Mob Rule, Mob Rules: Part 3, Section 1

(Part 1, Part 2)

Trumphantism: Donald J. Trump & The Post-Trump World

By: E. Kyle Richey

Earth to America: Crashing til Landed

Marred by 2020 the world braces for impact in 2021. Humanity has witnessed a paradigm shift, yet the dust still settles as outcomes and consequences remain to be decided. Donald J. Trump, United States 45th President has lost an election which determined the cascading trajectory of the United States of America. Now is the time to understand what we are leaving behind as American’s and the world enter the fragmented universe of 2021. 

The irony of collapse is eventually a replacement appears. No power, however impressive, lasts forever per the testimonies of time by empires that long lay in ruin. Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome lay in ruin while continuing to influence the present; they may be in ruin yet their voices speak an eternality of what is to come, “an end and new beginnings,” they whisper.  

Transitions from beginning to end are never definite in degree, but shared similarities showcase potential possibilities for historians and political thinkers alike to study and consider. 

In 1992 a profound and controversial book was published, The End of History and the Last Man (1992) by Political and Social theorist Francis Fukuyama. Immediately in his introduction Fukuyama premised that liberal democracies are the pinnacle of a free and open society, an end of history, while acknowledging stable nations such as the United States or France would continue to have issues due to an “incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality (p. xi).”1 Within the end of history and fasts-forward to 2018 with the publication of Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, both works acknowledge a demand for universal recognition (an idea from the philosopher Hegel) or dignity according Fukuyama, a place where all are seen heard, and known. Yet the ideal turns toward the ideological as demands of recognition include no forms of discrimination or disrespect felt by oppressed groups giving rise to a new totalitarianism, a “soft totalitarianism”2 whose overarching hand comes largely from corporations whose cooperation with governments make them complicit actors of the state. This is Modernity’s present conflict and a test concerning history’s end due to its irreality and polarizing affect of identity politics: 

Being a citizen of a liberal democracy does not mean, moreover, that people will actually be treated with equal respect either by their government or by other citizens. They are judged on the basis of their skin, their gender, their national origin, their looks, their ethnicity, or their sexual orientation. Each person and each group experiences disrespect in different ways, and each seeks its own dignity. Identity politics thus engenders its own dynamic, by which societies divide themselves into smaller and smaller groups by virtue of their particular “lived experience” of victimization (p. 164).3

Specific to the United States of America, a serious conflict is taking place concerning its future in the world as it continues to dim in the night sky. Our nebulae is fading while false promises of return continue from Trump to Biden. The election of 2020 further marks a crisis of culture and legitimacy. Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, and additional Marxist movements in the areas of culture and political life are merely one revolt competing against another. Attempts in the final weeks of the Trump Presidency to override the Capitol was an extension of a radical right of QAnon conspirators and Alt-right fascism determined to prevent what they believe was an election stolen and an America quickly fading in front of their eyes. As Anne Applebaum from The Atlantic observed, extremists are emboldening one another.4 Events in America today are reminiscent of Germany as Marxist’s caused anarchy in the streets and out of frustration far-right extremist groups -began to take the streets ending in bloodshed and a revolution that brought about Adolf Hitler into power.

Would it be hard to believe that both sides of the the quarrel in America today carry legitimacy and illegitimacy? A conundrum for sure but a postmodern reality as conflicting interpretations5 swirl us into further disaster. Internally outcomes mean a warring between a weak versus strong state, however, a much larger powers hover over the once great nation. China, Corporatism, and Globalism each carry a new weight on the shoulders of Uncle Sam.

Socialist Technocrats riding of the back of Capitalism are aiming for a Great Reset in the midst of C-19.6 Spiraling out of control, disillusioned by their grander, they believe they can land a plane already in flames with President Biden and Vice-President Harris at the throttle. In order to comprehend the erosion and decay; to predict the outcomes that are likely to arise in 2021; and to understand the pinnacle of modernity—late modernity, a perpetual state7 of totalitarian incantations8—we must first review President Trump and the American ethos of 2016 that built up to this point. Mob Rule, Mob Rules did not develop overnight but it is rooted in the unsettled nature of mankind whose fears, wants, needs, and desires collide in a world of duality with the Self at the center of an unraveling universe that is the End of History & the Last Man.   

America’s Second Postmodern President

Donald J. Trump was an enigma and an archetype representative of the reverberating tensions in the modern world. America’s 45th President was not in the mundane category as he set a new standard for future leadership in the political landscape—an all gloves off approach. His own outrageous behavior polarized the most moderate into unmarked territories while enflaming political baselines. To call the man evil ignores the good he committed himself to doing while President, yet to call the man good evaporates his offensive oddities that perturbed Conservatives and non-Conservatives, Christians and non-Christians alike. The now former President was our first purely postmodern President; a genius capable of fragmenting and uniting in ways not thought possible in modern America.9 He successfully made the ecological landscape appear upside-down and right-side up, greatly due to the fact that American society at present is itself fragmented and united, engaged and disengaged, troubled and relived.

As I engaged on the EKR Report, it is important to reiterate here:

It is my belief that America’s 45th President Donald J. Trump was a complete postmodern President; a manifestation of late modernity’s yearnings for a hero and a villain. Trump just so happened to represent the radical right, the alt-right, but it is questionable if President Trump was indeed a man of the right or a man who took advantage of their woes. Previously I have mentioned that I believed Trump to be the first postmodern president, but I stand corrected as Barack Obama was the first (another topic to be sure). However, in reaction to thematics of Obama, Donald Trump entered center stage to fill a void in the political right, a strong arm who could MAGA his way though Washington. QAnon and the Alt-right are blatant examples of the modern malaise that is postmodernism. 

