Scaring Ourselves to Death

We have a neighbor several doors down the street who has – over the years that we have known her – been somewhat of a trial. Not only is she is a gossip with an appallingly low degree of accuracy in the stories that she passes on, she is also a keen consumer of local news, and takes the most sensational crime stories to heart. She was in her element, the evening that we had a double murder in our neighborhood, having claimed to see the murderer running down the street past her house and begging one of the other neighbors for a ride. She provided a description of the murderer to one of the police patrols who went screaming through the neighborhood – a description which turned out to be inaccurate in every detail save that the escaping murderer was a male. As for the what she sees on the news; let someone across town be carjacked in their own driveway, she is totally convinced that everyone in the neighborhood is in dire peril of this happening to them. She lurks at the community mailbox of a morning, bearing dire warnings of all kinds of unlikely scenarios. She never goes much beyond the community mailbox, having successfully frightened herself out of going any farther on most occasions. In earlier times, I would try and talk her into taking a more realistic view of things. Eventually I realized that she purely enjoyed scaring herself into conniptions, and those irrational fears provided a handy all-purpose excuse for her not to go and do much of anything with herself when her only child went to college on the other side of the state and her husband moved out.

Until a few weeks ago, I considered this neighbor an oddity; now I realize that is just not so. A great many other people, mundane, or celebrity, educated or not, rich or not so rich are having a fine old time scaring themselves into even more spectacular frenzies over the brutal Hitlerian tendencies of Donald Trump, at the drop of a hat, another executive order, or cabinet nomination. If anything, the hysteria is getting shriller and more unhinged, and aimed more widely than just Trump, his associates, family, staff and cabinet nominees. It’s being aimed at citizens who voted for him; the worst of it is viciously unhinged, and the not-so-bad comes through in social media, and from friends and acquaintances whom one really doesn’t want to cut off entirely. Quite a few of my Facebook acquaintances who confess to being on the libertarian to conservative side of the political divide tell tales of being unfriended, hectored mercilessly; the convention of agreeing to disagree isn’t something to be upheld any longer.

There’s almost a feeding-frenzy quality about it. I live in a pretty conservative milieu – but I wouldn’t want to wear a Trump-supporting t-shirt or a MAGA ballcap in public, not after seeing pictures of Trump supporters being egged, rocked, cold-cocked or beaten up over the last few months. Which brings me to the riot Wednesday evening, where the flying monkey-squads of masked, black-clad so-called ‘Anti-Fa’ or anti-fascist protesters descended and … really, gave a most striking demonstration of how the historical fascists behaved: beating up their enemies and trashing places of business, while intimidated police stand by doing nothing, and craven local politicians make lame excuses for the mayhem. I would not be surprised in the least when one of the black-clad anti-fa goons is killed by a victim who is not quite ready to roll with the narrative. Neither will I be surprised when the name of the dead anti-fa goon is memorialized in a snappy marching song, set to jazzed-up version of the Horst-Wessel-Lied. Anyone willing to give me the inside-outside for either probability? Discuss.

19 thoughts on “Scaring Ourselves to Death”

  1. (i) I didn’t realise that you had Hillary Clinton as a neighbour.

    (ii) As for your American neo-fascists: what can I say? You have my sympathy. In the end, if the authorities won’t defend public order and public safety then some other group will have a go at it.

  2. “(i) I didn’t realise that you had Hillary Clinton as a neighbour.”
    Snicker. Well, actually she’s pleasanter than Hillary … but is still quite doolally.

    As for the flying monkey anti-fa squad … yes, indeed. So far they haven’t done much outside leftist-controlled or dysfunctional cities, but as my late father was wont to say, warningly, “They are cruising for a bruising.”

  3. Not that far from Sgt. Mom’s neighborhood: Gay Trump Supporter Beaten Unconscious on Texas Street After He Pulls Out Trump Lighter

    Scott Sauter, a gay conservative, was walking from a comedy club back to his apartment in the Riverside Neighborhood of Austin, Texas this Sunday when he was brutally attacked, just for supporting our president.

    Scott contacted The Gateway Pundit with his story.

    Scott was beaten unconscious because he is a Trump supporter.
    He spoke with us tonight: The Gateway Pundit: We’ve seen the pictures, what happened:

    Scott Sauter: I lit up a cigarette and pulled out my lighter which has a picture of Donald Trump on it, a man approached me after noticing the lighter. He said ‘You’re in Austin. You are actually pulling a Donald Trump Lighter?! You don’t think that’s a big deal?’ I told him that I support our president. That’s when things got crazy. He became verbally aggressive. He started swearing, telling me that Austin is mostly Hispanic. It escalated from there, he stole my lighter and then he started beating the living sh*t out of me.

    TGP: You didn’t throw the first punch or anything? This man attacked you just for supporting the President?

