Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Even the holiday holyday

can't stop my brain from musing.

How quickly a society can change. In a single lifetime.

For many people in the West, in America, --Caucasians, mostly-- the sight of a gun seems somehow praeter rerum seriem, outside the normal course of things, a shocking alien and dangerous presence.  Like seeing a child being spanked or corporally punished in any way. When I was a kid, spanking, hand-slapping, etc. were absolutely normal things. Now --and again, for Caucasians mostly, and probably Asians-- it seems criminal, really shocking, for a parent to lay a hand on a child. And I have met some kids who could use a smack or two. And when I was a kid in the 50's, I used to play with the Japanese rifle my dad said he took from a soldier in the war, and my uncle was a hunter. All very normal back then.

But people's minds can be changed, made to un-think things that were once ordinary. Especially now with the ubiquity of media.

My own life, for instance, a generation earlier, would have been a catastrophic family secret. Not that it was easy for my parents, but they could deal with it eventually, because times had changed, culture had changed.
It has been to my personal benefit, this change, but I would not be surprised if it were detrimental to society as a whole.

Back to guns and spanking. It feels to me like an unreal trance that the West is putting itself in, a kind of bubble or cocoon, where the realities of human nature are suppressed and denied, even made a scandal. Like a society of pre-mortem Jacob Marleys, we hobble ourselves with huge "mind-forged manacles" of our own making, where what was once common sense is now seen as a moral outrage. And vice versa.

A character in a Swedish detective story, done by the BBC*, is what provoked my musings yesterday about the extremes of a Godless life. This guy, Wallander, a burnt out hard case kinda guy --seems so odd in the midst of all the Nordic tidiness and civility-- takes personal responsibility for what other people do, and then spreads it out to "our society". Galactically overestimates his power. And then, in the midst of trying to keep a distraught young man from killing the guy who murdered his girlfriend, the flatfoot says, "No one deserves to die. No one." Moral conviction, utterly without grounds. Blind sentimentality. We've come a long way from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, who is not above private justice and loses no sleep over it.

Amazing. What it really means is that "we" have lost the right to take life. Something that is, in fact, the foundation of survival. Both because we are simultaneously unworthy and too good.

As I say, complete lunacy like that can now be spoken as if it were just Ethics 101.

So, dear readers, buy a gun and learn to use it. Spank your kids if they need it. And don't mourn a wink when murderers are put down. In the end, that's for God to handle. Merry Christmas.


*PS. As I've noticed about Brit detective shows, with this Swedish one --made by Brits-- we have the same phenomenon of a populace which treats police with contempt and hostility and pretty well everyone in the stories is narcissistic, arrogant, short-tempered, self-pitying, entitled and unhappy. Two women, in separate instances, try to beat Wallender up out of frustration with not having their expectations met. And he takes this all, apologizing. Very odd. He's an existentialist on the way to a nervous breakdown. Despite the clean and orderly Swedish surroundings, the series --to my declinist self-- reeks of the decay of a world that no longer has any idea why it exists. Malmo.

It may be that Branagh and the BBC have pitched the Swedish original into this grim direction.

PPS. Finding a Swedish blog of somewhat similar mien, I wrote to ask the fella about this. He said that it was true, that native-born Swedes do have a lot of ill-feeling toward the cops. His analysis: they do not solve crimes (especially if related to the restive and violent Muslim/African immigrant population), they have a groovy 60's style out of step with current realities, and to avoid the race issue, pick on native Swedes for minor violations and minimize things like the rape epidemic, etc. One man's opinion.

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2 comments:

PNWReader said...

Hmm...interesting choice...you in the closet, but civil society much more self-regulating from a commonly acknowledged set of norms. Or you out of the closet and society moving quickly towards the full realization of liberal dystopia. I wonder if we could have done it otherwise.

DrAndroSF said...

An exercise in alt.history.

None of the "liberations", of Blacks or of women especially, necessarily had to lead to what we are going through. After all, Black men, then all women, had the vote long ago. And the LGBT thing rides on their coattails, of feminism especially.

But I suppose once the overarching oppressor-victim egalitarian narrative (or complex) took hold in the culture, there was no longer any break.

I have thought that it happened in the 60's, but a William F Buckley, a Kenneth Minogue, a James Burnham were writing about the liberalism of the 50s!

Let's just blame FDR and the New Deal. Or Lincoln. Historical genealogy is a moving target.

To me, though, MLK is the catalyst for the whole unravelling. If he hadn't succeeded in wrapping the Blacks' demands in the Christ-Ghandi robe of sanctity (and martyrdom), I don't know if it would have played out as it has. Race is the fuel which drives the whole engine.

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