Continuing that thought-line I presented Donald J. Trump as a Postmodern Nebuchadnezzar:

Manifestation being the keyword President Trump embodies the essential postmodern stigma. He is the result of an ecological convergence within late modernity—a billionaire titan hungry for an abundance of power and wealth in order to make a legacy and the presidency was the perfect construct at a point of political strife…

President Trumps election and win in 2016 was understandably a response to the status quo, a push against the vanguard found in the Democratic and Republican parties that elected George W. Bush and Barrack Obama, respectfully, and a reactionary response from the public to the potential presidency of Hillary Rodham Clinton. People have grown weary of globalism, capitalism, socialism, war, and even peace. Citizens are worn.

And the election of Joe Biden is a reaction to Trump and Trumphantism, however, is also a response to the ills that minorities and progressives argue are repressing them. They too are enraged by hate speech, discrimination, low wages, and an expensive bloated healthcare system.

Combined a catalyst has been formed of good versus evil; light versus darkness. The postmodern stage has been set and the audience is watching:

In his book, Simulacra and Simulation, the postmodern thinker Baudrillard argues that within the United States a switch took place between the image relationship of art forms and reality; the image now has ontological priority over the real. Signs and Symbols have become the reality rather than the actual world itself thus resulting in life itself becoming “film-like” as he puts it:

It is not the least of America’s charms that even outside the movie theaters the whole county is cinematic. The desert you pass through is like the set of a Western, the city a screen of signs and formulas.”

Continuing:

A simulacrum is a representation of something or someone. Donald Trump, I am arguing, is a simulacrum due to the sociopolitical economic environment of the United States. He is a superficial force Americans had to contend with as either good or evil; right or wrong. Trump was not one but both. A master of media, Trump knew exactly how to market himself as savior and king as much as antichrist and tyrant. Christian professor and author of the book, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth In A Distracted Age, Alan Noble describes our media saturated society—what I see as a postmodern product of late modernity the emerged from secularism, technology, and science— Nobles writes that the:

[C]onstant engagement with media also invites us to unreflectively adopt ethical and political positions, creating a hodgepodge worldview. From a film on the treatment of animals in amusement parks we develop a fleeting concern for animal rights. A documentary on modern farming practices makes us see shopping local and organic a moral issue.

Are the events we are witnessing real? Who is telling the truth? What will become of the human estate? Former President Trump offered America one way forward and it was a way that now nearly half of America sought to maintain rather than surrender. So much so that a cabal raided the Capital. While another half, a half fearful of Trump and “his” America, elected Joseph Robinette Biden Jr to repose from a sudden decay in their vision of democracy.

Disturbingly there is a serious disconnect between needs and wants for the average American citizen versus the conflicting natures found in Washington. Following that logic, the innumerable hands influencing decisions in the American political system has designed a wide range of conflicts in terms of visions and, as I have termed it, a collision of ideas that relate to the competing visions of the nation and the world for that matter.10 

If the controversial terminology Deep State11 means anything it is that there are far too many actors involved in the decision making of the U.S. Government beyond its traditional capacity of the three branches of government and their inability of functional overwatch. Additionally, Deep State as I define is a clear cooperation, not conspiratorial, between the State (i.e. the Federal, State, and local governments including its many agencies) and private entities (i.e. Corporate entities such as Media conglomerates, Banks, and Private Military Companies); a layering of networks that has become the security state entwined with a global economy called neoliberalism. Modernity procured a “Too Big To Fail” attitude because our interconnected global economy is dependent upon its own continual success. Security and prosperity are its goals. Civilization is not post-modernity, its in the thicket of modernity. Postmodernism— philosophically and ideologically—acts a reflective state that mirrors modernity’s crisis. This is the present Market State12 out of which Trump triumphed, at least, momentarily.

Never A One Man Show

Trump became President in the midst of a rise of authoritarian figures, nationalism, and Brexit.13 But he also stood as a bulwark against socialism, critical race theories, and leftist radicalism. Yet he adopted agendas that aligned with alt-right motives.14 A man who was bitter and vial towards those he disliked and quick to dispose all those who showed a lack of Trump style loyalty. Paradoxically, Trump was willing to stand against our greatest enemies in the world including China and rail against the greatest evils such as abortion; the paradox would also have bizarre relations with our greatest enemiesRussia and North Koreathat themselves left many perplexed.

Mob Rule and Mob rules goes both ways. Once a society or group accepts a particular culture to the extent of an unwavering obedience that is when the mere obedient citizen morphs into the crazed devotee.15 In such a state of mind the individual joins a collective consciousness that bestows an ideological framework with its authoritative structures, a tyrannical voice speaks over the disillusioned. Granted that both authority and legitimacy are each necessary means to gaining such societal clout. Without that respect the people protest, rebel, and eventually turn into revolutionaries. Todays status quo can be tomorrows tyranny as the vanguard can be heroes and mob alike. No modern government is unaware of the populist pull.

With the populist shift in the recent decade as seen in the election of President Trump a void continues to grow in the desire of American political stability. As previously written in part 2 of this series:

Donald Trump was not Russia’s (forever) President Vladimir Putin nor North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, however, the current President fit well within mob tactics. Portrayed as a hero who was set on “draining the swamp” it was clear that the Washington outsider brought in his own muck. 

Biden is the pendulum swing further to the left. Hardly a stabilizing force considering the policies the President and the democratic party have adopted.

