This is what happens when everyone gets a trophy.
Normally, this award goes to an individual who displays such uncompromising standards of douchiness as to defy belief, but every once in a while a group comes to the fore and makes it's fundamental douchiness too obvious and too interesting to ignore.
Such is the case with the so-called Antifa (Anti-Fascists).
Some people's children...
Having never been a parent, I am somewhat reluctant to criticize the parenting skills (or lack, thereof) of others. Having been raised by (sort of) parents, I get the general idea that the aim of traditional parenting (for centuries) has been to infect your offspring with your own neuroses, and perhaps occasionally tempering the entire experience with a bit of genuinely useful wisdom gained from having "been there and done that" that might actually be relevant.
By such incremental and traditional methods the human race has continued for untold centuries, occasionally stumbling, for sure, but always advancing inch-by-painful-inch, and always with some sort of control exerted either by the bounds of "tradition" or "morality" or even what Francis Fukuyama once called "the unwritten (but culturally-reinforced) laws of society".
It worked. Maybe not perfectly, but it did produce people who were, generally, open-minded, respectful, reasonably-well-informed, and civilized.
Apparently, that approach flew out the window about six decades ago.
I blame the whole thing on the effort to separate the concept of "Self Esteem" from the cardinal requirement that one should actually DO SOMETHING to earn it. More on this later.
Equal blame must go to the Aging Hippies (not aging fast enough, because they're not dying fast enough) who, having wasted their own lives in the pursuit of purely hedonistic endeavors, exerted far more influence on American culture than they should have been allowed to, given their relatively-low levels of a) intelligence, and b) self-awareness.
Now, it may seem strange to place responsibility for the rampaging assholes currently roaming American streets on the shoulders of the modern Senior Citizen, but bear with me: I will square this circle.
Perhaps the worst thing ever invented in America was the Baby Boomer. That the nation that invented the production line, the repeating rifle, the telegraph, the super-computer, the internet, atomic power, and the Space Program, should have failed on such a fundamental level is a concept that is both difficult to fathom, and all-too-easy-to-understand.
For brevity's sake, let's define the Baby Boomer population in rather broad strokes: these are people who were born into a time of burgeoning material comfort, the likes of which the world had never seen before, and simultaneously afflicted with a variety of fears and guilts which it was beyond their power to resist. This is the generation of The Space and Atomic Ages, when all things seemed possible, when imaginations ran wild with seemingly unlimited possibilities. It is also the generation who lived with the Reality of Duck-and-Cover, of the threat of immediate nuclear incineration, where Reds Were Under Every Bed, where the new medium of television was able to transmit often heart-breaking scenes of Civil Rights marches (and thus, injustice) into their living rooms all while selling them the idea of the Man in the White Hat who would come along and fix everything in 30 minutes or less (historical note: during the late 1950's/early 1960's, the American public was subjected to -- on average -- 17 hours per week of Television Westerns).
For the most part, these people were raised by parents who had been subjected to the twin horrors of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Fear was the environment these parents were raised in: the fear of going hungry, fear of Nazi Supermen or Japanese Kamikazes, fear of mass unemployment, the fear of Another World War. And while they had tried to pass on the proper moral and civil lessons that they had learned from their childhood and it's travails on to their own children, they largely failed.
Everyone had a good-paying job, post-War, and so subsequently, parents raised in the Depression determined that their own children would have everything they didn't, and could usually afford to give it. They had seen the horrors of combat close up, or suffered the deprivation of wartime shortages, and were single-minded in their efforts to not repeat them or inflict them upon their own offspring. Many were so deeply psychologically wounded by the experiences of war -- the combat, the loss of loved ones -- that they attempted to create an impermeable bubble of comfort around their children, and practiced a very subtle form of avoidance: whatever else may happen in American Life, the children must be sheltered, as much as possible, from Reality.
So, the Baby Boomer, from the very start, was doomed. This doom was obvious in the outward expressions of group solidarity that were common in the 1960's: communal drug use (avoidance, or perhaps sharing the memories of, and emulating the actions of, their drunken, war-damaged fathers), rejection of modes of common decency (after all, we're all going to be atomized by the Reds any day now. Why bother?), the hedonism that is a natural result of extreme material comfort, the reliance on government for solutions to problems that was the echo of the New Deal, Depression-era programs (which made the Depression worse, but psychologically were very comforting).
