Monday, November 24, 2008

Northing More Than Feelings

By Mitchell

Dirty Harry makes a very good point about the challenges our society faces - both culturally and politically:

You just have to wonder how much different kids are today, what with all the stepped up liberal indoctrination going on in our public schools. In 1980 college kids had a much better idea of what the promise of America was. They understood American exceptionalism and knew what was out there for them if government got out of the way. Today, our public schools and pop culture breed narcissists and victims … because narcissists and victims vote Democrat.

As if to underscore the point, David Pryce-Jones, in an earlier post at NRO, talks about the state of our Oprah-ized society. Boy, has that woman done a lot of damage. (I know, you probably can't blame her for all of this, but she's certainly done her part):

The victory of President-Elect Obama has generated public weeping. Lots of people captured on television have had tears running down their cheeks, and sometimes their voices have broken as they try to respond to an interviewer. It is a very disturbing phenomenon. The rational choice of the individual voter is essential to the working of democracy.

Tearfulness signifies instead the emotionalization of politics. Rather than calculate, the weepers have surrendered to feelings. And feelings are catching. A huge literature is devoted to analysing how individuals turn into crowds, and how beliefs and values change in the process, so that the crowd comes to behave collectively in ways that each individual member of it might not. This is not to imply that the tears on this occasion are the prelude to some nasty kind of mob ideology – on the contrary, it is a very human reaction. The weepers had listened to Obama’s promises of change and hope, and their wish to believe in what he was saying overcame any doubts and reservations they might have had, and so the tears flowed as they will do whenever emotions get the better of reason.

The trouble is that reality reasserts itself pretty soon in this world, and emotion is not the tool to deal with it. The return of reason comes at a cost, however. Those who couldn’t help weeping at Obama’s election displayed expectations of a very high order, and if in future they are ever disappointed with him they will also be disappointed with themselves.

The point of linking these two pieces is this: liberalism, far more than conservatism (well, excluding perhaps the "compassionate" conservatism of the last eight years) is predicated not on reason and thought, but emotion and feelings. That old phrase "bleeding heart liberal" doesn't exist for nothing. The "education" you find in Dirty Harry's comment is inextricably bound with the "emotionalization" that Pryce-Jones mentions. Both of them are connected in some way to the feminization of men, which we've discussed in the past. And none of it is good for our society - politically, cultually, spiritually, or in any other way.

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