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On Losing the Naïveté: Confronting Unreality

Something which does not exist cannot help us, but chronic dependence on something which fails to exist does active harm to all of us.
-- Loren C. Miller, Jr., It's Time to Lose the Naïveté

When I first wrote the above back in August of 2010, my thoughts were on the waste of time and money and resources invested in religion and the worship of a god that fails to evince itself, where such time and treasure could be more fruitfully applied to needs and exigencies which DO demonstrably exist and require serious effort to resolve.

With the advent of Donald Trump and his unmitigated talent for mendacity, the meaning of my statement takes on additional significance, if I may say so.  Trump not only has dived head-first into unreality with his insistence of a rigged election, he has brought a substantial number of the Republican party along with him, convincing or coercing them through intimidation and fear that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate, that Trump won that election, and that he should be reinstated as President of the United States.  This indulgence in a nonexistent state of affairs now doesn’t just waste time, effort, and funds; it threatens the foundations of this country.  The most extreme expressions of this aberrant mindset may be found with Q-Anon, which would have us believe that Democrats are closet pedophiles, running a child-trafficking business in the basement of a pizza parlor, among other equally improbable assertions.

The most terrifying part of all of the above is that, for all appearances, these people actually believe this.  They have apparently become so insulated from the real world, courtesy of Trump, Fox News, OAN and Newsmax, that this has indeed become their reality and one which they will not be easily dissuaded from, if they can be dissuaded at all.  This situation has become more than just a circumstance which “does active harm to all of us;” it has become an existential and ongoing threat to this nation and its government, even as the events of January 6th, 2021 were.

And that’s not the least of it.  The simple yet blunt fact is that unreality, however convincingly taught or indoctrinated or infused into the human psyche, has no basis in reality.  It is built in lies, prevarications and storytelling, much as religions are, and like religion, those falsehoods and tall tales can and eventually will be found out.  There will inevitably be those few who choose to pick at the scab which has been layered over the truth and discover to their horror that the convenient, simplistic stories they’ve been told and taught to lean on are no more than that.  Slowly, others will learn this as well, and at some point or other, unreality will collide with reality.  Exactly how, when, or even if that collision will manifest is uncertain.  It could be as mild as violence in the streets or as severe as civil war, or some variant in between.

Whatever (and whenever) it is, it won’t be pretty.

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Comment was by Stephen Brodie on September 10, 2021 at 8:02am

As someone who doesn't live in the USA, I find the right-left terms associated with the two main parties rather inappropriate, as a person of the left and a member of the British Labour Party I see a clear distinction between the three largest parties in the UK parliament. (Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats) I've not always seen a distinction between the Republicans and the Democrats that is before Trump arrived on the scene.

Comment was by Loren Miller on September 10, 2021 at 7:53am

Mostly, I don't pay a lot of attention to the far left, though I suppose I should.  Being retired, I prefer to choose where I put my attention and my effort and absolutely NOT spread myself too thin.  As a result, I'm probably the happiest I've been in my 70 years.

All that said, I AM aware of the whole "woke" culture thing, with its particular version of political correctness attached, and I have about as much time for them as I did for the whole "Atheism-Plus" movement of roughly 10 years ago.  Thing is, the woke don't at least appear to be attempting to overthrow the government of the United States, whereas that appears to be QAnon's primary focus.

And as you might infer from the post and my comments here, no, I'm NOT down with that at all.

Comment was by Noah Edelson on September 9, 2021 at 11:40pm

I'm more anti-right than anti-left, but the censorship in most social media sites now (usually fairly left-leaning) really upsets me.   Its as if we've totally forgotten about the Free Speech Movement.  I knew there was a problem with Tipper Gore became convinced that Rock and Roll Music was spreading "Satanism" throughout our country.  Frank Zappa came in to testify in front of Congress, saying "I made a song about dental floss, yet nobody's teeth got cleaned."  Always liked that guy. 

With QAnon, Loren forgot to mention "baby-eating, Satanic child-sacrificing, well-water poisoning, plague-spreading, Jewish-mind-controlling, ..."   Oddly, for a group that touts itself as a protector of children and hates Nazis- why did QAnon start on 4chan and 8chan?  The world's most notorious neo-nazi recruitment and child porn distribution sites. (According to wikipedia, at least.)  Is it just me, or is that a little... off?

Comment was by Liam Eddy on August 17, 2021 at 4:11pm
Thoughtful.. but I'd submit that the Dem leadership isn't much better, certainly nothing to brag about. What we need is a vital third party, at least.

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