When I was an adolescent, Hasbro had a board game, called A Game of Life. I do not remember playing it more than once or twice. I preferred Monopoly and Clue. From what I understand it has been immune to most of the vast cultural changes we have experienced since the less complex days of my youth. People decide whether to marry or not, learn how to spend and invest their money and when to retire. It is does include risks but I doubt if it is reflective of the life we live today with big government, the abortion wars and strange debates over gender and sexuality.
I do believe there is a new game that has replaced any parts of the aforementioned Hasbro game. A few words of personal background are necessary. I graduated from Xavier High School in New York City in 1961. Until the seventies, Xavier was a military school. During one of our short First Friday parades, I experienced one of the most humiliating moments in my life. I demonstrated my innate inability to get and stay in step. I was marching to my own inner drummer. Shortly after the parade, the Prefect of Discipline banished me from the regiment to the Supply Corps for a year. The Supply Corps was the valley of the damned where the dregs of the regiment resided in humble servitude.
In my many years as a cultural observer, I have realized that I am as much out of step with the cultural rhythms as I was back on that blustery February afternoon in 1958. My conservative philosophy, a concern for the unborn and belief in the transcendent virtues of the past have marginalized me to the point that I am looking for that supply truck with its burden of M1 rifles again. This can be true of anyone who still believes in the basic traditions this country once stood for. The tragic irony is that these virtues used to be in the mainstream. Belief in God, the Constitution, and free enterprise don’t have a seat at the American banquet table any more.
After Xavier, I carried my independent thinking to the College of the Holy Cross. I quickly learned that there was an internal clique that controlled the vestiges of power, influence and acceptance within our class. This coterie of 30-40 students was the so-called clique which led the Class of 1965 in the social functions of college life from proms to pep rallies. Since what they decided really had no significant effect on me, I just acquiesced.
Such group dynamics also explains much of what is wrong with America at this critical juncture in its history. The people running the country, what author John McManus once called The Insiders, remind me of the baseball players in Mark Harris’ screenplay and subsequent movie, Bang the Drum Slowly. In his film, the players engaged in a unique card game, called Tegwar, which is an acronym for the exciting game without any rules. The game was a scam. The players made up their own esoteric rules as they went along. No two hands ever had the same rules. It was designed to play on the filial emotions of fans who wanted to rub elbows with the glitterati of the diamond. Their way of thinking was not based on reason or moral principles. Their motivation was simply that of the P. T. Barnum axiom that there is a sucker born every minute.
How easily the Tegwar mentality has infected America, largely through the intellectual fallacies that constitute the curriculum in most of our schools, the sordid programing on TV and radio and the suggestive lyrics of so much of our popular music. People have been taught to exercise their personal autonomy over virtual every situation. Unfettered this eventually will lead to social, economic and moral anarchy which I believe is the ultimate goal of the Marxist activists in American society.
So much has happened to our country and its culture in my lifetime that dark clouds appear on the horizon. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, we live in a contentious period similar to that of the Antebellum United States history in the 1850’s. The overturning of the pernicious Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is at the heart of this black cloud. It portends a violent period of American history that could shake the pillars of our already divided nation. It could easily result in a deep cultural chasm that may never be breeched in our lifetimes.
While the economic and cultural divisions over slavery a 170 years ago were neatly divided by geography, our cultural bifurcation has no such boundaries. It is one of deep philosophical and moral differences about how individuals view just about everything. Thanks to the Trump court, it has been returned to the battleground on 50 different battle fields. While abortion is the lightening rod, other issues have helped to divide us. American culture has devolved into a confused miasma of immoral trends and fads that is starting to resemble a Disney World on speed.
According to TV Talk show host Mark Levin, it was not the Roe decision but the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992 that overturned Roe’s formulistic three semesters division, extending the abortion right to moments before birth. It was Justice Anthony Kennedy’s brief that rocked the American culture and turned us into a nation of Tegwar players. In his brief Kennedy wrote: At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of the meaning of the universe and the mystery of human life. William Bennett said it best when he wrote: the ruling was an open-ended validation of subjectivism, that paves the way for drug abuse, assisted suicide, prostitution and anything else.In a word, people can now create their own reality, separated from truth, dignity and morality.
Even before Casey, people have been creating their own subjective morality for a long time. Pope Benedict warned us of the dictatorship of relativism that long been in the making. One observable fact is the apparent loss of an honest conscience. No matter how evil some of their acts might be, they still have an over-blown self-esteem that allows them to consider themselves, good people. Even Hitler was nice to children and dogs. His Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, addressed the Gestapo with History will note that we did these things while still preserving our essential humanity.
