The only way to learn just how much abuse an item will accept is to test it to destruction. Such a test should start gradually, with mild abuse, and escalate by small increments through higher and higher levels of abuse until the thing being tested is a pile of rubble. Any other approach would not yield accurate information about exactly how much battering the thing can absorb without losing form or function.
Built into this procedure is a reality that must not be overlooked: at the conclusion of the test, there will be a pile of useless shards in place of the tested item. It will have only scrap value, if even that. Daimler-Benz’s testers are aware ab initio that when they ram a new Mercedes into a solid wall at highway speed, it won’t be a saleable product afterward. It’s the price of that kind of knowledge.
Societies sometimes undergo destruction tests as well. The willingness of a normally tolerant people to tolerate deviance can only be gauged through a destruction test. Weimar Germany fell in part because its deviates and libertines didn’t know where to stop. The normal German majority saw the Nazis as a path back to pre-World War I norms, although they got something quite different in the sequel.
I’m beginning to think American society is undergoing a test of that sort.
Let’s start with the most obvious symptom: the acceleration of tacitly state-sanctioned violence. The “BLM / AntiFa” riots of the past two years have made it plain that the supposed forces of order in America’s cities will not – and perhaps cannot – act to quell the disorder, pursue the rioters, and bring them to justice. I’ve been expecting the return of Nineteenth Century vigilance committees. Indeed, I’m somewhat surprised that we haven’t seen any yet. They’re the usual public response to inanition and inaction by law enforcement.
The reverse of that anarcho-tyrannical coin, of course, is the use of “law enforcement” to tyrannize the peaceable and law-abiding. We’ve seen this escalating as well:
- The prosecution of Kyle Rittenhouse;
- The maltreatment of the January 6 protestors;
- The pillorying of Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and most recently Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller;
- Merrick Garland’s tasking of the FBI to suppress parental dissent against “critical race theory;”
- The semi-covert use of supposedly private organizations to suppress communications through fora such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Together these and other events have us on an express train to civil war. That war might be “traditional,” conducted with guns, bombs, and flying lead; or it might be Gandhiesque, using only nonviolent resistance to the State to gain its ends. Whichever way it goes, that will be the consequence of further intensification of the above trends. What follows won’t look like the society we’ve known these two centuries past.
Consider now the intensifying, entirely unConstitutional exertions of federal and state power over law-abiding citizens in the name of the “pandemic.” Many recognized rights have been infringed or abridged in the name of “public health.” The Center for Disease Control has postured as a lawmaking body. Several governors, and the “president” himself, have attempted to exert powers that contradict the guarantees of the Bill of Rights.
Americans have wondered how long they must endure such tyrannies in the name of suppressing a disease that’s not even as dangerous as common influenza. Many of us have decided to ignore the ukases and behave as if nothing had changed since 2018…and in the main we’re getting away with it. But if carried too far, the diminution of respect for “legitimate authority” will have consequences well beyond merely flipping off our self-nominated autocrats.
Finally for today, we have the personal-deviance movement. There are many elements to this:
- Drug use;
- Sexual variations;
- Body modification;
- Gender-identity stuff;
- Unusual living situations;
…and other deviations from former American norms. To some extent such variations must be tolerated – but not to disruptive extremes. Consider only as an example what would become of organized employment were employees to claim the “right” to psychedelic-drug use or sexual indulgence on the job. Could such an “office” hold together for any imaginable interval? I doubt it.
But the destruction point might be closer than that. If allowed to become compulsory, the “pronoun craze” could trigger a devastating reaction. I included a passage in Love in the Time of Cinema about exactly such an incident:
“What was the cause?” I murmured.
“You’ll laugh,” she said. “We didn’t do a lot of laughing that evening, though.”
“The country was deep in the grip of the ‘diversity and inclusion’ fad. It started before you were born, and was pretty much a bad memory by the time you were old enough to notice. Noisy minorities were at their noisiest—and since a history of oppression was the legal and social coin of the realm, every one of them claimed to be ‘oppressed.’ The one getting the most attention at the time was ‘trans.’”
I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly. “A transportation company?”
She chuckled. “No, biological men who wanted to be women, or to be treated as women. A very few biological women who wanted to be men, or treated as men. They called themselves ‘transwomen’ or ‘transmen.’”
I barked a laugh. I couldn’t help it. I caught hold of it quickly, and forced myself back to seriousness.
She smirked. “You can laugh because you have no idea how bad it was. But there was nothing funny about it. Even though there were only a few thousand of them all together, they were unbelievably successful at bending governments and institutions to their whim. They won privileges that very few people can imagine today.
“Tim’s employer’s Human Resources department was run by a gaggle of vicious women—real ones, not ‘trans’—who’d already succeeded in enacting weird ‘sexual harassment’ rules and rules about how to treat persons of differing sexual orientations. You could get fired for daring to defy the company line…so naturally the company’s vicious women and vindictive homosexuals used the rules like a club to subjugate or flat get rid of anyone they pleased.
“Well, these insane HR harpies needed new worlds to conquer, so they decided to make ‘trans tolerance’ their next campaign. But they didn’t mean ‘show tolerance for the deluded.’ They meant to make differing with a delusional person—calling a ‘trans’ person by his birth name, or referring to him as ‘he’ when he claimed to be a ‘she’—a hangin’ offense.
“They rewrote the personnel policies for the company for the umpteenth time. Corporate management gave in without a fight. The new policies included mandatory ‘sensitivity training’ seminars for the entire company. Until Tim was herded into one, he had no idea what was coming.
“He sat through about twenty minutes of their harangue before he couldn’t take any more of it. He felt someone had to take a stand against the lunacy. And Tim being…well, Tim, he wasn’t going to wait for someone else to do it. So he stood up.