They were further damaged by the intrusion of reality (for it a truism that Reality cannot be denied forever): the assassination of John F. Kennedy (cult of personality in American Politics was also a residue of the New Deal, and, one could argue, a consequence of the Man-in-the-white-hat Western), The Korean and Vietnam Wars, The Cuban Missile Crisis, and the various, ersatz Counter-culture "revolutions" which all ultimately failed, leaving their most fervent adherents both deeply scarred emotionally, and incredibly cynical and self-interested. Feminism broke the traditional bonds between Men and Women, having some (how much is arguable) effect on the traditional cultural norms of marriage and the nuclear family.
And so, the period of, roughly, 1950-1975, when it had eventually run it's course in Watergate, secret wars in Laos, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the terrorism of Red Brigades and Palestinians, the Munich Olympic Massacre, the death of Jimi and Janis, the end of the Summer of Love, and progressed into the Era of Gas Lines, Population Bombs, the Coming Ice Age (wait...what about Global Warming?), Three-Mile Island, "Peak" Resources, Disco and the Coming of AIDS, did little more than produce severely psychologically-damaged people who, for all intents and purposes, not only questioned the wisdom of the past, but in many cases, simply rejected it out of hand, and replaced it with a "new Wisdom" which was based upon the premise of "to thine own self be true, and fuck everyone else".
These people eventually "grew up", after a fashion, and despite all of their chest-beating about "Fighting the Establishment" and "Speaking Truth to Power", became, themselves, The Establishment and The Power, and because they had been encouraged over the course of their lifetimes into rejecting everything of lasting value for the sake of immediate gratification (comfort), they imbued that New Establishment and that New Power with their own, diseased, degraded, and depraved Worldview.
They became the Politicians. The CEO's. The Professors. The Journalists. They became what they hated the most, but were also convinced that they knew better, despite having learned nothing from two-plus decades of abject failure: the marching for Peace did not stop the Vietnam War, the dropping of acid did not usher in the Age of Aquarius, the Summer of Love may have brought some great music, but it failed in it's mission to bring people together. If anything, all of this empty posturing failed because it was never about ACHIEVEMENT, only COMFORT. People marched against The War because they didn't want to go to it; they marched for Civil Rights because they watched blacks being beaten and firehosed on television while they enjoyed TV Dinners and Gunsmoke and felt guilty; they gravitated to New Ageism and a new brand of Identity Politics because they had lost faith in the traditional mechanisms of American Life and this made them angry. It had saddled them with a variety of feelings they were never prepared to deal with, because they had lived for so long in a bubble of relative luxury that served to protect them from the worst of reality.
When you think of the likes of Hillary or Bill Clinton, a Barack Obama, a Dan Rather, the Wall Street Bankers who handed out mortgages like candy to those who couldn't pay, the Race-Hustling-Fake "reverends", the producers of your television shows and movies which are more dumbass-and-tits than they are entertainment, remember: these are all -- almost without exception -- Baby Boomers. If you believe the world is fucked up beyond repair, that's because the people who made it thus are fucked up beyond repair.
And so, we come to Antifa.
Because the seriously-damaged Flower Children eventually had children of their own. And many, if not most, were probably similar to my own parents, who never taught me anything of value, and gave me rah-rah speeches that were all some variation of the theme "if it feels good, do it", the Mantra of The Baby Boomer.
And those tykes had tykes of their own, and they were, for the most part, influenced by the terrible parenting they received where divorce was common, where everything was "out to get you", where Truth was simultaneously something that could never be discovered and whatever you wanted it to be. And this generation of parents, mostly left to raise themselves (Latch-Key Children) did what the Baby Boomer's parents had done; they were going to make damned sure that reality never intruded into their kid's lives, either, because they had experienced the reality of broken homes, of degraded morals, of vicarious guilt passed from parent to child.
So when the generation that would eventually become Antifa came-of-age (I will not say "grew up" because they aren't grown ups), they were raised in a reactionary environment: they were, By God!, going to get all the attention that Flower-Child Mommy and Daddy never gave me! They WILL have "structure" in their lives! They will NOT be the same sort of self-absorbed, selfish human beings their grandparents became!
Yeah, right...and monkeys might fly out of my butt.
