FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY: Coronavirus: San Clemente Fills Skatepark With 37 Tons Of Sand After Skaters Ignore ‘No Trespassing’ Signs.

A popular skatepark in San Clemente was filled with sand to discourage skaters from using it during the coronavirus pandemic and to promote social distancing.

San Clemente had shut down all its parks and facilities on April 1 under the state’s stay-at-home orders, but skaters ignored signs warning against trespassing at the Ralphs Skate Court, 241 Avenida La Pata.

Since park facilities have been closed city officials say they routinely saw people visit the skatepark, even by some children accompanied with their parents, according to the San Clemente Times.

Later in April of 2020, Mark Judge explored: Skateboarding with Jordan Peterson—and Nietzsche.

“Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding.”

That is Rule 11 in Jordan Peterson’s bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Peterson explores how skateboarding is a way for boys to test danger and learn to deal with risk and pain, and as such is a valuable source of socialization and psychic health. To Peterson, the buzzkills who clamp down on skateboard riders suffer from acute resentment; they are bitter at the freedom, bravery, and style of the riders: “Beneath the production of rules stopping the skateboarders from doing highly skilled, courageous and dangerous things, I see the operation of an insidious and profoundly anti-human spirit.”

To drive the point home, Peterson offers this humdinger of a quote from Nietzsche:

For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms. The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. “What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge”—thus they speak to each other. “We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not”—thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. “And ‘will to equality’ shall henceforth be the name for virtue; and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!” You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue. (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883)

I would adapt Peterson’s rule only slightly: “Do Not Bother Children or Adults When They Are Skateboarding.”

Along with jazz, movies, modern dance, and comic books, skateboarding is one of America’s great original art forms. A $5 billion industry with 16 million members in the United States, skateboarding fosters entrepreneurship, independence, physical grace and toughness, community, creativity, and freedom. The sport has been a friend to me for almost fifty years, reappearing at various times over the decades to thrill and re-enchant. When it was recently reported that a California skate park was filled with sand to prevent skating and promote social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, it felt to me like someone had spray-painted on the Lincoln Memorial.

No one knew in April of 2020 that defacing – and toppling — major cultural artifacts was right around the corner. In the meantime, there were endless quantities of what Roger Kimball dubbed “reverse gaslighting” yesterday to go around: “Ordinary gaslighting — the term was popularized by the 1944 movie Gaslight — describes a process of psychological manipulation whose goal is to make ordinary people question their sanity. Reverse gaslighting, by contrast, aims to convince us that insane realities are perfectly normal:”

Imagine: practically the entire population quarantines itself because a couple of government bureaucrats tell them to. Everyone starts wearing little paper masks as patents of their capitulation and, secondarily, as badges of their virtue. Out in the world, they obediently stand six feet away from one another because the same bureaucrats tell them such behavior will “slow the spread” of a seasonal respiratory virus that is dangerous to a minuscule part of the population. This insanity is deemed normal.

So is the insanity of censoring, firing or even imprisoning people who question this insane orthodoxy. In a repellent effort to capitalize on the moral authority of the Holocaust, such dissenters are repudiated as “Covid deniers.” They are ostracized by polite society and subject to all manner of sanctions. All this was insane behavior, but our addiction to reverse gaslighting requires that we regard it, or at least say we regard it, as normal.

Suddenly, certain people are empowered to decide whose businesses are “essential” and whose are expendable. If you own a liquor store, congratulations! Your business is essential. Schools, churches, most restaurants, your aunt’s corner shop: sorry! They must be shuttered. This insanity is accepted, if grudgingly, as normal in the age of reverse gaslighting. You cannot visit your dying grandmother in her nursing home: that interdiction is said to be normal, not cruelly insane.

Thus just two days apart four years ago this week, headlines announcing “Exercise May Protect Against Deadly COVID-19 Complication, Research Suggests,” and news of skateboard parks filled with sand to prevent young people from doing just that. As Kimball wrote in the passage above, “This was insane behavior, but our addiction to reverse gaslighting requires that we regard it, or at least say we regard it, as normal.”

(Fortunately, those who use the San Clemente skatepark were immediately able to see through the charade: A California city filled its skate park with sand to deter skateboarders. Then the dirt bikes showed up.)