Currently watching this 1992 footage from CSPAN2’s BookTV:
“The rise of the therapeutic state”…yes, that’s what we’ve got. I’ll go a step further and say we’re witnessing the rise of the Administered Society to boot. “…use litigation as the tool of choice in order to advance causes.” Very strange to observe, that’s for sure.
I’ve heard about that Bradshaw guy and his infantilism “therapy” they’re speaking of around the 23-minute mark. Weird shit that began with the Baby Boomer generation since they were the first to take flight from reality en masse (at least in the 20th century). People like to claim that television plays no major role in shaping people’s imaginations and that most are able to keep reality and fiction separate, but take note of all the evidence defying that. Boomers were raised up on televised fantasies that colored their worldviews and gave rise to the notion that they deserved to have their wishes brought into fruition, even if through political means. To simply dream something could be possible became commonly accepted as proof enough that it can and should be brought about — nevermind any potential negative consequences; leave those to be ironed out by future generations.
What we’ve discovered in the decades since is that those fantasies very often aren’t realistic, not in full, not how commonly expected, from the dreams of ever-higher standards of living to 100% equality across the board to eliminating all sex- and/or race-related prejudices through legal and organizational means. Because human life is far more complex than that and legal measures aren’t adequate to overhaul hearts and minds. Arguably, using coercive legal and organizational strategies and encouraging an atmosphere of censorship has led to more social divisions and bred greater resentment. Ambitions of attaining and maintaining la-la-land standards of living has driven deeper wedges between socioeconomic classes that, on the one hand, produced many spoiled, historically-ignorant, idealistic youths geared toward suburbanite fantasies, and, on the other, has helped to exacerbate the erosion of already-impoverished communities. The aim to bring about some sort of utopian society has backfired and instead has ushered in a web of contradictions and exploitative wishful thinking, without end in sight.
When asked who is responsible, the typical answer is to point to the other guy, those people over there, those institutions, those politicians, that race or class of people. Always somebody else. But we were all born into this and make of it what we are able. Helps to strip it down to the fundamentals. If influential parties and groups aim to undermine others through legal manipulation, we have the choice to respond in various ways, not merely to wage war on the political battleground or to give in to being miserable and powerless. The way shit’s been framed has gotten into our heads and is limiting our imaginations and therefore our possible responses. It’s a mental matrix determined by what have become cultural, political, and economic and social norms — but those are still only human constructs, not immovable obstacles or unchangeable facts of life. Not when it’s contradicting so much else that too appear to be facts of life.
Kind of like when people say the only things certain in this life are death and taxes (which I actually heard repeated, yet again, earlier today). I’m quick to correct people who say that and to explain that no, taxes are not an unavoidable, ever-present fact of life. They are not. Taxation is a human construct that we abide by, for better or worse, but most certainly isn’t on the same playing field as death. Financial taxation is not a guaranteed condition of living. To equate these two is to grant taxation a higher status than it’s due, and I don’t think that’s come about by accident or oversight. No, the two are equated intentionally so that citizens accept taxation as just as inescapable as death and impresses on us that we should then give in to it, even when too much is taken from us and is used to fund programs and whatever else that further violate us and others against many of our true wills. That’s stupid to accept as a fact of life, and it’s stupid to behave as if we’re powerless in the face of it and that all we’re capable of doing is sitting here and pointing out others to blame for it. Yet that’s become the American public’s modus operandi. Rather than alter or go up against what we’re able, it’s easier to cast blame and expect somebody else to do something about whatever’s going on. And I’m not claiming to be a saint here myself.
“…bogus victims drive out real victims. And if everybody’s a victim, nobody’s a victim.” So true.
Anyway, gonna finish listening to this man before heading back out for my last appointment for the evening.
[Updated Aug. 22nd, 2014: Edited for typos and greater clarity.]