The orthodoxy of the insane.
It’s said that order and civilization are exceptions to the general rules of human existence: entropy and barbarism. Thus, civilization is by its very nature, unsustainable, with all civilizations following a similar arc of glorious pinnacles succeeded by ignominious declensions. History, I think, shows this assertion to be demonstrably true (consider the British Empire, Rome, the Byzantine Empire, American Empire, etc.). Alongside the sundry (and more readily observable) geopolitical and economic implications of civilizational decline however, there are also psychological and spiritual aspects to decadence. This inexorable slide into dissolution is often accompanied by the psychic descent of the populace into an underworld of mass hysteria and collective psychosis. As civilization unravels around them, an impotent bloodlust emerges, triggered by the slightest deviations from culturally imposed norms; a pound of flesh becomes the penance for the most trifling of peccadilloes.
Decline psychosis is extraordinarily destructive and leads to some of the bloodiest and most lawless excesses that history has ever witnessed. Paradoxically however, the havoc wreaked by this collective psychosis is always fundamentally aimed at the preservation of order in an era careening towards disorder. It is an attempt to understand a world that is rapidly becoming incomprehensible in the face of the disintegration of the contextualizing force that is civilization.
So what is psychosis? It’s defined as being a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that the sufferer’s connection with external reality is severed. The sufferer begins to perceive things that are not there and to believe things that are not true. Psychosis may be caused by any assortment of internal or external causes. In this state, the sufferer is unable to perceive reality and lives exclusively in an internal world of unreality. Once the sufferer has descended into psychosis, neither logic, nor reason, nor assertions that the sufferer has a false perception of reality will be sufficient to overcome the delusions.
The particular variant of psychosis that I discuss here arises from the correct perception by a populace of a civilization that their civilization has slipped into inexorable decline. The populace attempts to sublimate the stress generated by this realization into aggressive attempts to (re)establish certain orthodoxies of thought as a shield against the feelings of anguish and powerlessness created by the recognition of their society’s drift towards obsolescence. This is rational, done to reconcile the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and nihilism with the fundamental human tendency to believe that life has purpose and order in spite of the decay and apparent meaninglessness. Unconsciously, the push to enforce rightness of thought is held as a talisman of sorts against the forces of decay feeding upon the moribund society-the quasi-religious dimension of the psychosis cannot be denied.
This state of affairs, while destructive to the people, is a boon to the civilization’s elites and establishmentarians who utilize these distractions to obscure the fact that they are engaged in their own shifty machinations that contribute to their civilization’s destruction. Petty differences of opinion that would be tolerated in a healthy civilization become landmines in a decadent one incapable of rationally resolving difference. Why? Because psychologically, to be in possession of a “wrong” thought is to, in a small way, cede to the chaos at the gates. It is fundamentally magical thinking. The leaders encourage febrile witch hunts so that the frenzied populace doesn’t realize that the elites are selling off the patrimony, that the Vandals are at the gates, that the people haven’t had a decent meal in months, that the whole kit caboodle is on the verge of a very nasty implosion, and that there really is no version of the future that won’t prominently feature squalor and misery.
Consider the example of the United States, which enjoyed more than a century as the world’s leading superpower beginning approximately in 1901 with the Theodore Roosevelt presidency and its imperialist bent, reached its pinnacle in 1945 after WWII decimated the European powers, and lived to see the destruction of its primary philosophical and economic rival, the Soviet Union, in 1991. The decline of the American Empire began in 2006 and accelerated in 2008 with the derivatives/housing bubble fiasco that destabilized the global economy. Since that time the U.S. has:
Unquestionably, the signs of decline are everywhere and are apparent to anyone willing to take a hard look. But who wants to admit that they are living in the end days of an empire? Who wants to accept that things are unlikely to improve? And why would American elites want the American hoi polloi to become fully aware of the downward trajectory? The concentration of power has served them well, and burning tires create such an awful stench. So how does the psychosis manifest itself, and how do the elites fan the flames? Social justice. Crusaderism. Identity politics.
The statistics do not bear out the existence of a “rape culture” or of a rape epidemic. Professors in universities are not allowed to express an opinion that does not jive with this narrative, or they may be reported to the federal government (the modern day church) for the modern day equivalent of heresy. There is no evidence that this country “hates” black people, and that their higher rates of imprisonment is due to this institutional animus. There is, however, evidence that black Americans are overwhelmingly responsible for an outsize portion of the crime committed in this country relative to the size of their demographic. Nonetheless, the riots that took place in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD were seen as acceptable expressions of rage against a machine designed to oppress blacks.
The media offers us Caitlyn (ne) Bruce Jenner, Laverne Cox, and Chaz Bono, and dares us to say that the first two are men, and the last is a woman. These are the articles of faith within the current orthodoxy. Believers, in the throes of their psychosis truly believe the drivel and will ruthlessly enforce it against all heretics and deniers. That these assertions have no basis in fact is irrelevant. That these beliefs do not reflect an objective reality is beside the point. As painful as it must be to live life believing in these delusions, admitting to yourself that your nation is in its death throes will be infinitely more excruciating.