In Monastaries of the Mind, Victor Davis writes that “When everything is politicized, people retreat into mental mountaintops — dreams of the past and fantasies of the future.”
An increasing number of American don’t take all this [the perpetual proselytizing of the culture wars] seriously. And that’s not new.
In reaction to the growing globalization of the Roman Empire, elite corruption, the banality of bread-and-circuses, and the end of the agrarian Italian Republic, the Stoics opted out, choosing instead a reasoned detachment from contemporary life. Some, like the worldly court philosopher Seneca, seemed hypocritical; others, such as the later emperor Marcus Aurelius, lived a double life of imperial engagement and mental detachment.
Classical impassiveness established the foundations for the later monastic Christians, who in more dangerous times increasingly saw the world around them as incompatible with the world to come — and therefore they saw engagement as an impediment to their own Christian belief.
More and more Americans today are becoming Stoic dropouts. They are not illiberal, and certainly not reactionaries, racists, xenophobes, or homophobes. They’re simply exhausted by our frenzied culture.
They don’t like lectures from the privileged and the wealthy on the pitfalls of privilege and wealth. In response, they don’t hike out to monasteries, fall into fetal positions, or write Meditations. Instead, they have checked out mentally from American popular entertainment, sports, and the progressive cultural project in general…
But aren’t sports at least still sacrosanct? Hardly. In this age of pan-politicization, sports, like everything else, is not exempt from wealthy elites’ guilt-ridden obsessions with race, class, and gender agendas…
Earlier in the piece he had this to say about the reaction of some to their loss of power:
There is now something called the “Resistance,” which by its nomenclature poses that its opposition to Trump is reminiscent of European partisan resistance to Hitler: Affluent progressives are now on the barricades to stop another Holocaust? Cities now nullify federal law in the spirit of the Old Confederacy. A federal judge doesn’t enforce federal law because he says he does not like what the president and his associates said in the past, during the campaign. Op-ed writers overseas wait eagerly for the president’s assassination. At CNN, Fareed Zakaria, wrist-slapped for past plagiarism, melts down while screaming of Trump’s “bullsh**.” Madonna says she has “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” …
Bad filibusters are now good ones. Vowing to kill, hurt, or remove the president and first family is hip, when it used to be felonious. States’ rights and nullification are now Confederate-cool. Free speech is hate speech. Censorship is a mere trigger warning. Assimilation is cultural appropriation. … When we all wish to be victims, there are too few oppressors to go around.