“Denial,” goes an old Alcoholics Anonymous word-pun, “isn’t just a river in Egypt.”
My online dictionary defines denial as “the action of declaring something to be untrue, a statement that something is not true.”
A classic example of that definition recently happened in Los Angeles. Likely boosted by a media looking for headlines, officials recently announced that indoor COVID masking will likely once again become mandatory. This declaration prompted epidemiologist Paul Holtom and Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer of Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California Medical Center, to deride the government’s claims as bogus:
In an internal townhall presentation dripping with a mix of exasperation and dry-witted sarcasm, two officials at one of the largest hospital systems in Southern California threw a bucket of cold water on media and government efforts to whip the public into a state of fear over the latest Covid-19 uptick.
Spellberg gave examples and statistics that blast the government’s case. Holton’s comments not only reinforced Spellberg’s arguments, but were wickedly humorous as well:
As of this morning, we have no one in the hospital who had pulmonary disease due to Covid. Nobody in the hospital….NOBODY. Nobody who had Covid-19 disease as we would see it in the past. So I guess it is hard to get a little more excited.
Here, it seems, Spellberg and Holtom affirm reality. Unlike the government and the media, they have boots on the ground and facts at hand that refute the necessity for masking up. They take “the action of declaring something to be untrue.”
But what about the other side of the coin? What happens when those in charge repudiate reality in favor of delusion with little pushback?
We see an example of this in the case of Demi Minor, a transgender inmate placed in a women’s prison. Minor was removed from the facility after getting two other inmates pregnant, Rick Moran writes in a recent PJ Media article. Even then, the state of New Jersey refers to Minor as “she” and as a “woman prisoner.”
Here’s the reality: women don’t get other women pregnant. Women don’t have penises and can’t ejaculate sperm.
That the state placed Minor, with his appendages intact, in a female prison is a denial of reality, in effect a delusion. To continue to refer to Minor as a woman doubles down on that rejection of the real.
Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania nominated swimmer Will Thomas, known as “Lia” to those who regard him as female, as “NCAA Woman of the Year” this month. “It isn’t ‘inclusion’ that leads the Ivy League to pull stunts like this,” Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, commented. “It’s misogyny – and utter contempt for the truth.”
Many American institutions and leaders have become masters at these tactics of deception. Some officials in the federal government, for example, spend trillions of dollars, then claim that Russia and the war in Ukraine are responsible for our skyrocketing inflation, rather than their own vast expenditures. This same government has declared war on fossil fuels, supposedly to fight climate change, turning a blind eye to our dependence on oil for transportation, heat, and all sorts of petroleum products. Many politicians, professors, corporate heads, and media pundits have smeared America as a nation riddled with racism, without producing evidence for that charge. Others would have us believe that teaching sexual practices to elementary school students benefits those children.
But they’re not the only ones who use excuses. Reality can be a harsh mistress for us, too, and we also look for ways of escape when we get in tight places. That 30-something woman whose fiancé just dumped her for cheating on him comes home from the insurance office where she works and eludes thoughts of her wrongdoing by watching Hallmark romance movies every evening. That divorced carpenter who hasn’t seen his kids in six months sits on his porch drowning his regrets in bourbon and staring blankly at his yard rather than seeking to repair the damage he’s done.
But whether we or our so-called elites embrace delusion and fantasy will matter little in the end. Reality is always waiting in the wings and will, sooner or later, make an appearance. Rudyard Kipling reminds us in “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”—those headings refer to eternal verities—that reality may disappear for a bit, but it’s never eradicated:
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
Eventually, one way or the other, those “Gods of the Copybook Headings” will return to the stage. As science fiction writer Philip K. Dick once said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Image Credit: Flickr-ThoroughlyReviewed, CC BY 2.01 comment