Life’s A Riot

            Movements and the groups who fight for their beliefs can quickly be perceived as either just or unjust depending on which side a person stands. The avant-garde of the new or the progressive versus the conservative institutions or the reactionary, these are only a set of varying “stances” a person can be part of. However, where do hate groups, real hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, or Neo-Volkisch stand in the spectrum of differences between progressives and conservatives? They may share similar accepted norms and mores of general society, but their responses are dehumanizing, threatening, and often violent. Truthfully, they have no justification in relation to either the avant-garde or the establishment considering that these movements of hate are beyond even the fridge of accepted beliefs and are considered fraudulent in their cause. Yet liberalized governments tend to protect even the most hateful. Such a decision hardly premises legitimacy but it begs the question, How do liberal democracies successfully funnel extremist groups within their countries? That question relates to the United State most recent socioeconomic and political trajectories of riots and movements via Black Lives Matter and the Alt-Right. And it is a central topic as the 46th President Biden intend to tackle “white supremacy” after President 45 attempted to address the radical socialist left. It is therefore essential to understand Black Lives Matters, ANTIFA, and the Alt-Right; to see them as archetypical trajectories of what lays ahead in the radicalism that has overtaken the American Dream that is no more.

————

Next Time: Mob Rule, Mob Rules: Part 3, Section 2 Trumphantism: The Alt-Right, Black Lives Matters, ANTIFA, and the Fate of American Liberty

References

1 Dreher, Rod. (2020). Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents. New York, NY: Sentinel

2 Fukuyama, Francis. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. New York, NY: The Free Press

3 —. (2018). Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

4 Applebaum, Anne. (2020 October 30). The Answer to Extremism Isn’t More Extremism. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/left-and-right-are-radicalizing-each-other/616914/

5 As a point of reference I am using Jean Baudrillard’s usage as he explained this loss of the real in how we interpret events around us. In his example, he used Watergate. This is directly quoted from Simulations (1983) Translated by Phil Beitchman, Paul Foss and Paul Patton, “All hypotheses are possible, although this one is superfluous: the work of the Right is done very well, and spontaneously, by the Left on its own. Besides, it would be naive to see an embittered good conscience at work here. For the Right itself also spontaneously does the work of the Left. All the hypotheses of manipulation are reversible in an endless whirligig. For manipulation is a floating causality where positivity and negativity engender and overlap with one another; where there is no longer any active or passive (p. 30).”

6 World Economic Forum. The Great Reset. https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/; and for further commentary on events see: Doane, Thomas. (2020 November 1). The Convergence of the Progressive Telos. Truth In Focus. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/01/the-convergence-of-the-progressive-telos/

7 Richey, Kyle. (2020 October 26). PostModernity: A Perpetual State of Modernity. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/10/26/postmodernity-a-perpetual-state-of-modernity/

8 —. (2020 November 2). Totalitarian Incantations: Late Modernity’s Radical Manifestations. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/02/totalitarian-incantations-late-modernitys-radical-manifestations/

9 —. (2020 August 20). Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020: Part 2. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/08/20/mob-rule-mob-rules-2020-part-2/

10 —. (2020 November 2020). Too Divided To Stand: Election 2020 & The Future of America. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/06/too-divided-to-stand-election-2020-the-future-of-america/

11 Several references: Lofgren, Mike. (21 February, 2014). Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State. Moyers On Democracy. https://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/; Kaizen, Michael. (Fall 2017). The Rise of the Security State: From the Great War to Snowden. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/world-war-i-aftermath-security-state-nsa; Healy, Gene. (1 March, 2015). National Security State. (Book Review) National Security and Double Government By Michael J. Glennonhttps://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/national-security-state; Epstein, Richard. (20 October, 2019) How Bad Constitutional Law Leads to Bad Economic Regulations. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/how-bad-constitutional-law-leads-bad-regulations/600280/

12 A great reference point for understanding the Market State is from Constitutional scholar Philip Bobbitt’s, The Shield of Achilles, including on page 347 where a small set of graphs or “plates” he calls them demonstrate the evolution of the state including a small definition of each entity. The Market State according to Bobbitt “will maximize the opportunity of its citizens.”

13 Greven, Thomas. (2016 May). The Rise of Right-wing Populism in Europe and the United States: A Comparative Perspective. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation. http://dc.fes.de/fileadmin/user_upload/publications/RightwingPopulism.pdf

14 Wilson, Matthew. (2020 July 17). Donald Trump and the “Alt-Right”: How Much Connection Is There. ISPI. https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/donald-trump-and-alt-right-how-much-connection-there-26990

15 Richey, Kyle. (2020 August 20). Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020: Part 2. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/08/20/mob-rule-mob-rules-2020-part-2/

A Review of The Year 202020202020

The Year That Never Ends

This special November Issue (2020) came at the wake of a radical leftist soft-totalitarianism that seeks to devour all that is human and humane. Now as November comes to a close and the great a-wokening continues forward, we must gather together as Christians to uphold the sacredness of our faith, the Truth of Christ in the darkness of our world.

Our approaching December Issue (2020) will be an evolving one. Not an all at once publication of articles, rather a liturgy of prayer, music, art, scripture, poetry, and articles that all direct the reader to the one essential reality that Jesus Christ is KING.

