The apocalypse. The end days. Science fiction is based mainly upon this concept. Hollywood exploits the idea in every 4th film it produces. People of great intelligence become swept up in the maelstrom and believe. All liberals believe in dystopia, it is their stock in trade, but they will also affirm that the coming dark days are the fault of mankind and could be avoided by blame designation, regimentation, regulation, and taxation.
So if you believe in imminent dystopia you’ve got a friend in Islam. You and the beheader down the block or across the globe travel a common path. Graeme Wood’s very fine and informative article entitled “What ISIS Really Wants”, in the March edition of The Atlantic, asserts that “For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need.” Wood is to the heart of the matter.
Maybe the idea of apocalypse is attractive because it releases one from any true moral obligation in life. Islamists act this out through mass beheadings and taped immolations. Liberals act this out by, in effect, saying, “Look, take this food, this shelter, this phone, these expensive gym shoes, this shoddy education, and leave me alone. I give them to you not only as a token of my decency and empathy, but also to get you off my conscience. I don’t believe in Higher Powers or Higher Spirits, so all I can offer you is free things. Your Soul, if you have one, is your problem. I gave at the office and in the voting booth. Go away.”
A conservative, and I daresay there are none left, would try to fill the spirit with information, knowledge, insight, and optimism. These would act as a guide to self-reliance, self-control, self-understanding and true selflessness. People with a sense of purpose, of self-worth, do not go around beheading their brothers. As correlative, people with a sense of purpose, of self-worth, do not go running amok in suburban malls pushing, shoving, and grabbing mere tokens from shelves. From whom does someone get the idea that things are the objective of a life well lived? We know whom; the leftist welfare state.
There truly is an underlying need inside people to contribute to their own welfare and that of others. When this need is discarded or ignored the empty space is filled with envy followed by anger. The anger is superseded by a need to punish, and that need to punish must be justified in the name of something, anything, let’s say Jihad, let’s say equality. Because there is no Higher Spirit and no hope against the apocalyptic future, punishment is extracted by murder in the case of ISIS. In the case of the American left, not yet so desperate, punishment exploits the same tokens used to evade its true moral obligation: The left extorts more money so it can say, “Look, more of you take more of this food, more of this shelter, more these phones, more of these expensive gym shoes, and more of this shoddy and unfulfilling education right up to Community College. They are tokens of more decency, more empathy, and more peace to our conscience. Now go away.”
But the negatively educated class, definitely not the types Howard Dean would sanction in spite of his great democratic empathy for them, turn to looting, murder, and unspeakable acts if only to have their voice heard. Like ISIS they do this to ensure that their lives matter.
A couple insistent upon raising materially spoiled yet spiritually neglected children will have no peace; so too a nation.
So Islam is not the only subset of humanity exploiting a supposed apocalypse. Men born in 1900 faced a life expectancy of 55 years; women much less because of childbirth. 115 years later a man will live, on average, 73 years and his wife will outlive him. In spite of these facts a medical apocalypse was predicted in order to justify government control of medical availability.
Climate (sort of ) science is the American apocalypse du jour now that Obama Care has solved all the problems modern health care scourged upon free people. John Podesta in Politico, February 17, “Climate change has already impacted our country’s fiscal health. Over the last decade, the federal government has incurred over $300 billion in direct costs due to extreme weather and fire alone. The Pentagon has warned that climate change endangers our national security—because climate change-related pressures like deep droughts, crop failures and extreme weather act as a “threat multiplier,” helping fuel instability and violence in already troubled parts of the world.”
Are you sufficiently alarmed? Look at all of those frightening words; extreme weather and fire, endangers national security, droughts, crop failures, threat multipliers, instability, violence. Who would want to live through 73 or more years of that? Makes you want to defund O Care in order to avoid witnessing this new apocalypse. Promised dystopia as an extortive; tool of the left.
Regarding ISIS, Marie Harf, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said, “We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs…”
Liberalism is one of the root causes she speaks of. People inculcated with a pessimistic view of life, society, and human interaction, live in fear. Fear causes some men to immolate other men. Fear caused one woman to abort a male fetus with the words “I don’t hate men, I hate the patriarchy, what men, and even some women, turn into, I wasn’t going to let that happen with my offspring.” You need an advanced degree in liberalism to learn so much fear of and hate for the “patriarchy” as to murder an innocent. Even if the “science” is on your side.
Those words, a 21st century mother’s words, recall Wood’s thought, “For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need.”
I would add that a soul may have intelligence, but intelligence alone has no soul.
Every day we see more and more examples of the latter. It is a bad bargain we have struck.