The Way to Perdition
Encountering a certain segment of our society’s acceptance of burning, looting, and execution of the police, not to mention the outrage prevalent when criminals or simple bad actors get their just desserts when police exercise their duty, I have been challenged to find any rhyme or reason to excuse such actions, not only in the permissiveness our leaders attach to such activity, but the actual encouragement they offer. Indeed, you can find many who are so completely invested in this mindset to the point they cannot cope emotionally with any pushback or appeal to traditional law, justice, or morality. Simply put, the traditional moral parameters of good behavior no longer apply.
What’s up with that? The answer may lie in a consideration of the contemporary trends in intellectual thought.
Starting sometime in the 1960s, a concept known as “situational ethics” sought to detach propriety from our traditional Christian mores. For example, when a man, severely abused as a child, finds himself abusing others in later life; how can we judge him by the same values as those righteously raised? Indeed, he labors under a burden, not of his own making, that clouds the difference between right and wrong, that renders him handicapped in ways parallel to those with physical deformities. There is an intellectual price to be paid for such seeming compassion. We have lost what anchors propriety in discarding responsibility.
Upon the intellectual propensities of moral relativism were built an intellectual relativism that could not but embrace what has become known as postmodern thinking, which cast aspersions on the very concept of truth. The idea of Truth, with a capital T, was discarded wholesale along with God and Law. The trend of this form of analysis neatly adopted the tools of Hegel’s dialectic, with a healthy dose of Marxist materialistic leanings, to engender this movement’s current incarnation as “critical justice theory” or “critical race theory,” where a single concept dominated the thesis of the day, to the exclusion of any mitigating thought or evidence. To this school of thought, in its hubris, debate became an anachronism, shunned at all cost. And those with the temerity to seek honest consideration of competing ideas were rudely cast aside if not eliminated entirely.
So goes the narrative: If there is no truth apart from whatever you may be feeling at the moment; there is no moral, legal, nor ethical underpinning to behavior. Your feelings trump propriety. Thus, should you be down and out, for whatever reason, it makes perfect sense that you are being oppressed. If you lack a good work ethic and cannot hold down a job, obviously the very idea of the worth of such a work ethic is an imposition, a shackle laid upon you. Now you are a victim, reduced to this sorry state by a faceless oppressor. Such concepts are nothing but a form of imperialism, laid upon the weak and vulnerable, simply to enslave them. All fault lies with the oppressor, with those of wealth and privilege, those who control the ways and means, those who seek to dominate the oppressed. No longer does any responsibility fall upon the individual but accrues solely to the oppressor who victimizes all in his patriarchal path.
And indeed, he does have a face: a face in a blue uniform. Hence, the uniform -- and the human underneath -- becomes a ready and convenient target.
A corollary to this way of thinking is the equivalence of all cultures. If truth, the previous foundation of ethical behavior, is merely a construct to control a segment of the population; it follows that there are no superior mores underlying any particular culture, religion or tradition. Empirical evidence belying this theory, relying on the fact that certain cultures are more open, successful, or humane, is discarded as being, again, based upon a so called truth which is merely an illegitimate tool of the oppressor to cloud clear thinking. Thus, the concept that the drug culture, the ghetto culture, the gangsta culture, and the worst elements of the rap culture are in any way inferior to or must answer to society at large is without basis, is worthy of ridicule, must be obliterated. Such are the ideas floated by the woke.
It follows that our laws and the police who enforce them are illegitimate. Hence, the drive to defund, disperse, and destroy law enforcement. They have no moral superiority to, no ethical prevalence over, no right at all to condemn any competing cultural phenomenon. If one chooses to be a drug dealer within his culture, it is his right to do so and to live by the customs and mores of that culture. The victims of this turn of affairs are no longer the providence of society at large but belong to their own, capable of being judged solely by their own.
However, this is a descent into tribalism at best, nihilism at worst. Local power is absolute power. Exercised locally it is anarchy. We can understand this as entropy, and all nature trends this way. But once upon a time, it was society’s leaders’ duty to stem such chaos. Apparently, it is no longer. The contemporary shootings and deaths in cities like Chicago and New York are merely collateral damage endured and condoned for the higher good of combating this perceived oppression. This is simply the cost of doing business in a “woke” society.
Inevitably the chaos will submit to someone’s organization, for good or ill. Possibly, it will lead to even greater oppression and tyranny from a more pervasive, more powerful entity. And where power alone regulates activity, perdition is the inevitable outcome. This is the fate of a society that embraces such thinking in the first place.
Yet a light may yet penetrate the darkness enveloping our hopes, our neighbors, our religions, and our institutions; a light powered by a purer thought that holds life as sacred, as worthy, and that echoes a shared truth able to unite us to counter the forces that would tear us asunder. May we pray it overcomes the current vector pointing to a dystopian denouement.
Ziggy Bellino is the nom de guerre of a writer living off the east coast who dares not allow his mostly woke neighbors to know too much of his opinions.
Image: Wellcome Images