Everyone rooting for this is just embarrassing themselves
I really related to your points about your views as a teenager. I grew up in a mirror image of that environment, fear mongering, christian persecution, etc etc. Very insightful writeup.
This is an excellent call to reality for an increasingly tiresome subgenre of Live Action Doomsaying. I will now turn away from the important part of the article, and towards Tucker Max. He's doing WHAT?! I always thought his spiral into madness would focus on either the exposure or debunking of sexual escapades.
I guess none of us are immune to the times. It feels like finding out Robert Hamburger joined the Heritage Foundation.
That bit about believing that liberals hated Christianity really resonated. I grew up in a similarly conservative and religious environment and was very conservative even through college, and believing that we were fighting for our spiritual lives against people who hated us was such a driving factor. We believed liberals were addicted to sin and hated our goodness so they’d stop at nothing to dismantle our faith, even betraying our country so that godless communists could take over and tear our churches down. As a kid I wouldn’t daydream about fantasy battles between orcs and humans, I’d daydream about the epic last stand that the Last Christian City would make against the nonbelievers in the war that they would obviously eventually declare against us.
This article is a good reality check, though. I often find that, as a result of having been immersed in that ideology and understanding what fuels it, I have zero respect for it and very little tolerance for the people who are still in it. Which is great for making me feel superior but not so good for pulling other people out of it.
I also grew up this way and changed my thinking. It's possible, but not always easy.
“Any hint of nuance or ambivalence is at best a sign of weakness, at worst an indication of monsterhood.”
I have really, really felt this, in a painful way, so I appreciate this post. I got kicked out of events and clubs because I refused to display pronouns when they were required. Clearly, everyone thought, I was disagreeing because I didn’t believe in politics around pronouns, and if I didn’t believe in politics around pronouns, I must hate trans people or even all left wingers. The actual reason was that I was in the closet, and wearing a badge with feminine pronouns made me feel terrible. I couldn’t tell anyone this because I wasn’t ready to come out.
It’s so nice to hear a voice of reason from time to time. It’s why I read Cracked back in the day and listened to the podcast, it helped keep me reasonable. Also, after years of consuming all of your content for free, I finally went ahead and bought all of your books. Now I’ll have something to do as I slowly starve to death in the post
CWII wasteland, so thanks for that!
This Big Butt thinks this article was great and I want to show this to everyone.
I have to say, America has done trade business with so many international regimes that commit atrocities throughout the years, that the idea of being able to turn a blind eye to someone's beliefs so that they can provide for us should be old hat by now. Still, the main difference is that, say, China or Saudi Arabia do not directly make laws for us, at best only indirectly influencing our society via commerce, whereas if someone Red or Blue is providing you electricity and you don't agree with them, they still get to vote for the politicians that run America, and your obligatory patronage keeps them alive enough to do just that. I can't help but wonder if there is a third option, neither the meme-based "Cold Civil War" of discourse, nor a catastrophically violent actual Civil War, where America could perform a no-fault, amicable divorce, keeping Red's/Blue's politics out of Blue's/Red's laws while still maintaining a working relationship of basic interactions with each other. It would take a monumental restructuring of government and some kind of diaspora the likes of which haven't been seen in centuries, but it'd be preferable to bloodshed. As long as the Cold Civil War never leaves the meme-ing stage, it won't be necessary, but after something like January 6th, I worry that we've already entered the violent uprising stage, albeit small-scale and ineffectual, but it could always get worse.
We’re already in a civil war.
It looks this way because this is how war in the 21st century looks. Digital misinformation campaigns, low intensity conflict, proxy wars. It’s a LARP to horde ammo and imagine it’ll turn into urban combat, but it’s pure cope to imagine it’s not already upon us.
"Civil War preenactor " made me laugh very hard.
You briefly touched on the assumption that zealotry is reflexively assumed to be > thoughtfulness in a conflict. That’s a valuable insight, and I hope you’ll do deeper dive into it someday soon. I think that particular example of lazy thinking deserves some unpacking.
Yes, both sides do this, but one side is far, FAR more guilty of this than the other. Go ahead and guess which side!
Issue is that the Left just doesn't have the same brainwashing apparatus (Fox News, conservative radio, Church, etc) that the Right does. That, and the extremes on the Left aren't as monolithic as the Right extremes.
Thank you for this, more than I can say.
"We believed in gun rights because we knew we would need the guns on the day that the godless socialists came for us, and that even meager attempts at gun control were secretly about disarming us for the gas chambers."
Maaaa, Occult ideologies are affecting history again!
(For like the 30th time since the year 1750).
I'm another ex-conservative (although I never went nearly as far as you did or grew up in such an environment). One thing I especially agree on that isn't getting talked about is the whole part of "people really do believe what they're saying." Everyone on both sides now has taken up this talking point of "everyone at the top of the other side is just fleecing the rubes."
I say that's going around for two reasons: 1. It lets you dismiss that anyone at the top of anything you disagree with could actually be smart enough to get to the top and actually hold that view. 2. Donald Trump, known con man, is constantly near the forefront of our minds right now and is occasionally pretending to believe something to keep the scam going.
I've been following Jason since at least 2002, and he's definitely shaped a lot of my own thinking on these topics. It is sad the degree to which asking people not to assume half the population is beyond redemption makes nearly everyone dismissive. Just about anyone I interact with will celebrate my wisdom and thoughtfulness when I share ideas that match their ideological premises, but then condemn me immediately (sometimes minutes later) if I disagree with some assumption they make. Reading through this essay was a good reminder of why that is. I am increasingly concerned about civil war though because people just don't talk to or view as human people who think things that are different. The pandemic made it worse because it corralled people into online communities designed to be echo chambers of agreement. No talking to neighbors or coworkers who might think differently from you, but while still being obviously decent human beings you care about. When people tell me they have no close friends who vote differently from themselves it makes me scared for the future. The less contact and interaction we have with "the other", the more scared of it we become and the easier it is to dehumanize.