Liberalism’s spawn. Conversations with 20-somethings

Over the past year, I’ve had a number of interesting discussions with people in their 20s regarding current political and cultural issues. I like to know what 20-somethings are thinking, saying, and doing; they will soon be the dominant shaping force in society. I also like to hear their opinions directly instead of reading their words second or third-hand in the media.

After a number of these conversations in 2016, it became clear to me that a definite pattern was emerging. I noticed a common thread of liberalism in their opinions on important subjects no matter their country. While young people identifying themselves as liberal is nothing new, what surprised me was the ideological gap between young and old, and between urban and rural, seems stronger than ever.

I asked a couple of my coworkers from England their opinion of Nigel Farage and UKIP. As soon as I said the name ‘Farage’, I could see the complete disdain on their faces. “UKIP? It’s a joke,” said one. “They have very little support; most of it is in the countryside. Nobody with any brains takes Farage seriously. He’s just plain stupid.”  I recall the young man who said this to me had a look of curiosity on his face as well, as if he couldn’t believe I was even asking about this person. I was somewhat surprised at his breezy dismissal of Farage as he had been receiving a fair amount of publicity in America at that time. I watched his interviews closely, and it appeared to me that he had a lot of valid points to make. In fact, he came across as quite intelligent, lucid, and convincing. I had a hard time reconciling my impression of Farage with this young man’s description of him.

A short time later, I was sitting in a different office and was surrounded by young Brits. Without offering any thoughts or opinions of my own, and asking in the most neutral manner I could, I inquired whether England should severely curtail immigration. The Brits all shook their heads. The girl sitting directly across from me offered, “We should be allowing MORE immigrants, not less. Those poor people. England can do more and we SHOULD do more.” I mentioned how many immigrants England had already taken in and some of the negative consequences of that immigration. My colleague dismissed my concerns with a wave of her hand. “Those bad stories are mostly made up by the media.”

Recently, I brought up politics with my young Austrian friend. What was fascinating about that chat was the eerie parallels to my conversation with the young Brits. I mentioned to the Austrian a recent news story I had read about the so-called ‘Far Right’ winning some elections in Austria. What was his opinion? Just as the Brit had scoffed at Farage and UKIP, my friend similarly made a scowl when mentioning the far right parties in Austria. “They’re nothing. Only the farmers, the uneducated, really OLD people, and dupes take that party seriously. Immigration is not that big of a problem.”

Last week, a friend from America and I were having a friendly chat at the park when the conversation turned to the cultural and the political. He made a comment about his friend having a baby and I made a light-hearted remark about his friend doing a good thing for the white race, keeping in mind the historically low birth rates in most European countries which is nothing less than a demographic disaster. Even though I smiled when i said it and was (halfway) joking, my friend, who is white, went ballistic. Literally. I thought he might start hyperventilating. “White race? Did you really just say that? Oh my god! I can’t believe you said that! I haven’t heard someone say the white race in 20 years. Dude, don’t you know that’s racist?”

I momentarily felt as if I had just slipped into the Twilight Zone. But then I remembered my friend was in his early 30s. Though I had a good size dose of cultural marxism, feminism, political correctness, affirmative action, and multi-culturalism force-fed me when I was growing up, that was nothing compared to the onslaught that people now in their 20s and 30s have experienced. My friend went on. “Besides, there’s no such thing as race anyway. Race is just a fiction. I mean, come on. What is the white race? Do you mean Europeans? I myself am a mongrel, like most of my friends. Sorry Brian, but there is no such thing as ‘white people.’

As our discussion meandered on and became more heated, he started to use the phrase ‘The N word.’ He continued, “I’m a comedian and the rule for stand-up is that you can never makes jokes downward, meaning you never make fun of people who are below you in the socio-economic world.” He explained that was why he never made jokes about black people and would never, ever use what he called ‘The N word’ , either in public or even in private.

I asked him, “Since we’re in a park in Asia and there are no black people anywhere to be seen and since I know you’re a decent guy with not a racist bone in your body, you can say the scary word ‘Nigger’ to me. I won’t hold it against you. After all, we’re discussing words and language and it will save you from using the tortured phrase ‘The N word.’ My friend shook his head  emphatically. “No way. I’ve removed that evil and unnecessary word from my vocabulary. I’ll never use it.” To try to get him to budge, I even mentioned George Carlin’s famous dialogue on the word ‘nigger’ in which he showed, quite convincingly, that it’s all about context and meaning. My friend was unconvinced.

The conversation mostly devolved from there until we agreed to call a truce. What was especially interesting to me was that, on reflection,  his views were more or less the same as my views when I was his age. I too spouted the politically correct liberal line on most every issue. I too was brought up to believe that the white race, and specifically white men, were the cause of all evil in the world and that I should feel nothing but shame and regret for my ancestors. I finally grew out of that conditioning but it’s taken me nearly 50 years to do it. Talking with my friend was like having a conversation with my younger self.

