Photo by Максим Власенко / Unsplash

Revenge of the Nerds

Articles Mar 21, 2023

It has been rather conspicuous that there has been little public commentary on something fairly obvious: that much of the social unrest in the past decade seems to have come from people who appear as generally unfit and unwell. They are in many ways social outcasts, awkward, and misfits. As I began penning this I recalled that the same person seems present in a sense on both extreme left and right wings. Whereas we have the blue-haired girl with a septum piercing screeching that “words are violence” while shouting down professors she dislikes at college lectures, there is the far-right man dressed like a denim-leather halloween costume from an 80’s movie. They are both green behind the gills. They don’t really understand how society operates in normalville.

When I lay my eyes on these folks and think about their general appearance, I remember the purpose of a mental status examination in my role as a clinical psychologist. The MSE is a visual descriptor a clinicians’ notes that is meant to give another doctor who may be reading them at some point a broad sense of the patient’s presenting appearance. This can tell a clinician a fair amount, such as whether the person dresses in a socially appropriate manner, their general level of physical health, speech difficulties, coherence of thought, eye contact, motor problems, etc. Taken as a whole, the basic question an MSE is meant to address is whether the person is normal or fits somewhere into something called abnormal.

Normal…many now baulk at the word. The movie Revenge of the Nerds and others like it are basically a revolt against normalcy. Yet is normality our enemy, or is the vengeful resentment of the abnormal leading to the tyranny of the day? When I think of the far-left movement to equate words with violence I think of second graders who have adjustment problems. If you disagree with one of these people you…cause them harm, and they might need to go to a safe space to recuperate away from a world that reflects back to them the things they cannot be. Does that not sound like the child from your grade-school days who for an array of reasons just couldn’t seem to get with the program?

Well we now have a country being directed by a growing number of social outcasts who are resentful of a world that presents to them categories into which they can never fit, or cannot fit into without adjusting themselves properly, which they refuse to do. So they demand that the rest of us “deconstruct” our view of normal, pretend that categories are simply constructions of language that the cool kids designed to their exclusions, and which can be changed if we just altered our words.

The country has been oddly handing over the reigns of social direction to these resentful people for a good while now, but most of us are tired of this game at this point. The whole world is tired of it in fact so much so that Europe is culling back some of their more bizarre social policies. It is the United States that remains on the razor edge between socially decent and normal engagement versus bizarre antics of the vengefully-prone and socially-indigent. Each of our wings seem to have a tough time with talking plainly to their base; whether the base needs to hear that yes, there are actual physical differences between men and women and a man cannot enter into a mixed martial arts fight and brutalize a female in broad daylight, or no…there is at this time no wide-spread evidence that we know of that the 2020 election was “rigged” or that “ballot harvesting” affected the outcome. Each of these camps needs to hear this sort of reaction in simple terms and without caveats. They need to lay down the bullhorns and think about reason and evidence for a minute rather than pounding their chests like kids who never got a chance to shine at kickball and now have a redeeming spotlight.

Try not to fall down the rabbit hole with these people where you believe that you are being cruel, unkind, or ungracious if you do not agree with and remain “supportive” of the various positions of the unfit folks described in this essay. Helping our society now requires that we stop being directed and preached at by resentful people who seek to destroy evidence as the basis for a credible argument by way of deviating from normal conduct.

Emphasizing normalcy and decency does not mean that everyone must dress or think the same. It means that customs of engagement remain in tact. It is normal and decent to talk calmly with others even if you disagree. It is normal and decent to hold yourself to a standard of health and fitness before you rebuke others and direct them on the conduct in their lives. It is normal and decent to revere the wisdom of those who are older and more accomplished than yourself. It is normal and decent to observe evidence in order to establish the credibility of your own positions, rather than relying on a “felt sense” of correctness. All experience is lived, and so there is no need for the term “lived experience” except to emphasize one’s arrogant position that evidence is irrelevant. It is normal and decent to resolve your own resentment toward the fact that you have limitations and that the world reflects back to you the boundaries of what is possible given your characteristics. Rather than seeking to destroy the recognition of delimiting categorizes like an angry child who realizes that he cannot do some things as well as certain classmates, seek out those things in life that highlight your strengths and expand those categories of competence. Being truthful and tactful with others will help them do these things also.

The Real Clear Podcast with Dr Lucas Klein is the in-depth analysis and commentary on current political events through a psychological lens. The Real Clear podcast covers a wide range of topics, from the latest election results to policy debates, to exploring the impact of current events on the political landscape.