Imaginary Monsters and the Uses of Chaos
Imaginary Monsters and the Uses of Chaos by James Howard Kunstler
The Kavanaugh hearing underscored another eerie condition in contemporary USA life that offers clues about the combined social, economic, and political collapse that I call the long emergency: the destruction of all remaining categorical boundaries for understanding behavior: truth and untruth, innocent and guilty, childhood and adulthood, public and private. The destination of all this confusion is a society that can’t process any quarrel coherently, leaving everyone unsatisfied and adrift, and no actual problems resolved.
One element of the story is clear, though. The Democratic party, in the absence of real monsters to slay, has become the party devoted to sowing chaos, mainly by inventing new, imaginary monsters using the machinery of politics, the way the Catholic Church manufactured monsters of heresy during the Spanish Inquisition in its attempt to regulate “belief.”
“I believe her” is the new totalitarian rallying cry, conveniently disposing of any obligation to establish the facts of any ambiguous matter. It was stealthily inserted in our national life during the Obama years, when Title IX “guidelines” originally written to correct imbalances in college sports funding for men and women were extended to adjudicate sexual encounters on campus. The result was the setting up of officially sanctioned kangaroo courts where due process was thrown out the window — by people who have should have known better: college presidents, deans, and faculty. That experiment produced not a few spectacular injustices, such as the Duke Lacrosse team fake rape fiasco, the University of Virginia fake rape fraternity incident (provoked by a mis-reported story in Rolling Stone Magazine), and the Columbia University “Mattress Girl” saga — all cases eventuating in punishing lawsuits against the institutions that allowed them to spin out of control.
The spirit of the kangaroo court has since graduated into business and politics where it has proven especially useful for settling scores and advancing careers and agendas dishonestly. Coercion has replaced persuasion. Coercion is at the heart of totalitarian politics. Do what you’re told, or else. Believe what we say, or else. (Or else lose your reputation, your livelihood, your friends….) This plays neatly into the dynamics of human mob psychology. When the totalitarians set up for business, few individuals dare to depart from the party line. It’s the perfect medium for cultivating mendacious ideologies.