    Scott: I wasn’t being aggressive at all. He grabbed my lighter, took it from me and then he started berating me. I told him that I support our president and I believe in his policies. That’s when he started hitting me.

    TGP: What did this man look like?

    Scott: It was an African American man… the police came when I was on the ground knocked unconscious. My head was busted open. I couldn’t find my glasses. I could barely speak because my mouth was so swollen. I had to just get back to my apartment… That’s what you get for being a gay conservative.

    TGP: That’s a nightmare. Have you heard any more about the police investigation?

    Scott: So far it’s all pending. They aren’t sure if it’s a hate crime.

    TGP: I’d go so far as to say that its a double hate crime. Not only are you gay – which I know is liberal identity politics – but more importantly you’re conservative. And right now hate crimes against conservatives are on the rise. Did he take anything from you?

    Scott: Just my trump lighter, and my glasses. He didn’t mug me if that’s what you’re asking.

    This is getting old.

  4. The decisiveness appears magnified and even acceptable this post-election. Liberals definitely are not taking it lightly in varying levels of intensity. Anarchists will be anarchists no matter who liberal or conservative is in control.

    On the other hand, I recall many extreme right reactions being decisive as well post-election 2008. Certainly not the violence – not suggesting that. But there were calls along “not my president” and talk of secession just in different circles and parts of the country. There were also thinly veiled suggestions at doing harm to the president and childish caricatures which echo today and is brought up as a like-for-like reaction. What wasn’t present was the rioting which there currently appears to be little willingness to address.

    As pointed out, someone will eventually get hurt. The question is, will the follow up response avoid turning the person or people into martyrs or frame it based on facts? One response easily fans the flames of the discontented. The more difficult to manage response tempers the situation resetting the sanity of civility to at least listen long enough for the facts of this new president to occur before assuming the worst of the worst and justifying anarchy.

    We cannot let the extremes of any side define who we are as a whole.

    But people are increasingly forcing an either/or choice of extremes. The majority are not there though are bombarded by the group-think, some media and apparently some organized funding that fuel the idealism. Hopefully soon time will settle tensions among the disenchanted and the majority responds to the likely outrageous claims of the future before it goes beyond vandalism and personal assault/battery cases.

  5. ” talk of secession just in different circles and parts of the country.”

    I think you are conflating two phenomena. After Obama was elected, a lot of us were disappointed but there was a brief period of optimism. Obama had a dinner with people like George Will. Then came the meeting where he dismissed a suggestion by Paul Ryan with the comment “I won.”

    The GOP was ignored in the run up to the “Stimulus” and there were objections to any projects for “burly men.”

    The real opposition to Obama and his agenda followed the Scott Brown election when his swearing in was delayed until the Obamacare bill was rammed through.

    The “secession” talk was in Texas after the EPA began actions to oppose a number of Texas policies like having its own electrical grid and power plants,

    Maybe you were just mistaken or maybe you are trying to push a narrative that the two situations are the same.

    They are not.

  6. The one Berkeley rioter who has been identified is a UC Berkeley employee.

    Not a student, of course, and stupid enough to brag on social media about beating up some guy at the riot.

    I doubt he is one of the anarchists or leaders. Just a stupid foot soldier.

  7. I’ve always thought that that peculiar “virtue signaling” and grievance encouraging culture was going to, at some point, go crazy from its built in contradictions. You can’t keep ignoring reality (both within and without) and keep your eyes and mind clear. You can’t say you care about children and ignore the facts about parental care, limited improvement through Head Start, and lousy test scores in schools exacting greater and greater taxes to do their job poorly. You can’t say you respect minorities and then expect them to be served well by a system that systematically gives them priorities because otherwise they wouldn’t survive the vetting process or penalize them because otherwise they would dominate the system. You can’t say women are penalized for being women and shut your eyes to indications – from high school graduation rate to length of life – that that is true only in narrow circumstances and more often just, well, a ridiculous lie. Actually, I don’t see how you want the government to stay out of our bedrooms but demand free contraceptives. You can’t say you believe in taking the “high road” while wearing a vagina hat and saying the White House needs blowing up and shooting Trump with a water pistol to entertain your students. Well, maybe now all those internal contradictions and cognitive dissonance has ended up with crazies – or maybe it merely attracted them.

    But this is pretty much off topic from your neighbor. I think we have a human tendency to feel better about our lives if we think others are in worse straits or are doing an even worse job than we are. We have signals for that: “at least I don’t” in the one case and “there but for the grace of God go I” for the other. (Though sometimes when the latter response is to the former situation cliches can be a useful reality check.)

  8. Well, maybe now all those internal contradictions and cognitive dissonance has ended up with crazies – or maybe it merely attracted them.

    Trump is in a fight to the death, hopefully not literally, with the teachers’ unions and behind them the public employee unions, including the federal workers’ unions.

