How America Lost Its Mind
There is a looong article in "The Atlantic". Under the above title. It can however be summarized briefly. KURT ANDERSEN argues that as many as a majority of Americans have always believed silly things. From my knowledge of history, I am inclined to agree. And if you don't know much history, Andersen gives you a grand tour of it.
He attributes this flexibility of belief to the general freedoms that Americans have. The land of the free is, by extension, the land of freedom to believe anything that you want to. Again, I think there is something in that.
But towards the end of his article Andersen comes of course to TRUMP. And you can guess what he thinks of Trump. Trump has no reality contact at all, according to Andersen. He is mad. Leftist thinking and assumptions and customs and procedures have become so entrenched in public discourse that to blast through it all sounds mad to Andersen -- or at least morally defective.
And from Trump's success he concludes that Americans generally have reached new heights of derangement. But how to explain that fall? The obvious culprit is the internet, which allows all sorts of craziness to spread without check or hindrance. And, as a secondary cause, Andersen cherry-picks a few things that some Republicans have said that seem particularly corrupting to the search for truth. Christianity in particular seems to him a major form of brain-rot.
What he is completely blind to, however, is the total disregard for the truth on the political Left. And that is not controversial. The Left themselves tell us that. They say: "there is no such thing as right and wrong". And they live that belief. Almost any Leftist argument is one big exerise in cherry-picking. What a Leftist polemicist writes normally sounds right and reasonable -- until you hear the stuff that the Leftist has omitted from his argument. Telling only one side of the story is the Leftist specialty. It is so very common that I get the impression that they can do no other.
Conservative polemic, by contrast, usually START OUT with the Leftist argument and then puts forward contrary information. Conservatives keep trying to refute Leftists with facts -- a quite futile operation. The fine-honed psychological defence mechanisms of the Left -- denial, projection, compartmentalization etc. -- are only one way that they protect themselves from acknowledging inconvenient facts.
Mostly, they do their best to ensure that they never even hear a conservative presentation in the first place. I have seen them literally get up and run away from a conservative presentation of facts that Leftists normally omit from their consideration. And, of course, they make huge efforts to censor or disrupt conservative speech so that they don't have to hear it in the first place. And if a speaker of conservative arguments can be got at and punished for his speech, they will do that too -- ask James Damore of Google about that.
So the Left do their level best to ensure that the whole truth will never come out. But that inevitably fails. There are some channels of communication that let people know how much falsehood there is in Leftist writing. People listen to the mainstream TV channels and mainstram newpapers only to find eventually that none of it could he trusted. Just one man -- Rupert Murdoch -- has cracked the TV and newspaper bubble. With Fox news, The New York post and the Wall St Journal, Murdoch has made widely available information that would once not have come to the attention of the general public. And enough people take in Murdoch's information to use it in everyday discussions. So even people who themselves absorb no Murdoch input will often hear of it by word of mouth. And there are of course radio talkers and blogs that also evade the Leftist straitjacket on information.
So now that people have a growing awareness that they have been systematically deceived, one must expect a certain cynicism to set in. People begin to ask the age-old question: "What is truth?" And the answers to that will often be not very sophisticated. People will seize on any belief that seems plausible to them. So I agree that we now live in an age of heightened irrationality. The lying Left have propelled us into it.
And the rise of Trump is explainable in the same way. His distancing himself from the conventional authorities and calling them a "swamp" coincides very well with how many people have been perceiving all the deception that flow from such authorities. He offers a way out of the intellectual morass that the Left have created.
And even his manner of speech offers hope. He speaks in extremely simple English: Short sentences using very common words. He comes across even in his manner of speaking as a plain and simple man -- most unlike the smooth pieties of most media figures. He really does seem different -- mainly because he is. And even his famous inattention to detail corresponds with how most Americans operate: They go for the broad outline with no time for details.
So. Yes. We do live in times where finding the truth can be a big challenge. But there is after all a fairly easy way to do it if you have time. You just have to read both sides of every question. Do that and you will soon see which side is offering a balanced account of reality.
Also: Reality is the ultimate test of whether your theories are right or wrong. If they are wrong you will not get the results you expect. If they are right you may make a big breakthrough, as Trump has done with a couple of hundred thousand new jobs being created every month and a big rise on the stockmarket. The economy could do with a bit more more "madness" like that.