On Eating Horse Manure

I want to talk about people rioting after your team wins the championship, and what it says about human nature.

I used to think that this was abnormal behavior: climbing street lights, breaking windows and – in one guy’s case – eating horse manure.

But I’m coming to the conclusion that this is actually normal behavior. The NOT acting like a fool is the unexpected behavior.

Let me explain.

Humans are broken and fallen and evil. The song Amazing Grace, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” A wretch. A despicable person. The Bible says no one is righteous, not even one. This is our normal state. It’s not good.

To keep us upright (and at least functioning enough to be able to work with and amongst our fellow human beings) there are internal guides and external guides. We’ll just focus on external right now. These are guard rails that say: “This is proper behavior. If you deviate from this, there will be negative consequences for your life.”

Some of these guardrails are legal, “You can’t punch someone in the face”. If you do, you go to jail. Some are societal, “You can’t eat horse manure.” You legally can, but it’s socially frowned upon.

These societal guardrails are called culture.

We are thiiiiiiiis close to chaos. All of us, at any given point in time, but it’s culture that keeps us upright and in line; standing tall and moving in the right direction.

Now, what’s interesting about the Super Bowl, For whatever reason, our culture says: “if your team wins the championship, there are no societal guardrails for one night! So act like a fool!” Or, in other words, act like you normally would if society didn’t have guardrails. For one night!

And this is what you get.

Chaos. And a guy eating horse manure.

Now, in normal circumstances, the “eating horse manure” guardrail in our culture is firmly in place. No one thinks that’s socially acceptable.

But there are other guardrails that have eroded, and this is why cultural conservatives care so much about culture.

Just one example from today, have you seen the picture of the Hadid sisters? Two models, sisters, posing naked together.

If you’re immersed in our oversexualized culture, where the guardrails have been eroded, you think that’s beautiful photography. But you live in normal land, you see that and think “What in the world?”

I put on our facebook page pictures from Playboy in 1957, there are women dressed with more clothes than a 90-year-old librarian: tube socks, baggy sweaters, skirts below the knees. And the guys are gawking. I compared that to what women wore to the Grammys. They look like hookers.

This is a cultural guardrail that has eroded. There now are no guardrails. It’s game on.

What’s the problem with this?

I talk with Jordan Peterson the other day, he makes an argument to his students that if you were born in Nazi Germany, you’d probably be a Nazi.

Why? Here’s what he said

I think of course, “If I was in Nazi Germany, I wouldn’t have been a Nazi! I would have been Dietrich Bonhoeffer, plotting to kill Hitler! That would have been me!”

I think, “The reason I’m not like that is because I’m such a good person. I have a great moral foundation that I live my life by and I have a lot of discipline and a strong moral code.”

Well, don’t get too proud of yourself, Slater. Peterson says a lot of it is good fortune:

It’s easy to be a good person in our society! With our prosperity! It’s easy. Too easy. It lulls us into thinking that people are good.

I think that one reason why so many young Americans especially like socialism. It’s not because things are so bad and we need it. It’s because things are so good, and kids don’t know how evil people are capable of being.

It’s easy, in our society, to think, “People will share and be honest and good and wait their turn and be generous.”

Nope. They won’t. Because we’re not those things. At least, it’s easier to be those things when we’re wealthy and safe and prosperous and healthy.

So what’s the takeaway from this?

1) It’s important to know what evil you’re capable of. It gives you some kick in the pants to make yourself a better person.

2) It’s important to know what society is capable of. It makes you more aware of the importance of societal guardrails.

3) And for me, it’s awareness that life is a million little decisions.

I think of Ernest Shackleton, Arctic explorer, at the end of two years being stuck, they had to make a last ditch effort to find landfall. So they launched their lifeboat, six of them, to travel 900 miles, going on the stars to find a tiny island. It would be like finding a needle on a football field blind. Over fifteen days, and they made it.

The amazing part to me, every measurement they made had to be spot on. If they were one degree off at any moment, they would have sailed past the island and into the open sea. They had to be precise at every moment or else they would not have come close to getting to the island

It’s the little decisions you make every day. Be aware of them. Don’t get too far off course.

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