Month of November

November Issue (2020)

By Virtue of Desecration: Liberation & the Sexual Moral Erosion of America

“In-Doxycated”

The Left’s Feminist Narrative Killer

TruthInFocus Podcast: Ep 1 Book Review of Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher

Totalitarian ‘Diversocrats’ and American Higher Education: A Review

Political Indoctrination and Enzyme Inhibition: How Imbalances Prevent Unity

The Voices of the Silenced

The Convergence of the Progressive Telos

Totalitarian Incantations: Late Modernity’s Radical Manifestations

TIF Podcast: November 3rd Is Here

Insight

Too Divided To Stand: Election 2020 & The Future of America

Thy Week, Thus Far (11/11/2020)

Thy Week, Thus Far: Anti-Trumpist Revoluionaires, Perverted Corruptible Men, & the Coming Judgement Upon Us All

Opinion

America’s Identity Crisis

Special Series

Target Takes Aim

Theology

For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

Letter From The Editor

Substack Chronicles

Mere Beauty In Truth

Symposium Of Dreams

In October, we approached the month by spreading our wings and laying a foundation with podcasts, an official statement, and a special series on virtue over politics.

Month of October

A Declaration

Foundations: What We Stand On

AVisualPhilosophy (Month of October) (MereBeautyInTruth)

Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1903)

MereBeautyInTruth

Slow & Steady: Winning The Race

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday October 7, 2020

Wednesday October 14, 2020

Wednesday October 21, 2020

Thy Week, Thus Far: Trump Vs Biden Vs God

Quick Thoughts

When The Eighth Grader See’s Through Them: The VP Debate Of 2020

Speak Now, Cause What Comes Next Isn’t Pretty

All Things Veritas

Christ & the Coffee Ep 2

TIF Podcast: Ep 1: Live Not By Lies By Rod Dreher

TIF Podcast: Ep. 2 Another Gospel? By Alisa Childers

Special Series: Principles Over Politics (Completed)

Principles Over Politics: Exordium

Principles Over Politics: Virtuous Individualism

Principles Over Politics: Industry

Principles Over Politics: Fidelity

Principles Over Politics: Moral Courage

Principles Over Politics: Integrity

In September, immediate events grabbed at us with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and our public declaration of support for the selection of Amy Coney Barrett.

Month of September

Historical/Analysis

Welcome to the Party: America’s Established Political Parties By Race

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday September 1, 2020

Wednesday September 9, 2020

Wednesday September 23, 2020

Visual Philosophy (Month of September ) (MereBeautyInTruth)

The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David

Highlights (Aug/Sept 2020)

Highlights Reel

All Things Veritas (Youtube Channel)

Christ & The Coffee (Theological/Biblical Series)

Ep 1, Series 1

Insight

Burke, Kirk, & Scruton: A Conservative Legacy for the 21st Century

Special Edition

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Memoriam

Amy Coney Barrett: Our Next Supreme Court Justice Whose “Dogma” is Good for America

Special Report

Riled By Politics: The Fate of the U.S. Supreme Court & The Constitution

Quick Thoughts

The Presidential Retrobate… err Debate of 2020 (Round 1)

Hard to believe, but only four months ago, TIF was launched. August marked the beginning of the direction and purpose behind Truth In Focus. Well researched essays, art, poetry, theology… this is a safe haven for Christians and Conservatives.

Month of August

A Special Report Series

Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020 Part 1: To Mask or Not To Mask Isn’t The Question

Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020 Part 2: Mob Mentality & The Era of Trump

Opinion

Unsettling Statistics: Children & Consent

Get Woke or Get Broke: When Reason Fails to Stand

PAYWALL’Ed: Academic Research & Open Knowledge

Visual Philosophy (Month of August) (MereBeautyInTruth)

L’Apparition by Gustave Moreau

Poetry

Time by Edward Kyle Richey

Insight

Virtue By Decree (Part 1)

Theology/Scripture

A Word To The Wise

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday August 26, 2020

You can always read these articles and more in our Archives section.

Too Divided To Stand: Election 2020 & The Future of America

(Insight)

By E. Kyle Richey

As the days pass the world waits on the ballots to be counted with fraud investigations beginning, U.S. court handling disputes, and protestors marching in the streets for their cause or candidate (or both); the very legitimacy of the United States government along with the Media and Corporate America now all teeter in the balance. Whoever is elected now enters a more susceptible environment, one that may no longer be able to sustain favor of a wary public. Radicals now seek revenge regardless of who is in office. If Trump is reelected there stands a good chance that radical leftist elements will bring fire to the streets. Should Biden obtain the Presidency, it is uncertain if Trump supporters or even if President Trump himself will stand down; or if Biden himself is mentally up to the task, begging the question, under the assumption that Biden is elected, did half of America actually just elect America’s first black female president? All of these concerns are being asked. Emotions have peaked. Late Modernity’s perpetual state is here. It may be time to consider a different way forward by first stepping back.

Twenty-Eighteen

On September 29, 2018 the following thesis statement was presented before professors at a university:

“Arising from identity-based ideologies, secular modern American colleges and universities have increasingly adopted identity politics into their institutional practices. This adoption has resulted in limited discourses and substantive debates between opposing ideological, philosophical, scientific, and theological systems and their claims. Such practices dilute knowledge which in turn reduces innovation, ideas, and the search for truth. Furthermore, identity-politics is beyond the walls of academia, influencing other public and private spheres. In the wake of these changes, a growing wave of opposition has formed, offering new ideas and possible solutions concerning identity politics. But are these solutions viable?”1

That was my thesis.

