by UnHerd
Sunday, 7
June 2020

Ross Douthat: BLM protests and the Decadent Society

The New York Times columnist talks to Freddie Sayers about the protests, Trump and the politics of Covid-19
by UnHerd

Freddie Sayers talks to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat about his new book The Decadent Society, the religious aspect of antiracism protests, Obama and Trump, and whether lockdowns are a symptom of — or cure for — the decadent West.

Hold on to your hats, we hit some big topics in this half hour! Hope you enjoy.

You can listen to the podcast version of the discussion here.

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  • There was something decidedly odd and undemocratic early in the interview. Street activity (protest) was polarised against and favoured over on-line activity without any thought for or even mention of politics as discourse.

  • By “puckishly” pinpointing the first moonlanding as the start of a downturn in Western creativity Ross Douthart has actually been very perceptive.

    Those of us old enough to remember that historic event and who were awestruck by the amazing TV coverage of the second landing ““ vastly improved picture quality over the first ““ will also remember the slowly creeping sense of disappointment which followed. Vast technological resources had given us a small space vehicle which could fly 3 men to the moon and back. The public began to realise that a great pioneering space adventure, Star Trek style, was not imminent. They preferred Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact.

    Enormous creative resources are now used to make that world of Sci-Fi escapism as convincing and immersive as possible. I am sure that many people unthinkingly assume that we are heading toward an inevitable future of rapid travel to the stars via “hyperspace”, that artificial gravity and anti-gravity are inevitable future technologies, that the next century or two will bring us “phaser” like weapons, transporter beams, force fields and more. No special expenditure of effort is required. The future is inevitable ““ we have visualised it and the stories have already been told.

    Popular entertainment is the new “opium of the peoples” ““ far more addictive than religion ever was.

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