I’ve been getting concerned messages from friends around the country asking me if our lefty colleagues have completely lost their minds these last two months.
Mind you, these are friends who are immersed in mixed politics circles, sometimes on half of a politically mixed marriage. So I have no clue why they think I have special insight. Well, perhaps because I lurk, unnoticed and long-forgotten in a lot of writers’ newsgroups, where someone to the right of Lenin is a rarity.
I know I’ve told you before that there’s nothing to be scared of in the times we live in. This country has survived scarier times. To the extent that we live in a big scary tech transition, one that, when it’s done, will completely change the way we work and live (and it’s just in the beginning, and I won’t see the end of it. Unless rejuv comes along sooner than I expect and I live a long time.) this has happened before, with the civil war. We might end up there again too, but I hope not.
To the extent that the … leftist? Government controlled? way of governance was quietly assumed to be the best and the way of the future, we’ve been here before too, and much more so. In fact with knobs on.
Don’t believe me? Read Simak. I’d always assumed he was leftist fringe (and yes, I still like his writing, what of it?) but Jerry Pournelle assured me he has just a middle country, middle class, middle politics man of his time. And he knew him personally while I didn’t. (Which is probably good. As with Heinlein, I probably would have made vaguely human noises that couldn’t quite assemble into words, were I ever in his presence.)
I’m using part of my day off (Sunday, with Saturday devoted to other, non-writing tasks that have to be done in this business and which I tend to neglect) to read and the reading I started with were the books of childhood, like, you know, Simak’s. (I’ve re-read Heinlein every year or every other year since that time, but not Simak. Partly because my tastes changed. But for various reasons I’m in a “rebuild” phase of my life and reading Simak is part of understanding where I once was.) And to me now, in America, and knowing the politics and the people here better, it is amazing to realize how leftist the consensus of “just folks” was once upon a time.
It is not that bad now, partly because people trust less, and therefore trust “learned men” and “government” less.
Oh, tons of factors going into that, from the public fall of the USSR which had been held out to us as “just as good as us, only different” to the fact that people just trust less. Of course that lack of trust comes from the left’s educational/news/entertainment branch pounding on all branches of society that people used to trust: the family, church, heck, even history and America herself.
They don’t seem to realize that in all but the most sheepish (eh) students, the distrust will splash back to all authority figures, which means the school, the “learned people” and the government. The fact that those who are even vaguely aware leave school to find that they are in a world completely different from the one they were taught in school doesn’t help.
That people will wake up some years (sometimes 10) after school is a given, save for those who are invested in being left and getting their power and approbation that way, usually the ones in educational/news/entertainment — let’s abbreviate it to agit prop — branch. My biggest fear is that instead of thinking and figuring out where we really are, they’ll embrace a cartoonish anti-left and think they have the truth. It’s the easy way. It also is the wrong way, because the left is more subtle than that in their lies.
Anyway, but either way we are way less statist than people were in the fifties. Way less into big depersonalized institutions.
So that much is good.
And yet the friends — and occasionally self — getting alarmed have a point. We are riding a wave of a state of fear, a fear so great and so pervasive that it drives people utterly irrational.
I thought it was crazy enough in the Bush years, when people claimed their speech was chilled, and proclaimed loudly IN CONVENTIONS in front of hundreds of people that they were afraid of speaking publicly because Bush would come for them.
We hadn’t seen nothing yet. If those were the crazy years, these are the running around with your underwear on your head talking to random weasels years.
Routinely I see people on facebook — people I know and who are somewhat sane (no writer is ever completely sane) and certainly well educated, and who used to be moderate left claim that Trump wants to put … well, everyone really in camps. Let me see, the list goes: minorities, gays, women foreign born people, leftists. They’ve been screaming this since he was elected. They’ve been screaming this — keep in mind — about the first GOP candidate to wave a rainbow flag on stage. They’ve been screaming this about the one president in recent years to have a Jewish-convert daughter and Jewish grandchildren. (What’s the difference between Trump and a reform rabbi? Trump has Jewish grandchildren.)
They said on the day of his election that he was going to be rounding up all these people into camps as soon as he was sworn in. Two years in, the fear has only got worse.
And the fact that no one has arrested these people, making these kind of statements doesn’t seem to sink in.
