My Interview with Sandy Rios about Mass Delusion

I sat down recently with radio host Sandy Rios to talk about propaganda, political correctness, and the mass delusion that seems to be enveloping our society.  Click here for the podcast from American Family Radio.  Sandy had several questions for me about my Federalist article “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.

We talked about how political correctness creates a spiral of silence that ends up separating people as never before.  PC not only squashes civil discourse, but creates a strange and rigid polarization in society that spawns destructive caricatures of others.  As someone who used to identify on the Left, I understand well what a mindset that stereotypes others can do to people’s ability to connect. The point of this kind of propaganda is to centralize power by first dividing people, quite often by demonizing those who don’t subscribe to the narrative.  It breaks up personal relationships.  And this allows those wielding power to control who says what to whom, and to dictate who relates to whom. People who obey the narrative are allowed to partake of society, while those who don’t subscribe to the narrative end up as “nonpersons.”  This taps into my theme that personal relationships are the ultimate source of human power.  Ground zero for functioning relationships is the family unit.  That’s exactly why the family is the prime target for destruction by today’s forces of political correctness.

PC corrupts the language, and when the language is corrupted, thought processes become corrupted as well, and people are more easily manipulated into mindless conformity.  And when the masses can be mobilized to support the agendas of power elites, things never end well for human dignity.  History has taught us this lesson time and again.

We have no choice but to resist.  Ultimately, this is an asymmetric war that has to be fought persistently, one-on-one, and face-to-face by putting a human face on what we believe. By engaging with those we know in daily life, we can re-create the ripple effect of true community that political correctness is designed to destroy.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Vin Scully and the Idea of Community

Vin Scully, national treasure.

I just want to post a little something today about Vin Scully.  I was so happy to hear over the weekend about his decision to continue announcing Dodger Baseball for another season.  His 67th season!  The sound of Scully’s voice reaches into the deepest recesses of my earliest childhood memories.  My father was a devoted Dodger fan from Brooklyn who moved to Los Angeles a few years before the Dodgers did.  So I grew up hearing the sound of Vin Scully’s voice — a constant and comforting sound of summer.

For me Scully embodies the stuff that true community is made of:  an awe of creation and the energy of life; deep interest in the stories of the lives and trials of others; a strong sense of loyalty and devotion to friends and family; team loyalty; cheerfulness; a depth of kindness and empathy; and playing by the rules. He always seemed to understand that without strong families and personal friendships, there can be no sense of community.  Last year I wrote a tribute to Vin Scully, which was published in the Federalist (after Scully announced his 66th year!)

You can click here to read “Vin Scully and the Soul of the Crowd.”  But here’s an excerpt, which is about the idea of community:

Vin Scully has another difficult-to-describe quality that makes him so appealing and iconic. His fascination with the “roar of the crowd” represents something I think we all want and which is unattainable on earth: the chance to converse with all of humanity at the same time. It represents a desire to be in community—or in communion—with others. It’s like being in a grand conversation in which no one can predict what will happen next. A community like that is held together through mutual respect and the anticipation of joy.

The illusion of transcending time always feels reassuring to mortals, so longevity is an obvious part of the Scully mystique.

Whether we know it or not, I think Scully’s relationship with the Dodgers and fans is a reflection of what true community should feel like. It means reaching out to all in good will. Being honorable, loyal, and dependable. Playing by one set of rules, rules that everyone agrees upon in advance and in good faith. Recognizing that everybody brings something of value to the community. Giving our best to one another and respecting the dignity of each and every human being. It means speaking truth, in love. And, of course, it means listening.

Our Gordian Knot, Part V

Ben Carson took to the streets of Harlem recently just to talk to people in his own quiet and unassuming way.

He spoke about the tragedy of lost youth and broken homes and how important it is to take a close look at the causes of problems in order to find solutions. Government dependency is not a solution, but a palliative measure that perpetuates the problems.  We should all be able to see by now that broken families are the main source of this misery. Real freedom and happiness only comes about through the sense of connection people get from strong personal relationships. And those kinds of relationships depend upon the institution of family that passes on a sense of stability and purpose to children.  Without strong families, there can be no strong communities, and people end up at sea, alienated and separated, which makes them ripe for manipulation by social experimenters.