And this came with even MORE neuroses, because now every mother in America dreaded heretofore unknown hazards: "Stranger Danger"; letting children play outside might expose them to MRSA and Flesh-eating bacteria; ADHD was everywhere; or worst of all, a diagnosis of "Autism Spectrum" could follow the failure of your 3-year-old to lean Latin from the DVD's you bought them and the nanny popped into the player for her. And so the Modern Parent is a combination of super-contradictory personalities: the Uber-Middle-Class-gated-community-Mercedes-SUV-driving-control-freak, who wants her brood to be "compassionate", and "loving" and "accepting of others", and "tolerant of other's feelings and views" while she secretly plots to kneecap another mother in order to get Junior into that tony Pre-school, or uses her position in the PTA to "crusade" for more greens and less pizza in school lunches, or browbeats a Principal into changing Suzie's grade so as to not savage her "Self-Esteem", when she isn't vicariously claiming her children's victories, no matter how small, as her own. She wraps her children in a metaphorical plastic slip cover, obsesses over them day and night, and pops Xanax on a regular basis because her life of luxury makes it "hard to be Me".
A child, nowadays, seems more like a fashion accessory, an outward expression of a parent's perceived self-value, than they are little human beings who need proper guidance and love. More appearance than substance.
And you wonder why these kids are throwing wine bottles full of explosives in the streets?
They've been given everything. Even stuff they haven't earned. They have been doted upon by parents, themselves often raised by some of the dumbest human beings who ever lived, determined not to repeat the mistakes of their own childhood by inventing a whole slew of new ones to make; the children are taught that respect, courtesy, compassion, acceptance, inclusion are the end-all-be-all of human existence...except when it comes to getting what's your's...by people who believe not a word of it, and never practice it And if "what's your's" is considered something of a status symbol in your little Suburbo-freak community, then no hold's barred, all that compassion and acceptance shit, notwithstanding. It will be had, no matter what needs to be done, and no matter how many dead bodies you need to step over.
Modern parents have gone to the extreme of repeating their own parent's fundaMENTALLY-bizarre habit of presiding over disaster and claiming victory, or worse, creating disaster and claiming victory. Because Self-Esteem.
And just as the Baby Boomer claimed victory for his Anti-Vietnam stance (your protests never stopped one bullet or bomb, nor saved any lives), and claimed a Big Win for Civil Rights with the Great Society (which made being minority and poor a profession rather than a circumstance), today's Robo-Mom claims laurels for things that make them appear batshit-insane, too. So, you get medals for being "brave" for having a handicapped child; you get Brownie Points for organizing a food drive out of your 4-bedroom McMansion while never going near the ghetto to feed someone; you achieve a sort of social cachet for being "empowered" if you start a niche-but-bound-to-fail business in your basement, totally (financially) "supported" by your six-figure-earning husband; you are considered an Olympian Goddess for being a busybody and "raising awareness" for the most stupid things that ultimately achieve nothing and interfere in everyone else's enjoyment of life, whether it's a "campaign" to eliminate that last bit of sugar or salt from everyone's diet, or starting an organization devoted to your own, personal pet peeve that makes everyone else's life a Living Hell.
You get to claim full credit for trying, no matter how badly you've failed. Everyone gets a trophy, after all. Isn't that what you've worked so hard to teach your kids?
Children raised by complete assholes who talk out of both sides of their mouths and their rectums, simultaneously, because they've been taught by the best bullshitters the world has ever seen (The Baby Boomers). These parents have a variety of psychological scars inflicted upon them by their own upbringing, mostly having guilt and feelings of worthlessness. They are raised in circumstances of wealth and privilege which they have not earned, and are told they should be ashamed of. They have been brought up by people who value the shallow appearance and false praise of "doing something" more than the tangible rewards of "doing something effective". The kids have been nurtured in an environment in which competition is supposed to be bad (because someone's feelings might get hurt), while Mommy and Daddy strong-arm Little League coaches to get them more playing time, and neighbors (very much like their parents) play a game in which score is kept by who's kid got into what college, where every achievement, no matter how trivial, is treated as an event on par with the Parting of the Red Sea, where every failure is either rewarded with a certificate-of-almost-got-it, or remedied by a fire-breathing, Prada-wearing Hausfrau armed with a bad attitude and a Yelp! account.
