I had a very troubling experience over the weekend which I think is worth sharing with you because it helps provide some much needed perspective on what is important in our politics.
I’ve always found the phenomenon of the so called “single issue voter” kind of silly, even if understandable. While it is of course, understandable, that people care deeply for some things more than others, and can hardly be expected to understand all the intricacies of all the government’s many tentacles, I have long held in contempt those who were so blinded by this or that pet project that they come to embody this cliche of missing the forest for the trees.
The libertarians, as they do in so many other contexts, provide a fine warning poster here. The libertarian project is vast in scope but narrow in its perceptions. You could hardly describe them as single issue voters since they want to completely reorder society, but they aim to do so along the spectrum of more or less government without much concern for what that entails. Since the world is decidedly more complex than this their ideas cease to correspond with reality and eventually you come to see from them the grotesque things we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
I’m not even sure egalitarianism is worth mentioning anymore, but, we’ll do a quick drive by. They’ve been exposed as just plain fake at this point. Their seething anti-White racial animus parading as a desire to help downtrodden had a surprisingly long run, but there are no longer any true believers in the “inherent equality of man” if any ever did exist. Now there are those that oppose this fraud, and those who coercively demand people assent to their lies, and operate as if they were true, even knowing that they are not. There is no longer any effort to convince people. It is purely coercive, and unapologetically so. But, whatever the reality, the dimension of politics wherein the government is good or bad to the extent that all of its citizens own the same amount and quality of stuff, well, with that lunacy so pervasive for so long it is hardly any wonder libertarianism briefly looked respectable to some.
One of the things I’ve really liked seeing in recent years is outraged parents. Sure I would prefer they were happy and right to be so. I should hope that would go without saying, but since a parent would have to be terribly uninformed to be content with what is going on in the world these days, their outrage is preferable to their acquiescence.
These people are not ideologues, with notable exceptions. Among them there is no consensus on the appropriate level or method of taxation. The demographic patterns are tough to miss but it’s not fundamentally ethnocentric. Many couldn’t tell you what it means to be Right wing or Left wing, much less would they care to be so categorized.
They have a rather simple, if expansive demand. They want what is best for their kids, and truth be told, most of them have not the vaguest idea what that is, but when they see people doing things that obviously are intended to harm the kids, the outrage is immediate and widespread and not at all subject to containment.
Ideologues see this and are like “Oh heck yeah, discontented people. I can go try to infect them with my mind virus” and this does not work out well for them. Whether it’s Leftists telling them they need more diversity, or libertarians telling them they need less government, or Nationalists blaming the Jews, the parents quite appropriately say “get away from me, weirdo, I just want these lunatics to leave my child alone, and from this experience I have learned not to trust ideologues.”
If you want a measurement of good government, it would be making those people happy without lying to them. The government that does that will last a thousand years and all its errors will be forgiven quite promptly. If you have ideological goals and you want to accomplish them, this is not to say you cannot do so, you just have to fit it into that framework.
But ideologues have trouble accomplishing this because their motives are at odds with those of the people whose support they require to enact them. They’re so stuck in their own heads and social circles that they lose track of what normal people want. They speak in jargon and associate with like minds and treat non-ideologues as suspects. They are, simply put, part of the problem these parents have identified with society, even when it is rival ideological sects causing the problem at the center of a given moment’s outrage.
Few things have outraged parents more, or more rightly, than the atrocities carried out in the name of COVID 19. I remember watching this masking lunacy on TV from jail, and then prison, and joking with guys inside that the people outside the walls had it worse than us.
Among the things that upset me the most about this was when it was pointed out that children who were supposed to be learning to speak were not seeing faces, and since children learn to speak in significant part by watching people’s lips move when they talk, they would as a consequence of this have their speech development impeded. As a guy who understands and appreciates the importance of speech perhaps better than most, this really, really upset me.
When I first had that idea put in my head I instantly recognized that this was obviously a disaster, and that anyone who called themselves a public health official would have to understand the obviousness and the gravity of this. The longer it went on and the more times I heard about it, the more angry I got because after a certain period of time you can no longer maintain the illusion that this is an unfortunate side effect of misguided ideas, or mere over protectiveness, or even paranoia.
