Finally, a first Precipice post of 2022
There are things that must be said
I’ve done it again, haven’t I? Fresh content has been sporadic here at Precipice, I know.
Here are my excuses; I’ll leave it to you to decide how legit they are.
The litany of health issues that have caused similar periods of irregularity over the past year continues to be a constant presence in my life: kidney disease, constant dizziness, involuntary shaking of the hands and bobbing of the head. In addition, my wife and I had COVID over the holidays. And now, my left shoulder, which has been an annoyance since last spring, when a set of incline dumbbell presses at the gym went badly, needs serious attention. An MRI shows a massive tear in my rotator cuff necessitating a shoulder replacement, which I’ll have to figure out when I can add to my life. I hope it goes more smoothly than last spring’s hip replacement, which led to MRSA and an allergic reaction to the first antibiotic I was given to address it.
My family doctor has changed my anxiety med, since sertraline wasn’t moving the needle.
Other people in my family have had health issues as well. In two cases, it led to death, and my sister is in the battle of her life against cancer.
When I started opining on culture, politics, economics and world affairs online, and in a column I wrote for several years for our local newspaper, the lines of demarcation were more clear-cut. There was right, and there was left. I expended a great many keyboard strokes trying to get people to see that Barack Obama was a lurch leftward beyond any that had come before for the Democrats. Frank Marshall Davis, Rashid Khalidi, the Midwest Academy, Bill Ayers and all that. The task before conservatives (back when that term stood for something recognizable) was straightforward: explain and defend our glorious lineage, from Edmund Burke through Frederic Bastiat, Richard M. Weaver, Russell Kirk, National Review and on up to Reaganite fusionism, and point out the dark nature of the lineage on the other side.
It’s all quite different now, isn’t it? Yes, the Left has grown increasingly grotesque, but an entirely new element has upended everyone’s previous assumptions.
I find myself in the position of discouraging people from voting, since the only two realistic choices, Republican and Democrat, each offer paths forward of such toxicity that I can’t in good conscience recommend either.
I won’t try here to review the entirety of my reasons for regarding Donald Trump as a garbage human being and the worst president in US history. He has his own category of posts at my blog dating back to 2015, and it provides a comprehensive look at why I assert this.
Let’s stick with a more recent timeline. Beginning in November 2020 (he was really paving the way for the stance he took since about June of that year), he has used conspiracy theories, lawsuits, fake federal investigations, marches by his cult followers, fake electors and pressure on state and local officials, and, we now discover, a scheme to have his defense secretary seize voting machines to attempt to subvert the Constitutionally outlined election process.
There’s some speculation out there these days that perhaps he would rather be in the kingmaker role in 2024 rather than an actual presidential candidate. In any event, he is far and away the unavoidable shaper of Republican calculations.
Yes, I’m aware that, at the local level, there are fine, non-lunatic Republicans serving as precinct committeemen, mayors, county commissioners, state representatives and such, but the taint of Trumpism permeates even those functions. You can’t take an Adam Kinzinger-type stance and hope to get elected to anything.
That’s why any pundit, let alone fundraiser or political candidate who focuses solely on the very real grotesqueness of the Democrats - “We’ll defeat these leftists and then everything will be alright” - must be viewed with suspicion. Such a figure wants you to ignore the at least equally monstrous malignancy on the Right.
A word must be said about where Democrats have positioned us, however. We have indeed dodged some legislative bullets over the last year - Build Back Better, the “voting rights” push - that would have added enormously to our already out-of-control debt, brought the heavy hand of government to bear in society’s choices of energy forms in the name of a climate “crisis,” and taken identify-politics militancy to a new level of entrenchment. But, like water seeking whatever route to flowing that it can, these aims move forward by other means.
And there’s the out-in-the-open secret that may get us into the first major war in Europe since the 1940s: Joe Biden doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Ukraine and indeed most of Europe is aghast at his “minor incursion” remark. Similarly, he has no idea how to address threats from China, North Korea and Iran.
More broadly, the polarization - no, make that atomization - of post-America continues apace. There is no broadly trusted source of objectively presented information. Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone thesis proves more true by the day. More millennials consider themselves agnostic, atheist, or unconcerned with the matter of ultimate reality than Christian. That’s not going to reverse itself. Anxiety is rampant ing our society. A slew of major cities are seeing soaring murder rates.
I’ve had physical-body issues, but my mind has not been idle. The challenge has been that, when I’m able to muster the focus and energy to express my observations, they are so dismaying that they add to my general sense of overwhelm, and I have to lie down again.
But as of this moment I’m determined to get back on track with regular essays here and postings at LITD. Thank you for sticking with me.
We can take comfort in the fact that, while worldly trouble is inevitable, the Alpha and the Omega, who knows the number of hairs on our heads and who rushes across the field to greet us when we come back home with contrite hearts, has overcome the world.