I spend a large portion of my waking hours reading books by dead white men, preferably ones who died before I was born. I also watch old movies by the truckload. It’s all part of my ongoing project to install the Pre-1960 OS in my brain and wipe out the Post-1960 OS that my schools and the MSM installed. But it means that with each passing month, ever more tiny details of the modern world take on sinister significance, and I expend a great deal of energy refraining from getting into futile arguments with people whose context is completely different from my own.
Florence King once remarked that for the sensitive misanthrope, a category in which I count myself, modern life is like Chinese water torture. She’s right. Here is a random sampling of commonplace remarks I’ve heard or read recently that outraged my reactionary sensibilities:
“Oops, in my previous LJ post I used the universal he. What is wrong with me? *headdesk*”
Person #1: “I don’t understand why anyone would be so unenlightened as to oppose gay marriage.”
Person #2: “Well, it’s partly because quite a few of the leading advocates of it also advocate whacked out things like polygamy.”
Person #3: “What’s so ‘whacked out’ about polygamy?? You’re unenlightened too if you see anything wrong with polygamy!”
“Back during the Cold War, a lot of paranoid people believed that the Soviet Union was trying to take over the whole world. In reality, they were just protecting their own interests.” [I expect the residents of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Latvia, Afghanistan, East Germany, etc. etc. would be rather surprised to hear this.]
White person #1: “I’ve been listening to country music lately. I kinda like it, but I have to complain that most of the singers are white.”
White person #2: “And what, pray tell, is the matter with that?”
White person #3: “Tsk, tsk. WP#2 just doesn’t get it.”
“I think it enriches us to have a lot of immigrants in our town.”
“Though I’m usually in favor of low taxes, I support high inheritance taxes because I don’t think anyone ought to have any unearned privileges.”
For a while, I considered myself neurotic for seeing deeper meanings in all these offhand remarks, most of which people are obviously reciting because they’ve heard them hundreds of times on TV or from their professors. But now I realize that the neurosis is not mine. It was the forces of progressivism that decreed that “the personal is political” and felt the need to intrude on ordinary people’s daily lives by meddling with their most basic assumptions. The year I was born, only the most radical ideologues would have said anything so revolutionary as the above. Now even some registered Republicans see nothing wrong with them.
They are the ones who made the personal political. We shall have to reclaim the personal if we ever wish to make any political progress.