Many shunned Carson as an “Uncle Tom,” which is exactly what we’re told to do by the dictators of political correctness.  Such propagandists never really explain the causes of poverty, preferring to claim it exists only as a result of racism, which is a very convenient way of breeding resentment, and, ironically, more poverty.  For them, family breakdown has nothing to do with anything.  (In fact, President Lyndon Johnson famously noted that his policies would “have them n—-rs voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.”)

However, Dr. Carson was able to connect with those who were able to listen. When we speak one-on-one and face-to-face with others, we bypass the noise of media technology.    It was this flesh-and-blood connection that caused others in Harlem to tell Carson “We love you.”  One said: “I’m a lifelong Democrat. I love you.” In fact, a lot of folks in this polarized society will always assume the “other side” is the enemy, until someone they identify with puts a human face on the Truth they’ve always known in their hearts.

Most of the battle is just about showing up.  Dr. Carson showed up with goodwill and outreach that has the power to slice through the tangle of misperceptions and resentment people develop when they are polarized and isolated from other identity groups of human beings.

I’m glad Dr. Carson continues to offer prescriptions, including yesterday’s op-ed in USA Today.

Years ago, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jack Kemp reached out and made some inroads with the philosophy that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  But his policies went by the wayside except for a few other enterprising folks like Bob Woodson who heads the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

Ultimately, it’s up to each one of us as individuals to resurrect such efforts and to cut through the cultural mess we are in.   This is a battle that is going to have to be fought one on one, in our personal lives — through conversations in the “hidden sphere.”

Our Gordian Knot, Part IV

A panel at the FDR memorial in Washington, D. C.

In summary, the Gordian Knot of totalitarianism contains at least three essential ingredients:  family breakdown, censorship, and ignorance.

Family breakdown leads to community breakdown, and that leads to a sense of alienation and dependency.  That, in turn, results in the sort of unrest we’ve recently seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore.

Censorship is inherent in political correctness, but it’s coming down the pike full force if Congress enacts the Orwellian-named “Equality Act.”  The purpose of censorship of that sort is to inhibit communication among individuals and therefore obstruct autonomous personal relationships.  It sows distrust and fear and helps build a surveillance state.

Ignorance is cultivated first through the erosion of family bonds and community bonds because this separation destabilizes a person’s sense of self and makes it difficult to connect the dots about reality in the world around us.  It gets worse as the forces of this destabilization promote more ignorance by throwing knowledge of the historical record down the memory hole.  At that stage of ignorance, fewer and fewer have a clue as to how propaganda works or how we are being manipulated.

At the end of the day, in such a regime only a small clique of rulers dictate who may say what to whom and who may relate to whom.  As described in the panel illustrated at the FDR Memorial pictured here, these are folks who “seek to establish a system of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers.”

Unfortunately, that’s the goal of the agendas that are built into this Gordian Knot:  control of all personal relationships.  Those who are working to build this dystopia might call it a “new order.”  They might call it a “transformation.”  They can call it whatever they like.  But it is definitely not new and definitely not an order.  It’s just an ancient  divide-and-conquer scheme based on the sin of human pride and power mongering.  “Order” turns out to be something like the inner workings of a clock in which people are simply cogs in a machine and there is no way out.

It’s same old, same old.  And history has shown that it never ends well.  We can only slice through it from the bottom up.  Through individuals who share their knowledge of the truth, speaking in trust and developing real friendship with others.  This creates just the sort of ripple effect that family breakdown and censorship and ignorance are meant to prevent.  It creates the ripple effect that can free us.  Self-cocooning with like-minded folks is a trap.  There is no media or pop culture or academia to help out with this.  Those forces are currently all tied up in the Gordian Knot. It’s now an asymmetric war in which we must all invest in the ripple effect of one-on-one communication.

