These forces are motivated by self-interest, but their common feature is an operational nihilism. They are trying to sow disorder at the foundation of society. The goal is not really to convert anybody to a cause; it is to create cynicism and disruption that will open up the space to grab what you want to grab. They rig the system and then tell everybody, “The system is rigged!” And therefore, all values are suspended. Everything is permitted.
As I was reading the report I thought of a podcast called “Against the Rules” by Michael Lewis. A recent episode jumps off from the way athletes are getting more vicious toward referees. But that’s not just true in sport; it’s true in society. In all societies there are rules defining good conduct, and there are supposed to be impartial, honest referees that enforce those rules and make sure the game is fair.
And today, across society, two things are happening: Referees are being undermined, and many are abandoning their own impartiality. (Think of the Wall Street regulators, the Supreme Court, the Senate committee chairmen, even many of us in the blessed media.) Things begin to topple.