In October of 2018 I presented my theory (a model built for higher education in mind) called: “Collision at the Intersection of Ideas: The Crisis of Identity in Higher Education2

My argument was that identity-based politics or the ideological belief that a person’s identity whether based on race, gender, sex, age, or even areas of religion were becoming a point of irreconcilable contention within higher education to such a degree that it narrowed actual learning concerning facts, knowledge growth, and differing perspectives all at the determent of the core purpose that is higher learning. I defined Identity Politics from Francis Fukuyama’s book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment and a study by Marilynn B. Brewer titled, The Many Faces of Social Identity: Implications for Political Psychology (2001):

Individuals who, through their sense of identity, feel they are being alienated and demand recognition.3

To argue my thesis I had to present the structure of Identity Politics i.e. how it manifests in higher education, prove it existed within higher education, and present studies that demonstrated a conflict with the identity-based culture in colleges and universities (little did I grasp it was also in Christian colleges, seminaries, and churches at that point).

Using my definition of Identity Politics (IP) I proved actual mechanisms or tools within colleges that are utilized administratively by institutions of higher education including:

  • Social Justice & Equity
  • Hate Speech
  • Micro-Aggressions
  • Intersectionality
  • White Fragility
  • Trigger Warning’s
  • Sanctuary Campus
  • Safe Space
  • Phobias (e.g. Transphobia)
  • Sexism
  • Gender Pronouns

Along with studies that conflicted with the established narrative that universities hold as their position in opposition to other varying opinions (here are some examples I presented at the time):

Microaggressions and Victimhood Culture

Campbell, B., & Manning, J. (2014). Microaggression and moral cultures. Comparative sociology, 13, 692–726.

Campbell, B., & Manning, J. (2018). The rise of victimhood culture: Microaggressions, safe spaces, and the new culture wars. [No city]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lewis, H. R. (2007). Excellence without a soul: Does liberal education have a future? New York, NY: PublicAffairs. Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Microaggressions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(1), 138–169.

Group Polorization & Identity

Cikara, M., & Van Bavel, J. J. (2014). The neuroscience of intergroup relations: An integrative review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(245).

Myers, D. G., & Lamm, H. (1976). The group polarization phenomenon. Psychological Bulletin, 83(4), 602-627. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.83.4.602

Gender/Sex differences between Males and Females

Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66(3), 710–722.

Deaner, R. O., Balish, S. M., & Lombardo, M. P. (2016). Sex differences in sports interest and motivation: An evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 10(2), 73– 97.

LaFreniere, P. (2011). Evolutionary functions of social play: Life histories, sex differences, and emotion regulation. American Journal of Play, 3(4), 464–488.

Safe Spaces and Critical Thinking

Boostrom, Robert. (1998). ‘Safe spaces’: Reflections on an educational metaphor. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 30:4, 397-408. DOI: 10.1080/002202798183549

Barrett, Betty J. (2010) “Is “Safety” Dangerous? A Critical Examination of the Classroom as Safe Space,” The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: 1:1. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2010.1.9

Even in 2018 I could see the intersection between higher education and the workplace or in politics, but I naively believed that Christian Institutions could safe guard themselves from IP.

Within my thesis I wanted to show two important factors at play within and outside of higher education:

1) A “Conflict of Visions” as explained by Thomas Sowell; a vision being “our sense of how the world works” as Sowell elaborates “Visions are the foundations on which theories are built… Visions are very subjective, but well-constructed theories have clear implications, and facts can test and measure their objective validity” (p. 4).4 From Sowell’s perspective, the place of conflict comes at the degree in which a vision is constrained or unconstrained; the more constrained a vision the less willing the society or group or person is to act on an issue of importance precisely because that action may result in a reverberation of consequences larger than the original issue. For example, ending a ban on gay marriage. An action of this kind, right or wrong, has consequences in relation to those who oppose gay marriage and are at conflict with other LGBTQ issues beyond just marriage. We see this contention between people of faith and a secular view in terms of rights. Without going into that debate, the unconstrained vision says that this is an act of justice; everyone should have the right to marry whomever they want in the name of love or some ethereal concept. A very real point of contention therefore exists between the two visions and neither vision is always right or wrong, rather Sowell demonstrates the need for logic and facts regardless of a constrained or unconstrained vision. Sowell recognizes the imperfection of reason itself as well along with the real emotional and psychological factors that come with these debates or visions of conflict. Nothing is perfect and that is the point by Sowell. There are no utopias, only gulags when a sect moves toward their utopian ideal which will eventually fail.

2) A collision concerning a conflict of visions had occurred; a collision at the intersection of ideas. Fundamental positions are now incapable of coexisting in a liberal democratic society because identity based politics that liberalism and capitalism, neoliberalism, successfully forged. The beginning decay of Liberalism started at the wake of postmodernism in the late 1940s after a disillusioned populace survived WW2 going into the 1950s with a lost sense of trust in human institutions and a desire for more in life. Old bonds, already decaying, were rupturing by the 1960s and onward. By the year 2000 society had reached a kind of peak as cultures became too convoluted and ideologies had heightened to such a degree that society, or my original focus higher education, was no longer capable of maintaining a real viability: the ability to live, grow, and develop outside an increasingly narrowing scope of indoctrination. Now I did not go as far as calling it indoctrination then, however, I maintained colleges have increasingly deduced arguments to a place of irreconcilable differences or a place of “Us vs Them” mentality.5 Conflict had become a wreckage; the ivory tower was now a rubble (a paper I wrote in the beginning of my program).6

Visions are the foundations on which theories are built… Visions are very subjective, but well-constructed theories have clear implications, and facts can test and measure their objective validity Thomas Sowell

By indoctrination I mean to suggest that institutions of higher learning, in order to preserve a status of legitimacy, had to follow and finally instill a progressive moral relativity that slowly influenced colleges which then exported those ideas back into general society. What I learned was that what happened in higher education was happening in the United States and throughout the west.