Eventually it became obvious that they understood full well that what they were doing was harming children, and they knew there was no benefit to offset this cost, outside of their own political machinations. But they don’t view harming children as red on the ledger. They view this as a positive thing, because damaged people are their constituency, and they aim to make as many of them as they can by whatever means they might opportunistically find at their disposal.
Now, I don’t spend a lot of time talking to four year olds. But there is one I come into contact with on a semi regular basis since I get out of prison, and he’s a really sweet kid. He was just a baby when I went away, so he didn’t know me at all when our regular interactions began, and these have been roughly weekly.
Time goes forward, he’s a little bit more familiar with me as of late, and over the weekend I’m at the grocery store with him and his mother. Typically when we do this, we split up, I go do my thing they go do theirs, we meet outside.
This time he says “I want to go with Chris!” and he’s kind of insistent upon this. I was honored by the sheer gravitas of his assertiveness. I have a bad habit of internalizing too much of the negative things people say about me, and this is in some measure due to my having much to be ashamed of not pertaining to what those people say. I tend to think of near all of what I say and do as decidedly age prohibitive, and even when I do attempt to contain my use of profanity I struggle to summon the restraint required to produce anything that could be consistently described as “family friendly”.
I didn’t spend much time in the company of children before I went to prison. I consider it one of the few things our government does right that I didn’t see any while I was there. Subsequent to my release I live in a place hardly safe for adults, and what little thinking I do about kids is near always in relation to my desiring of a wife. The idea that some kid wants to hang out with me came as quite unexpected, and I was, in a word, touched by this.
Now, when he’s talking to his mother and father, they understand each other just fine for the most part. But this whole time I’ve managed to understand maybe 80% of what this kid is saying. I do not off the top of my head know what the normal development timeline of a child’s speech is, and since I know his parents are smart and they love him and care for him and everything else about the boy seems fine, I have been operating under the assumption that he probably talks better than most 4 year olds and this will work itself out on what will be, comparative to other kids his age, an accelerated timeline.
But when we’re alone in the store, I try to bond with the boy a bit, and I’m unsure of myself because this is the most in depth conversation I’ve had with a child in a very long time.
“What’s your favorite dinner that Mom makes?”
“What games do you like to play”
I’m not understanding his responses, and in my mind, I’m not doing this kid any favors by saying “Yeah go ahead keep babbling kid, and I’ll keep nodding like I understand”.
No. It’s actually pretty important that I really do understand. That’s the only way we can have a conversation, and since you just made my day by reminding me that I’m not the monster people read about in the newspapers, this matters to me a lot.
“So, I understood words 1,2,3,5, and 8. I need you to help me fill in the blanks here, what were the other words you said? Let’s repeat those words.”
He rephrases the entire sentence, and in his rephrasing, I miss other words, and things do not come into better focus. This is very frustrating for me, and at first I try to bring his focus back to the words I missed in the original sentence, but I’m also doubting myself here so I try not to push too hard.
It takes a bit before I realize this child was actually putting some significant effort into trying to communicate with me. He understands that I don’t understand, and he’s trying to find entirely new words to illuminate the situation.
It’s not that he doesn’t have the words. In fact, he’s got words to spare. “You don’t understand those words? Here’s some other words! How about these?”
It’s not that he doesn’t understand the rules of conversation. He’s actually operating at a higher level than I might have expected by finding entirely different ways to explain the concept under discussion.
So, I realize that I’m the one who is failing to grasp the situation, not him, and I stop trying to push the boy.
We get in the car, and I ask his mother about the expected development timeline of a child’s speech.
I know before I ask the question that she understands concepts like IQ all too well, so I am certain that she has a precise answer.
She also understands that on a practical level, I missed the whole COVID phenomenon, and there’s been a few times when she has had to explain to me this brave new world of ours.
So she begins to explain the importance of seeing people’s lips move when you’re learning to speak, and before she could even get started it made perfect sense to me.
