Triumph of the Whine - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Triumph of the Whine

Leni Riefenstahl notoriously glorified Adolf Hitler with her 1935 film Triumph of the Will, an account of a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, a city where some attendees would make a later, less festive appearance. She used many arty innovations to present Hitler as the Übermensch of Übermenschen. Central to the film was Hitler’s notion of will as a force with which to hammer reality into a shape to his pleasing. He thought that by putting all his mental oomph into something, he could make it so.

Hitler’s belief makes one think of The Little Engine That Could, the children’s story of a diminutive locomotive that takes on a task that larger engines refused — pulling a heavy train up and over a steep grade. By marshaling his willpower with the mantra “I think I can. I think I can,” he manages to do so. The story existed in one version during the 1920s, when Hitler was taking over the Nazi Party. One can imagine him, bent over a copy in a corner of a beer hall, mumbling, “Ich denke ich kann! Ich denke ich kann!” while willing world domination.

The moral of The Little Engine That Could is that if you try hard, you can succeed. A more realistic outcome for the Little Engine would have been for its meager power to have proved insufficient, its drive wheels to creak to a stop, its connecting rods snap, and, if its safety valve failed, its boiler blow sky high, spraying out sprockets and bolts and whatever served as the brain of the sentient machine. The train’s cars would have ignominiously dragged this wreckage back to the bottom of the grade, there to smolder and be tut-tutted over by the wiser engines that, aware of their limitations, had refused the task. To make the grade, you have to do more than wish. Hitler may have come to suspect this in his bunker in April 1945 after he managed to kill millions in his voyage of self-discovery. There are many morals to Hitler’s story, but one is that if you deny reality, it can bite you where it hurts.

Something similar to Hitler’s self-deception is happening on America’s campuses (let’s pause here to make it absolutely, 100% clear that Academia is nowhere near as evil as Hitler and comparing them to him should not be taken as mitigating his evil). While Hitler thought will all-powerful, Academe believes wanting to believe something true, makes it true. Their mantra is: “I wish it so! It must be so!” Hitler sold his guff to the Germans by packaging it in a vanity-pleasing belief that they were a superior race. Academe also sells its nonsense by appealing to vanity, convincing adherents that they are superior to others in virtue. Once indoctrinated, these superior people assume the unenlightened should line up behind them to march to Utopia. For Hitler, this was a world filled with guys in Lederhosen and gals in Dirndls heartily clanging beer steins with any unwanted folks enslaved or extinct. For Academia, it’s that old cola commercial where flower people cavort like woodland fairies in benevolent harmony with all the “Blue Meanies” (non-Baby Boomers: see the 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine) dispatched to blue-collar jobs where they do what they’re told and pay taxes to support the daydreams of their betters. Conformity was and is essential to these utopias.

Chickens are conformists. A chicken with a misplaced feather can get that feather pecked by another hen, annoyed by the divergence from chickeny correctness. That can displace more feathers, bringing more pecking from other annoyed hens, till finally, the chicken that had just one small defect is pecked to death. In Academe, devout political correctness (PC) covers one with the correct feathers. It doesn’t matter that Lefty ideas are unproven or silly, the hens will get you if you don’t look out.

Consider a few of Academe’s questionable beliefs:

  • Man-made global warming — a nightmare that hasn’t shown its feverish face.
  • Multiculturalism — which equates cultures where a raped girl can be forced to marry her rapist to preserve her family’s “honor” with cultures that stick rapists and horrible parents in jail.
  • Black Lives Matter — which ignores carnage in black communities while stigmatizing the police, to use a Clintonian term, as “superpredators,” and casting would-be cop killers as gentle giants.
  • Hate speech — which equates words with violence, something that was once refuted by the schoolyard “sticks ‘n stones” axiom or its corollary “I’m rubber; you’re glue.”

The foot soldiers of PCness may sincerely believe this stuff and see themselves as Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), but for the more calculating in the movement, these fuzzy beliefs aren’t really beliefs. They are tools with which one can attain power. Shoehorn yourself into the correct grievance group, and you have the power to elevate yourself and shut up anyone who questions your elevation. Essentially, the best whiner wins.

SJWs insist on special treatment that is affirmation of the power whining gives them. They get “safe spaces,” where they can soothe themselves with coloring books and puppies after bumping into someone or something that doesn’t kowtow in their direction. Universities enact rules that punish opposition of the most minor degree as “micro-aggressions.” These can include claiming “there is only one race, the human race” (University of Minnesota), saying you’re “going home for Christmas vacation” (University of North Carolina), or identifying yourself as an “American” (University of Virginia). These offenses are often met with “macro-aggressions” — screaming mobs that are uglier than the pack that chased Frankenstein’s monster into that burning windmill. SJWs see no contradiction in this. They, while victimizing, claim victimhood.

The non-PC often find amusement in PCness. Who can fail to laugh at the woman, furious over Trump’s election, who posted a video in which she, crimson as a two-year-old denied a yard-high ice cream cone, wails: “I’m literally about to f****** kill myself and I’m not kidding! You better f****** fix this s*** right now! I literally am going to die! I need an ambulance!” Then there’s “Trigglypuff,” a corpulent student activist who disrupted an anti-PC event by loudly and obscenely whining about “hate speech” while furiously pumping her over-fleshy arms like a walrus trying to fly. She insisted she was exercising her right to free speech by shouting down the speakers.

Amusement is often followed with “Those snowflakes will melt in the real world.” This isn’t so. They will find many congenial venues for their whining. Political correctness has invaded schools, boardrooms, pulpits, the media, the armed forces, and even the Girl Scouts. It is everywhere and is ever searching for ways to dominate.

Donald Trump’s often-clumsy refusal to play by PC rules helped him win the White House, and there is hope that his success will encourage others to reject political correctness. The alternative is horrific. George Orwell, in 1984, warned of a totalitarian future where a boot would endlessly stomp on the face of humanity. Our future, if the SJWs have their way, will be a Triumph of the Whine and Trigglypuff screeching in our faces forever.

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