It's weird when the world catches up with you. While blogging for the progressive website Dagblog, I posted about what I saw as a growing and alarming "Alternative Right" movement. In the midst of that, while travelling abroad, I went through the hell of benzodiasepene withdrawal. Going through that and coming out the other end was somewhat superhuman - I'm not sure how I did. I posted on Dagblog incessantly during that with posts that alarmed most the readers and the founder. Alas I got through it. Again, not really sure how.
Both those things seemed weird and bizarre when they occurred, as if I had unique problems that were due to my own challenges or failings. Years on, however, pretty much all I wrote about occurred in the broader world - one recent Glenn Beck monologue on his radio show had him going through the modern American experience, which he called "chaotic," and not only talking about the appeal of the Alt Right through the primacy as a leader of Vladimir Putin but also the drug addiction and withdrawal amongst a generation of Americans. Check it out:
The former Soviet Union is now led by a strongman, former KGB colonel. He came in as a poor KGB colonel, and is now one of the richest men in the world. To a lot of people, he looks like a good guy. Up is down. Down is up. Good is being made evil. Evil is good. And it seems as though nobody gets it. You don’t feel heard. You don’t feel like anybody is really listening to you. I’ll bet you many feel like nobody even sees you anymore, and if they do, they don’t really care. They’re just trying to make money off of you or trying to increase their power. Yeah, yeah, I’ve tried. Let’s take our country back. I was called names. I wore myself out, and it didn’t make any difference.
Our doctors prescribe drugs for our children to control the things that make them children. They give us painkillers, and we think it’s okay because the doctor prescribed it. Try as we might, we can’t get off those painkillers. In the end, the withdrawal is worse than symptoms. Our doctors say marijuana oil is a natural solution, but the government won’t let us have a natural solution that doesn’t get you high. They’d rather we be on opioids, which are killing us.
Like Glenn, I was warning that some sort of deterioration would occur in this country. Unlike him, I think socialism is the answer - single payer health care and subsidized tuition like is being proposed in California and New York are great ideas. I got called names when I warned about stuff like this too. American culture is full of people who are endlessly optimistic, not wanting to think that the whole operation has holes in it.
That we all are feeling these same feelings of malaise, decline or lethargy, whatever it is, to me validates collectivism and altruism. No man is an island - individualism is a delusion. We are all in this thing together. United we stand, divided we fall. Our divisions of identity - Jewish or Gentile, black or white, whatever it is - aren't real and a close look at the way we argue and fight over them shows we really are trying to convince ourselves that they are.
The response to Donald Trump's departure from the Paris climate change accord - with everyone from sitting and former California governors Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger to French President Emmanuel Macron to the Catholic church being vocally defiant - shows that maybe this is being realized in the public square.