I saw a connection with the Maine nurse who’s defying the quarantine order, as I was listening to yet another anecdote of some small-em mom conspiring to score lots and lots of money, right before loading up a car with all the whelps and moving off somewhere. The litany has lost most or all of its shock value, along with its scare-factor and luster of tragedy; we’ve entered an era in which it has become tedious. “I do what I want, and you can’t tell me what to do.” It isn’t just the chicks, it’s dudes too. We’ve got a lot of people walking around among us who seem to have perceived there is some sort of Great Separation coming, a wedge about to be driven through & amongst us all, dividing those who are immune from being told what to do, from those who can & must constantly be told what to do. And they want to make sure they’re on the immune side of the wedge.
They’re causing a lot of damage, but they’re also causing a lot of conflict which they appear to be genuinely and sincerely convinced is the fault of someone else. And yet with their Weltanschauung in place, conflict with others is quite unavoidable: They wish to carry influence, well beyond the perimeter of their own affairs, but are upset over the prospect of being told what they can or cannot do; indeed, in many cases are spoiling for a fight over exactly this. What they seek is an impossible imbalance. They insist on power, up to and past the boundary at which they can screw up what someone else is trying to do. And yet they chafe at anything that feels like a limit, or accountability.
It is the imbalance that brings about the conflict. Either one of the wishes, by itself, is eminently reasonable. Leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone — that is the very essence of reason, the very keystone of civilization. Or power, but with checks and balances — our republic was founded on exactly that. It is the pairing that bridges the positive with the negative, with zero ohms of resistance, overloading the circuitry and without any fuses.
Then, they want to blame it on whoever is nearby. I’m sure that must look reasonable from their vantage point: If nobody was around to complain, everything would have been all wonderful and there would not have been any problems.
Update: Thinking about this some more, with regard to the political class, which (as noted above) seems to be going through the same “growing pains” as the commoner class. Except, of course, they’re capable of doing much more damage at one time. I suppose it is good that the commoner errors are connected with the elite errors: It shows that elections do have an effect, after all, they just aren’t filtering our imperfections out of the process. But then again, whoever said they were supposed to do that?
The crisis with the “You can’t tell me what to do” elites is that there’s very little appetite right now for judiciary review. I’m not talking about the Supreme Court sitting in judgment of the constitutionality of some executive or legislative action. That’s just a formality that applies the principle. I’m writing, more broadly, of someone speaking about whether or not someone else did what they were supposed to do. The crisis is that the implementers feel entitled to be the adjudicators.
It isn’t just the Executive Branch — although they are certainly a part of it, in fact, a great example of it. Is ObamaCare good? The implementers of ObamaCare want the final word. Is it constitutional? The judiciary got the final word, but only because it sided with the implementers, in a maneuver that was something of a throwback to the West Coast Hotel v. Parrish decision of 1937. Had they gone the other way, there would have been turmoil, just as there would have been three quarters of a century previous. In both cases, SCOTUS acted to avoid the turmoil, and in so doing both manifested and sustained the movement society is making.
It takes a certain testicular fortitude to perform under the eye of some adjudicating authority who is deciding on your performance according to a process kept truly independent from your desires. What seems to be happening at all echelons right now, high & low, is that we are losing that fortitude. Which is unfortunate. But then, our society is re-forming itself to accommodate that shortage in testicular fortitude, which is even more unfortunate: The adjudicators are gelding themselves to match the gelded state of the implementers. The implementers are demanding a monopoly on the ability to adjudicate themselves, and we/they are getting exactly that, no questions asked. Performance, as a direct consequence of this, is taking on the trajectory of a lawn dart, and at all levels.
But it is worse than unsatisfactory performance. This is unsatisfactory performance being cloaked as satisfactory, and it’s cloaked by an epidemic hallucination. The natural course of things would be, as I have written for years now, that if we unfasten ourselves from reality, we will start to lose opportunity AND security, and as our discomfort increases we will receive an incentive to reaffirm our deteriorated connection to reality. There could be a delay in that if we have become addicted to the deteriorated connection to reality in some way — and, this is one way in which we could become addicted, if nobody has the balls to perform and then ask someone sitting in judgment, “How did I do?”
So when’s the last time we saw someone do that, who wasn’t on some mind-numbing “reality” show like this? When is the last time we saw someone do that, whose “performance” had a real effect on somebody else? I can think of one thing: Restaurants. Really, really good restaurants. Maybe some good hotels. Even in those industries, though, the testicular fortitude is on the wane. It is a vanishing commodity, and you have to pay a premium price to make a claim on the minuscule and residual quantities that remain. That’s private sector; in the public sector, there’s none of it. It isn’t supposed to be that way.