(This post is modified from its original appearance at GraniteGrok.)
I am a Zionist Jew interested in the goings-on in Israel, my spiritual home, and thus subscribe to a variety of news sources. Some are on the Right, some are on the Left, some are a mix, a couple are wingnut, but I peruse them all even just in a skimming mode to get a broad perspective of things. I do myself no favors by only reading sources that I agree with – intellectual honesty demands that I look at information I do not agree with so as to not be in an ideological bubble, and to challenge / test my understanding against other views via the crucible of evidence to make sure I am as close to The Truth as humanly possible, wherever that Truth lies.
But I came across this pity-party-for-me piece that made my gorge rise; America is no more (bolding added):
You cannot hold together a nation in which huge numbers of people embrace a kind of idiocy that ought to be embarrassing, but is instead proudly displayed. Science isn’t real. Facts are choices. Truth is like a feather, floating in a cauldron. Education need not have any bases in reality, in history, in analysis. The only thing that matters is what each of us individually wants, cares about, and chooses. Collective interest only matters if the collective I am in has been fully vetted for full agreement and fidelity to whatever the ideology of the group happens to be. And let’s not forget the pornographic attachment to guns and other weapons of violence that seem to be at the heart of America, always ready to displace anything that resembles truly life-affirming and dignity-endorsing choices, the things a sane, compassionate, worthy society and nation ought to care about above all.
In other words, the raw seething arrogance of the elite who believes they are the wisest, best educated, most noble, etc., etc., etc. The disdain for anyone who thinks otherwise is clear. Thomas Sowell captured it well in Vision of the Anointed (a must-read book IMHO). This quote of his applies perfectly:
“One of the most pathetic—and dangerous—signs of our times is the growing number of individuals and groups who believe that no one can possibly disagree with them for any honest reason.”
This writer I referenced is, obviously, of a different opinion than myself on, well, just about everything. That’s all well and good – if I value my right to think for myself I must acknowledge their right to do the same – but where I take issue is their moral superiority in thinking as they do. They also have the right to retreat if that is their choice (bolding added, their italics):
So how is it, given my analysis of the problem(s), that I can be so calm about the fate – the death, even – of America? I think it’s because in wrestling with all that has been and will be lost, I’ve come to realize that I have what I think might actually be one good, viable option. And that is to retreat to a narrow place, to my mitzrayim. For me, that means that I no longer consider myself to be living in the United States of America (since there is nothing that even resembles a UnitedStates of anything here anymore).
But in retreating, what is she ceding? I find it most telling that this woman references mitzrayim, Egypt, from where Hashem’s hand freed us. Like the Jews who stayed behind when Moses led us out of slavery, fading out as a people to be diluted and assimilated into the general Egyptian population over time, they were scared of liberty with all it’s messy differences of opinion, and debates, and self-determination; they were scared of responsibility. They wanted the comforting embrace of being taken care of, even if that meant the loss of freedom. This woman, too, is faced with the uncomfortable animated contest of freedom, and so she chooses to retreat to the tranquility of servitude, literally undoing Hashem’s work in freeing us.
In the Passover service four sons are mentioned as metaphors. This one applies to her:
He removes his “self” from the rest of the people of Israel; that is, because he removes the divine part of his “self” he is guilty of denying the basic principle of Judaism. We chastise him by saying you are not worthy of redemption because you think that you are somehow deserving of this gift from God.
This woman, in not just retreating, but in retreating specifically to mitzrayim, is removing herself not just from America, but from Am Yisraei, the freed people of Israel, and by that choice is not worthy of being redeemed.
Instead, I live in a sliver of America, from which I have no desire to experience anything of the rest of the country. Where I live, I can encounter diversity in terms of people, cuisine, art, even topography. And I can retreat even from that, to greater quietness and isolation. Yes, where I live is home to some of the idiocy that exists in surrounding places, but even so, I think I can tune out the noise, the hatefulness, the increasing spiraling into lunacy that defines that thing called America. I cannot avoid its impact fully, if only because things like climate change (among others) don’t respect state boundaries. But as much as possible, I can retreat into my narrow place, feel gratitude for what is part of it, recall with fondness when America felt like something worth cheering for, but know that in declaring “America is no more,” I am letting go of something that has become a nightmare I no longer want to wake up to.
In other words, this woman is a child retreating to her pillow-and-blanket fort when the ugly world of growing up gets too scary. As an adult, she is making a choice to ignore reality. The reality of violence, the reality of the coming instability from whatever source, the reality that others might dare differ from her enlightened self.
When the food shortages hits, the national race war starts, the Jab die-off kicks into high gear, or the nation gets hit with an EMP, China goes after Taiwan or Israel attacks Iran’s facilities and the world ignites, inflation turns to hyperinflation and functionally strips her of any assets, or any of innumerable possibilities wreck her pillow fort to which she has retreated, and this utterly blindsided woman screams for a man with a gun to protect her from the emerging savagery, I observe the prescience of Conan:
She will call for redemption, she and countless other child-like deniers of reality and wanters of safe spaces and being cared for, and even were it in my power to redeem her and those others who, similarly, rejected freedom and Hashem in the Exodus, I will take after His example of leaving them in Egypt, and whisper “No”.