For all those people who are saying, “if I ever see Rich Hoffman out somewhere, I’ll give him a piece of my mind.” Well, I’m out and about a lot, and I talk to a lot of people. And when I do, nobody talks very tough to my face. So if you want the chance, I am at the Back Porch Saloon in West Chester a lot. And on one such occasion this past week, I was having lunch with a person going for their Ph.D., and he told me about the process and all the things he had to do to get into that elite club. And, in essence, that’s what it was, a club. The other Ph.D. panel members decide what the candidate must do, and if the applicant wants to be in the club, they’ll do it. The criteria differ from school to school and peer group to peer group. So really, getting a Ph.D. is similar to the rigors that are undergone to pass the BAR exam or any number of higher education gateways to an elite order. And socially, going to the college itself in our society is seen as one of those gateways, and the goal isn’t always what was taught but that the applicant endured the experience. All this came to my mind while I was listening to this guy list all the frustrating hurdles he had to jump over to achieve his goal. I thought about the situation at Lakota schools, where it was quite evident that people were having trouble confronting evil at face value. Most people privately had an opinion on it, but socially, they felt they had to stay in their lane and that they weren’t qualified to pass judgment on anybody, lest they be judged themselves. But why was this the case?
Well, most people go through something in their life where they must be initiated into some kind of group order. Usually, it starts in high school. And if it doesn’t happen there, it happens in college or the military. Hazing rituals for all group behavior are common experiences for people, even in religious groups, to some extent. All groups of people have barriers to entry, and to become part of it; people have to surrender a part of themselves to join the power of the group. A homeowner’s association is a form of this. They may require you to keep your garage doors closed when not using your garage to maintain street face value. You can’t have boats in your driveway. You must keep your grass cut—those kinds of things. Very few people are indeed free to think what they want, about what they want, and when they want. They must do what groups tell them to do through their memberships because we are all taught early in life that acceptance by our peers is of utmost importance, whether it’s obtaining a Ph.D. for our career path or being selected in a local Mason lodge to advance to the higher degrees. And the truth of the matter is, most people stop intellectually growing at age 15, likely much lower than that these days and they put as a priority not fighting for truth, justice, and the American way but in “staying in their lane,” as people who don’t like to be challenged like to say all the time. And there just aren’t enough adults who make it through all these gateways of group associations to stand up to evil when it presents itself. They might have personal feelings about evil when they go to vote; so long as nobody is looking, they’ll express it. But in front of other people, they have been taught to stay in their lane, and that makes them trustworthy to all the slugs who accept them into their group associations who want to trust that smarter and better people won’t come along to knock them off their perch, which is what the group associations are really about, no matter what level they are pursued. People think there is power in groups and are willing to trade away personal value to gain access to that power without having to really do anything themselves.
I remember my college days; I had friends in all the local schools who would invite me to house parties at the various fraternities and sororities at Ohio State, Miami University, and the University of Cincinnati. One I remember well occurred in Cincinnati, where I arrived to meet my friend, and I broke all kinds of rules that the fraternity brothers were distraught with me over. First of all, I walked across the emblem on the sidewalk outside without paying homage to all the ritualistic ways they required all people to do. So we got off to a rough start that didn’t improve as the night wore on. The party’s purpose was that the fraternity had hired a stripper to have sex with one of their newer members, a kid who was very shy with girls, so the fraternity brothers hoped that a really outrageous experience with this stripper would cure him of his shyness. So he had sex with the girl in front of everyone right there in the living room. Then once he was done, the rest of the fraternity members took turns with her, and this all went on in full view of a window where I could see police walking around down the sidewalk.
Additionally, the stripper was managed by her husband, who watched as if his wife was selling lemonade or Tupperware. It was awkward, I couldn’t wait to leave, and I did so at the earliest possible moment once it was clear I had satisfied all the reasons that my friend had invited me. It took a few years, but gradually, I stopped being friends with that person because we simply lost common attributes. Once he stepped over that line, there was no going back, and we had very little to talk about. That was the case with many people from that time, friends who turned into compliant people happy to stay in their lane in exchange for an easy job that they were well paid to essentially not challenge anybody in authority.
Understanding that, it’s not hard to understand why people turn into turtles when they are confronted with evil. And evil knows it. They know that group associations are more important to most people they deal with, so they conduct evil right in front of everyone’s faces audaciously because they expect everyone to stay in their lane and never challenge them. Because they have their own skeletons in their closet, and who are they to judge anybody? That is the danger of becoming compromised. It might be fun at the moment. It might be nice to have the herd’s protection and rely on that protection to get jobs in life and financial security without having to work too hard or display much bravery. There are plenty of people in the world who are happy to pay people to stay in their lane, and that is ultimately achieved by joining group associations, whether a Ph.D. or a fraternity, where the brotherhood becomes more important than your own family. And that is why when bad things happen, there aren’t enough people around to stand up to it and to fight evil when it presents itself. Because once people participate in evil to be accepted into a group association, they are tainted for life and never feel once again that they have a right to pass judgment on anything. And they cower in fear when evil is so audacious that they end up feeding it with their complacency instead of doing what must be done to defend the world from the mechanisms of tyranny and the schemes of the stupid.