This is the rhetorical trick most likely to cause our species’ extinction

This is the rhetorical trick most likely to cause our species’ extinction
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers a speech on "What America Stands For" in Bushnell, Florida, on January 23, 2020. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

For all the invective we throw and recycle at the MAGA cult, we have yet to put a finger on, let alone driven a stake through that cult’s mindless, heartlessness. Our invective is at most therapeutic for us with little effect on them.


They’re shape-shifters, masters of deflection, but it’s not a blur of various identities. They’re shape-togglers shuttling fluidly between two  identities, prude and brat, pope and punk, saint and cynic, family-values and incel revolt, high-horse parent and petulant child, defenders of the status quo and cultural wrecking crew, upholders of moral propriety and anarchist dismantlers.

Yes, that’s just another example of the cult’s hypocrisy, but I think it’s the pivotal one, the mother of all of their hypocrisies. It’s how they declare us losers for not meeting their moral standards and losers for caring about moral standards. These shape-togglers reproach us for our political incorrectness and conversely for being PC.

Holy war is an oxymoron: Holiness is a commitment to righteousness but all’s fair in war. There’s no racket one can’t dignify with holy war because there’s no deed too dirty for the saints who wage it.

They don’t just go low. They go above and below, anywhere but meeting us at eye level. They’re pedant parents talking down to us, or petulant teens complaining about how domineering we are. That’s how they escape adult-to-adult debate. It’s “shame on you!” when that’s to their advantage and when we try shaming them, it’s “So what? You do it too” cynicism.

You don't have to be dumb to become one of these shape-toggling assholes fluidly shifting between playing saint and boor. You just have to be a little hungry, lazy, or swept up in some supposedly holy war.

The dumbness comes easily with time. Thinking about your inconsistency only gets in the way. Discover this shape-toggling trick and your mind just atrophies. You've found a more efficient way to thrive: Ignore words. Listen for sounds. If you hear threats to your authority, ape saintly high-horse condemnation. If you hear concern and care, ape crass ridicule and contempt. That's all. Two buttons; two pre-recordings. You'll find you no longer need a mind or a heart. Nothing purges a conscience as fast as outrage and with shape-toggling you have the only two routes to outrage you’ll ever need – caring and not caring about moral standards.

Their cardinal sin is something viral. It's not alive and yet it's a parasite that makes zombies of people – not just the MAGA cult – that’s just the current epidemic. There have been epidemics of it throughout history.

No deed too dirty for the  holy followers of Christ, Hitler, Stalin, the Jihadists. It’s how anyone plays God, eternally omnificent, omnipotent and omniscient. It’s the ass-holy trinity whereby saintliness licenses sin, sin wins and winning “proves” saintliness.

This zombie-like rhetorical end-run is, I’d argue the most probable cause of human extinction. Why? Because there's no talking to those infected. Reality, which zombies refuse to heed gives them the ultimate smackdown.

Here’s a four minute video I made about it: 

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