Our Gordian Knot, Part II

Edvard Munch, Separation  (1896)

There is a common thread that runs through all agendas that increase the power of the State:  Separation of human beings from one another.  Obamacare meddles in the doctor-patient relationship.  Common Core meddles in the teacher-student relationship.  Excessive regulation of businesses meddles in the customer-merchant relationship.  No fault divorce meddles in the husband wife relationship and the child-parent relationship. Abortion especially meddles in the mother-child relationship. Same sex marriage meddles in the child-parent relationship by insisting that no child needs — nor should they even desire — a relationship with both of their biological parents, parents of both sexes.  We can deny these facts all we like, but the State’s role in separating us undeniably exists in each of these policies.

Central planning has always been about separating and isolating people.  And the attack on the family has always been about centralizing the power of the state for the benefit of the few elites in control of it.

“Marriage equality” and transgenderism has been such a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s transformation agenda precisely because undefining marriage jump starts the process of separating families.  The separation of families inevitably snowballs into the separation of people in other kinds of relationships, particularly friendships.  Family breakdown can’t help but play a key role in the breakdown of social trust and the disintegration of once functioning and vibrant communities.   Every totalitarian society depends upon a sense of alienation among its people. Central planning agendas are always pushed in the name of something positive-sounding like “love makes a family” or “authenticity” or any number of platitudes. Tyrannies always claim to support the very thing they intend to destroy.

The marketing boom in artificial reproductive technologies — especially for same sex households — shows us the extent to which ART serves to deliberately sever a child’s bond with either the mother or the father or both.  Transgenderism separates us at perhaps an even more intimate level, because it ultimately renders all sex distinctions meaningless, thus separating us from our identities as either male or female, father or mother, son or daughter.  This may seem counter-intuitive in an age when transgender individuals like Bruce Jenner portray an exaggerated image of the female persona.  But the ultimate goal of gender theory is the obliteration of all sex distinctions.  We might say that the Jenner phenomenon simply manifests the “transitional” moment we are passing through in the interim.

We ought to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the LGBT agenda was ever about the rights of a minority demographic. It’s always been a convenient vehicle towards the centralization of power.  Which depends upon human separation.  Always in the name of togetherness.

Our Gordian Knot

“Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot” by Jean-Simone Berthelemy, 18th c.

A complex problem is sometimes referred to as a Gordian Knot. You may know the Greek legend or myth in which an oracle prophesied that anyone who could undo the complex and intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia would rule all of Asia.   Many tried and failed.  But when Alexander the Great was confronted with it, he didn’t bother with convention.  Legend has it that he stepped back and just sliced right through the knot with his sword. We sometimes call this kind of solution “thinking outside the box.”

I ponder this story as I consider how crazy and complicated our modern problems have become.

In my teen years at school we used to refer to the news as “current events.”  Homework sometimes included looking at a newspaper or a network news program.  Then there’d be a report to the class.

Fast forward to today and things are moving so fast and furious in unpredictable directions that “current events” seems an antiquated term.  We have layers upon layers of crises that have congealed into a problem so humongous that it confronts us like a complex Gordian knot of cosmic proportions. How can the damage ever be undone? The past month alone contains enough angst and lunacy to last generations. We’ve seen the expose of Planned Parenthood’s racket in trafficking organs from aborted children, with graphic videos that give us a fresh perspective on the horrors and sorrows of abortion.  Then we have the transgender hype being fed to us 24/7 by Hollywood and the media, with a ramped up campaign to push gender confusion hard onto school children.

And now that the Supreme Court has legally abolished marriage as a male-female institution, we are about to see the biggest piece of censorship legislation ever. It pretends to be an anti-discrimination bill and goes by the name “Equality Act.”  The idea is to mete out punishment to anyone who doesn’t get with the agenda to re-program en masse our language and our thoughts.  In particular, it aims to re-design everyone’s thoughts about personal relationships. That’s because ultimately all personal relationships emanate from organic marriage.  How so? you may ask. Because that’s the union that produces citizens who build communities in which other personal relationships are spawned.  Destabilize marriage and you’ve destabilized the basis for functioning families.  Without functioning, autonomous families, we can’t have functioning and self-reliant communities.  In the end, the State wins big.

But the landscape is becoming littered with more and more rabbit holes being dug on a daily basis by our government: data-mining, the replacement of personal medical care with medicine-by-bureaucracy, debilitating multi-trillion dollar debt, the cultivation of ignorance in the schools through enforced conformity by programs such as Common Core, the non-stop attacks on religion.

