Posted here: August 12, 2019.
The road back home
Consider two little babies, Janet and Jack, who had the good fortune of beating the odds and actually making it into the world alive.
When she was growing up, Janet lived with her two black parents in a somewhat poor part of town. When he was growing up, Jack lived with his white mother in a middle-class neighborhood. (His father had separated from the family when Jack was very young.)
In public schools, Janet and Jack learned that America is a bad country. It's founders were slave owners. The founders gave us a government that was based on white privilege. Racism is inherent in white people. Racism is fundamental to the country. Donald Trump is an extreme racist and all Republicans and conservatives are racist and evil.
In school, Janet and Jack learned that symbols of blatant racism remain spread all across the land. Names like Washington and Jefferson must be scoured from street signs and buildings. And statues of historical figures -- evil historical figures; or at least evil figures according to some -- must be identified and removed, preferably torn down and destroyed. But even such cleansing cannot remove the stain of racism and bigotry that permeates all of America. The stain will remain forever.
Janet and Jack learned that the planet is in great peril. The selfishness and greed of mankind have resulted in the production of man-made pollutants that will soon make Earth a place where no one can live. That will happen in maybe ten years. Maybe twelve years. Maybe a little longer. But it will happen. And it's man who is destroying the planet, and mostly, it's Americans who are to blame. Mostly Republicans and conservatives. Democrats are trying to save the planet.
Janet and Jack learned that religion is very dangerous. It's so dangerous, teachers can't even talk about it. They knew that if either one of them asked about Jesus in school, or even mentioned the name, disciplinary action would likely follow. Religion is scary. But neither Janet nor Jack knows why.
Janet and Jack knew that boys are boys and girls are girls, but they were told it doesn't matter what people actually are. They were taught it only matters what people think they'd like to be. Janet and Jack knew that didn't make any sense, but that's what the teachers were saying. Can facts be bent -- can truth be bent -- to whatever outcome you wish? Yes, that's the lesson Janet and Jack learned.
In high school, Janet and Jack were told college was their destiny. All they needed was a loan from the government, and no matter what courses they took, their futures would be assured. They were told they would find the job they wanted and they'd live happily ever after.
In college, Janet and Jack learned that having sex was fun. Janet learned pregnancy is never a worry. If precautions failed, any pregnancy could be terminated. The life of a potential new-born can be snuffed out without much trouble at all. Life, Janet learns, is expendable. Having fun is more important. Jack learned sex had risks. Getting consent from someone for sex didn't mean the consent couldn't be withdrawn at some time – any time – after sex.
Janet and Jack watched TV and listened to what grown-ups were saying. They learned Donald Trump was an imposter and could never be elected president. Everyone said so. Donald Trump was just a TV personality. Nothing more. People would never vote for him. His candidacy was laughable. It was 100 percent guaranteed: Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States. Janet and Jack saw smart people on TV, some of the smartest, say so. Day after day. They knew it was true. They believed it. Why would they not?
And the next thing they knew, Donald Trump was president. How could that be? Everyone said it wouldn't happen. And then all the experts and analysts on TV said Mr. Trump was too dumb to be in the White House. The economy would tank. He'd start wars. Nothing would get done. The country would fall apart. But those promises, too, were false. Totally false.
Then, for more than two full years, TV screens showed expert after expert and politician after politician state there was unequivocal proof Donald Trump conspired with Russians to win the election. It was an impeachable offense. It was just a matter of time. Donald Trump would be impeached! It wasn't speculation. It wasn't hearsay. It was fact! Donald Trump would be hauled out of office, his presidency would be cut short, he would be thoroughly disgraced. Janet and Jack believed it.
So Janet and Jack left college with many life lessons learned: Americans are bad people; therefore, Janet and Jack are bad people. But Jack is particularly bad because he's racist. And he's white. Janet has been massively harmed and grievously hampered all her life because she's black. She can't succeed because she's black. She deserves reparations. Jack's racism is apparent because he doesn't think he owes reparations to blacks.
Also: As Americans, Janet and Jack share responsibility for the degradation of the environment and its ultimate demise. They must feel extreme regret for this. They have committed a sin from which there's no redemption. Their world will end in the foreseeable future. They are partly to blame. The guilt they feel is significant. It's crushing.
Also: Religion is a curse. Nothing good can come from it. People who are religious are dangerous. They are stupid. They are to be shunned and made fun of.
Also: If people can be any gender they choose, then they can make truth from fiction. More broadly, there is no truth. There are no absolutes. There are no boundaries. Nothing has a purpose. Anything goes. All the experts may say one thing, but it can be an utter and total lie. And you don't have to apologize for being wrong. You don't have to apologize for lying.
Also: Sex is not sacred. It's a moment of pleasure, like eating an ice cream cone. But, it's meaningless pleasure. Selfish pleasure. Fleeting pleasure. And a life that may be created in the process is expendable. Both Janet and Jack know life has no value. Besides, the planet will be unlivable -- soon -- so why worry about life? Why worry about the future?
Also: A college education is not a panacea and a college loan can be a huge anchor around one's neck.
So, with all that Janet and Jack have learned, what do they have to look forward to in the months and years and decades ahead of them? What will give them optimism? What will give them hope? What will give them satisfaction? What will give them reward? What will give them a sense of achievement? And most importantly: what will give them meaning? What will give them a lust for life?
They learned the answer [the wrong answer]: nothing. Life is utterly meaningless. Life is useless. Life is empty. Life is hopeless.
Janet and Jack begin their lives after their formal education confused, fearful, broken. They have negative feelings that breed anger, unfulfilled psychological needs that breed instability. There are no absolutes, no societal standards. No truths. Certainly, no boundaries based on fear of higher accountability. (Reference.)
James Howard Kunstler tells us where we are today:
"This is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on Earth and erase as many boundaries as you can from culture and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men . . . No communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organizing principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and affection, and no way out." (Source.)
That's the worst part: "no way out."
Matt Walsh sums up:
"At bottom, the answer is that we have become a country filled with numb, detached, and desensitized people. Mass shootings are the ultimate manifestation of that detachment. Our reaction to them -- rhetorically slinging dead bodies at each other to score points in a political argument -- is a slightly less severe but very much related manifestation. A survivor of the El Paso shooting reports that the shooter casually smirked before unloading on a crowd of innocent people. This echoes many other reports from many similar shootings. The killer is always smirking like he's slightly amused, or else he's blank-faced and emotionless. Rarely do you get a picture of someone running around enraged and screaming. We call these acts of 'hate,' but they are much more acts of brutal, murderous indifference. These are empty, numb, detached people slaughtering their fellow humans because they are bored and frustrated with their meaningless lives." (Source.)