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Without an Anchor
By Kate Burch

I read this morning a headline about the cratering sales of “organic” milk.  At first, I thought it a positive sign that perhaps people had begun to wake up to the fact that paying a premium for so-called organic foods is a waste of money and comparable to buying a purse with a designer logo so that one may be perceived as somehow special or superior to others.  Then, when I read the article, I found that was not the case; that increased demand for “milk” made from almonds, soybeans, cashews, and the like has caused the decline in sales of the “organic” variety.  Apparently, we are nowhere near seeing the end of people needing to demonstrate their specialness by requiring special foods.  Part of this need to be special comes from a feeling of being unsafe or threatened.  People not afflicted with celiac disease convince themselves that they are  “sensitive” to gluten; or they believe that they are “lactose intolerant” without having the clinical signs and symptoms; or they fear that foods produced by large-scale agricultural methods will cause them harm absent evidence that such is the case.

This issue is of a piece with the larger and pervasive question of identity politics.  We see today, very prominently in colleges, but also in society at large, people ragefully claiming victim status by virtue of their sex (real or imagined), their skin color, their sexual proclivities, ethnicity, religion, and other aspects of identity.  The rage is palpable, real, often infantile and terrifying.  We have seen “demonstrations” devolve into violent riots with murders, assaults, looting and property damage.  We have seen speakers at universities and public events not only heckled by those who disagree, but harassed and assaulted, needing at times to flee in fear for their safety or their very lives.  School administrators have responded to their student “victims” by providing “safe spaces” and other comfort measures when they claim to feel threatened or offended by ideas that are different from their own.  At least one public official has famously called for allowing violent demonstrators “space to destroy.” 

Along with the social unrest, there is significantly rising incidence of mental illness in young adults; and of course the opioid “epidemic” that affects youth, but also people into middle age.   I first saw references to rising levels of psychopathology in children in the psychological literature about twenty years ago.  My guess was that a causative factor might be children being brought up by strangers in the daycare culture while their parents were both working and then too exhausted to provide attentive and thoughtful care.   I still think that’s a driver.  Clearly, these young people are miserable.  But why?

In America today there is ongoing, large-scale destruction of humanity’s most basic institution, the family, disrespect for American symbols, and discrediting of the shared values and ideals that have embodied the American identity.  While America is still predominantly Christian, at least nominally, we also see more and more in the popular media warnings about the threat posed by Christians and Christianity.  I am convinced that undermining the institutions that provide a secure and healthy identity is purposeful and part of an ongoing program that started more than a century ago and relentlessly labors to transform the world according to Marxist ideology.  

The sexual revolution unmoored sexual congress from reproduction and opened the floodgates for the factors that have caused so much damage to the family: out-of-wedlock births, abortion, and fatherless homes.  It might also be mentioned that people of color and those in lower socioeconomic groups have suffered from these social pathologies to the greatest degree.  Anyone who has experienced family breakup or parental abandonment, or who has been closely acquainted with those who have, knows the rage and sadness and feelings of worthlessness, disconnectedness, and grief that are associated with a broken family.  It’s a huge question, obviously, but it makes sense to me that a young person who is deprived of the security of family, primarily, but also deprived of encouragement for patriotism, and even for positive religious identification, is going to be angry, and will be vulnerable to seizing on an unhealthy or pseudo-identity that will provide not security, but rather a wellspring of rage. 

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