On the international scene, it’s just as much a Twilight Zone.  We have the Obama Administration’s weird Iran deal that puts the world closer to war. At the same time, the White House turns a blind eye to the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East.  The cult of ISIS marches on to replace the Rule of Law with Sharia Law. In the meantime, the Administration is intent on force-feeding the gay agenda on a global scale, including to under developed countries like Kenya where he lectured the leadership last month. The list goes on and on and on.

That, in a nutshell, is our Gordian Knot.  To be continued . . .

Fetish Celebration and Baby Organ Harvesting Go Hand in Hand: Both Represent Social Decay

The media and Hollywood do little but feed and cultivate attitudes of self-absorption.  Academics also foster self-absorption in their college students who now can’t read literary classics because the content is too “triggering” for their tender emotions.  We should ask: How on earth can people have real relationships or establish any kind of true community if everyone is so obsessed with their own delicate sensibilities?  The answer is: we can’t.

Healthy personal relationships need a foundation of common reality and common language through which people can communicate.  Most of all, they need a common belief that there is inherent worth and dignity in all human beings, not just themselves.

So as more folks sink deeper into believing life is all about them, they are more liable to end up like Bruce Jenner: obsessed by the urge to project an imagined persona everywhere and eager to suck up whatever oxygen might be in any given room. Or like abortionists who must callous their souls  in order to  live day  to day.

As the Arthur Ashe award in honor of Jenner’s gender transition proved the other night, we seem close to hitting rock bottom.  Turning one’s fetish into a cause celebre might be a nervy thing to do, but it doesn’t resemble the virtue we’ve traditionally called “courage.” All the less so because of the heaping helpings of adulation, support, doting, protection, fawning, and heavy shielding the media and special handlers have been giving Jenner for doing so.

In fact, nary a word has been spoken about Bruce Jenner’s fault in a February car crash that killed a woman and left several others injured.  (Though one of the drivers involved has publicly pointed out that Jenner’s lack of personal responsibility made him ill suited for the award.)

Against this scenario of craven self-worship and self-obsession, it shouldn’t surprise us that a top abortionist and director at Planned Parenthood would brag about harvesting organs from unborn children.  Deborah Nucatola told undercover associates of the Center for Medical Progress how she personally goes about this with babies up to 24 weeks gestation.  She was videotaped saying:

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

It’s a ghoulish business that shocks people of conscience.  But we live less and less in a society that respects and understands the value of conscience.  Instead, Planned Parenthood reflects the attitude of Dr. Josef Mengele who conducted experiments on prisoners in Nazi Germany.  And, of course, of its founder Margaret Sanger who was a full blown eugenics enthusiast whose counsel the Nazis sought in the 1930’s.

How did our culture get to this place?  I think, in part, by accepting the antiquated notion of “modernity” or “progress” as though it is something enlightened.  Using abortion as a means of sexual “liberation” only serves to numb us, to separate ourselves from the humanity of others.  There’s no room for true human connection in such putrefied places devoid of human worth.

 

The Supreme Court’s Diktat on Marriage

Wedding in Delhi

I was on vacation all last week.  Thankfully, I was able to avoid the internet most of the time.  I heard about the Supreme Court’s edict on marriage in passing, during a layover at JFK Airport yesterday.

Also yesterday, the Federalist published my article “Fifteen Reasons Why Marriage Equality is about Neither Marriage Nor Equality.”  It’s my little compendium of overlooked realities and my expectations for what the future holds.  In short, we can expect the State to meddle a lot more heavily in all of our personal relationships as a result of this ruling.

No doubt the Court’s action is a major watershed moment in the transformation of American law. But for those of us who have been pondering the same sex marriage trend line for about 20 years, this whimsical ruling comes as no surprise.