Put that kind of child into an environment in which they are now TAUGHT by the Worst Humanity Has To Offer, who screwed up their own lives and children, and now you can see where an Antifa comes from. Over-indulged little dipshits who have been protected from every bad outcome, raised in the lap of material wealth that would have made a Robber Baron of Old green with envy, rewarded for every failure in a way that makes them Entitled, protected from the consequences of failure, handed over by hypocrites to the very people who MADE THEM HYPOCRITES.
And what makes it an explosive (no pun intended) combination is that the Aging Hippies are not done yet, for they still believe their own bullshit. The Modern Radical-for-show (because every one of them is a physical, moral and intellectual coward, because nowadays it's all about Virtue Signalling and Appearances) only does what s/he does -- destroy property, pepper-spray those who won't fight back, toss M-80-loaded glass bottles into a crowd -- because their own experience tells them there is no consequence for doing so. They're adjudged "right" because they mean well, not because their cause has any inherent justice; their efforts, no matter how stupid or destructive, are not to be criticized, because feelz; they're correct in their actions because "NO!" would crush their fragile Self-Esteem; they are taught by the biggest liars the world has ever produced at every step of their lives (either as grandparents, teachers or administrators, politicians), who all secretly wish to re-live the Spirit of '68 -- if only it weren't for their aching knees, pot-addled minds, and clapped-out privates -- vicariously through a new generation of people even dumber than they are.
In the process, the Baby Boomers have re-created the very world they grew up in -- fantastic material wealth of their youth over-shadowed by the economic uncertainty of their young adulthood; the Iranian or North Korean Nuke replaces the Kremlin's ICBM's; their children are as frightened and confused and as unethical and immoral as they are; their grandchildren are re-creating the mental atmosphere of Chicago '68; everything in politics becomes a "-Gate" -- good going, Assholes!
It has been said that a dog always returns to it's own vomit. This is not only true in a physical sense for dogs, but in psychological terms, for humans. The Baby Boomers have managed to have a second childhood, only at arm's length.
I am of two minds about this Antifa nonsense.
The first is that we're dealing with fragile and empty-headed kids who are afflicted with the biggest curse of youth: the best idea they've ever heard is usually the LAST idea they've ever heard, particularly when they haven't been given the tools to evaluate ANY idea. And given the fact that they have been raised in a fashion where boundaries are blurred, ethics are situational, and no moral anchor exists, continuously congratulated for passing Potty Training, they are ill-equipped to understand both their own dumbassery and the fact that they are being USED by the best users of all time, for reasons they cannot fathom. Reasons that have nothing to do with right, justice or democracy, and everything to do with re-creating a particular mental atmosphere for the benefit of those who haven't their best interests at heart, and who are failures, themselves, by most objective standards.
The second is a frightening realization: one day, these dimwits will be in charge of everything. What makes this especially terrifying is that they are unaware of the very simple concept that actions have consequences, mostly because none have ever been visited upon them, and if they have, someone came to their defense; to get a grade changed, to get them a better part in the dance recital, or to ensure that everyone else was made equally miserable by raising a hissy fit of Biblical Proportions.
Which is why I'm in favor of teaching these little bastards the meaning of "consequences". Better late than never, and the sooner the better. I think they should all be beaten bloody and toothless every time they manage to gather in a group of two or more. Because it's the only way this kind of bullshit will stop. These kids wouldn't know a fascist if one came up and gave them a Tickle-Me Elmo (I suggest that this be adopted as the official symbol of Antifa, much nicer than a hammer-and-sickle, right?), and what they do resembles not so much the righteous anger of a principled people, but the temper tantrum of the frustrated four-year old denied a cookie because it's not "a healthy choice" by a Helicopter Mommy.
And the Baby Boomers can't die soon enough.
Douchebag of the Week is a weekly feature that highlights the worst in human nature and behavior.
Really good stuff Matt. "As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool repeat his folly". I wish more people could read this. The sad part is, the few that can grasp the principle already agree with you and those that need to benefit or could benefit from the information are to muddled in their thinking to pick upon it much less benifit. Great original writing
Bravo, Matt! Although I am a baby-boomer, the only sit in I did was in high school during lunch recess against the Lei Mai Massacre. Raise on a boondocks farm, we were just as poor as my parents. Thank goodness that I didn't live in a city. The only good that came out of my laughable radical days is that I learned never to trust the government. I am so glad that I learned that much. But, I'm afraid your awesome conclusion is like singing to the choir. Those that need to read it will never see themselves.
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