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The Death of Reason in the Land of Make Believe

In the driveway sits my nine-year-old Honda Civic, which I purchased two years ago after a deer demolished my Accord. Fingerprints of my grandchildren dot the rear interior window, the carpeting and seats are screaming for a vacuum, a large, reddish dent mars the paneling above the rear tire on the passenger side, and the exterior has long needed a good scrubbing. To put it mildly, my car is a mess.

Now suppose you and I are looking at the car, and I describe it as a white limousine with gold trim, long as a 12-passenger van, with large comfortable seats, immaculate upholstery, a champagne bar, a television, and surround-sound stereo. You glance at me to see if I’m joking, but I appear perfectly serious.

Not only that, but I then insist that you defy the evidence of your own eyes, accept my description, and agree I am driving a limousine. Failure to do so will bring dire consequences upon you.

Welcome to America in 2021.

A number of our politicians, bureaucrats, academics, and reporters repeatedly ask us to deny reason and reality and accept with blind faith ideas we know to be false and actions we know to be either useless or wrong.

In some instances, the demands of these illusionists are trivial and often unintentionally humorous. Cancel culture has apparently erased Pepé Le Pew because this cartoon character promotes rape. A publisher has banished some Dr. Seuss books for supposed racism. A high school in Portland picked an evergreen tree as its new mascot, but then some on the school board wondered if that tree might not bring to mind lynching and in so doing offend black students.

Other demands flying in the face of reason tend to have greater consequences.

Critical race theory (CRT) insists America is a hotbed of evil, injustice, and systemic racism. Highly paid CRT speakers and workshop leaders, many of them racists themselves in their contempt for white people, are worming their way into our corporations, schools, and the military. Meanwhile those of us who remember the civil rights struggles of the post-World War II era can only shake our heads in astonishment at what is now perceived as racism.

This past March, the U.S. government took into custody 19,000 minors on our southern border, a record high number, but the present administration and their minions in the mainstream media refuse to describe the ongoing border mayhem as a crisis.

We are told to believe that men can become women and women, men.

We are told to believe that on Jan. 6, 2021, an insurrection occurred in our Capitol.

We are told to believe that there was nothing questionable about our recent election.

On and on it goes.

This demand that people embrace fiction and ignore reality has a long history. The Soviet Union and the other communist governments of Eastern Europe and elsewhere around the world all used propaganda and force to suppress or twist the truth. The Chinese Communist Party continues to do so to this day. Those brave people who buck against such government authorized falsehoods are declared enemies of the people and are either imprisoned or executed.

These communist dictators and the upper echelon of their followers knew they were lying to their own people.

Do the elite of America know the same? Or do they truly believe the mirages and fantasies they have created?

My younger grandchildren like to play “pretend.” A granddaughter puts on a silky blue dress and crown, and is a princess. A grandson waves a plastic sword and becomes a knight-errant. The toddlers sometimes zoom around the living room pretending to be airplanes or declare themselves firefighters with a cardboard box for their hook-and-ladder truck. They build forts and camps, play with Lincoln Logs and Playmobil figures, all the while imagining themselves as participants in these dramas.

But all of them know they are playing make-believe. They understand the difference between the real and the unreal. The kid on all fours on the floor barking like a dog knows that he is not really a dog.

Can we say the same of some of the “adults” among us regarding their own fantasies?

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.

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Charles
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In my April 13 editorial in Substack, “The quest for the true and the right,” I draw upon the twentieth century Catholic philosopher Bernard Lonergan in maintaining that in the process of knowing, persons who desire to understand must maintain a persistent empirical relation to reality, and they must take into account the perceptions of persons who look at reality from different horizons. You can find the editorial at https://charlesmckelvey.substack.com/p/the-quest-for-the-true-and-the-right. In subsequent posts in my column, I will be discussing the post-modern assumptions and the authoritarian practices of the anti-racism ideology. Charles McKelvey, Professor Emeritus, Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina
 
 

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