We’re living through an age future historians will look back upon in the same way present-day historians look upon black-plague dancing and Tulip Bulb Mania. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
The thesis called mass formation psychosis put forward lately by the Belgian psychologist Mattias Desmet — a good digest here in text, not video — goes a long way to explaining the disgraceful mindfuckery that Western Civ has fallen for in our time, promulgated by a thinking class that descended into abject madness. It’s well worth reviewing.
The descent was provoked by the existential anxiety over the collapse of techno-industrial economies and the end of progress as-we’ve-known-it. (Have you noticed: it was the self-styled “progressives” who went the craziest?) As Dr. Desmet lays it out, the disconnectedness of contemporary life, its lack of meaning or purpose for many, leads to unendurable anxiety. All that inchoate fear seeks desperately to attach itself to some real object, some thing or some force that can be comprehended, fought, and triumphantly overcome. Finding such a target produces an intoxicating sense of communal connection, purpose, and meaning, driving actions that are often crazy and also absolutely impervious to rational debate.
The angst in America was well established by 2016. A beaten-down middle-class suspected that left-of-center politicians did not have their interests at heart after years of off-shoring their jobs, and they managed to elect their avatar, Donald Trump, over the obviously unsympathetic globalist, Hillary Clinton — who snootily tagged her opposition “the deplorables.” Even so, the polls had her ahead by a mile. Then, by some weird twist of fate, she lost a few crucial counties in midwestern states she hadn’t bothered to visit, and was reportedly too plastered after midnight on election night to come down and console the troops at campaign headquarters. The shocking election outcome instantly deranged the nation’s entire managerial class and its thinking-out-loud interlocutors in the news media and on campus.