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“The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering’. So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”

― Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. A coping mechanism, an inspiration, or a manipulative rhetorical tool. For quite some time, the inhabitants of the West have found themselves conscripted onto a battlefield of the mind. Society has been reshaping itself or being reshaped at a frenetic pace for decades now. Nostalgia has proven itself to be a potent weapon in the arsenals of every faction on that battlefield.

The power of contrast should never be underestimated. Humans are living, breathing, pattern-recognition machines. We cannot help but compare proposed plans and present circumstances to historical outcomes. This is normal, this is healthy: It lets the human mind achieve some measure of confidence in predicting what happens next. The human mind loathes unpredictability more than anything else. The unknown noise in the dark is far more terrifying than the wild animal on the ridgeline that you can observe and predict.

The regime knows that contrast holds such power, because it allows for critique. Such was the power of Florida during COVID, for instance. Without a state that was free of lockdowns and mandates, foisting the same circumstances on an entire population across the board would have caused less negative sentiment of those measures. This was the real reason for the mass psychosis and peer pressure of that era. It’s much more difficult to make someone take a bite of a turd sandwich insistently offered to them when there are other options.

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“The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.”

― Amy Bloom, Away

“Hireath” is an old Welsh word that describes a feeling of homesickness for something that no longer exists or perhaps never did. Millennials stand astride the old world before 9/11 and the new one, with memories of a higher-trust society with much more prosperity and unity than what we have now. These feelings are amplified by the fact that due to their age, the entirety of the era before the shift was viewed through the rose-colored glasses of childhood. Essentially, millennials are too young to remember the 1992 L.A. riots or the Oklahoma City bombing with any sense of clarity or context, but old enough to remember when innocence was valued and optimism about the future was commonplace.

This contrast between a less anxious past and a present that consists of…

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