This has been a week of profound annoyance.
Mostly not for me, though. Some for me, sure, as younger son’s apartment search didn’t fare well (well, he SHOULD — knock on head — be employed in a couple of months, shortly after we come back from Portugal, so we said we’d pay a couple of months in an apartment, so he could only move once, and be near both work and college.) He didn’t find anything, in time, which is forcing us to move him to a storage unit/our spare room, adding to the confusion in this house (you REALLY don’t want to know. Boxes, boxes everywhere.) Also, because he’s new to moving (except for the last two years) we had to do some of his packing, because he always thinks it will take “five minutes.”
And meanwhile, the world has gone insane.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, I’ve been jaw-droppingly aware of people losing their sh*t over the fact the British don’t want to say in the EU.
For some Brits I even understand that. Some families tend after all to bureaucratic work and the sort of administrative post that will be, if not eliminated, markedly affected by the transition back. And I must remember that for a lot of the British screaming about this, the EU is ALL they’ve known, or at least all they remember knowing. And that it was sold in all the school classes, all the universities “studies” courses.
Yeah, the same people who misread the problem with WWII to be all about nationalism and not about socialism, whether the national or the international kind, would extol the EU, convinced if they just prevented men from loving the land they were born and raised in, we’d study war no more.
This tragic misunderstanding has given us not only generations not ready to fight to defend their loved ones from the desolation of war, but also convinced that their place, among all in the world, is uniquely bad. In other words, it has created a generation ready to capitulate to an invading horde of the worst element of humanity with neither self-awareness nor even a grain of mercy.
People capable of this, have probably embraced the EU’s inconveniences, petty maladjustment and bureaucratic red tape like the flagellant embraces his whip.
None of which invalidates the fear of the children (some of whom are nearing thirty) whom they educated to believe the EU was the thing that would save them all, sort of an earthly paradise descended upon the lands of the west.
What is less pleasant and understandable is the whining, screaming and pettish tantrums of the left on this side of the Atlantic, who are only affected by this ruling to the extent they might need to present their passport when their luxury tour takes them from one country in Europe to the next.
In fact, believe it or not, I’ve seen aristos both here and abroad complaining of how INCONVENIENT these borders will be. Why, they’ll have to stand in line!
None of this makes much sense, unless you realize that the Brexit was a huge kick center-mass on the vision of the annoying. (Yes, I know that Doctor Sowell called it the vision of the anointed. One can only assume that such an exquisitely polite man couldn’t bring himself to give the word without wrapping it in clean linen.)
To be fair, all humans have a vision of where they are, and where they’re going, which includes a vision of where the rest of the world around them is going to. And because most people don’t want to — nor should be required to — take the trouble to study enough sociology and economics to have a vision of their own, they download their vision complete from what they see on TV, what they read, or what Mike down at the garage told them.
Mike might be safe. After all, a lot of us have a feeling “Winter is coming” dependent on nothing more than the sort of feelers on the ground, like people telling us that their business is down, or the number of friends we’ve seen be unemployed for years or go under economically.
The TV and entertainment in general, though, have long ago fallen victim to the Vision of the Annoying.
The Vision of the Annoying wasn’t complete bushwa, once upon a time. Or rather, it was but it was the sort of bushwa that takes experience of more than one country, experience of more than one occupation, and a lot of study of history to detect and which is particularly gratifying to the sort of mind that spends its life in a college campus. It was gratifying because it was all based on “central planning” which made things “efficient” and therefore it appealed to people headed for work in the bureaucracy, and made them feel all special. (Which is where Doctor Sowell got “Anointed” (self.))
The misunderstanding about patriotism/nationalism being the equivalent of jingoism and the SINGLE cause of WWI and WWII, led to a sort of idea that the whole world would unite under a single government, which would bring about not only peace, but also end the inequalities among the nations of the world.
Sighs. Looks skyward.