“He told them their nonsense had gone far enough. He said the ‘trans’ types are obviously detached from reality. That they need therapy to help them accept themselves as they are, not reinforcement for their delusions. That we should treat the mentally ill with compassion but that it’s wrong to cooperate in their lunacy. And he said he wouldn’t bow to any rule, from HR or anyone else, that compelled him to think or speak or act otherwise. And he walked out.
“His supervisor fired him immediately after the seminar. He didn’t have anything against Tim. In fact, he agreed with him. He just didn’t want to tangle with HR.”
Such an incident actually cost the career of someone I know. Indeed, the only fictional aspects of the above are the names. If such events became commonplace, the consequences could be dire. The same is true for “diversity” laws and regulations that have the potential to force employers to ignore ability and work ethic in favor of skin color, sexual orientation, or handicaps.
People will tolerate a great deal before they snap, but they will snap. Especially if they’re being told that they must tolerate personal abuse or oppression, the abuse of their loved ones, or the destruction of something they love. And if Americans should snap, the reverberations will circle the globe. As Larry Correia and others have observed, we’ve got two and only two settings: Vote and Shoot everybody. Governments, law enforcers, bureaucrats, and activists should beware. Day by day we move ever closer to throwing that switch.
Hurrah! Someone who still has clarity and reason, coupled with the ability to cogently express themselves. PS–You must have been home-schooled, eh?
You remind me of my Senior NCOs in the military–they DO NOT bandy words–since lives are at stake. No baloney–brief, sharp words directly to the point. Accurate as well.
Word play is left to the “higher ups” who can afford this nonsense in their self-constructed ivory towers, since they are not the ones shooting people in the face at 20 yards or sticking a bayonet in another’s belly. Unpleasant work even in the best of times.
Things remain in stasis–until they are not. How’s that old saw: “Keep poking the caged bear in the eye with a sharp stick and see what happens.” The cage becomes splinters and the bear–well, it’s out and looking to settle scores, which are not resolved by the frantic screeches of localized HR harpies, but by the traditions of “tooth and claw,” as they always have been.
We shall see.
Thank you, sir. The time for mincing words is past…indeed, if there ever was a time for it. I could make a good case that periphrases and circumlocutions are a great part of the reason for today’s situation. Far too many people who surely knew better preferred to talk around nascent evils rather than confront them baldly. The “combat emplacement evacuator” is what it is and does what it does, regardless of how many syllables the purchase order uses to refer to it.
The (un)willingness to confront lies, I find equally at fault.
3.5 Trillion, cost nothing because, fairy dust.
Men can menstruate, because…
Solyzheim or soneone is quoted as saying “if just once we stood up to the policemen when they came to round up my neighbors”… I paraphrase.
If someone stood up and called these lunatics on their bullshit, 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be here today.
So sad that your excerpt is ‘fictional’ but read like a commonplace conversation in the NOW. We are on a road with only side trails, no turnoffs, but not even those pushing down the path know where it leads. We can only extrapolate from history and that becomess dependent on the one variable no one can see: the magical appearance of some ‘great leader’. Pray Heinlein missed his prognostication when he described Nehemiah Scudder.
Thank you for the clear words and cogent discussion. I have been wondering if there were other like minded folks wandering about. I don’t have a blog, so I have been satisfying myself dropping hints here and there about the certainty and nature of the coming unpleasantness.
I left the workforce a couple of years ago after a disagreement with a young, untalented, unimaginative, but highly regarded, co worker. It was an emperor without clothing scenario, and my bad taste led to me being asked to apologize. I refused. My manager and Associate Vice President apologized upon my behalf. I believe that they were somewhat shocked by the nature of my response. Oh well; I retired and have never been happier in my entire life.
And, then, the last one or two years happened. Damn, I wanted to be happy and unmolested in my dotage. Alas, that is not the case. Malcontents and insane people doing increasingly insane things by the day. I am, apparently, watching society collapse into a stinking, suppurating mass of gelatinous filth. I suspected that we were on this path, but hardly expected the sudden and precipitous decline.
I would add to your analysis the increased open violence visited by the BLM and/or AntiFa folks. Daily, we see the feral underclass brazenly and wantonly murdering or seriously injuring peaceful and unsuspecting citizens for no discernible reason and with no possible justification. I wonder when it will get to the point of just shooting likely assailants on sight in the interest of self preservation.
I find myself suspicious of others. My head is on a swivel. I assiduously avoid crowds. I am becoming hardened to the plight of others that normally would warrant my compassion. Our electoral system seems to be irredeemably damaged and who would trust any result of that fetid process and its abhorrent adherents?
I wanted only to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of a long and productive lifetime. I say productive, because my work product has enabled other folks and made my employers more productive. It was supremely satisfying and I expected to enjoy winding down after a good run. Now, I worry about my children and grandchildren. I hope my consternation is the sick worries of an old man, but I fear that the result will be ugly and severe.
Good fortune, sir. I hope you and you readers survive the near future and what seems to be a likely maelstrom of societal decay.
Due to the surveillance state around the world it’s not happening except to those you mentioned above. When the switch is flipped it will be like the US power grid coming on line from one place.
Where is OUR Pinochet? An (oh-so-true!) saying I recently ran across has become a new fav:
The recidivism rate for commie/libs is 100%.
The recidivism rate for DEAD commie/libs is 0%.
Alas, but I see no other option.
Methinks you were educated looong before you attended any classes in this timeline. Your ability of recall is impressive.
Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society.
Lock and load, boys.
‘Gandhiesque’ civil correction has zero chance in America because it requires those with the power be men of good faith(Or at least want to appear as such). God forgive us but we have rolled over and shown them our bellies for too long. Our ‘betters’ truly see us a rabid animals to be put down as soon as they get can hoist the responsibility onto someone else.