Our Oligarchs, So Full of Paradoxes, You’d Almost Think They Were … Idiots
Our oldest friends know us the best. And my oldest friend is Anthony, who has been my closet pal since second grade. He frequently reminds me of aspects of my character that I’ve overlooked or repressed. I’ll never forget the day he witnessed me have a “sharp dispute” with someone in the schoolyard. After he stopped the other, much larger boy from pounding me into the pavement, Anthony gave me a candid look and said, “Wow, you always go for the jugular, don’t you?”
Guilty as charged. Attack me, my friends, or something I hold sacred, and some switch flips in my head. Some mystical sense organ I’m gifted with will detect the issue or area of life about which you’re most insecure, and hand me the blade to stick in it. Out of my mouth will leap, like a beagle chasing a rabbit, an absolutely withering observation that will bother you, on and off, for years. Or ought to.
This skill came to me at a young age, and explains why I spent so much time at school finding secret exits from the building, to avoid the other young men who wished to physically avenge some verbal take-down.
Reductio ad Disturbs Them
Likewise, in political, social, or moral arguments. When I hear someone make a claim that sounds mistaken, inside my head all the logical dominos line right up, then start to topple. In a matter of seconds, I have a reductio ad absurdum ready to hand — the crazy, toxic, or outright ludicrous implications of this person’s logic, if you followed it to the bitter end. (As, of course, I instantaneously had.) I’ve found that pointing this out doesn’t always convince a person. Or make a friend. Most times, he’ll simply splutter, “Well, obviously, I don’t mean … that!”
To which the logical (if not the tactical) answer is, “You do. But you just don’t realize it yet.”
So this is my superpower. Call me Mr. Reductio, and give me an acid sprayer that shoots out of my mouth. With such modest power comes only modest responsibilities, since most people don’t really seem to care about where the logic of their ideas leads. So I end up spotting horrible trends, warning everyone about them, getting dismissed as an “alarmist,” and being ignored. Years later, by the time events vindicate my five seconds of grim insight, nobody remembers that I was right. Or wants to hear it when I remind them.
Still, I try to use this power for good instead of evil.
I Was Right About Yadda, Yadda, and Yadda
I wrote in 1982 in my college newspaper that the LGBTQMYNAMEISLEGION movement was more dangerous to Western Civilization than Communism. I realized in 1994 that mass immigration would dismantle America as we know it. In that same year, I penned a graphic novel predicting a pope uncannily similar to Pope Francis. (Now available on Amazon!)
I warned in 2000 that George W. Bush was a useless, irresponsible dilettante, and in 2002 that the Iraq War would be a disaster. I knew by 2008 at least that the neoconservatives would eventually go back to supporting the Democrats. In 2013, before Catholic Integralism even had a name, I wrote a long article exposing it and warning that it could become a major danger to the Church. I pointed out how its arguments pointed toward Catholic sharia. Everybody waved me off. Now there are thinktanks, textbooks, and conferences full of seminarians, all LARPing as Inquisition re-enactors, arguing about how high the gates should be on America’s Jewish ghettos.
Apart from that, Cassandra, How’d You Enjoy The Iliad?
Lots of fun, being Cassandra. Having said all that, let me turn my stream of sulphuric logic on the beliefs of our current Oligarchy. By that I mean, yes of course, the Secret Committee Formerly Known as Joe Biden — which ever Deep State conspirators are really running the White House. But I use the term more broadly, to include the coiffed heads and painted faces we see on TV. And the earnest zealots with 95 IQs and Education degrees who staff our government schools. Also the well-fed Stacy Abramses and hungry Ilhan Omars of various ethnic grievance lobbies.
Let’s not leave out, of course, the most important people — the people for whom all the others (and alas, most of us) really work: The boisterously “anti-racist” social justice warriors with blue eyes and trust funds who coast from Andover to Harvard to Brookings on a thick coat of privilege, convinced that they are “allies” of the “marginalized” and the “vulnerable.”
The Folks I Don’t Go to See Again at Yale Reunions
They’re not terribly bright, but not aggressively stupid. They’re not aggressively anything, except when the pack signals it’s time to ostracize or cancel someone. These people, the top 1-10% of our society, operate not by linear logic so much as by group adjustment. They decide what they think about the deepest issues of life by looking around them to see where the herd is going. Think how fish or birds can swarm and move quickly in vast numbers without bumping into each other. Just so, these members of our elite slip through life pretty seamlessly, never injuring themselves over any sharp distinctions or weighty truths.
This pack, or school, all decided, somehow, together, that the 2016 election was illegitimate. The Russia hoax gave them the pretext. But if Hillary hadn’t hatched that, something else would have served. Just so, they all decided that COVID offered the chance to suspend all our liberties, bankrupt our small businesses, and embark on a “Great Reset.”
Nothing would be the same after this. It was time for a “new normal” designed around the needs of society’s top 10%, the next 80% be damned, in the name of serving the bottom 10% — whom of course they don’t live near, never see, and want nothing to do with. The violent felons, illegal aliens, scofflaws, hobos, sex fiends, jihadists, sex workers, druggies and fifth generation welfare addicts whom our elites pretend to serve might as well reside on Pluto, for all the impact they have on their “benefactors’” lives.
The Paradoxes of the Herd
With all this in mind, let me at least imagine forcing these people to furrow their brows and think. The following are some paradoxes that ought to bedevil our elites, if fairness, facts, or logical consistency were things that they still valued:
- The same people and groups who wouldn’t close the gay bath houses over AIDS closed our churches and schools over COVID.
- The same politicians who dumped COVID patients in nursing homes now want to vaccinate our babies.
- The group with the lowest birth rate, secular atheists, feels most entitled to control the education of the young.
- Our elites believe that “privacy rights” include aborting a 9-month fetus, but don’t cover refusing an experimental vaccine.
- Those same elites will demand proof of vaccination to enter sporting events, but not proof of identity and citizenship for voting.
- College students feel “unsafe” because of culturally insensitive Halloween costumes, but young children must be exposed to graphic depictions of sodomy.
- Foreigners who used their kids as golden tickets into America deserve reparations. Citizens who protested election fraud are “insurrectionists” who deserve solitary confinement.
- Teenagers are too young to handle guns, but not to embark on sex change treatment.
If we were contending with full human beings, who consulted reason or faith in forming their opinions, there might be some point to multiplying such examples. Even, perhaps, to confronting our opponents with such paradoxes in their attitudes. But we aren’t. We’re dealing with herd animals who operate purely by group instinct, goaded by principalities and powers, as they thunder over the Gadarene cliff down into the sea.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”