I know why. Humans are a social animal. Social animals can be stampeded by those they view as leaders, and the left side of the isle, being the compliant, good boys and girls, still trust teachers and news and the few surviving mainstream entertainers.
Who have never let up on the fear. I have yet to hear them recant one of their crazy rants or admit that if Trump is Hitler, he’s a frigging bad Hitler, cutting down on the very authority he’d need to do the kind of things they expect.
These people, whom the rather conventional people on the left revere keep telling them it’s getting worse and worse.
Fear is one of the ways of stampeding people into acting violently and irrationally. Every demagogue int he world, from Hitler to Stalin, has done it. And it is always a crescendo, and always against someone you despise.
The left is being stampeded against us, their fellow Americans. This is not new, it’s just at a new crescendo.
Having leftist family members, I remember when Bush was trying to get us in a global war by rebuking North Korea. No, seriously.
But no? Now it’s insane. In a country with a soft-left president, who has cut back on regulations and freed up the economy so we FINALLY had a summer of recovery, these people think they’re being “ruled” by “Literally Hitler.”
And their panics are getting crazier. No, talking back to a press that has also lost its mind is NOT a totalitarian move. That would be arresting the journalists who print demonstrably biased/false reports.
Yes, the press finds itself with fewer and fewer readers, just like traditional publisher do. This is the result of there finally being alternatives, and people frankly being tired of the crazy shoved down their throats 24/7.
No, removing someone’s clearance is not silencing him. It’s preventing him from getting information with which he’s proven unreliable. And btw it happens quietly all over the land every day and has since the clearance system was inveted. And no, a guy who was having an affair and being blatantly partisan and open about it during the campaign in one of our agencies is not a hero. He’s a shitweasel using the left for all he’s worth.
And now the ANTIFA idiots are mumbling about “Killing Nazis.”
Look, if they find the real Nazis in the country (I ran across a pair once. While house hunting. OBVIOUSLY gay and obviously Live Action Reich Players. Weirdest thing ever. It was 20 years ago, and my mind is still broken) and are willing to go to jail for unprovoked murder, well… it’s not good, but it’s at least understandable-crazy.
Except they treat all of us as Nazis, and call all of us Nazis. Yes, that’s right, some of us are from the long-feared libertarian branch of the Nazis. We want only minimal government that leaves people alone. I guess we’ll have to tell Poland to invade itself. All those people we want to kill (yes, I know, I know, we don’t, but the left thinks we do) we’ll be reduced to telling them (us, since many of us fall into categories the Nazis tried to exterminate) to pretty please put their heads in the oven. Which is only a problem if those people are so ridiculously compliant they’ll just do it. (Does the left think we’re all as compliant as they are?) Then there’s the problem that most ovens are electric.
Oh, never mind. There is no rationality to it.
These are the words and acts of panicked people. People running from a threat that doesn’t exist, but which the demagogues of the left — people the left trusts, heaven alone knows why — keep insisting is growing. Which causes the herd to run and attack in unreasoning fear.
So, we do live in perilous times. Every time people can be persuaded to attack those they’ve been told are evil and intend to hurt them is dangerous. See Germany and one Hitler, Adolf.
Because the left is more gullible, and because they’ve been taught “question authority except us” and because the drumbeat of crazy is louder and more relentless than ever before, they never get to relax and think, and realize if there were going to be camps, or famines, or even slaps on the wrist, we’d have them already. But they’re too scared to notice.
Which is why it’s essential to let these insane-with-fear people nowhere near the levers of power. Remember they cheat relentlessly, but if it’s not close, they can’t cheat.
Vote on the day, don’t answer polsters, refuse to vote by mail even if it’s the main thing for your state. And if you get to the polls and they tell you that you already voted/voted by mail, raise a stink. Take to the net. Be loud.
But above all, if it’s not close, they can’t cheat. Yes, losing will make them even more panicked. Can’t be helped.
Would you rather they continue screaming about how evil this country is — and hopefully eventually realize no one is keeping them here forcibly! — or that they have the levers of power while panicked and seeing Nazis under their bed everywhere? Do you want unreasoning people having the power to strip you of you right to property, to liberty, to life?
I don’t. I daresay we’d survive that too, but it would get mighty rocky on the way to survival. Keep quiet and vote.