The worldview of liberalism is that there is a critical mass of benighted and dangerous people who believe “disinformation” that has been implanted in their brainstem by vicious religious ideologues, homophobic Russian gangsters, or awkward conservative uncles who remained unslaughtered by their clever nieces last Thanksgiving. The Big Brotherhood of national media outlets announces the expert consensus, and using the powers of social conformism on social media and just social censorship by social-media companies, the Ministry of Truth can help the smooth governing of the people toward their inevitable destinies out of the backward past and into the utopia where the arc of history finally lands like a rainbow terminating into a pot of gold.

Your life mistakes, like responding with your genuine thoughts to Google’s solicitation for comment on internal woke religion, or being crowned Queen of Love at some crackers Veiled Prophet’s dinner dance, will be ruthlessly unearthed by the media to make an example of you in the present. The media’s “mistakes” will be gently erased and amended, hopefully without anyone noticing at all.

The Media’s Memory-Hole Privilege

Trump, he loves this. He loves the bile, the wrath, the mockery. It’s a well-done steak to him, with extra ketchup. But Hawley and Cruz? I bet they are befuddled and mystified. How could it possibly have come to this? They are, then, our own Stepan Trofimoviches. It was all a game to them, until it wasn’t. They are, like him, utterly frivolous. If they had any dignity, any moral backbone, they would resign their offices. But the very frivolity that led them, and us, to this pass is the vice that will prevent them from acting honorably. I hope I am wrong, but I expect they will go to their graves thinking How could we have known?

Frivolity – Alan Jacobs

Christianity & the Jericho March

While the laws that we live under matter a great deal, Christians need to recover the primacy of the personal over the political more than anything else. If we can’t love our neighbors in a personal, politically agnostic, face-to-face way, they’ll turn to synthetic and unreal ideological communities to fill the gap left by the loneliness of their daily lives.

The road back to sanity, solidarity, and social trust on both sides of the political spectrum will involve turning away from this ideological cul-de-sac and back toward personal communities once more. If Christian churches won’t do this, they risk being exploited as political playthings of the powers that be. — Christianity as Ideology: The Cautionary Tale of the Jericho March

Wharton vs Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age Novel

Wharton’s novel was little appreciated in its time, and it hasn’t benefited from the same revival of interest that eventually rescued F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, another Jazz Age novel. Maybe it’s because our culture is created and largely controlled by latter-day Pauline (and Paul) Manfords. Gatsby’s novel is held to reject the American dream itself as a falsity, obscene wealth as corrupting, and the WASP ruling class as a permanent source of oppression, despite its evident decline. Compared with Wharton’s novel, which cuts deeper and is more personal, Gatsby looks like a cheap attempt at scapegoating. For Twilight Sleep is a satire of the modern age, but it targets some of our permanent temptations. If we’re about to embark on a new Roaring Twenties, Wharton’s book will remind us that we’ve been there before.

Michael Brendan Dougherty

Jonah Goldberg on the Tyranny of Feelings

We’re creating a worldview that other peoples’ feelings are sovereign. The intentions of the offender do not matter, only the feelings of the offended. Even when the offenses happened doesn’t matter. Five minutes ago or five years, it’s all the same. An official at Boeing was just forced out of his job for being “wrong” about something 33 years ago.

Instead of clear rules, rationally conceived and universally applied, the new rules are opaque, emotionally conceived and subjectively applied. If we lived under some fickle absolutist king, who arbitrarily decided what was offensive, outrageous, or even criminal, we’d all recognize the illiberalism of it. But when a mob arbitrarily rules the same way, we call it social justice. It’s really just the tyranny of feelings.

— Jonah Goldberg, Isn’t It Romantic?

Matt Taibbi: On “White Fragility”

At a time of catastrophe and national despair, when conservative nationalism is on the rise and violent confrontation on the streets is becoming commonplace, it’s extremely suspicious that the books politicians, the press, university administrators, and corporate consultants alike are asking us to read are urging us to put race even more at the center of our identities, and fetishize the unbridgeable nature of our differences. — Matt Taibbi, on White Fragility and its popularity

The elemental beauty and depth that can be found only in great works of literature.

I’m still not above watching vapid reality shows about meth-addicted Tiger tamers. Nor am I dismissive of the compelling fare we find on streaming media — we are living in a golden age of middlebrow culture. Certainly the world doesn’t need another writer praising the virtues of Moby-Dick. And that’s not my point. Sitting here in isolation, I come to praise the elemental beauty and depth that can be found only in great works of literature. Moby-Dick demanded my attention, imagination, and time. — David Harsanyi on reading Moby Dick