March 02, 2021


Well, it would be bad enough if America was just shooting itself in the foot, but it looks like it's hell-bent on blowing its brains out. It all started in the obscure circles of postmodernism, which was more of a French intellectual fashion than anything serious. There is no such thing as truth, everything is a text, all texts are equivalent, and so on. Then it made its way across the Atlantic, and as American academics are just like all Americans--empty, and in need of an ism to fill the soul--it got hopelessly lionized. ("Give us the Word, Derrida!" cried the faculties of Yale and elsewhere.) Slowly, it spread to the culture at large. For the masses, Holocaust denial was as legitimate as solid, Holocaust evidence. Wearing sweat shirts that said "Camp Auschwitz" was offensive to some, but it's possible that millions were OK with it. "Stop the Steal" was more legitimate than the lack of any evidence of fraud in the 2020 election. Or, for millions, equally legitimate. In my last years of undergraduate teaching, students had no idea as to what the difference was between an argument and an opinion, and even my grad students at Johns Hopkins (circa 1999) were not quite sure what constituted evidence. (I knew it when I was a junior in high school.) For most Americans, if you're on the side of the 'angels', you must be right. Of course, different people had different angels--a bit of a problem, that.

I'm sorry, but when a nation has reached this point, it has nowhere to go but down the drain.