Episode 164: “Wrath: America Enraged” with Peter Wood
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Over the course of roughly four generations, from around 1950 to the present, American culture has been transformed from a culture that believed in the value of self-control into a culture that celebrates self-expression. And that “self-expression” has now twisted into a new form of anger – political wrath – which makes a performance art out of our darkest emotions. So argues my guest on this episode, Peter Wood, author of Wrath: America Enraged and 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project and President of the National Association of Scholars. “The question is not whether we didn’t have to deal with anger before, but how we channeled it. What kind of cultural frame did we put around it? And that began to change. After World War II, the hero type of Gary Cooper who could maintain his cool under extreme pressure gave way to, think, of Allen Ginsberg, and his famous poem Howl.” “We’ve brought anger into our music, movies, and personal lives; and now, having step by step relinquished our old inhibitions around feeling and expressing anger, we have turned anger into a way of wielding political power.” But the “angri-culture,” as he calls it, doesn’t promise happy days again. It promises revenge…and a crisis that could destroy our republic. Are both sides equally to blame? No. Politics are not conservatives’ obsession. Conservatives tend to see politics as just one part of life, and they’ve got other things going on, their family, their jobs, or church, their clubs, that sort of thing. And when you have a life, it’s hard to take it terribly seriously that the other side is just simmering with rage all the time. It seems that if there is conservative rage in this era it is “further prodded by a progressive elite that seems to take sadistic delight in devising new ways to torment ordinary Americans,” says Peter. ‘Antiracism’ is a psyops campaign aimed at institutionalizing discrimination against Whites. The 1619 Project is an attempt to erase American history and put in its place an elaborately constructed lie in which slavery explains everything. ‘Critical race theory’ (CRT) further amplifies the message that American success is built entirely of the bricks and mortar of White racial supremacy. The elite preaches and now practices the benefits of abolishing our national border and flooding the country with illegal immigrants, at the expense of working-class Americans. Progressives manipulated the Wuhan virus epidemic by turning a manageable health crisis into a major economic disaster, an excuse for stripping Americans of their civil liberties, and an incitement of mass hysteria. And progressives, claiming the need to protect ‘voter rights,’ seek to lock into place the subterfuges they used to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” The list goes on … and on. Adds Peter, “and now we have the recategorization after the fact of the events on Capitol hill as an insurrection, which strikes me as a deliberate effort to marginalize dissent in this country.” Liberty loving Americans feel this tremendous anger and a sense of betrayal that our institutions have gone to the dark side. Yet we very much do not want to be provoked into something that we would all regret. Listen and consider as Peter and I wrestle with this difficult topic.