Yesterday I wrote a piece where I portrayed working in the contemporary university as very like trying to move among the Titanic’s luxuriously dining passengers while she begins to heel over… and being bombarded with scowls if one even hints that something’s amiss. This insistent mass-denial is definitively infantile behavior—and it characterizes everything happening on the Left today. One must wonder at some point if leftism is indeed not some pathological kind of clinging to childhood. I’m going to indulge that wonder at length now.
Back when children used to play imaginatively—and play in real space rather than on screens—you’d occasionally have a group pretending that the “jungle gym” was a fort or that a line of blocks represented the solid walls of a house. Then some twit named Bart would come along and pull at your leg through the gym’s bars, refusing to acknowledge the game’s solid wall, or step over the house’s fanciful brick facade instead of going through the doorway. The other kids would howl at Bart for breaking the rules… and he would laugh and mock for a minute before going into exile and seeking some new group of kids to alienate.
People on the Left are kids in that imaginary castle… only they’re no longer kids. They still treat Bart like a dirt-bag anomist… only now he’s a healthy adult who is trying to keep innocents from being maimed or killed. The declaration of schools as “gun-free zones” is a perfect example. We’ve created (if we’re leftists) a little space in our minds where no one may bring a gun. As long as we all play by the rules, the space is indeed safe, and the game goes smoothly. Then the Shooter steps over the “wall” without coming through the door. We all scream, “Bart, go away! Go away! All right… everybody throw rocks at Bart because he won’t go away!” In case you haven’t heard, one Pennsylvania school district was briefly equipping its classrooms with buckets of rocks before public derision made it reconsider—this as a strategy to repel a gunman. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
I’m surprised, frankly, that fourth-graders are not now being rehearsed in the “go away” chant as a strategy to protect their tender lives. The Left so loves chants—the link back to playground days is so gilded and palpable! “Shooter, shooter, go away! Don’t come back another day!” Now that, for my money, would have a probability of success at least equal to issuing buckets of tot-sized stones. (And there’s no chance that those would pose a temptation to little fingers during a normal school day, is there?) Any sane adult would realize that a child would become an instant target once he chucked a rock at a psycho (and most children would realize as much, too: just to be sure, I’d advise my child to circle around to the door while the poor little idiots were chunking pebbles). But the chant… if the whole group tried the chant, led by their Joan Baez-throwback homeroom teacher, the bad guy might die laughing.
In all seriousness, this is the answer to the question often asked by conservatives, “Why do they hate us so much on the Left?” They hate you because you’re Bart; or, to be exact (since we’re now talking about adults), they hate you because you are the father. Fathers make sons and daughters behave. The last two generations, especially on the Left, have grown up without responsible fathers. Deadbeat dads abandoned Mom (perhaps several of them for any given mom), and she filled her children’s ears with reproaches of men. Occasionally a new dad would come along who would give the kiddies anything, just to find a way to Mom’s heart (and her bed); and then there was Real Dad, AWOL when it came to imposing discipline but quick to load the kids with goodies every other weekend just to plant the thought in their tiny skulls that Mom was a villain for ever making them do anything.
With the dismantling of the nuclear family (as per the Frankfurt School’s radical playbook), we now have people reaching biological maturity who have all the emotional poise and objectivity of a six-year-old. And their politics are progressive. They want, they need… and everyone who stands in their way with the warning, “No, reality doesn’t work that way,” is a hateful brute who ruins the game by not pretending that the fluffy white cloud is a castle. If only everyone would agree—if only everyone could be made to agree—that those cumulus columns are turrets, then we could all inhabit Disneyworld forever. Yet men—not males per se, but adult men who are or would willingly be responsible fathers—keep getting in the way, insisting on guards that carry those ugly, hideous, evil firearms! “Guns, guns, go away….”
On another day, I could extend this bridge to the hatred of Christianity and relative affection for Islam on the Left: the loathing, that is, of The Father who lays down loving rules to channel growth, and the paradoxical swooning for The Sheik who imposes his rebellious naughty-boy fantasies and forcibly sweeps everyone (but especially females) into it.
Enough to say here, in conclusion, that there is a kind of destiny working in our present decline. As we have prospered materially, we have created an ever thicker buffer between ourselves and hard realities. As that buffer has grown thicker, we have been able to prolong childish illusions ever further. And, of course, as our illusions grow ever more numerous and durable, our survival as a society grows ever more precarious. Prosperity has destroyed us, as it almost inevitably must do to such fallen creatures as we are.
When leftism plays out this fatal cycle by elevating homicidal tyrants to the seat of authority (as it has already done repeatedly over the past century), then our adult-children will at last find out—too late—what it’s really like to live in a tightly controlled space without personal defenses.