Why Are They Toppling Statues?

When my kid was very little, she asked me about a photo of me at the 2000 New Year’s party, and I replied, “Oh, this was before you were born.”

She didn’t like that at all. The idea that there was a time before she existed was intolerable. “I was born, Mommy! I was born!” she insisted. “I remember it! It was a great party!”

Gradually, she learned to understand the concept of the past. Instead of threatening, it became interesting, an object of curiosity.

This is what normal development of a human brain looks like. At first, the idea that the world existed before you and people have relationships and interests that are not about you is terrifying. But then you grow and get over it. Once you are completely over it, childhood ends.

Or if you didn’t go through the age-appropriate stages of development, it doesn’t end. Then, you run around, possessed by rage and destroying everything that reminds you that you are not the center of the world, that there are people who are valued more than you because of the important, grown-up things they accomplished, and that life existed before you and will go on after you.

This is the same thing that motivates the fantasies of “the world ending in 12 years.” It’s called “a narcissistic wound” and it makes people lash out in irrational, childlike rage against the intolerable knowledge that the entirety of human civilization is not about them.

12 thoughts on “Why Are They Toppling Statues?”

  1. Do you suppose the number of narcissistically wounded people increased in recent years? Why?

    Left the previous comment before reading your post and Peter Pan idea is partly similar.

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    1. It’s definitely become fashionable to self-, infantilize. I would have died of ridiculousness if anybody around me said “adulting is hard” when I was 20. And now it’s considered cute. Grown-ass adults whining on social media how they are the most economically thwarted generation in history. I grew up with the inflation of 1,500% and it never occurred to me I was a huge victim.

      I saw our local protest swan by me today. When I was those kids’ age, I had 3 part-time jobs, school, and a kid at home. I wouldn’t have been able to go to any protest because I had to work. And I didn’t feel victimized. I felt incandescently happy.

      These people are spoiled, stupid brats.

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      1. Yeah. “Adulting”. A lot of people I know (mostly 35 and under) say this, and then I feel like a crotchety old granny for being annoyed by it. Which is weird, because I often feel like an adult-impostor myself. And then I do something only grown-up-parent-type people do, like bring vegetables to a potluck, instead of dessert, and I am surprised by how easy and automatic it was! We did not have good training in being adults, I think.

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      2. When you hear millennials whining about their plight, you’ll notice the complaining is always “I went to college but it didn’t result in a good job and I have a lot of student loan debt!” Always the plight of the privileged. Millennials are objectively worse off than the generation before them on many metrics, and there are people in my generation who truly have a rotten deal in life. These are not the people you see constantly whining on social media though, not at all. It’s people who feel entitled to a certain lot in life and then don’t get everything they hoped for. I’ve seen someone put it as “more millennials were trained to be elites than there are spots for,” or something along those lines.

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  2. Foot soldiers of the woke high priests, they’re iconoclasts of liberal democratic history and institutions. And they’re super ignorant morons with hormones to burn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I met two teenagers today, brothers. They came up with a business, growing and selling microgreens. Really great kids. They don’t have time to run around at idiotic protests. Such a contrast with the protesting brats.

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  3. “life existed before you and will go on after you…”

    “society… becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Burke

    As a foreigner, I always found it very cool how much care Americans took to display self-confidently symbols of their terrible civil war nearly everywhere. My interpretation of the military statutes of leaders of both sides, the battlefields, the graveyards was that these were meant to be symbols of the national healing that was so necessary after one of the world’s first industrial wars, a bloody prelude to the slaughterhouse that was WWI. Never again, seemed to be the clear and common message.

    The woke have another interpretation based in their belief that “race” politics is the alpha and omega of the American experience, an original sin for which there can be no redemption, no peace, no resolution. They spit on liberal democratic ideals of individual legal equality and limited government that had their origin in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and want to recreate the very politics of biological entitlement that liberalism displaced.

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    1. My deep-south town has the curious distinction of having the only Union-soldier memorial statue south of the Moson-Dixon line. Nobody finds it offensive. It’s unclear whether it was put up by the community of Union veterans who retired there after the war, or if it was put up as part of the advertising to entice said veterans to buy land there.

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  5. “destroying everything that reminds you that you are not the center of the world”

    I was thinking slightly differently (a further step down the path as it were)…. that is that once people start trying to destroy the past they are inevitably drawn to attack the most admirable because they cast the longest shadow on the present.

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  6. A very good article and the writing is beautiful (look at the quotes):

    The woke have no vision of the future
    Like medieval millenarians, today’s SJWs believe all that needs to be done to bring about a new world is to destroy the old one
    https://unherd.com/2020/06/the-woke-have-no-vision-of-the-future/

    QUOTES:

    “Rather than aiming for a better future, woke militants seek a cathartic present. Cleansing themselves and others of sin is their goal. Amidst vast inequalities of power and wealth, the woke generation bask in the eternal sunshine of their spotless virtue.”

    “Medieval flagellants and woke militants combine a sense of their own moral infallibility with a passion for masochistic self-abasement.”

    “The system that seems to be emerging is a high-tech variation on feudalism, with wealth creation concentrated around new industries and most of the population disenfranchised and dispossessed. While this metamorphosis gathers speed, the American media are manufacturing fictional narratives of national redemption.”

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  7. The author of the linked above article is a political philosopher and author. Two books drew my attention.

    FIRST

    False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism Hardcover – April 1, 1999

    Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as both “a convincing analysis of an international economy headed for disaster” and a “powerful challenge to economic orthodoxy,” False Dawn shows that the attempt to impose the Anglo-American-style free market on the world will create a disaster, possibly on the scale of Soviet communism. Even America, the supposed flagship of the new civilization, risks moral and social disintegration as it loses ground to other cultures that have never forgotten that the market works best when it is embedded in society. John Gray, well known in the 1980s as an important conservative political thinker, whose writings were relied upon by Margaret Thatcher and the New Right in Britain, has concluded that the conservative agenda is no longer viable. In his examination of the ripple effects of the economic turmoil in Russia and Asia on our collective future, Gray provides one of the most passionate polemics against the utopia of the free market since Carlyle and Marx.

    SECOND

    Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia Sep 30, 2008

    For the decade that followed the end of the cold war, the world was lulled into a sense that a consumerist, globalized, peaceful future beckoned. The beginning of the twenty-first century has rudely disposed of such ideas—most obviously through 9/11and its aftermath. But just as damaging has been the rise in the West of a belief that a single model of political behavior will become a worldwide norm and that, if necessary, it will be enforced at gunpoint.

    In Black Mass, celebrated philosopher and critic John Gray explains how utopian ideals have taken on a dangerous significance in the hands of right-wing conservatives and religious zealots. He charts the history of utopianism, from the Reformation through the French Revolution and into the present. And most urgently, he describes how utopian politics have moved from the extremes of the political spectrum into mainstream politics, dominating the administrations of both George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and indeed coming to define the political center. Far from having shaken off discredited ideology, Gray suggests, we are more than ever in its clutches. Black Mass is a truly frightening and challenging work by one of Britain’s leading political thinkers.

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