Four days ago, conservative libertarian Charles Murray stood on a stage at Vermont’s Middlebury College to talk about his latest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, with political science students. Instead of being heard out, this in Murray’s own words is what happened before a packed house:
Then I went onstage, got halfway through my first sentence, and the uproar began.
First came a shouted recitation in unison of what I am told is a piece by James Baldwin. I couldn’t follow the words. That took a few minutes. Then came the chanting. The protesters had prepared several couplets that they chanted in rotations—“hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy has to go,” and the like. It was very loud, and stayed loud. It’s hard for me estimate, but perhaps half the audience were protesters and half had come to hear the lecture.
BackChannels readers are by now familiar with terms like “Active Measures” and “Reflexive Control”(URL –> PDF) that connect the amplifying of America’s political polarization with Moscow and its efforts to destabilize the European Union and NATO to better establish the feudal worldview on which depends the greater promotion and sustaining of dictatorship in the world.
This blog’s readers know also the chains: Putin-Assad-Khamenei (or “Assad the Tyrant as flanked by Putin and Khamenei”); Putin-Orban; Putin-Erdogan; Putin-Le Pen. Such relationships need not be too friendly, only merely authoritarian and encouraging of conditions favorable to a shared “malignant narcissism“.
The below referenced tweet packages reflexive control, Moscow’s continued dabbling with terrorism (for more of how that works, see BackChannel’s post on ISIS as Moscow’s tool — follow up by looking up “Zawahiri, Russia”), and the induction of a disturbing new American politics: Republican Party associated “Brown” New Nationalism v Democratic Party associated “Red-Green” Resurgent Socialism.
Some of us Conservative or Liberal but definitely, perhaps becoming stridently so, more Middle have not been pleased by the eruption of Fascism on the Left and the appearance of a hardening contempt for the public (and media) on the Far Right, the latter falling just a little all white, all male, and all superior short of the ranks of the white supremacists.
There’s the possibility that any effort to bring people together may begin by seeing them apart, Farthest Left to Farthest Right, and, later, in Keith Ellison fashion, curbing the indignant toward accommodation. However, be that possibility as it may, Americans have most certainly experienced the development of a uniquely cant-ridden, contentious, uncivil, and unreasoning national politics.
As happens always in general combat, it’s those caught in the crossfire or whose turf — region, city, community, home — has been overrun that suffer most of all, and that whether in Syria (generated: 4.8 million refugees), Ukraine (generated: 1.7+ million Internally Displaced Persons), or the United States (okay, we’re a little uncomfortable here in the middle): for anyone else still hanging around the middle of the political aisle, this may be a good time to pull the wayward of the Parties back to reason — and then have a good push of the irredeemably immoderate back toward the margins where they have always been and, God willing, will return to grumbling.