Today nearly every branch of government and workplace environment is subjected to a form of diversity, equity, and inclusion that goes beyond the boundaries of equality and merit and civil rights. Now a conflict exists to such a level that it slowly forced new convergences and divergences of groups; late modernity (1950 to the Present) was and remains a paradigm shift that now has liberal minded people either “moving” more toward the politically left or politically right; relgious beliefs are in the midst of a defragmentation as Christians and Atheists can more easily find themselves sharing similar social, political, and economic beliefs even though what roots them into their belief about abortion, gender, sex, or economics is not the same. Late modern society is rapidly diffusing but it won’t last forever because it is a paradigm shift, we are merely living in a point at which structures of authority, meaning, purpose, and legitimacy are all changing.

There are two layers concerning a principle of legitimacy as defined by the political scientist Francis Fukuyama: 1) “Legitimacy is not justice or right in an absolute sense; it is a relative concept that exists in people’s subjective perceptions” (p. 15)7 and 2) “A lack of legitimacy among the population as a whole does not spell a crisis of legitimacy for the regime unless it begins to infect the elites tied to the regime itself…” (p. 16).8 Fukuyama is directly speaking to strong-states, authoritarian states, in the latter point but the principle applies to a democratic society such as the United States.

All societies perform some kind of indoctrination in a general sense. But this was my first inklings of a radical leftist drive toward something entirely different than a “perspective” simply worth learning. No it was something much more. Prior to graduating it became clear that these beliefs aimed to throw Westernized, Christian believing, and anything considered “white” or “privileged” or “hateful” to the lions den. These were racist ideologs; Sowell’s worrisome quest-seeking Social Justice Warriors; Marxist at their core. That is not a political statement. These are real facts. Real people. Real radicals. However, after graduation it became readily apparent that QAnon conspiracies, the Alt-Right, Flat Earthers, and other far-right groups had left reality for an America that could be made great again if only they disperse “the enemy” at large.

Present Distrust

Totalitarian movements are possible wherever there are masses who for one reason or another have acquired the appetite for political organization. Masses are not held together by a consciousness of common interest and they lack that specific class articulateness which is expressed in determined, limited, and obtainable goals. The term masses applies only where we deal with people who either because of sheer numbers, or indifference, or a combination of both, cannot be integrated into any organization based on common interest, into political parties or municipal governments or professional organizations or trade unions. Potentially, they exist in every country and form the majority of those large numbers of neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls. — Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianisms (1951), p. 311

As it stands a vote for Biden or Trump, however unwilling the populace may have been in their desire to vote, represents a repudiation and judgment over the other. A Biden victory is a win against hate, racism, and evil Americanism; a Trump victory is a vanguard against Woke liberalism and Socialism. Neither the ardent supporter nor the wary voter can see past the conflicting viewpoints. They see only a necessary conflict; a good versus evil. Currently Trump voters fear voter fraud in Arizona, Michigan, and other battle ground states. Biden supporters see it has a necessary reckoning after Hillary and Gore. Speculation runs rampant as major news networks and social media censors information including providing their own fact-checking creating a narrative that spins further the chaos. All the while Covid-19 continually magnifies uncertainty. Life at the moment is an upward battle; a fog of present distrust hangs low. No one knows what to believe or why except they having an appetite for politics in the midst of difficult times. Arendt further states:

The chief characteristic of the mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships. — Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianisms (1951), p. 317

Trends of loneliness, narcissism, nihilism, and fear have been rising for decades according to sociologist like Robert D. Putnam8 along with a great moral and economic bifurcation of White America as demonstrated by Charles Murray.9 America is divided and divided absolutely10 to the point it is frustrating institutions within the paradigm shift of power and authority. Rod Dreher sees the writing on the wall from his publication of Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents to last night’s (November 5, 2020) blog article, A Divided Country:

Law and order is so fundamental to the conservative stance towards the world. Had the BLM protests not been violent, they would not have stoked the Right so much. This is something that progressives deeply need to understand. On the Right, it’s not reaction against racial justice protests; it’s reaction against violence, and the justification of the violence we heard from many on the Left in the media. Joe Biden’s criticism of the protesters did not ring true…

We are going to remain a divided country. The election solved nothing. The idea, though, that if only we could have gotten rid of Donald Trump, then things would heal, was always an absurd fantasy. We are a divided country because we have lost the core narratives that bound us: a shared Christian faith (however attenuated), and a shared commitment to the historical narrative of America as an imperfect country that always strives to make life better for the next generation than the one that came before it.

We can’t even agree on what America is for anymore.

A Viable Solution

The United States of America has a real solution to resolving the pressures at present, but it comes at the cost of surrendering (a virtue few have) at at time when surrender appears as defeat. It is a mechanism designed within the very fabric of American Constitutionalism. We risk balkanization or greater tyranny if we fail to make this decision. American’s who wish to protect liberty and freedom no matter their political or religious beliefs must re-embrace a Strong Federalism.

Returning power back to the States so much power in fact that the Federal government is paralyzed from enforcing further legal decisions on the states as it has been in the last one hundred years. Believe in high taxes, enormous regulations, and progressive laws? Move to California, Oregon, New York, or Washington state. Let states decide nearly every aspect of life, make their Constitutions have meaning and purpose again. Take elections away from the national pull that desires a single leader, a hero of hope and change. America must loosen its grip by giving power and authority back to the states at the cost of ripping out the cords of a broken federal government and it’s deep state.

