Magic: The Gathering gathers again

My son plays a card game called Magic: the Gathering or MTG for short.  I know little about MTG, but he is a fanatic about it.  MTG stopped because of COVID but has restarted live events in which participants meet at card and game shops to play.  In other words, the gatherings have restarted.  With luck, re-gatherings of people brought together by whatever interests they share will begin again across America.  Let's hope it begins soon because these voluntary associations are the essence of American freedom.

My son's first event was packed, with people outside of the store waiting for their time at the tables.  All ages, ethnic groups, and professions come to play these games.  They share a singular passion: MTG.  Playing the game transcends the things in life that often otherwise separate people.

Outside MTG, COVID has cost us dearly.  We had interesting lives full of relationships that were built around common interests, but COVID destroyed many of them.  Whether done purposefully or not, it was effective.  I hope this destruction is not permanent because people used this forced social isolation to gain power for themselves.

Many schools remain closed, despite a push to get them fully reopened.  Most importantly, kids need to restore their friendships.  However, isolation and separation have also made it easier to introduce new and dangerous ideas.  Bad ideas are tested in friendship groups, and that test is gone.  If we are going to hate the people we have known as friends, we need to be isolated to be taught that hate.

People with power used COVID to stop our religious gatherings.  Our common faith groups are diverse people who share a singular passion beyond themselves, something that is a powerful bond.  COVID's forced isolation turned many to a replacement salvation in government, and government became a center of adoration, if not worship.

In sports, the fans at home games cheer for the same team, forgetting any day-to-day differences they may have.  When the home team scores, everyone high-fives, hugs, and screams together.  COVID restrictions took that away.  The athletes were disconnected from their fans.  They played to their own desires, becoming fans of themselves.

We could not gather to protest or seek answers from government.  Government institutions and our leaders isolated themselves from us.  Political rallies were shut down in a significant election season.  Voting was changed in controversial ways that eliminated people coming together on Election Day.

Mask up, and we lose the contact of expressions.  Always stand six feet apart.  Do not touch anyone.  Stand behind a plastic shield.  Stay home.  Many places used contact tracing to force separation.  There were quarantines for the healthy.  Be alone and stay alone.  We created a nation of alone.

This machine has many parts.  If it was not purposeful, it was nevertheless remarkably effective in creating the ingredients for breaking stable and safe associations and creating new, often dangerous, ones.  These newly defined relationships are used to build power for those who want to control us.  Our passions are being redefined for us, and then we are put in the boxes they have created.  Some of these we choose voluntarily.  Some are chosen for us without our consent.

Forced association is a tool of totalitarian control.

The most obvious forced association is race.  We are told that race is everything that defines us.  Our race determines whom we should like and hate.  We cannot escape our race.  It is an association that supersedes all others.  It is the focus taught by BLM and Critical Race Theory.

We are boxed into being dangerous criminal insurrectionists just because we have conservative values, voted for a Republican candidate, and saw things in the election that seemed wrong.

We were grouped as "essential" and "nonessential" workers.

Excessive unemployment compensation has created a new dependency group created from those who are content just to draw a government check.

Vaccination has been remade from a personal choice to a preferential group that gets special favors.  The unvaccinated are vilified.  It does not matter if refraining from getting vaccinated is a choice or unneeded by natural immunity.

Diversity for its own sake is valuable only when that diversity is in the associations we choose freely.  The associations that are being chosen for us are remarkable in their lack of diversity.  In fact, diversity is incompatible with some of these newly defined relationships.

We are now free to associate freely once again, and just like the MTG folks, this should occur with enthusiasm.  Just look at the parents joining together against CRT.  With luck, we will begin to forget about those boxes in which we have been placed when we begin to experience freedom again.  We can do this unless they can scare us into isolation again.  No wonder the media are starting to tout the "Delta Variant" as another existential threat.

Image: Baseball fans. YouTube screen grab. (Color doesn't matter; it's about the love of the game.)

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