The Reference Problem

The reference problem is an old problem.  We do measure the actions of people by norms that have been established before.  All our actions, our pronouncements, are predicated on assumptions we all hold dear.  Even satire requires a general system of reference to be heard and understood.

Rogues are by definition people who defy norms.  They do not normally get very far since they are castigated by a society that conceives itself as part of a social contract in which these norms are upheld.

A rogue being elected as national leader is precluded in a society that is united in these tenets.

When it does happen, it is a symptom of a society badly coming apart at its seams.

Appeals for national unity (which invariably happens in the aftermath of Ferguson, Charlottesville, you name it) have no effect since the very concept of that nation and what it stands for is in dispute.

We are fucked. I don’t think there is a way of moving forward without splitting the United States into an ahistoric part and a contemporary part.  The two different parts of the USA will be relegated to the status of less important nations, and I think this is a very good byproduct (perhaps the only good one) of the recent developments.  American exceptionalism turned upside down: exceptionally stupid, exceptionally backwards.


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