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Bored and dangerous? Yes, and as we close 2020, looking back at this strange year, where a virus hurt us, a fraud seemed to us to be a deception and the industrialized press continued to bet on the discord, the time has come to unravel what happened.
2020 leaves us with the lesson of how dangerous boredom can be, especially when it becomes a political tool. After straining slogans and pretexts, the real strength of the radical left, particularly in the United States, consists in taking advantage of the enormous power of social and political boredom in a country that has been growing in comfort levels (which have become ordinary) for almost 50 years in peace and without obligatory military service. At least the last two generations have been born and raised without the fear of war and hardship that set the course and defined the character of previous generations.
Safe and bored
Throughout human history, wars and pandemics were constant, decimating families and even destroying entire communities at least once in a generation. In contrast, these struggles offered, at least according to what history tells us, the opportunity for transcendence. When we read about the Middle Ages, we all put ourselves in the shoes of the knight (and almost no one in the shoes of the serf), close the book or turn off the film contrasting the glory of their battles with the irrelevance of our departure on level 713 of “Candy Crush.”
At least since the 1970s, after the Vietnam War, American society has lived free from the fear and pain of old conflicts and sorrows. Yes, the United States has been involved in high-profile wars, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but these have involved only professional soldiers. Compulsory conscription into the Army, which was a reality until 1973, would today be not only unpopular, but unimaginable.
To end soon, the current standard of living for the average student would be a bit of science fiction for his or her grandparents. Even those who have had problems with college loans or their careers, and ended up back in their parents’ basements, have much more comfort and free time than any other young person would have had just a few decades ago.
The result is that they are bored. And that boredom is serious, because it comes not only from the great availability of free time or high levels of comfort, but also from the predictability that such conditions will be maintained in the long term and the few prospects they have of standing out in a world where they were given everything and are required to do almost nothing.
Those millions of people, in the United States and the rest of the West, are bored, humanely and politically, willing to risk and even destroy anything to break the monotony and live their dream of being “vigilantes.”
And the Left takes advantage
This breeding ground is activated by activists disguised as university professors, who in turn live their lives dreaming of the times of the struggle against Nazism, sexism, racism or the Vietnam War. Tragically for them, they were born 30 or 40 years too late: The hateful racists of the South are dead and buried, as is the Hitler they hate and the Stalin they love. Even the conscription was abolished before they could even raise their voices to be part of the “triumph.”
Has it ever happened to you that you arrive at a party in a party mood, but when you go in it’s all over? That’s how they feel.
This is what Kenneth Minogue defines as the “St. George at Rest Syndrome”: when there are no more dragons to be shot down, boredom leads to the invention of other dragons in order to stay active and preserve a sense of identity as “fighters.”
For them, not having something to rebel against is in itself the worst act of oppression. In response, these hippie warriors, disguised as academics in universities, executives in business, and candidates in politics, share with millions of people the burden of boredom and the need for a struggle that brings them glory and transcendence, even if it means destroying the world.
Think about it. Look up in your memory or on YouTube the videos of the riots that caused $2 billion in damage under the pretext of George Floyd’s death; remember and revisit the actions of “Antifa” or any other of the brands of the corporate left; look, beyond ideology, at the people, and you will notice that (underneath the anger) they are bored, and they convey a mixture of boredom, rebellion against stability, and desires for transcendence through destruction.
In The Matrix, Agent Smith explained that the first matrix was designed as a “perfect human world” where no one suffered and everyone would be happy, but it was a disaster because people did not accept the program, as humans define their reality through suffering and misery.
The Wachowskis have a point. Deep down, for many people, the emotions that accompany destruction and suffering are preferable to the peace and stability in which they are bored without opportunities for glory.
Although our world today is far from perfect, it is certainly more peaceful, tranquil, and predictable than any other time in human history. This seems to be intolerable for many people, especially on the left, who yearn for the return of conflict-and with it, the possibility of heroism, glory or revenge.
You cannot win by results alone, you need emotion
It would be a mistake to limit this reflection to a criticism of the Left. The Right also has a serious problem. In the United States and in the rest of the First World, the Right has failed in the cultural struggle, and has done so because it’s boring.
If we really want to avoid the fall of the West and the wonders that have cost us so many centuries, we must understand that, in order to move souls, to ignite hearts and to win elections, it is not enough to give good results. We need to regain a sense of adventure and of a struggle worth fighting for. The Left brings emotion to destruction. We must direct it toward building, rather than burying it in routine.
Yes, the American Dream and the exceptional vocation of the United States will be saved only if they become exciting again.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”