It is now very difficult to believe that adults, and what’s more intelligent adults — read some golden age SF — believed in this. If you’ve been awake (unfortunately most people weren’t) throughout the 20th century and if you know some history you know the only thing multi-ethnic/national societies with no reason to be together except their “elites” say so produce is misery and strife. You also know that civil war is the worst war of all, and that’s what a world-government would generate. More importantly, if you have traveled at all, you know cultures aren’t nearly as plastic as our Annoying believe.
A culture is — to put it bluntly — a stew of the lullabies you heard as children, the stories you listened to/watched when you were too young to think about them, your mom’s face when you did something she disapproved of, your religious instruction, the religious instruction of your neighbors, the festivals observed and the meaning attributed to them, the food you ate. A culture is EVERYTHING besides the genes that went into making you what you are. Heck, what we’re learning is that cultural factors, such as diet, can turn genes on and off AFTER you’re born, let alone while you’re in the womb.
All of which brings us to changing the culture. It’s really hard to do from top-down fiat. It’s POSSIBLE to kill a culture. The Chinese came close to doing it several times, to their own culture, with multiple book burnings, and executions of story telling grandmothers.
This was done to great effect by invaders throughout history where the children of the conquered tribe are taken away and educated by the invader.
This is the sort of thing happening in the EU where festivals and various traditional ideas are banned on the pretext of being unsanitary or -ist and the children, raised in the temples to the state that public schools are, know nothing substantive about their OWN culture.
But what results is not a new culture. It’s a sort of sad remnant of acculturated to NOTHING people. It often results in profound depression and an abyssal decline in population. The remnants know something is missing, but not what, and are too psychologically wounded to reproduce.
Even then the old culture doesn’t die completely, of course, and weird tidbits remain in the way things are done.
So the idea of integrating the whole world, with thousands of cultures and changing each culture enough that these people could function under a world government is something that would only occur to those who think the differences between TX and NYC constitute cultural extremes.
(Note that even Heinlein stopped peddling the one-world government after his one world tour. Of course, others took world tours without changing their minds, because to quote my grandma, there’s none so blind as him who refuses to see.)
But that was the idea. The world was supposed to go towards a single government. Nationality was a thing of the past. One world government and redistribution would solve all of the world’s ills. (It has always amused me that the dystopic SF written when Reagan was president, partly to show we were headed to hell according to the Annoying, then stuck around as a sort of promised land for the self proclaimed elites. The second tierr of the Annoying, fed a bill of goods by the top tier actually feel uilty about their Western abundance and lifestyle, and keep trying to “live with less” and “be poorer” as though this automagically made someone in the third world richer [the truth is rather the opposite.] Our current president, not a great thinker, is one of these second tier bunnies, which is why he thinks that at some point you’ve made enough money and also that if he makes America poorer, the rest of the world will benefit. Their good intentions are matched only by their ignorance of international finance and their devotion to Marxian just-so stories.)
This is not ALL of the vision of the Annoying. There’s a lot more including total flying mouse excreta such as the belief all individuals are evil and every governmental or non-profit organization pure and fine and noble.
And then reality keeps breaking their little — quite literally — red wagon. Here, they’d barely recovered from the fall of the wall, and decided that the problem was how brutal the Russians were, and here they were uniting their little world with their good intentions and soft little heads, bless their little hearts, handing it all to nice bureaucrats to dictate how cultures would unify from above, and the British had to go and want to go back to their old nationalist ways.
Haven’t they heard — how could they avoid it? — the Annoying tell them that nationalism only leads to war? Wouldn’t they rather have a cozy multinational entity where clueless bureaucrats regulate the curvature of bananas and pasteurize public festivals? Do they want war?
Perhaps they had food with too much salt. Perhaps they consume too much sugar. Perhaps their health care needs to kill older people earlier.
On and on the Annoying persist in, well, trying to annoy us all into falling in line with their vision, not realizing that it’s impossible to pound a square peg into a round hole.
The best thing is to smile beatifically, say “bless their hearts” and set about building visions that can happen, and futures that our children and grandchildren can dream of.
So take an ibuprofen and set to it.
Their vision is, ultimately, a passing annoyance.