UPPING THE ANTI

We live in a world where being a celebrity results in unbelievable riches. There have always been super rich people and some of them have always been real jerks. But previously these were mostly people who inherited old money, or people who built business empires. Then we started a new class of rich, the celebrity class. Originally some of these people at least appeared to have real talent. They were movie stars, or musical performers or star athletes. They entertained people. But now we seem to have a new class of people who are famous primarily for being famous.

Perhaps the penultimate of this category is the bizarre case of “Prince Harry” and Meghan Markle. Harry famously wants to be known as a prince, while simultaneously trashing the royal family that made him a prince. He is then making a fortune, not because he has even pretended to accomplish something, but rather because he is bad mouthing the royal family that provides the only excuse for anyone knowing his name. For a while, Harry seemed like a decent guy who spent his time in the British military without being a total jerk. But his only talent now seems to be biting off the hand that fed him. His wife, Meghan Markle, is primarily famous for marrying him and then encouraging him on his mission of destruction. Ironically, she feels intitled because somehow marrying a prince made her the ultimate victim. Sadly, far too many people are thrilled at the opportunity to throw money at these two in hopes that they can be even more destructive.

Today actually accomplishing something takes second place to being a really good victim. I frankly find it hard to understand why anyone would care what either of them think about anything. But obviously a lot of people must care because they are making a fortune doing this.

Then I realized that these two are just part of the pattern. We used to admire people for, well, accomplishments. Or at least, the perception of accomplishment. Now no accomplishment is required, it is enough to be famous or to be against something. Some people are literally famous for being victims. This is so financially rewarding that people are faking being victims because it has become so lucrative. Just recently, another, politician was complaining about hate mail and death threats that she very likely wrote to herself.

Being “anti” something is not exactly new. There is always something to complain about. In addition, we all know people who aren’t happy unless they are unhappy.  But being “anti” is often only destructive, since there is little, or no thought given to the consequences. Some historians believe that some form of anarchy dates back to pre-history.

https://guides.loc.gov/chronicling-america-anarchist-incidents

In 1894 the Omaha Daily Bee described anarchists as “those who believe all human government is usurpation, tyranny, essentially wrong.”  President William McKinley was shot and killed by an anarchist.

Wiser people have learned from this and realize that while anarchy can be popular, and it may change things dramatically, it seldom solves problems. In the end, those who seek solutions rather than just change for changes sake are those who make things better. There is probably no better example of that than the difference between the French Revolution and the American Revolution. The American Revolution led to our constitution, our bill of rights, our limited government, and workable compromises between being able to govern while avoiding tyranny. The French Revolution led to violence and bloodshed, resulting in chaos and ultimately dictatorship.

Today we need to pay attention to those who are only interested in upping the “anti”, without actually proposing anything approaching a solution. That is particularly true when the “anti” is based on a patently false narrative. We are reminded that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

TDM

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