Concepts such as nationalism, national identity, racial pride, and cultural pride are still anathema to many people in the West, especially those under the age of 50 and particularly the kids in their 20s. We can, of course, blame World War II and its outcomes for this. Whenever nationalism has threatened to gain a toehold in Western politics in recent decades, opposing parties simply went  on media channels and screamed , “Nazis! Hitler lovers! Fascists!” And it has worked-  until now. Those old smear tactics are wearing thin from overuse. The Alt-Right is gaining more traction every day and is starting to reclaim the concept of nationalism from the gutter where it has been rotting for more than a half century. Brexit, Le Pen, Trump, nationalist parties in Austria, Denmark, and many other countries- these are all signs that something is shifting.






Updates on The Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect which disturbs and affects me the most is the geographical changes. I look at maps almost every day and the world I see is so different from my memories of it that it leaves me shaken. Although I touched briefly geography in my last article on the Mandela Effect, I want to look at this in a bit more depth and detail.

Remember the ‘Land down Under’? Australia was always known as such, for a reason. It was ‘under’  everything else, meaning it was far south of the equator and distant from almost everywhere else, especially the closest large country, which is Indonesia. My friends and I used to talk about visiting Australia, but whenever we looked at it on a map, we commented on how isolated it was and how expensive it would be to fly there. In this parallel dimension we’ve slipped into, Australia is now part of Asia. There is no separation between the Australian continent and the southernmost islands of Indonesia. You can now literally swim from the northern tip of Australia to Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islets. If you’re an Australian, I suppose this could be either something to celebrate or mourn. If you enjoyed the isolation and remoteness that you had in the earlier reality, then this new reality sucks. However, if you’re an Asian-Australian and wished you could be closer to your relatives, congratulations.

Japan is another country that I look at and say to myself, “That looks all wrong!” Japan was always a long and thin country, so to speak. I remember this because I used to hear someone say that they lived in ‘Western Japan’ and I replied, “Oh come on. There is no real Western Japan. There’s only Northern and Southern Japan.” The current version of Japan (or at least Honshu) is now shaped like a comma. In this reality, Japan really has acquired a ‘West.’ Shikoku is currently an East-West island. Hokkaido bears no resemblance whatsoever to its former incarnation. It’s badly misshapen and enlarged.

Panama is  another country which has metamorphosed from an North-South oriented land mass to an East-West one. I remember reading about the Panama Canal when I was young; I recall seeing photos of the men building it. They dug out a straight line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in an East-West orientation. In this version, the canal now goes Northwest to Southeast! In the old version, people would lie on beach on the Pacific Coast and watch the sun set looking due west. Currently, people who visit a Pacific Coast beach in Panama will be looking southward or even southeastward.

Cuba is now a bizarre sight to look at. In the old world, Cuba was a small country located 90 miles off the southern tip of Florida. It lay to the southeast of the North American landmass. Its size and shape were not particularly noteworthy. Presently, Cuba is an Orca whale-shaped island, twice the size of its former self, and provides an almost seamless bridge from the Yucatan to the Eastern Caribbean.

Moving over to Europe, Denmark formerly situated itself far to the south of Sweden. The northernmost tip of Denmark pointed toward Stockholm. Nowadays, in this reality, Denmark is located to the west of Sweden! It has seemingly moved itself hundreds of kilometers northward to snuggle in between Norway and Sweden. I wonder how the Swedes feel about their new neighbors.

Italy has always been the most easily identifiable country in Europe. When kids first begin studying  a map of Europe, the first country they learn is Italy; the reason is simple. Italy juts down from the continent into the Mediterranean and is shaped like a boot. In our parallel dimension (PD), Italy has been ‘pulled’ westward. It now points in a more southeasterly direction and the heel of the boot is much more pronounced than it used to be. Sicily has shifted hundreds of kilometers to the north and now almost joins the mainland of Italy. No matter how often I look at the map of Italy, I can’t shake the feeling of unreality which envelops me.

These countries are the most obvious and outstanding examples, but it is certain at this point that every single country has changed and shifted in PD. It appears that all of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere have moved en masse toward the north pole which, by the way, has disappeared. Welcome to the new world.

Addendum: I wanted to collect some new examples of the Mandela Effect and did a quick search on youtube. When I entered the search term ‘New Mandela Effects’, I was confronted with page after page after page of channels that are, apparently, produced by teenagers. Their headlines are always in all caps; the descriptions are nearly identical and are some variation of this: OMG! NEW MANDELA EFFECTS. THIS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. The accompanying photo of the channel shows the teenager with an exaggerated look of surprise and shock with pictures of Jif peanut butter and febreeze  floating above his head. The channels have different names, but with the nearly identical headlines and photos, they are obviously being produced from a common source. I would guess that the source and producer of these channels is Intelligence. Perhaps they are trying to surround the topic of the Mandela Effect with a lot of noise and mindless trash in the hope that people will dismiss it.