ridiculous, of course. This Alabama cheering would only be incontrovertible evidence of Trump’s innocence if Trump had not previously been booed at a Nationals baseball game in Washington, D.C. — an event that was itself framed by the mainstream media as proof positive that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo regarding military aid to Ukraine.

At best, then, the Alabama ovation provides a mere counterargument to the Washington boos, and may in fact amount to nothing but an insignificant outlier, given the mental inferiority of these new cheering subjects compared to the previous booing ones.

No, I do not mean that the people of Alabama (or Louisiana, whose LSU team was competing against Alabama Saturday) are intellectually inferior to the people of D.C. I mean simply the obvious and scientifically established fact that football fans are intellectually inferior to baseball fans. 

(On a side note, I must pass along, anecdotally, that during my graduate school days, there was a bulletin board in the philosophy department where teaching job advertisements were posted for the benefit of those of us soon to be released into the academic wild. One such advertisement was memorable above all the rest. It was for a tenure-track job at a university which shall remain nameless in Louisiana. And it was memorable for this reason: After the usual description of duties and politically correct notice regarding the university being “an equal opportunity employer,” there was an extended disclaimer, written in a tone that came off as half conspiratorial and half apologetic, explaining, to paraphrase, that applicants for this job must understand that although the school is an accredited university, and this ad is seeking an assistant professor of philosophy, the truth is that the academic norms at this university are far lower than the applicant might expect, and that one should anticipate working in a cultural environment requiring a great deal of tolerance of, and resignation to, a general lack of intellectual seriousness and academic preparedness among the student body. I have never forgotten that job posting, or the mirth many of us derived from that disclaimer. On the other hand, I cannot help wondering whether the standards implied so self-effacingly in that advertisement would not be considered Ivy League level study in today’s ever-deteriorating climate.)

Speaking of climate, and while we are discussing the latest scientific studies of tribal noise decibel levels, I must not pass up this opportunity to bow in obeisance to sixteen-year-old international corporate communist prop Greta Thunberg, whose sadly vacant eyes were glowering through my internet homepage yet again yesterday, accompanying a triumphantly bubbly headline announcing that Greta — aren’t we beyond mere family names in her exalted case? — brilliantly shot down a heckler yesterday at one of her endless string of angry speeches about nothing she could explain in plausibly reasoned language if a high school teacher gave her a one-page essay assignment to justify this “opinion” of hers — the “opinion” for which she has somehow, magically, become an overnight celebrity, icon, idol, and universally worshipped messenger from Gaia. 

On that last point, specifically the overnightishness of her rise from somewhat severe but seemingly unexceptional Swedish teenager to one of the most elaborate publicity stunts in the history of propaganda, I wonder how many months it will take before someone — perhaps the next Greta as the Marxist ratchet turns — asks the obvious questions that today’s fellow-traveling propagandists and suckers (Alabama football fans for climate change) are carefully avoiding today: 

“How did this girl become world famous and get all these international speaking gigs and television interviews and UN visits so quickly, without having actually done, written, invented, or discovered anything of consequence? Who is behind the curtain with this girl?”

The progressive activist version of a Hollywood mom is not enough to explain the mobilization and organization of this perfectly-timed juggernaut of a global indoctrination campaign, centered on an anonymous teenager with no special talent or skill other than throwing teenage girl fits of eternal hellfire fury at absolutely everyone — the kind of behavior most teenage girls reserve for their parents or boyfriends.

She is shouting that she doesn’t want to go to school, that life is pointless, and that communism holds all the answers to the world’s problems, if only the old people would die and get out of the way of peace and happiness — except, of course, the decrepitly old people force-feeding her this thrice-obliterated nonsense.

Yes, Greta, the Nazis talked a lot about “the science” too. So did the Bolsheviks. So did the Maoists. So does every progressive totalitarian. You wouldn’t know about any of those people, since you are “on strike” from learning, and encouraging millions of other young people to join you in closing their collective mind forever to curiosity, history, and wonder. But let me fill you in on a little secret. The reason those totalitarians are trying, and have always been trying, to overturn the wisdom of the ages, is that they see its lingering appeal as the final spiritual obstacle to their complete enslavement of mankind. When humans, particularly young ones, see nothing left to cling to for meaning and hope but “the science,” especially when that term has come to mean nothing in practice but “the ruling elite,” “our betters” — which is exactly how you mean it when you tell us you are not a scientist, you are just a kid, but that we must nevertheless follow you in bowing blindly before “the science” — then there will be nothing to slow the final advance into an age of contented enslavement the likes of which you cannot even conceive. Then your rhetorical nightmares of a futureless world where going to school is pointless will indeed come true. But it will be too late then, for you and for everyone else you are encouraging to board the train with you, as your masters have propped you up to do.

In our hubristic drive to annihilate the gods, we have, inevitably, filled the void left by their annihilation with — new gods. The problem is that in our proud and precipitous rejection of the old gods, we were actually dispensing not with any specific entity, but with the highest aspirations of mankind: eternity, meaning, truth. Our new gods, then, must necessarily be of the only sort that remains possible when the longing for eternity, the desperate grasp after meaning, and the lifelong pursuit of truth, have been debunked and expunged from the modern soul. We are left, in other words, with ephemeral idols, cardboard cutout heroes-for-the-season, blustering attention-seekers without a substantial purpose beyond their own egomaniacal (i.e., insecure and weak) lust for popularity and affection. 

Those are our gods, because they are the truest representatives of our age. We worship the body, the Now, fame, childish notions of “belonging” and “acceptance” (which is all we mean by “self-expression”). Donald Trump, a twelve-year-old mean little rich girl in an old man’s body, and Greta Thunberg, a vacuous, indoctrinated puppet of global corporatists, standing on the global stage for her fifteen minutes of fame, using the world as her selfie stick.

We get the gods we deserve.

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