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Can things get worse? Why, yes, they can!
Recall the sardonic observation: No matter had bad things are, always remember they can get worse.
For those who take comfort in knowledge, prepare to get comforted but not comfortable: Steven Skultety posts an article at American Greatness entitled “Grim Lessons from Aristotle on the Causes of Civil War“. As outlined by Skultety —
Aristotle is a helpful guide. Not only did the ancient Greek philosopher think deeply about the numerous civil wars that took place in the tumultuous world of ancient Greece, but he also grasped a profound point that’s easily lost on us: civil wars don’t show up like some surprising and alien virus attacking an otherwise healthy body. Civil war takes place because familiar forces wear down the healthy civic bonds that hold citizens together until some crisis finally triggers action.
So what are these civic bonds and how have they been worn down?
- Rather than persuading a majority in a democracy that your policies are better, you import new voters whose presence your policies permitted and who are indebted to you.
- Imported voters tend to work for lower wages and depress worker income. This increases the profits of the employing class and their financiers. To some degree, this is redistribution of wealth from the laboring group to the managerial/financial class. In the near term, this creates tensions between earlier and later employees and over time tensions between workers and the investor class.
- Income is not the only inequality; there is also an inequality of “honors”. As Skultety describes it —
Honor is not some archaic value, and our own cultural elites obviously dole out major awards, highlight positions of prestige, and publicly celebrate specific kinds of citizens for emulation and approval. Indeed, anyone who leans Right has long learned to live with the fact that most cultural honors are reserved for progressives. Nevertheless, though this partisan distribution of honor was always perceived as unjust, it was tolerated: for those on the Right could still go about enjoying their lives, cheering on and supporting their own heroes overlooked by elites. But times have changed. Progressives in positions of cultural power are no longer content merely to reserve honors for the Left; they have decided it is time for those on the Right to be actively dishonored. All public statues and symbols revered by the Right must now be toppled and desecrated. Conservatives and Republicans must be “deplatformed” from college campuses, corporate boards, and social media because they should not only be deprived of the honor of speaking but need to be publicly shamed.
- The ones in charge of conveying honors and dispensing dishonors become increasingly arrogant in their dispensations.
- At some point, the dispensation of dishonor flirts with reaction and thus the dispensers must be able to instill fear in the dishonored. Again, Sklutety —
Consider how extraordinary it is that David Plouffe, a famous, elite democratic advisor felt completely comfortable tweeting, “It is not enough to simply beat Trump. He must be destroyed thoroughly. His kind must not rise again.” What does that communicate to Trump supporters?
- The combination of the success of the preceding manifests itself in contempt. And it is this contempt that blinds the “masters of the universe” to the danger of a successful revolution–
One might wonder: how could highly educated professionals not expect some pushback from such gratuitous cultural shaming, humiliating, and even scare tactics? The answer is that they sincerely believe there is an insurmountably large competency gap between themselves and everyone else. Much like ancient oligarchs, our cultural elites have what Aristotle calls “contempt” for those beneath them. They genuinely believe that “deplorables” in the lower social ranks are simply too disorganized, chaotic, and emotion-driven to amount to anything, while they see themselves as supremely competent and judge their coordinated decision making as indisputably beneficial for the common good.
But such assessment is hubris, and deadly hubris at that. Much of what Skulkety talks about was already covered in Tucker Carlson’s 2018 book Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution. But in two years since Carlson wrote his book, the civic bonds have been frayed even more. A November triumph by the Left will crank up the contempt meter to the red zone and they won’t even know it. They will assume that their rightful place has been restored and that the deplorables have been put firmly and permanently down. That would be a poor bet.Published in