The Shared Fear

Those who keep proclaiming that Trump supporters are “scared / worried / disturbed because the country is changing” are absolutely right. What they forget to mention is that they are just as scared. Only very terrified people keep screaming, “I’m not scared, you are!” for years in a row.

The slogans of “build the wall” and “open the borders [aka babies in cages]” originate from the same fear. “Send her back because she’s hurting me with her words” and “fire them / ban them / prevent them from speaking because they are hurting me with their words” do, too. And so do “let’s hound people for not saluting the anthem in a certain way” and “let’s hound people for using the wrong pronoun.”

The problem, says Williamson, is that these scared people are doing a lot of damage as they thrash about in terror. They try to barricade themselves from the randomness and unpredictability of fluid existence (which Williamson clearly digs) with elaborate speech codes, imaginary border walls, ritual expressions of tribalism, and even actual uniforms.

But what about those of us who are not scared? Why should we be hounded simply because we find the pronouns, the hats, and the pledges of tribal allegiance ridiculous? Why should our capacity to enjoy fluidity be curtailed by the terrified whelps of the dumb and mentally deficient ochlos? Says Williamson, obviously, and not me. We all know I don’t call anybody rabble.

As obnoxious as this way if putting things is, there is a question worth exploring here. A bunch (or two bunches, rather) of confused and scary folks are stampeding over civilizational advances that took a very long time to create. (Freedom of speech is one example especially dear to both Williamson and me). They will eventually calm down and accept their fate but what about the stuff they destroy as they thrash about right now?

And… I still haven’t gotten to the actual book. Next post, then.

See? This is why I like Williamson. He talks about things that matter in a way that makes me want to talk about things that matter.

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