He has no shortage of words. He understands everything. He’s having trouble with pronunciation, and being aware of this trouble, he keeps on trying to find other words.
This was the first time I had actually witnessed this thing that I was dreading from prison, and it was with this kid who might as well have placed a crown on my head half an hour ago. That’s a dangerous combination, when a political issue you’re really passionate about hits home in a very personal way.
The feeling that overcame me when I realized this was profoundly negative. A troubling and increasingly familiar combination of anger and despair that could leave a man liable to do something he might regret from a jail cell. Or perhaps worse, from a jail cell, have no regrets at all. I wanted to find one of these people who had harmed this kid and I wanted to make sure that they understood the gravity of their crime, and you try to work through the implications of that, you know, how does one, with no more than two hands at his disposal, inform someone who has intentionally inflicted upon an entire generation of innocent children, speech impediments and psychological trauma and delays in education and development, whose consequences are in plain English immeasurable, will be unfolding for decades, and in all likelihood transmitted in some measure, to future generations? What can my two hands do to deliver a message of that weight?
There might be some trial and error involved in such a thing. I don’t imagine I’d get it right the first time. I might have to find a few of these folks, see what works.
Ideas like this, as much as anything else, are what make me question my own fitness to be around children, certain though I may be of my fury’s righteousness. It was nice for a minute there to think of myself as harmless. For briefest of moments I felt like a kid myself. “Yeah, let’s play, kid!” I forgot all about groceries. That was really nice.
But these days we’re never far from a reminder that men must be dangerous, are we?
And you know, the people who did this, they mean to do it again. They do not question at all their fitness to be around children. You see them floating this lunacy, seeing if they can get away with it, probing the tolerance levels of the population. They find their limits, retreat just a little, then charge forward again, each time gaining some ground, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But they never stop because they understand as well as I do that there is little indeed that my two hands can do about it.
Our interactions for the day did conclude with a bit of levity, I am happy to report. It was a decidedly mixed sort of levity, but, that might be the best we can hope for nowadays.
The boy, he asks a lot of questions, as I understand kids his age are known to do. Though I gather he’s more curious than others, a smart kid anxious to understand the world he is to inherit.
He asks a question about the cracks in the roads, and I decide to have some fun with this by saying the Democrats don’t take good care of them in our city, but other cities have nicer roads.
He corrects me, by pointing out that actually, it’s the plants under the pavement pushing the roads up.
Of course, we each have a point here.
And I’m like yeah, well, that’s true. The plants push up the concrete, but then the Democrats don’t fix the roads and sidewalks like they’re supposed to.
He tells me…
“Jesus will fix it.”
I reply “It might just come to that kid… ”
Now, I want you to think about something. Whatever your thoughts on Jesus, I have long been told that God helps those that help themselves, and I don’t consider it any coincidence that those most certain of God’s justice tend to be people who try really hard to do the right thing. People who wait around for God to fix things I have observed find themselves unsatisfied, and whatever they profess their faith to be, demonstrate through their acts that they do not believe they are being judged by an all knowing deity.
There was a time in my life, a pretty long time, actually, where I thought that my ideas were so important that they must be implemented at any cost. I had an endless array of justifications for this, and I’d say most actually had merit. One can observe plain as day that things continuing on as they are is not an option, because this unsustainable chaos, and evil, is costly in itself. So, a reasonable man may accept some expense if it means a better course for the future.
But I imagine a lot of you have had more interactions with children in the last four years than I have. You know better than me what damage has been inflicted upon them. I should hope this steady exposure has left you better adjusted than I, but I do not imagine my outrage is at all lost on you.
When I think about people who say, it doesn’t matter, who the next president is, or what party is in control of the government, or that all of these politicians are the same, I’m not sure I can continue justifying the notion that they are any less responsible for what happened to that kid than Anthony Fauci.
People who have the capacity to mitigate, even slightly, that damage, and simply decline to do so because they think they’ll get more of what they want, after things get worse…
It’s a good thing one of them wasn’t within arm’s reach of me when I realized what had been done to this child.
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