In a more modern context, the immensely popular Cable TV show Yellowstone thrives on its philosophical reliance on Machiavelli, Nietzsche and Darwin. With its background of unbridled sex, Indian rituals and gruesome murders, it rests on lines such as the one from the family patriarch, John Dutton of the Yellowstone ranch to his younger son, you have to be meaner than Evil and still love your family. It is too tempting for me not to point out Dutton’s dramatic resemblance to Vito Corleone. The producers also featured an understandable abortion in one of its earlier flashbacks that warps the principal character, Beth, the middle child of the Dutton family. Yet in its fourth season, Dutton, played admirably by Kevin Costner confesses that in his loneliness he was wrestling with my conscience.
Justice Kennedy’s decision was at the vortex of where our culture has descended since Casey. But now we have to endure their flight from reality. Many have redefined human sexuality and gender to make communication and understanding impossible as indoctrination has or is replacing common sense, truth and reality on virtually all levels of our culture. I must add that this inward mutiny against the spirit has no resemblance to my marching to my own drummer. Mine was a dissent from much of the secular humanism that had poisoned the conventional wisdom. My thinking solidly rests on the Nicene Creed and the 10 Commandments.
This Woke thinking of the 21st century has made us, not a Nation of Sheep but a Nation of Narcissists. This self-centered way of thinking has infringed directly on the freedoms and institutions of millions of American. The classic text book definition of individual freedom is that one man’s freedom only extended to his neighbor’s nose. Homosexuals coming out of the closet and getting married destroyed the essential nature of marriage as a contract between one man and one woman. The words husband and wife are now interchangeable, rendering them virtually meaningless.
This was not the first cultural revolution to change many significant words in its language. Some of the most salient changes of the French Revolution involved the manipulation of the calendar and the erasure or cancellation of all signs of royalty, nobility or religion. Citizen became the popular choice for all Frenchmen, portending the Communist comrade. Modern American changes go far deeper with their skewering of the very nature of human beings.
It was only a matter of time before mental illnesses, like Transgenderism came on the scene to confuse the natural differences between the sexes. In just a handful of years, it has so permeated our Woke culture that the newest member of the Supreme Court could not even define what constitutes a woman because I am not a biologist. Gender is now fluid, even if the standard proof of a person’s sex can easily be determined by exclusively female and male genitalia. America is no longer a binary society because at latest count, it had well over 70 or more different kinds of sexual expression. For millennia, gender had been randomly assigned at birth, presumably by doctors or nurses, with meaningful emotional gender, not determined until years later. This turns biology into a cultural determination, rather than a scientific one. What would Dr. Fauci say about this?
These radicals have virtually replaced the term mother with that of a birthers and pregnant persons. After consulting their Oracle of Scientific Insanity, the Left declared men could also menstruate and give birth to a child. In some schools on the West coast, tampon machines are required in all boys’ bathrooms. Strangely, they are not completely wrong. In the case of a trans man, like former actress Ellen Page, a woman could have her breasts surgically removed as she did, but may still have her major reproductive organs. I believe that Lia Thomas still has his male organs. The next step will be to mandate urinals in all the ladies’ rooms. This abuse of reality is something more beholden to a horror story that Mary Shelly could have easily written. The sad truth is that this is not even the beginning of the end of this insanity.
Proponents of the conventional wisdom or what now can be called the Woke Wisdom have ignored the very basic rules of logic, consistency, traditional morality, and truthfulness. Truth for them is only what is useful, and fits their Machiavellian quest for money, power, and control. Objective standards and immutable moral principles have no place in their Woke Wisdom. Those who support such immovable, impractical mores, like the so-called religious right, are relegated to the supply corps of non-persons by all the verbal and public relations methodology available. They are not even allowed to sit in on the card game.
Most of the unenlightened go along so they can get along. The American people are fast being conditioned to accept a standard of belief that often is far distanced from objective reality. This noisy and violent revolution has rendered them like a kennel of Pavlovian dogs, The Woke media, a den of Marxist apparatchiks, have established a cultural semantic that demands assent and approval. They have established a cultural rhythm that all will have to stay in step or go the back of the supply truck.
A popular new term, I have recently encountered is Politics is downstream from culture. Cultural changes drip down from the image shapers, influencers, spinmeisters and pollsters. With the overall decline of organized religion and its fall from grace, Americans have been left to their own resources. While we may all complain about the direction of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and AOC, it is all about the culture stupid. Too many have been weaned on the game of Tegwar. The demonic mind of Frederick Nietzsche threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the equation when he wrote, Men cannot be good without God. But millions believe God is dead.