Nonsense Is STILL Destroying America
Photo: 2006 American film “Idiocracy"

Nonsense Is STILL Destroying America

Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America was published thirty years ago, in 1994. I introduced it with these words: “Books warn of the destruction of the ozone layer, the befouling of the earth’s lakes, rivers, and seas, the devastation of the rain forests, the eradication of animal species. Warning labels are emblazoned on cigarette boxes, beer and wine bottles, and food packages. But until now the most urgent warning has gone unexpressed: Nonsense is destroying America.”

I was referring then to nonsensical ideas about truth and reality, about self, and about thought and feeling. The book explained how these views were having a devastating effect on people’s lives by creating attitudes and habits that block the pursuit of excellence, disrupt family life, and lead to self-indulgence and, in some cases, to self-destruction. By undermining morality, religion, and education they have also prevented millions of people from finding meaning, fulfillment, and joy in their lives. I argued that if we did not reject the nonsense and return to the wisdom that once guided us, our country would suffer the consequences that the philosopher Seneca predicted for ancient Rome: “The time will come when our successors wonder how we could have been ignorant of things so obvious.”

Publisher’s Weekly commented: “Ruggiero supports his thesis with immense research, sound critical thought and a clear understanding of both contemporary cultural trends and the history of ideas. The result is a compelling argument. [He also] issues a challenge to those in many walks of life by offering practical suggestions about ways to change current trends.”

All that was 30 years ago. Today, thirty years later, the nonsense is not only continuing to destroy America, but it has expanded and deepened its impact to the point where recovery (if possible) will be significantly more difficult than before. Here is why:

1) Two major cultural movements have occurred since 1984: Critical Race Theory (CRT), founded in 1989; and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) with roots in Affirmative Action and Great Society initiatives. Both gained broad impetus after 2010. CRT claims that race is not a “natural” factor but rather a created one employed “to oppress and exploit people of color.” It is considered “inherent” in the U.S. legal system as a means of  “maintain[ing] social, economic, and political inequalities.” DEI promotes programs that supposedly overcome inequities and achieve fairness. Taken together, the premises of CRT and DEI have led to suspicion and animosity among racial groups and a sense of futility among minorities.

2) The Obama administration made clear its belief that the United States economic, legal, and governmental systems are badly flawed. This view, repeatedly communicated in obvious and subtle ways, lent credibility to CRT and DEI and encouraged citizens to support them. These views and actions explain Democrats’ outrage toward Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) platform—they are convinced that the country isn’t great and determined to oppose expressions of patriotism. It seems clear that this determination fostered (a) the false rumor that Trump was in league with Putin, (b) the efforts to thwart his programs and impeach him during his presidency, (c) Biden’s immediate reversal of Trump’s programs when he took office, and (d)  the shameful filing of numerous questionable court actions that are preventing Trump from campaigning for the presidency.

3) Social media have greatly expanded since 1994. For example, the following media formats were new in 1994 or created since then: MySpace, Facebook, Blogging, Instant Messaging, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. All of these have become directly or indirectly encouraged the nonsensical ideas that people create their own truth and reality, that emotion is more reliable than thinking, and self-esteem is more important than self-criticism and self-expression than self-control. They have also played a major role in giving voice to the narrative that America should open its borders, abolish police departments, classify villains as victims (and vice-versa), free convicted criminals, incarcerate Trump and his followers, and other absurd ideas.

4) In 2015, the changes believed necessary to overcome America’s perceived faults began receiving funding from George Soros’s “Progressive Prosecutors” fund. Soon other billionaires in this country and abroad, including media moguls, joined Soros. Much of their support continues to be used to elect “rogue prosecutors” who would refuse to prosecute law-breakers. One example of the rogues’ actions is allowing shoplifters to steal $900 or $1000 worth of merchandise per incident before being prosecuted, thus making honest shoppers fearful and causing havoc for retail business people.

5) Indoctrination has replaced teaching in many schools and colleges, and the “lessons” presented have extended into areas traditionally the concern of parents alone. The “lessons” have pursued such goals as promoting CRT and DEI and giving advice on sexual behavior, LGBTQ relationships (the term was first coined in the 1990s as LGB), transgenderism, and abortion. Such indoctrination has undermined the efforts of parents to guide their children. As if this outrage were not enough, many teachers and professors encourage creating one’s own personal truth and reality, following one’s emotions without question, and disdaining self-control. I believe one clear example of such encouragement is the anti-Israeli protests by crowds of students from at least 40 U.S. colleges in March and early April, 2024.

6) Less dramatic than the above developments, but in some ways even more concerning, is the reported abandonment of truth in scientific matters. As Dr. Russell Blaylock explains in his April 2004 Wellness Report, “We are witnessing a drastic change in science. It has been something [that is] better called ‘scientism,’ which is more like a philosophy than real science. And those who see the truth are ignored.”

The nonsense has not only spread more widely since 1994, but also deeply affected two young generations, which means 140 million additional citizens, or more than 20 percent of the population. Their perspectives and values have been shaped as much, if not more, by the various media as by their parents and grandparents. Little wonder that the pace of America’s destruction has dramatically increased.

Copyright © 2024 by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. All rights reserved.

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Vincent Ryan Ruggiero