‘My Dinner with Andre’
Although most of the movie may not be very interesting or relevant, this scene is a nearly prophetic prediction of our world today.
Flight From Reason
The movie makers did not consult an oracle, or look into a crystal ball.
It is not hard to look at present human society at a point and reasonably extrapolate where it is headed given current trajectory, especially when considering how human beings have behaved across the history of civilization. Romans had their fill of bread and circuses, and where are they today?
Rome also had a heart to open their border to 200,000 armed refugees of fighting age who were fleeing the Huns in 376AD. They allowed them to settle as one large group rather than the usual procedure of breaking them up to absorbed into the dominant culture. Within two years the group rebelled over the conditions in their place of refuge, declared war on their host and in a decisive and crippling military victory ultimately killed the emperor who’d graciously allowed them entry. Those who fail to learn from history will repeat it.
Those who use logic and reason can reasonably predict where things are headed, as did these movie makers. But the leftists do not use logic or reason. Ever seen a gun-control argument based on solid facts? Instead, gun-control arguments are almost uniformly based on rhetorical tugging of the heart strings. A fact or two may be thrown in to make the argument seem reasonable (that last mass shooter had an AR-15, so ban it!) But on closer inspection the lonely facts are out of context (i.e. very few mass shootings used an assault rifle as weapon of choice).
If you look up the definitions of words in the English language, “reality” is that which is true and “truth” is that which corresponds to reality. Those who ignore truth and build policy and worldview on the current “narrative” will eventually have a hard and painful landing in reality.
It’s Been Said Before
There were two views of the coming dystopian future. George Orwell published his novel 1984 in
1949, predicting a tyrannical, all-controlling state. (He is equally famous for Animal Farm, a novel in which power hungry characters enslave their own ‘countrymen’ after winning their freedom.)
Not too much earlier, in 1932 Aldous Huxley also published a dystopian novel titled Brave New World. In his prediction, people are treated as disposable consumer goods. They are taught from birth that their group is superior to all others, though the other remain a necessity. Happiness pills are provided to further ensure no unhappy feelings about their meaningless existence.
Neil Postman well captured the contrast of these two dystopian predictions in the foreword of his own book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, writing:
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that our fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.
Today, we seem to have a little of both visions operating in modern dystopia. Many citizens of Western Civilization follow the pattern predicted by Huxley. But those committed to the endless emotional joyride will quickly turn Orwellian on anyone who creates badfeelz by suggesting the current free lunch is going to come to a nasty end.
Our opening video clip tends more toward Huxley’s vision. Those who are bored are asleep and therefore more malleable and less likely to object to the control being enforced on them. Why are they bored?
Ancient wisdom answers this. Compare the Old Testament books of Job and Ecclesiastes. Job loses his wealth and his health and suffers for no apparent reason (at least not one he can see or understand). Ecclesiastes is supposedly written by King Solomon and ponders the meaning of life and what is truly a worthwhile pursuit with the hours you have on earth.
Note: it is not Job in his suffering who cries out that life is meaningless, but Solomon as he drowns himself in material pleasures of wine, women, wealth, and reputation. It is the man who is bored of pleasure who sees life as meaningless. And today, the first world is very bored of pleasure. Hollywood churns out a never-ending catalog of mind-numbing and subversive entertainment. Colleges have fully embraced a “hook-up” culture to the degree that honeymoon destinations have had to come up with endless activities to entertain the newlyweds who are already bored of sex. We have a variety of “happy pills” competing on the market. “Just ask your doctor if it is right for you,” the commercials tell you. Abundant low-quality mass-produced food will chemically delight your taste buds while eroding your health. Video games allow our young adults to submerge themselves in a decade of virtual success, rather than doing the hard work to achieve real success in the world.
Pleasures are not a bad thing, and every man should have leisure time. But just as standing in a bakery eventually numbs you to the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread, so too does standing awash in a sea of modern pleasure and entertainment utterly numb our people to the pleasures of life. And so they are bored. And so they are compliant. And why would they say no to another helping of fleeting pleasures?
Answers in The Redoubt
One advantage in the Redoubt is that it is in many ways a final frontier in America. Men of the Redoubt are too busy building a homestead with their own hands and stocking a freezer with their own hunted game and homegrown food to become bored with pleasure. This is work, but enjoying the fruits of your own labor is a deeper and more lasting pleasure, hard-won with your own sweat. What pleasure do you want more: a high score on Buck Hunter in the arcade, or that (pictured above) elk’s head hanging in your trophy room and his meat on your plate?
Even better, the men of the Redoubt know the work it takes to gain these deeper pleasures of independence. They are not bored, and they will not lie down quietly when some leftist declares that it might be a wonderful idea to create a sanctuary city out here.
In the Redoubt, sanity still rules the day.