Victor Davis Hanson: coronavirus pandemic exposing cultural suicide of sports, academics and Hollywood elites

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Cultural suicide was a popular diagnosis as to why things suddenly stop.

Historians like Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee have cited social cannibalism as the reason why once thriving states, institutions, and cultures simply died out.

Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success brings deadly consequences. Once the elites become pampered and arrogant, they feel free from the respect of their ancestors for moral and spiritual laws such as thrift, moderation, and transcendence.


Play professional sports. Over the past century, professional football, basketball and baseball have been racially integrated and adopted a uniform code of patriotic respect. All three leagues have given fans a pleasant respite from daily bar politics. As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA, and MLB had grown into multi-billion dollar global corporations.

Then pride ensued.

Owners, coaches and players were not always racially diverse. But that embarrassing truth hasn’t stopped leagues from harassing their fans about social activism – even if they no longer honor common patriotic rituals.

All three leagues suffered terribly during the viral lockdown, as American life mysteriously unfolded without them. And they almost made sure they didn’t fully recover when quarantine ended. Many of their often pampered multimillionaire players refuse to honor the national anthem. In the NFL, they will now broadcast their policy on their helmets. They will signal their moral superiority by virtue to increasingly discouraged fans – as if to ensure that their sources of support run away.

Many American universities have become virtual global brands in the 21st century. Skyrocketing tuition fees, wealthy foreign students, secured student loans, and Club Med-like facilities convinced administrators and faculty that higher education was sacrosanct. Universities preached that every successful American should have a bachelor’s degree, as if the monopoly on higher education deserved guaranteed clients.

But soon, $ 1.6 trillion in total student loan debt, light and trendy study programs, ideological turmoil, administrative bloat, reduced teaching loads, poor graduate placement, and suspension. of the Bill of Rights on campus began to discourage both students and the public. .

If students can Zoom or Skype their classes from home this fall, why pay $ 70,000 a year for the campus “experience”?

So-called awakened and informed rioters this summer knocked down or inconsistently damaged statues of everyone from Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant to Frederick Douglass and Miguel de Cervantes. So, the public might begin to wonder how the country’s multibillion dollar investment in higher education has actually served the country.

Soon, popular fury will spawn more dangerous questions for American universities. Perhaps the country should subsidize the training of more essential electricians, plumbers, contractors and masons instead of unemployed environmental and ethnic studies majors.

If a university president had wanted to devise a plan to destroy his university, he couldn’t have come up with a better one than what has happened on campus over the past decades.

Hollywood should have raved about 21st century globalization, which should have made filmmakers and stars even richer and more popular, with a potential audience of over 7 billion. But the quarantine closed most cinemas.

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Amazon, Netflix and Facebook, along with cable TV, have plunged movie revenues for years. Silicon Valley can create filmmakers who don’t need to approach Southern California.

In response, Hollywood plans to bring the comics to the big screen or make bad remakes of old classics. When directors try to make a serious new film, the result is often the monotony and boredom of thinly veiled awake propaganda.

Viewers can pick up only a limited number of heroic green crusaders, diverse superhumans, and beautiful feminists – and only a limited number of ugly Russian oligarchs cut out of cardboard, toothless and nasal South Neanderthals, and corporate yes men. .

The hypocrisy escalates when the Chinese government often views film content as the price of entry into a Chinese market with more than a billion potential customers.


But viewers are looking for theaters for more talks from handsome multimillionaires on their racist, sexist and homophobic country.

Professional sports, academia, and the film industry all know what they’re doing is bad for business. But they still believe that they are rich and powerful, and therefore invulnerable. They too ignore history and cannot be persuaded that they are destroying themselves.

At this late date, all that matters is that the country itself learns from these suicidal examples and heals itself. If the United States does not want to become an extinct Easter Island, it must regain respect for its past, the honor of the dead who have given us so much, the desire to invest rather than spend, and a need for transcendence.


If we don’t believe that what we do today has consequences for our children after we leave, there are old existential forces in the world that will intervene.

And it won’t be nice.


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