That’s not only because of the abuses of power by the Judicial branch (especially the corrupt nature of Justice Kennedy and similar infections in Justice Roberts) but mostly because there’s been too much brokenness in society — all around us — to sustain laws that protect family stability. Consider how Roe v. Wade dictated to all of us that the State must regard all unborn children as completely non-human.  This knowledge alone doubtless has damaged the psyches of many children growing up post-Roe.  Consider also how no-fault divorce allows children’s homes to be busted up at whim, forcing them to do the shuttling, forcing them to put up or shut up.  And consider how the epidemic of fatherlessness has broken the lives of youth.  With artificial reproductive technologies and same sex marriage, the law can now impose by design both fatherlessness and motherlessness on children.  In the end, it looks and feels not only like a war waged against the intact, organic family, but also against all personal relationships.  After all, the family is the default starting point for building true community.

All of these developments have created a heightened sense of separation anxiety and profound loneliness in society.  K12 and college education have piled on, saturating us with political correctness and the cultivation of ignorance, which further prevents anyone from building relationships that might help them learn how to navigate through all of this confusion.  This has softened the ground for the social engineering that’s been taking place under the convenient mask of “marriage equality.”  We really need first to look with fresh eyes at all of the dismantling and machinations that lay behind us before we can meet the challenges ahead.  The task is daunting, but it all comes with the territory of our human condition.  (I hope to write more on this in the future.)

Let’s also not forget that central planners have always targeted the organic family.  Utopians regard family bonds of loyalty as a thorn in their side and an obstacle to building a centralized state.  Totalitarians always demand state loyalty above any other kind. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.  History is filled with examples.

So, at the end of my “15 Reasons” piece linked above, I end with the reasonable question:  “What will the authorities decide to do to dissenters?”   We should persist in asking them this question directly, as much as possible.

Mulling over the Question: “Who is my Neighbor?”

In my latest Federalist article I reflect on how I watched a manhunt break out during a morning walk.  It led me to consider things both practical and spiritual:  “It was a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — For a Manhunt

FYI, the clip above gives a bit of “ambiance,” though that segment was not filmed on my street.  The action shifted all morning.  But I didn’t even know they were entering houses until I found this clip!  It’s interesting that this was put up by Russia Today news.  (This makes me chuckle a little because it reminds me a bit about the way Soviets liked to do propaganda, and how they would have loved to zero in on something like this to show “very bad Amerika.”)

It was a wild morning for me.  In the aftermath I considered two questions, one practical and one spiritual.  The practical side had me thinking about personal security (as in firearms.)  The spiritual side had me reflecting on the question put to Christ just before his parable of the Good Samaritan: “Who is my neighbor?” And how do people get to be the way they are?

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490-1510)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium” is the title of my Federalist piece from the other day.  I spoke about it today with R. Scott Clark in a podcast at Heidelblog.net.

The main idea is that the movement to codify same sex marriage – supposedly only for the purpose of “equality” — has already let loose a lot of fringy sexual excesses into the mainstream.

Things you would have likely not heard about before this stage of the sexual revolution are now being injected into general public discourse. For example, New York Magazine recently ran an article “What’s it Like to Date a Horse,” a graphic interview with a zoophile who complains that his sexual orientation is not respected by society.  Following that one, they published “What’s it Like to Date Your Dad,” an interview with a young woman promoting her sexual relationship with her biological father as just as legit as any other romance.  And of course we now have the impending release of the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which serves to celebrate and mainstream the practice of sado-masochism.

There’s lots more where that came from, and I provide a short catalogue in my article. It’s all about excess and uncontrolled appetites.  The vomitorium — as understood in popular culture as a place where gluttony reigns so supreme that it can’t get enough of itself — seems to be where our society is headed.

But at the end of this road lies a society that’s lost its moorings. It’s an escapist culture centered around the Self.  At root, the sexual revolution wasn’t really about sex or even lust.  It used sexual desire to put people in a prison of Self and an empty cycle of gluttony.  It also served to create an easy means to escape responsible relationships. And we’re now at a phase when enough folks have swallowed that bait that their appetites have become unhinged.  At a certain point this state of affairs becomes not only ridiculous and dangerous, but also (to use a favorite term of self-described progressives) unsustainable.

This mindset of Self – brought to us by the sexual “revolution” — prevents people from seeing the world through the eyes of others, especially through the eyes of children. That’s an alienating and isolating mindset which creates a hostile climate for families and for all healthy personal relationships. Somewhere along this lonely path, the state will step more fully into that vacuum and take control of our personal lives, our relationships, and our conversations.