We’re Not Going To Take It Anymore
Everyone is angry and outraged. Offended and shocked. An indignant crusader for justice. Above all, and most indicative of the mood of the age and the tenor of “public discourse,” everyone is absolutely, vehemently unwilling to brook disagreement.
Today’s ideal teenager is a rabid-faced, frothing little girl overflowing with barely verbalized seething hatred toward all the grown-ups.
Today’s ideal political representative is a person who offers no arguments, presents no coherent legislative ideas or statements of principle, but merely screams, scoffs, mocks, and makes the most extreme-worded accusations against “Them,” invariably in two-sentence outbursts, and most typically on social media, where the entire purpose is to get a rise out of a crowd whose innate political instinct is always to leap before looking.
Today’s ideal “visible minority” is a casually dressed woman captured in a crowd, mouth distorted in raging mid-shout, a fist clenched in the air to signal — to signal her complete unwillingness to listen, to converse, to consider alternative views, to think about it.
Today’s ideal citizen is prepared to take a side on every single issue or news story of the day, and to take that side unequivocally, absolutely, unquestioningly, as a complete and inflexible certainty — and then, as required, to take exactly the opposite position on the very same issue, or any closely analogous one, the next day, if that happens to be the newly-prescribed stance of righteous indignation for a person of “our party.”
And each of these ideal types embodies, above all else, a certainty that anyone who disagrees with any aspect of his angry shouting, even in the most peripheral way, is evil and deserves to be killed, assuming death is not too kind a fate for him. It makes no difference whether the issue at hand is itself the most quotidian and insignificant matter. All events, however trivial, must be subsumed within the grand design of hateful certainties, and all trivialities are inescapable purity tests, where impurity is self-damnation.
Take the simplest example: The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. A sad but trivial local law matter if ever there was one, right? No, it’s a purity test. You must either believe that Rittenhouse is a leading white supremacist, and his not-guilty verdict evidence that all white people in America must be imprisoned and have their children removed from their custody until they sign a confession of racist guilt, or that this teenager is a national saint of MAGA justice worthy of being invited to speak to Congress and to have his statue erected next to Donald Trump’s at the White House rose garden. No other position, no nuance of dissent or hesitation or critical distance, is allowable. If you disagree with any hint of either side’s decrees, then you are one of Them, a traitor, and must be exiled or denied your basic rights in any decent society.
Above all, we will not listen to you, we will shout over you. You are trying to talk about it, but that is an antiquated view. We don’t talk about it. We don’t think. We’re not going to take it anymore. And “it” means disagreement, questions, doubts — and you.