    Scott Walker faced them down in Wisconsin but this is national and even international.

    I’m not sure he can do it. If he fails, I will be happy that I am over 80 (in two years) and have lived a good life.

    I think of him as Charles Martel at Tours in 732.

    If he loses, we will lose our civilization, maybe not in one year but it will be gone in a lifetime.

    I have read Joel Mokyr’s books and he points out in “The Lever of Riches” that the Industrial Revolution could have occurred in Roman times. They had a working steam engine but no legal structure to allow patents or property rights.

    Many of the pathologies of the late Roman society are being duplicated now. The war on culture and the fascination of the left with the enemies of civilization are ominous signs of a culture that is exhausted.

  9. The one Berkeley rioter who has been identified is a UC Berkeley employee.

    For anyone who has lived in Berserkeley, this is no big surprise. For decades, Berserkeley has been a magnet for radicals from all over the US. In addition, just growing up in the area may predispose one towards sympathy for radical stances,as that can be all one hears. Some of those radical natives or migrants are going to get a job with UCB. Some may become violent.

    From my year in Berserkeley decades ago, I knew someone my age who grew up in the affluent Berkeley hills. She was still a radical in her 60s,as she was involved in Occupy Wall Street. Yes, she worked at UCB in a staff position. Though she moved East several years ago to another lefty haven.

    Some Berkeley radicals grow up and see the light. Consider Clifton Ross, who moved to Bererkeley in the 70s to live in radical heaven.Or should I say radical haven. Ross eventually got disillusioned with the lefty paradises of Cuba and Venezuela as a result of living in both countries. I recommend his book: Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions. Clifton Ross has occasionally posted articles at Caracas Chronicles, a leading English language Venezuelan oppo blog.

  10. “They had a working steam engine”: if that’s a reference to Heron’s toy, then no, not really. But it, like the Antikythera mechanism, it certainly is a reminder of what might have been.

  11. I have a friend who – with his (then) would become wife, attended Berkeley in the early 60s. The wife used to be a cashier in a cafeteria and said that Mario Savio was a publicity-seeking jerk. Most of the rioters (then) weren’t even students.

  12. “They had a working steam engine”: if that’s a reference to Heron’s toy, then no, not really.

    It was used to open temple doors and such. Yes a toy but Savary’s steam engine was not much better.

    The point was that the concept existed if there had been enough incentive. If you haven’t read Joel Mokyr’s book, “The Lever of Riches,” you should. He has a long list of inventions by anonymous artisans over the centuries.

    The Mediterranean climate and soil did not require deep plowing. Northern Europe did. The Moldboard Plow was invented during the Middle Ages although a version also existed in China at one time. Many early Chinese devices disappeared with the Ming Dynasty that opposed invention.

  13. After some time has gone by I’m starting to get an understanding of what’s happened, well sorta. ;)

    I was immensely pleased by Trump’s victory, and it was more that just my great fear of the Hildebeast. He’s going to either break everything, which is what I think will happen, or, perhaps fix a great deal of what’s ailing the US and maybe the world, mostly by breaking useless things, it does seem to be his MO.;)

    I’ll take either one. I think the self defeating place, the world has come to, has to be broken out of. This will force the various, powers that be, to rethink their various strategies. Hopefully more useful directions can be taken.

  14. It is going to get worse. Today I had an exchange at another site where a Republican in NYC reported that at a Republican party meeting, among people who were in an industry where being known as NOT a barking moonbat was career suicide, they were infiltrated by several Leftist goons who threatened their lives, claimed that they had videoed the Republican participants and would ruin them, and physically attacked them. It required physical subduing of the infiltrators. I asked how they were disposed of once physically subdued. In NYC, no prosecutor or cop will charge a Leftist for threats or assault.

    Granting that in Colorado we are stronger into the concept of self-defence and have a “Make My Day” law. And a lot of people have shotguns, shovels, and 5+ acres in back. But this is not going to end until and unless those Leftists attacking others face physical and/or final retribution for their actions. This will probably happen after the Leftists kill someone and there are no legal consequences.

    After a balance of terror is established, things may back off. But that is far from certain, and indeed is in grave doubt.

    Pengun: I was under the impression that you vastly preferred a Hillary win as the quickest route to humbling America. And that you were opposed to Trump based on those criteria.

  15. “Pengun: I was under the impression that you vastly preferred a Hillary win as the quickest route to humbling America. And that you were opposed to Trump based on those criteria.”

    Not at all. I thought Hillary was very dangerous to all of us. As well a continuation of the neo liberal grip on power, not only in America, was her entire aim.

    Trump, for me, is perfect. I think he will just break so much of what contributes to continued American preeminence, that I’ll be a happy camper. Associated destruction, of neo liberal interests around the world is just icing.

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