So why are so many pundits expressing dismay that we as a country, we American people, are in wretched psychological and intellectual shape?
I’m not. And as far as I can make out, the great majority of us isn’t, either.
I’ve begun to resent being addressed as part of the wrong mass. As far as I can determine, a minority of Americans, maybe as many as 30 percent but no more, are nuts and stupid. I’ve long since given up trying to figure them out or believing that confronting life and death, i.e., reality, will bring them back into the fold of the sane majority.
I don’t give much of a fuck about them. Well, that’s not entirely true: I care a lot about indicting those who committed crimes. I was never tolerant of the life-choking miasma they exuded for four years and now I’m feeling punitive. Rule of law and prison punitive.
I’m fighting mad about the damage some state governments and some in federal office are attempting to inflict on their constituents. I have a strong feeling I’m in the majority about this, too.
I got to that point in the post when I finished an article I’d been reading and became even more focused in my anger.
I read “Beyond Belief: What makes a cult a cult?” by Zoë Heller in the usually revered New Yorker. She begins by covering the repulsive cult known as NXIVM, and then branches out to:
Liberals have good reason to worry about the political reach of QAnon.
No. We don’t. And as if to confirm my thought and undercut her own, Heller follows that comment with this:
A survey published in May by the Public Religion Research Institute found that fifteen per cent of Americans subscribe to the central QAnon belief that the government is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and that twenty per cent believe that “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.”
What? I’m supposed to be worried about the fifteen or twenty percent of Americans who believe bizarre crapola?
Heller then refers to Mike Rothschild, a journalist who seems to be promoting a book about the QAnon phenomenon and, thus, has compelling reason to support the (paranoid) idea that we are “radically underestimating the movement…”
“…the movement…”???? QAnon is a “movement”? Whoa. They have crazy beliefs and a few individual nutcases who have ventured out to fully express those beliefs with guns, but I have no impression that these marginal people have the organizational skills to, um, actually move. Nor do I have any impression that their numbers are expanding. How many of the deep crazies attacked the Capitol?
Heller calls the failure for us “elites” to get anxious about QAnon as “intellectual hubris.” She then attempts to convince us hubristic intelligentsia that “we all hold some beliefs for which there is no compelling evidence.” She mentions Jesus, and “everything happens for a reason.” And Bernie Madoff.
Not only do I not believe in Jesus, I’ve never seen any historical evidence that such a person existed. My belief in a messiah rests entirely with Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I’ve never invested in “everything happens for a reason” or Bernie Madoff.
I didn’t start out to trash an article that probably belongs in the pages of the National Enquirer rather than the New Yorker, but hey, she wandered into what I was trying to say. Which is:
The majority of people in this country are not crazy, stupid cultists. So stop working so hard to sweep all of us, the genuine majority, up into your professional agita about the slim minority of Americans who seem to be paranoids searching for something companionable to do with their time other than scrapbooking, anti-vaxxing and watching Fox.
P.S. I haven’t been as irritated with the New Yorker since they had Jeff Toobin covering the O.J. Simpson trial.