The Tragedy Of Unseriousness

In a previous column, I addressed the phenomenon of so many of the left’s prominent spokesmen – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being the most obvious examples – being professional comedians. It’s ludicrous, of course, but not terribly surprising if you think about it. The left’s economic, moral, and spiritual underpinnings are, after all, a total joke – and who better to tell a joke than a comedian?

Now the left has gone even further, creating an abortion video game as an “educational tool”. I must emphasize, this is not a stunt video game created for shock value a la the Postal series of video games or the recent “Angry Trayvon” game.* They’re dead serious about this.

Or perhaps I should say, they’re unserious about this. Whatever one’s position on the issue of abortion, the idea of trivializing it by making it into a video game should be appalling to any person who has any degree of seriousness about them. But, for all the seriousness and tragedy in America these days, Americans are an increasingly unserious people. Yes, the left is worse in its unseriousness, and yes they’re more insufferable for being endlessly sneering, arrogant, and snotty in their unseriousness, but it’s not just them – it’s everyone. The last thirty years have, for example, seen the mainstream right’s spokesmen go from men of culture and erudition like William F. Buckley, to ill-educated carny barkers like Rush Limbaugh, straight through to ranting apocalyptic nutters like Glenn Beck.

All of this has consequences. When was the last time the United States had a President who was verifiably a grownup? Bush the First, perhaps – now more than twenty years ago?

And even all of that is among people who are serious enough to care about the nation and its laws (beyond the level of who will hand the the most goodies out of the public treasury, I mean). Most people aren’t even that serious or informed. Welcome to the world of 2013, where “Katniss” and “Django” have made the year’s top ten baby names. This isn’t inspiration from literature, like naming a child after a character in a Dickens novel. This is saddling your child with the (weird) name of a character from a Hollywood action film because you don’t have the foresight to understand that by the time your child becomes an adult, almost nobody will get the reference anymore. And this, with a decision as important as your child’s name. This is out-of-control unseriousness on display.

Tattooed, saggy-panted, pierce-lipped, drugged up (on malt liquor, weed, or Prozac – it hardly makes much difference which), “informed” (if at all) by comedians and carny barkers, edutained by bad historical movies, unable to tell the difference between the plausible and implausible much less between truth and fiction, easily swayed by excessive pathos and generally unacquained with ethos or logos, and convinced through it all that they are the smartest, strongest, and most moral people who have ever lived – these are Americans in the Year of Our Lord 2013.**

I am strongly opposed to democracy, but even the men who created the American republic in the late 18th century would be the first to say that only a certain kind of people are capable of maintaining a democracy as a going concern.

The American people of 2013 ain’t that. And things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

(*If “Angry Trayvon” can get disappeared from app stores after liberals decided that you can’t be allowed to play it because it offends them, then the same should apply to Abortion: The Video Game. If and when this thing ever sees the light of day, speak out and demand that you get the same consideration that the left does.)

(**Not the 15%, of course, but I’ve already exempted them.)

Addendum: More On Free Speech

A recent article at the execrable online magazine Jezebel (one of the arms of Gawker – the sleaziest “news” outlet on the internet) is instructive in showing what leftists really think in regards to free speech. Long story short, they unapologetically announce that if you engage in speech they don’t like, they will do everything they can within the limits of the law to destroy you, including attempting to deprive you of your livelihood and ruin you economically. This works in two ways – first by actually destroying those who say things they don’t like (a la Paula Deen), and second by producing a chilling effect designed to terrify other potential critics into silence. Though this won’t shut down all opposition, it doesn’t really have to – to destroy effective opposition, it only has to work enough of the time. And it will – most people who don’t have a taste for martyrdom or penury (that is to say, most people) will keep their heads down, grumble to themselves, and say nothing.

I will, for the benefit of my readers, intentionally fall into the trap of believing that the leftist position here is sincere, and respond to it with sincerity. So here it is: free speech is not just a law; it’s a principle. The law (in this case, the First Amendment) merely codifies the principle. The principle is that society benefits most when all ideas – no matter how sane or crazy, orthodox or heretical, popular or scandalous, sacred or obscene – are given their chance to be presented in the marketplace of ideas so that they can be fairly received and evaluated, and then accepted or rejected by the citizens. For you to say – and it is what you’re saying – that you will do everything you possibly can do, with your only limits being the restraints imposed on you by the law, to intimidate people who oppose you into silence, or to harm them as much as you possibly can if they do choose to risk speaking out, shows that you have no understanding of nor respect for the principle of free speech whatsoever.

Of course, I don’t believe in absolute, untrammeled free speech either, for reasons I shall go into in more detail in a future column. But – and this what separates me from the liars and hypocrites of the left – I also haven’t, as they have, spent the last couple of centuries shouting from the rooftops that free speech was one of my most deeply-held, non-negotiable core principles. And that is the point of the exercise: to demonstrate once again that the left has no principles, only ideology. Any time that a leftist tells you that they have any core principles (with the sole possible exception of limitless sexual freedom), they are lying. Things like this prove why you should never give them the benefit of the doubt.

P. S. As a monarchist, I can assure you that no King with any self-confidence, self-respect, or dignity would sink so low as to seek to devote time and resources to finding and punishing a rodeo clown in a rural province for engaging in a few minutes of mild lampooning at the His Majesty’s expense. And he wouldn’t do it even if he wanted to – he’d know that it would make him a genuine laughingstock, as it would cause the nobles and people to see him as an insecure, petulent, overgrown child.