Next Time: A Return to Strong Federalism: A Historical and Philosophical Argument for the States

References

1 Richey, Edward K. 23 September 2018. Collision At the Intersection of Ideas: The Crisis of Identity in Higher Education. Thesis. University of Texas San Antonio.

2 Ibid. Presentation.

3 Brewer, M. (2001). The Many Faces of Social Identity: Implications for Political Psychology. Political Psychology, 22(1), 115-125. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791908

4 Sowell, Thomas. 2007. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. NY: Basic Books.

5 Lukianoff, Greg., Haidt, Jonathan. (2018). The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up A Generation For Failure. New York, NY: Penguin Press.

6 Richey, Edward K. 6 December 2017. An Ivory Rubble: Postmodernism & The Collapse of the Modern University and its Impact on Society. University of Texas San Antonio.

7 Fukuyama, Francis. 1992. The End of History and The Last Man. NY: The Free Press

8 Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. NY: Simon & Schuster

9 Murray, Charles. 2013. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. NY: Crown Publishing

10 French, David. 2020. Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. NY: St. Martin’s Press

The Radical Left & Their Coming Judgment Upon Us All

Here now is our special November Issue for 2020. These are articles written across the country concerning The Four Horsemen of western apocalypse who are trotting forth in the apparitions of: 1) Social Justice, 2) Identity Politics, 3) Socialism, and 4) Corporatism. Ladies and gentlemen what awaits us is totalitarianism from a behemoth of government, corporate, and institutional structures both private and public whose reach goes from west to the east, north to south that have adopted a leftist ideological framework. No one is truly safe from these rabble-rousers. This is dark money, big business and big banks; it is Wall-Street and government agencies. The Real Deep State.

Announcements

Wednesday August 19, 2020

Upcoming

August 20 – Mob Rule, Mob Rules (Part 2): Mob Mentality and Donald Trump (A Special Report Series)

August 21 – Paywall’Ed: Academia and Open Knowledge (Opinion)

TBA – Democratic and Republican Parties: An Ideological Analysis (A Special Election Series)

TBA – Forgiveness Of Sins Never Committed? A Theological Response to Max Lucado

Get Woke or Get Broke: When Reason Fails to Stand

(Opinion)

(Note to my readers: Originally I intended this piece to be of the category, Special Report, meaning a stricter standard in how information is analyzed and cited. Essentially that standard requires greater in-depth study. While I personally believe what I wrote here today to be true and factual, it did not meet my standard of a Special Report. Therefore, I qualify this as an opinion piece.)

Classical Liberalism On Edge

Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.

— John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, p. 3

Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do.

— Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, p. xix 

In the course of human history there have been principles worth abiding by when considering a deep, problematic societal concern that has and can continue to have great ramifications if it either remains unresolved or attempted to mitigate. Oftentimes issues of such magnitude fall within realms that provoke or placate the values and emotions of a populace. Justice, an essential value concerning human nature, is one of those realms. To better grasp such a realm, an acquisition of human institutions are required; those social institutions specifically include Faith, Tradition, Reason, and Imagination all of which can help an individual and society uncover values above and beyond themselves. Yet, what arises when these institutions dissolve, for whatever reason that may be, is a culture that moves away from interaction towards disengagement and then usurpation. Of all the institutions, reason is the most fragile and in a liberal democratic society, the failure to reason is the sign of a metaphysical collapse.

Classical liberal theory is a term to describe the belief in the rights of the individual, the freedom of markets, and private property. Within the context of the United States, the U.S. Constitution is a document representative of classical liberal thought though not entirely. Presently in the United States of America a climax has occurred on several ideological fronts. One such shift is the rise of woke culture from the far-left through its permeation into governments, corporations, universities, and other private-public institutions. No western post-industrial society is free from its wake.  

Wokeness Monster

Extensive analysis fills the web concerning critical theory, postmodernism, and cultural marxism. While additional analysis is necessary that is not the focus of this article. Therefore, a simple explanation will suffice concerning the meaning of Woke, Wokeness, or Woke Culture.

To be woke means a form of “awakening” to injustice particularly linked to racial injustices yet intersectional toward other oppressed minority/identity based groups e.g. trans/cisgender. Woke cultural markings have evolved into a dangerous ideology of critical, liberation, and social justice movements that developed ties to Marxism, Postmodernism, and other leftist identity based theories and organizations who oppose so-called Eurocentric or Westernized systems (e.g. Capitalism, Free Speech, Merit Base, Scientific Method, etc). To be presently woke means joining a collective that is centered on destroying entire westernized structures, not reforming them. And therein lies the problem.    

End of Discussion

Oversimplifying for the sake of a greater argument, it can be said that Christians and Conservatives, though fundamentally different, share a unique appreciation and understanding of the needs for the layout of faith, tradition, reason, and imagination. One based entirely on the faith in Jesus Christ and the other a philosophical movement in response to the French Revolution both seeking to challenge the hearts and minds of men in a sacred responsibility. Christians nor Conservatives are strangers to cultural critique including of liberal society (e.g. Capitalism or Free Speech) and upholding standards beyond the relative values of the day. As the conservative thinker Russell Kirk explained, “The pure democrat is the practical atheist; ignoring the divine nature of law and the divine establishment of spiritual hierarchy” (The Conservative Mind, p. 137). A synergy exists between the two over their respect for God and a moral law. However, neither fail to recognize liberalism’s overarching value to the world through their shared principles concerning human liberty, freedom, and rights. Both critique liberalism but never demanding the obliteration of classical liberal thought. In no fashion is that an attempt to whitewash history. Every side has its rabble that claim to uphold righteous values only to commit atrocities, however, as long as homo sapiens exist so shall their brutal behaviors. Historically Christianity, Liberalism, and Conservatism have peacefully coexisted despite their differences. 

