See if you can spot the logical flaw in the opening sentence of Florence King’s “Not in My Lifetime”.1 Don't worry; it won't take you long:
If you want to understand why America is dissolving in chaos, check to see if a certain melodramatic exaggeration has turned out to be eerily wrong.
What we have here is an unproven premise—“America is dissolving in chaos”. In this case, the premise is not only unproven but unprovable, for the simple reason that it is laughably wrong. I know, because I live in America, and if it were dissolving into chaos, I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed.
Having opened with such an easily dismissed gambit, Ms. King manages to go further off the rails; read her article only if you're in the mood to be simultaneously baffled and annoyed. She has apparently been brought on board The American Conservative for the benefit of readers who don’t find Rod Dreher alarmist enough. She asserts, in “Not in My Lifetime,” the collapse of our nation into racial and ethnic communities; conservatives often sing the praises of “communities,” but according to Florence King, Americans these days are communing in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons.
Among other pearls of insight, King explains the election of Barack Obama by observing that “to express instinctive dislike or distrust of Obama was to brand oneself a racist, and nobody dared do it,” thus providing further proof that she doesn’t live in America (or even in the real world), where criticism of Obama has been widespread, constant, unrestrained, and frequently hateful.2
Ms. King delineates the available options for those who, like her, are convinced that America is being undermined by bogus “communities”:
“The word [“community”] has been so enshrined by political correctness that it could be dangerous [to oppose its use]. Alternatively, you can out-community communities: collect a “family” of this or that, live in the woods, and have nothing to do with anybody. Or you can announce, “This is who I am,” take up narcissism, and be your own native land.
“This last seems to be the preferred solution for the usual suspects: anybody named Kardashian, for instance, or somebody named Obama, or everybody in favor of same-sex marriage. For the rest who have nothing to be narcissistic about, there is the attention-riveting chaos that we see all around us. Routine crimes like normal murder are so last year, but beheading somebody because beheadings are the latest thing is narcissism for the masses.”
If you can make sense of that last bit of drivel, by all means let me know; I’ve read it over several times and I still have no idea what the hell Florence King is saying. I can't help but notice, though, that she tosses around the trendy n-word ("narcissist") pretty freely; I guess that's much more civil than calling someone a "racist".
On second thought, I may have been wrong in suggesting that Ms. King’s appearance at The American Conservative was intended to placate readers who wanted something more hysterical than Rod Dreher’s fulminations; in fact, “Not in My Lifetime” may have been printed for the sole purpose of making Mr. Dreher look reasonable by comparison. In that sense, and only in that sense, the article achieves its purpose and Florence King is a smashing success. In any other sense, and by any other measure, "Not in My Lifetime" is, as they say, a steaming pile of stupid.
2 It's actually a standard trope by now: many of the most vociferous critics of President Obama accompany their criticisms with the paradoxical claim that no one dares criticize him. This enables said critics to posture as being brave enough to rise above political correctness, to speak truth to power, and to be lone voices crying in the wilderness. During the Obama years, there have been so many of those lone voices crying in the wilderness that the president himself can barely be heard over the incessant caterwauling.