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“With each of the issues highlighted in this book the aim of the social justice campaigners has consistently been to take each one – gay, women, race, trans – that they can present as a rights grievance and make their case at its most inflammatory. Their desire is not to heal but to divide, not to placate but to inflame, not to dampen but to burn. In this again the last part of a Marxist substructure can be glimpsed. If you cannot rule a society – or pretend to rule it, or try to rule it and collapse everything – then you can do something else. In a society that is alive to its faults, and though imperfect remains a better option than anything else on offer, you sow doubt, division, animosity and fear. Most effectively you can try to make people doubt absolutely everything. Make them doubt whether the society they live in is good at all. Make them doubt that people really are treated fairly. Make them doubt whether there are any such groupings as men or women. Make them doubt almost everything. And then present yourself as having the answers: the grand, overarching, interlocking set of answers that will bring everyone to some perfect place, the details of which will follow in the post.”
– Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds (pp. 281-282). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The election of President Trump in 2016 resulted in the onset of a new disease, familiar to many of us as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (TDS). Thankfully, about half of the adult American population was immune to this disease and the other half seemed eager to demonstrate that they’d caught it – a mark of distinction. Perhaps it should not be very surprising that those afflicted with TDS have been attempting to derange the unaffected. Many people, in the name of “social” justice and interest of ever-expanding civil rights, have been working toward this goal for years, but the efforts of the Democratic Party and the media seem to me to have ratcheted up this effort in the past week.
I keep seeing news stories that make me think that we’re being intentionally deranged. Here are some recent developments that are, particularly in the face of Joe Biden’s calls for unity, simply maddening:
– The timing of the announcement of a successful vaccine by Pfizer, less than a week after the election;
– The jubilant crowds gathering in American cities, which were still boarded up in anticipation of post-election riots and looting, in order to celebrate the media-declared victory of Joe Biden as President-elect;
– The crowds gathering in American cities in order to celebrate the media-declared victory of Joe Biden as President-elect when we’ve been admonished for months to social-distance or stay home to stay healthy;
– The naming of Ezekiel Emmanuel to Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force, when Emmanuel has publicly stated his preference for people over the age of 75 to exit the land of the living ASAP and Coronavirus is the most dangerous to precisely those people;
– That Joe Biden, who has been publicly known for nearly 50 years and never before generated any enthusiasm as a presidential contender, who barely campaigned and rarely took questions from the press (unless they concerned his favorite ice cream flavors), and who slurred his way through speeches in front of sparsely parked cars, actually won more votes than any other Presidential candidate in history;
– That we’re told we must “believe all women,” except when they accuse the Democrats’ chosen figurehead (this one is not new, just evergreen);
– Bringing back Ron Klain to be Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff, while Biden promised to handle COVID so much better than Trump and Klain is on the record saying that the Obama-Biden Administration did everything wrong with H1N1 and just got lucky; and
– Biden already talking to foreign governments to shape policy under a new administration, while Biden provided the idea for criminalizing similar discussions during the Trump transition.
I’m sure there are more examples from just this week, but I must also include what is possibly the most deranging behavior of this year: the wide-spread closures of American schools since last March. I supported and understood the short-term school closure in the beginning of the pandemic, but current information does not necessitate continued and perhaps perpetual closures. As a parent with three children attending schools in person since September, I can personally attest to the fact that the schools are reasonably managing COVID exposures while delivering classroom-based education that engages and motivates far better than online learning at home day after day. The school closure issue is particularly deranging for parents of school-aged children and for working moms without stay-at-home husbands.
While I am currently a stay-at-home mom (a term which I dislike for its inability to capture what it is that I do), I have worked while raising young children. This new attitude that no one can ever get sick or be permitted to risk getting sick is absolutely baffling to me, since I very clearly remember that no one took seriously my arguments that putting my children in daycare was making them and me sick far too often, sometimes dangerously so. My kids got plenty of fevers and viruses in daycare settings as toddlers and pre-schoolers, and really no one ever subscribed to the view that it might actually be healthier for children to be at home instead of among so many germs. While most of the illnesses we endured were merely unpleasant and may improve our immune systems in the long-term, it seems that many of them caused far worse symptoms and were far more unpleasant than COVID-19. My 4-year-old even got H1N1 while in pre-school because the vaccines were so hard to get (thanks, Obama). When that same child was two, she caught a common virus at day-care that was no big deal for her but was potentially very dangerous for my newborn baby. No one ever told me I should probably take my older child out of daycare to avoid the risk to my baby, but I had to rush my 4 week-old to the emergency room in December when she predictably caught the virus.
Why is COVID-19 the only virus that some people have decided we all must completely rearrange our lives for? To return to school or not has become an intensely debated topic that is generating plenty of animosity and fear. It’s dividing neighbors and friends, just like all the seemingly more treacherous topics covered in Douglas Murray’s book The Madness of Crowds. So it seems to me that the division and animosity is the point. Some people have decided what we all must do, and if they derange us enough, they might accrue and retain power over the rest of us. And yet, even as I go through the list of maddening developments, I am not living in fear or experiencing whatever this new derangement syndrome might be called. I’m loving my family, cherishing my friends and making new ones, appreciating the beauty of autumn, connecting with my children through books, music, and humor, and appreciating my husband for his constant efforts on behalf of our family. I’m laughing at how obviously ridiculous and manipulative our politics can be. I think it’s the only sane reaction.Published in