Far from the spectrum of coexistence, woke ideals hold a Socialist-Marxist predisposition in uprooting systems by devaluing people who oppose them and belittling constructive debate that could possibly cultivate ideas across ideological lines. Almost a hundred years ago (98 to be exact) the economist and social theorist Ludwig von Mises published, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (1922), warning against socialism: 

According to the Marxist conception, one’s social condition determines one’s way of thought. His membership of a social class decides what views a writer will express. He is not able to grow out of his class or to free his thoughts from the prescriptions of his class interests. Thus the possibility of a general science which is valid for all men, whatever their class, is contested… Thus Marxism protects itself against all unwelcome criticism… Marx and Engels never tried to refute their opponents with argument. They insulted, ridiculed, derided, slandered, and traduced them, and in the use of these methods their followers are not less expert. Their polemic is directed never against the argument of the opponent, but always against his person. Few have been able to withstand such tactics (pp. 18-19).

Those words ring equally true today. As I mentioned in Part 1 of my series Mob Rule, Mob Rules: 

Mob rule means a collective identity group must win. Mob rules serve the interests of that collective. Liberty and her institutions are being tested by this eruptive behavior, serving as a reminder that when pure rage is the predicate for judgement, tyranny is never far behind. What comes next will be decided by the public will for civility or lack thereof. Humanity itself may not only end up alone but alone with no way out. 

Without question the radical left are not alone in their threat against a liberal order but they are defining the times as R.R. Reno wrote in his book, Return of the Strong Gods (2019):

Today’s technocratic ethos defines political legitimacy in terms of the weak gods of policy expertise, therapeutic delicacy when speaking of sensitive topics, and the rhetoric of diversity and other motifs of inclusion (p. 141). 

Catholics like Reno represent a necessary deflection against the left vs right attitudes of our time. Believers in the good, the beautiful, and the true recognize that there can be shared critiques without shared beliefs in radical, revolutionary uprisings found within Communism or Fascism. Catholicism has long promotedsocial justice” issues including its claim that the idea itself comes from the book of Matt: 25:31-46. That claim, true or untrue, points to a long line of thinkers from the Apostle Matthew to Thomas Aquinas and onward, a line of pre-modern thinkers rather than modern thinkers like Karl Marx whom heretical christian groups have adopted; a movement rooted in gnosticism rather than Christian teaching. 

If those on the fringe would only listen and grasp that there are means to redemption, a shared bond in both the craving for justice and the rights of the individual—the Rawls-Nozick dichotomy—can be reached without destroying the very foundations that granted them their rights and privileges in the first place. Unfortunately, extremists have broken through in a trojan horse disguised as inclusiveness, diversity, equity, and universals (e.g. healthcare, housing, etc) on the back of a neoliberal order that momentarily makes even Socialism look promising by the untrained eye. They are not interested in listening, they are here to destroy.

Dr. James Lindsay, a physicist and mathematician from New Discourses, is one of the leading thinkers on critical theories and social justice practices including on why woke culture is anti-debate wrote:

The deeper, more significant aspect of this problem is that by participating in something like conversation or debate about scholarly, ethical, or other disagreements, not only do the radical Critical Social Justice scholars have to tacitly endorse the existing system, they also have to be willing to agree to participate in a system in which they truly believe they cannot win. This isn’t the same as saying they know they’d lose the debate because they know their methods are weak. It’s saying that they believe their tools are extremely good but not welcome in the currently dominant system, which is a different belief based on different assumptions. Again, their game is not our game, and they don’t want to play our game at all; they want to disrupt and dismantle it.

Fundamentally the critical ideological framework cannot coexist with our present rights, freedoms, and liberties; our culture is an anthemia to their ideals.  

What Happens Now?

Pessimism can easily set in when surveying the political landscape. There are no guarantees of success if that success means a complete and total reversal. Instead the pressures of life require those who oppose all forms of radicalization to be truthful and loving at a moment when anger and rage can easily persevere but only at great unnecessary costs. Reason will not work. Only the actions of a people who can rely on truth beyond reason, a movement beyond mere modern beliefs, and uphold eternal principles regardless of threat can withstand the revolutionary spirit filling the air. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10, ESV), that is the required spirit. Believers (and unbelievers) in God must testify truth and goodness through the acknowledgement of present hurts which no doubt exist within the black community and the latin community and the LGBTQ community. Again, there is a shared bond, a means to redemption beyond the ruin of an already broken world. Demands for justice need to be heard but never at the abandonment of truth, reality, and morality or it only becomes another form of injustice. 

Christians can lead in this through their understanding that while they may be alone, they are never truly alone and our calling is above ourselves. Conservatives can resonate in that understanding. And those beholden too Liberalism, especially classical liberal thinking, know what it means to sacrifice and stand against tyranny when it rises; prize an ideal beyond their present estate. All three prize liberty though in different forms but rooted in the greatest of ideals: Human Freedom. 

We must not become radicalized in response. Let their injustice show by speaking up for justice and speaking out against injustice; truth over untruth; reality above irreality; goodness over hate. Death by virtue versus radicalized ideals that seek to breakdown and destroy. Fight but with real love, not the fake dignity espoused by those who insult, deride, and traduce people no matter their origin.