Featured image by rob walsh. Follow the link for more of this artist’s work.
Happy belated Easter everyone. The world has gone insane. We attack any values that we used to have. The glorious cultural revolution is under way. We are seeing the American version of the Cultural Revolution, full of struggle sessions and the attacks against the four olds: Old ideas (the nuclear family, belief in objective truth), Old Culture (Judeo-Christian beliefs, Western Modernism), Old Habits (working hard, using logic and ethics, delayed gratification), and Old Customs (Chivalry, romance). These, of course, are only a few examples of those olds, but you get the gist.
We have become obsessed, at least in the most public aspects of our culture, or ridding the world of the old ways of thinking, and not only rejecting the values of the past, but actively campaigning against them. We are putting so much emphasis on things that are immutable (skin color, biological sex), and deconstructing the foundations of our society by changing what were considered immutable (gender), and making those into entirely social constructs. We are pressing for diversity not for the improvement of the whole, but for the sake of diversity, which serves only to accentuate stereotypes and caricatures of other cultures. And we are actively pressing to exclude people from exploring other cultures through the ridiculous attack of “cultural appropriation.”
And what benefit does this give us? Are we a more united people today than we were ten, twenty, or forty years ago? Are we still even a United States?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. The sad reality is that we have fractured as a country, and there are only slivers of connection holding things together. These are the strings upon which I walk, the fine threads creating the last vestiges of a common culture, each of them fraying and breaking daily. I am finding fewer and fewer common grounds upon which to walk, to talk, and to try and hold the disparate views of this country. And more and more, it seems like the vast middle ground upon which we could all agree, the values that we all shared as Americans, have been excavated until a large canyon is the only thing remaining between the two sides.
What are American values anymore? For many, they would be to take care of family, to work hard, treat everyone equally, build for the future, help out your neighbor, to build meaningful relationships. But these aren’t the values being expressed by today’s modern “progressive” culture. Today’s modern identity politics are built upon a completely different set of values. They put emphasis on getting pleasure for yourself above all, to let the government provide for you, to treat minorities as less than human and incapable of agency, to be skeptical of your fellow humans and be ever vigilant for any slight, real or perceived. This “new and improved” culture is neither, and has become another example of the old human tendencies for self-destruction to rear their ugly head. My generation is not better than the previous ones. My generation was used to having everything given to them. My generation was the participation trophy generation, and it shows. We took the idea of tolerance and bastardized it, perverting it to mean that any idea must be held equally, and that everyone is special.
In San Diego, they implemented a bike sharing program. This quickly expanded to publicly available electric scooters. The idea was that these would be available for people to “rent” and have access to a bike. A noble idea, since not everyone could afford a bike or a scooter. The problem showed itself quickly. People, no longer responsible for the care of a bicycle or a scooter, left them everywhere, with little regard for the condition, placement, or care of the individual bikes. The sentiment was pretty clear, “why should I care? They aren’t mine.”
Our culture is quickly becoming the same way. Why should I care about your rights? They aren’t mine… Why should I care about your culture, your values, your life? They aren’t mine. This idea that we must only look out for ourselves, to be so laser focused in the pursuit of pleasure and fun regardless of the impact on others is cancerous and toxic. The notion that we must accept everything, regardless of how outside of social norms, is insanity, and we will end up on the ash heap of history if we continue to follow this path.
Life is about responsibility. You are responsible for your life. Regardless of the “hand” you were dealt in life, you are still responsible for the choices you make. Take up your cross, and carry it as far as your strength will let you. Rest, and repeat. And at the end of your life, you will marvel at how far you have come.