If you are looking for the normal acerbic philosophical critique of the post-modern hellscape I’ve become known for, this is not that treatise. Rather, my mind began picking at a fragment of a thought last week and would not let it go. While most of you reading this realize the world has changed forever and the turmoil of 2020 is likely to pale in comparison to next year. Personally and professionally this has been a rather stressful year in my life for a variety of reasons, and I suspect it will only continue. However, I also think this has perhaps been one of my most productive years and made me a harder, more resilient man. We lost a significant part of the American experience in 2001, more in 2008 and by all indications 2020 is the year America becomes unrecognizable. In our haste to react to the things being thrown at us from a hundred different directions, we haven’t stopped to notice what has been lost.
There is a terrible intimacy to the mundane, the ‘patterns of life’ as certain people would call it. Think about all the tiny habits you have that make your life…yours. That stop on the way home from work to get roses and peanut M&M’s for the wife because you can. Sharing a meal at your favorite place with loved ones. The knowledge that it is highly unlikely that anyone will attempt to harm you or your loved ones and the thought of a range card for your house never crossing your mind. Being around people who are like you, people with common moral and social norms…a community. Not having to decide between providing for your family and protecting them. Being able to admit your political and religious beliefs and opinions to coworkers, family and the general public. Not looking over your shoulder at the gas pump. A grocery store brimming with choices. Your kids growing up with a sense of innocence and not being considered sexual objects. Traveling outside the state without having to look up where the protests terrorists are burning things down.
Let’s take a step back and consider what we truly had. Not just the conveniences, but a civilization carved out in blood and iron from the savagery of nature and man’s capriciousness. Everyone reading this eats better and has more options than royalty did 100 years ago. Most of you never went hungry as a child. I’m willing to bet your children did not either. Think of your childhood, riding bikes with friends or running around in the woods. Christmases with kith and kin, or the family traditions surrounding holidays or seasons. The summer nights thick with humidity and fireflies piercing the darkness as you tried to catch them. That first time you picked a girl up in the car you begged your dad to borrow. All of those experiences that slowly molded and shaped you, the ones you can close your eyes and still see, smell and taste decades later. Contrast that existence with what someone my age would have experienced growing up in Czechoslovakia. Imagine the hunger, fear, poverty and death that an entire generation grew up on. How much human capital was wasted and whole seasons of life were destroyed. Now imagine it is not some other human being, it’s your daughter, your son, your wife.
When I speak of what is being taken from us, it is more than just codified law, or six types of lemons available year round at the grocery store, or the two cars and McMansion. I can make more money, or rebuild a house. What none of us can do is fix the innocence and civility that will forever be shattered when this goes loud. It will profoundly affect each and every one of us, and the tragedy will be what has been stolen from our most vulnerable. The left did it with the unborn first, and now they have foisted it upon those lucky enough to survive the gulag of convenience and actually make it into the world. I see children today and I cringe thinking of what is normal now and what will be normal in a few short years. They have no idea the descent into madness they are living through.
I write this not to provide a reason for inaction. I write this not to discourage you. Rather, I write this to harden your heart and understand the depth of loss we have all experienced. The world you grew up in is lost, and it’s exceedingly likely no one alive will every see a return to something even vaguely resembling it. The answer is not to bemoan what has already happened but to make it worth the cost. We will all come out of this lesser, damaged and poorer in one way or another. It will require the same commitment your ancestors had, and the price will be paid in rivers of blood yet again, but an alternative to this chaos can be had. It’s time to let future generations worry about judging what we did to get it back…and actually go get it back.