Writer and thinker Victor Davis Hansen recently published an excellent piece in American Greatness outlining a modern phenomenon he calls “The Progressive Imaginarium”. This is a tactic – and Hansen correctly identifies its employment as “impromptu séances,” used by America’s loud, often corpulent, and thoroughly desanguinated politicos, celebrities, and cultural elites to lay claim to any number of popular victimhood scenarios. In our zeitgeist, shouting a claim of victimhood is meant to be rewarded with laurels, or at least earn a mention in dispatches from under the rolling barrages—way down in the muddy media trenches of the culture wars.
Hansen goes on to outline many of the bizarre claims and distortions — from Joe Biden’s public-pool nemesis “Corn Pop,” to Senator Corey Booker and his slasher foil “T‑Bone,” to Rachel Dolezal and Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren, to Jussie Smollett and the phony assassins who singled him out for a good tar and feathering on the mean streets of Chicago.
That all of these people are bananas is beside the point. Every movement must have its cast of useful idiots.
There are more, naturally: Prince Whatshisname and Meghan Markle among them, who concocted a prime-time spectacle of whinging about alleged racism and the evils of privilege while lounging around in twelve thousand dollar chairs at Oprah’s Montecito estate. I didn’t watch, but I get the premise. If you have ever been to Montecito – and ironically I once served on a security detail for Joe Biden while he zoomed around that most exclusive of enclaves in a limo between $10k a ticket fundraisers as Vice President – you might have a difficult time conjuring sympathy for anyone who lives on an $80 million estate and can see only bigotry and strife from the heights of that golden throne.
Hansen notes a number of qualifiers for residence in the Imaginarium:
“First, a toadying media prefers being woke to being factual and honest. It eagerly hypes any perceived conservative as a clickbait racist, sexist, or homophobe on the slightest of pretexts.
Second, the professional classes and rich are in a dilemma of needing to damn the inequity and nastiness of Western consumer capitalism, which they themselves have mastered.
Three, politicians, academics, media people, and celebrities are not necessarily muscular folk and their soft life bothers them. So now and then they are reinvented as chain-carrying, counter-slamming, Chicago-brawling toughs.
Fourth, race increasingly is divorced from class. So what happens when upward mobility renders old-style class conflict and oppression inert?”
I’ve been trying to figure out how it is I will navigate the asteroid belts of the Imaginarium – dodging the tumbling balls of frozen wokeness, the careening boulders of political duplicity and outright stupidity. In that process I’ve come to realize that in order to survive these hazards, and to pilot my family through them into what will certainly be some kind of mincing, fragile, and thoroughly deconstructed American future — influenced, if not controlled, by the Chinese Communist Party — I must adopt at least some and maybe all of the mindset of the Star Wars smuggler and anti-hero Han Solo.
You might recall that Solo’s jam was smuggling, which he accomplished by virtue of the always leaky and creaky Millennium Falcon, and his hairy sidekick Chewbacca. Solo was a kind of deep space moonshiner who held the empire in total disdain and didn’t think much of the rebel machinery, either. Solo felt most at home on the edges, in seedy trading posts or in galactic honky tonks, where he and the other outliers could cut deals in corner booths, enjoy some frothy cocktails, and groove to the seven-piece band at Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina. Solo never went looking for a fight – it was bad for business – but he was handy with a blaster and could most certainly – and sometimes did — leave a Greedo or two face down in his spaceport breakfast burrito, a smoking pile of alien flesh.
I’m there now. The empire in my scenario is the marriage of our government with unaccountable corporations, which conspire to produce the dangerous and almost invisible – by way of incrementalism — usurpation of policy mandates over law. This is an unholy union that will eventually destroy any remaining pretense to a republican form of government. Note that Joe Biden’s nominee to head the ATF is on record for believing it is a good idea to arrest people BEFORE they commit crimes, which is a thought process that on some other planet would disqualify him from any public office whatsoever. Here on earth it gets almost no mention. It’s also a favorite tactic of the Chinese Communist Party, with their social credit scores and Uighur concentration camps and the like.
This corporatocracy Death Star is also an Imaginarium machine, where lies are sold as the truth regardless of the party in office, where the whims of policy preferences trump legislation, and where the values I was raised with and believe in are clearly no longer welcome. That’s true mostly by way of skin color. Because of my white maleness I have been — with blitzkrieg speed and grapeshot volleys of anti-white racism now printed and broadcast daily — identified and outed as the problem. Toxic Maleness has been enjoined with Toxic Whiteness, which can only beget the obvious: Toxic White Maleness.
The Imaginarium believes that unity is achieved in tribalism, laser focused as it is on the whims of identity: skin tone, gender issues, sexual preference, socio-economic status, or any of the traditional levers of stupid thinking, divisive rhetoric, and abysmal behavior. Which is the fundamental lie of the Woke Stormtrooper’s Loyalty Oath: the Woke Imaginarium isn’t about unity, or community, or working together, or anything other than raw political power. Full Stop.
Worse — and this qualifies as a crime against humanity — they have even managed to destroy the once mighty sport of baseball. As an athletic contest it was already becoming unwatchable, and as an industry it is apparently compelled to perpetuate division by the retelling of outright political lies. America’s pasttime has been leveraged by the Imaginarium and become a cudgel in the pursuit of total political power. It isn’t just the All Star game, note the Boston Red Sox — long time repositories of many earthly evils — feeling compelled to weigh in on “racial engineering in Boston Schools”. So, a lifelong fan, I’m now out. They’ll get nothing more from me.
Another asteroid avoided.
Eli Wiesel, a philosopher, writer, and holocaust survivor, once famously told us: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” He’s probably right in some contexts, but navigating today’s galaxy of torment and oppression and claims to victimhood is not so simple. We are told by others that “we must always believe” a claim of victimhood, although I can tell you after a career in law enforcement that’s a terrible mistake. People lie, and they do it routinely. Grandmothers will lie to you about wearing a seatbelt, and even the most vile of criminal allegations are frequently made up. So perhaps we should be careful of these philosophical musts where they are built on foundations other than actual and indisputable evidence.
And anyway, in today’s America, what side is there to choose?
So this is me, having taken the back door out of the cantina and now tinkering around on the Millenium Falcon, which has a habit of throwing sparks and suddenly going dark and adrift when I try to throw it up into light-speed. Hidden in various holds I’ve got copies of Dr. Seuss, a few old Mr. Potato Heads, and stacks of Shakespeare and Homer and Huck Finn and even some Peter Pan CDs. I’ll circle the solar system and smuggle them where I must — and maybe that’s the side I’ve chosen — because historically speaking, and I mean on the long timeline, there has always been a thriving market for the ideas and things born of freedom.