The culture that formed the young men who have killed so many in mass shootings—or who kill themselves with drugs, alcohol, and guns to the head—cannot be blamed on the usual suspects, the “bigots” of flyover country and the “religious right.” On the contrary, it is institutions such as Harvard, Google, and the Ford Foundation that determine the mainstream. Their priorities set the tone, with the buzzwords of “multiculturalism,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” and other omnibus terms for a post-traditional way of life. With their vast wealth and prestige, our elites sponsor attacks on the usual bugbears: heteronormativity, patriarchy, logocentrism, and racism. Today’s culture is the result of a more than fifty-year effort of deregulation, rejection of traditional norms, and denigration of commonplace pieties.
At every level, our elites oppose traditional regulation of behavior based on clear moral norms, preferring a therapeutic and bureaucratic approach. They seek to decriminalize marijuana. They have deconstructed male and female roles for children. They correct anyone who speaks of “sex,” preferring to speak of “gender,” which they insist is “socially constructed.” They have ushered in a view of free speech that makes it impossible to prevent middle school boys from watching pornography on their smart phones. They insist upon a political correctness that rejects moral correctness.
The upshot is American culture circa 2018. Our ideal is a liquid world of self-definition, characterized by plenary acceptance and mutual affirmation. In practice, the children of our elites are fortunate: Their families and schools carefully socialize them into the disciplines of twenty-first-century meritocratic success while preaching openness, inclusion, and diversity. But the rest are not so fortunate. Most Americans gasp for air as they tread water. More and more drown .....
.... In the last half-century, liberalism has focused on deregulating personal life. This, too, has been an elite priority. It makes options available to those with the resources to exploit them. But it has created a world in which disordered souls kill themselves with drugs and alcohol—and in which those harboring murderous thoughts feel free to act upon them.
It’s time for us to wake up. The Ford Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Organization for Women, Harvard and Stanford Universities: These are the pillars of today’s establishment, and the architects of our culture of death.