Not about the schools obviously…but a related tangent nonetheless. I’ll get there, don’t worry.
I’ve been thinking about this subject for awhile now and had planned a post on “The Liberal Mentality” for the future. However, a transcript I was reading on Rush’s site the other day brought a new angle into the mix. Then yesterday I began reading a book, “The Vision of the Anointed” by Thomas Sowell, and as often is the case, someone far more brilliant than I has thoroughly covered a similar subject. I’m only about 10% into the book, so I do not have all of the details, but I highly recommend it and anything written by Sowell. He is incredibly brilliant, so much so that if I do not take notes while I read his books, I can never remember half the information he puts in them.
I also want to note before getting to the heart of the matter that I hesitate to use labels like “liberal” because there are plenty of people that think of themselves as liberal but do not fall into this mentality. They come damn close, but they reach their conclusions by actually thinking. Obviously, there are conservatives that have their own mentality, or “vision” as Sowell would say, however, that mentality is not front and center day after day in the media. Bottom line, I use the label “liberal” often, but it does not refer to all people on the left, just those that follow the following pattern.
For the Rush transcript, he was mentioning that the reason “global warming” is so powerful and persuasive is that people want to matter, they want to feel as though their actions have consequences and that by being “better people”, they can have an impact and “save” something (i.e., the planet). He also linked this to people wanting fame, and that expressing concern for the planet, fellow people, etc. (i.e., playing to emotion as I said previously) can bring a person that fame.
I think there is a lot of truth to that. The entire argument is emotional and psychological. There is ZERO concrete proof to support the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Sure there are computer models and movies, but no REAL evidence. These people cannot even predict next week’s weather, or the strength of a hurricane season, but somehow they know the world is going to boil and cities will drown. Riiiiight. I’ll stop now, as I do not want to get into a global warming rant.
I think it is the constant pounding of the mantra “We are just animals” that makes people seek for just this type of meaning. The average American probably finds much less “meaning” in their life for doing what our forefathers would have found the pinnacle of existence, such as hard work, providing for your family, being a cornerstone of your community through exceptional values and willingness to help others. That stuff is crap now. There are no values; hard work is only respected if you are one of the “working Americans”, which generally means you really don’t work that hard because if you did, you wouldn’t have all the problems associated with this so-called class of people. If you work hard to get out of your poor environment and go to business school and become a CEO and make millions of dollars, you’re not a working American. You are the lucky rich. Meaning for all these people can only be attained by pointing the finger at others and decrying how much they “care” with their brand new Prius, new social entitlement idea or affirmative action plan. Note: I have nothing against Prius owners or anyone that owns any electric car. Just don’t pretend you are somehow better than me and “doing your part” to “save” the planet.
The other aspect to this is that desire to be in control. This is of course not a shocker, given that the majority of people who are die-hard global warming believers are also liberals and therefore want redistribution of income and other socialist ideals. Why? To be in control. To have the power. It’s all about control, from food stamps to legislated no-smoking areas to the Kyoto protocol and global warming. It’s all about deciding how things should be done. They create this evil monster out there that can only be defeated by the answer they have, so put them in and they will fix it. All it takes is some government spending. Social injustice? No problem. Climate change? No problem.
Now we get to Sowell’s book, which by the way was written in 1995 and thus to my knowledge was well before all the global warming hype. His analysis of the “vision” (aka “mentality”) is incredibly prescient in that it describes to the letter exactly what is going on with global warming, as well as other mainstream “crises”, i.e. healthcare, S-CHIP, racism, poverty, drugs, sex/AIDS, illegal immigration. The list goes on. In the first chapter, he asks the question, what does the vision offer that reality does not? He answers that it offers a special state of grace and is viewed as not only factually correct but morally superior and that followers of the vision are exempt from the same rules of logic and reason that govern the rest of us. Hmm, sounds just like my argument about S-CHIP and their use of emotion. He goes on to say that the vision makes much use of “compassion” and that the idea that someone else with a different idea, (e.g., that expansion of S-CHIP is bad) could care just as much about the subject (i.e. children) is impossible for them to comprehend. To do so would take emotion out of the equation and mean that the only thing left for debate would be the policy itself. How often is policy actuallydebated? Rarely, if ever. There are few actual arguments and many “substitutes” for arguments/ (Al Gore: “The debate is over.” What debate Al? When did you ever debate anyone about GW?)
Sowell asserts that there are 4 key elements to the “vision”:
Assertions of an imminent danger to society, of which the masses are unaware.
Urgent need for action to avert an imminent catastrophe.
Government curtails the “dangerous” behavior of the many according to the prescient conclusions of the few.
Disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by unworthy purposes.
Well, does that hit the nail on the head for every major social program, healthcare, global warming and every other crisis cooked up by the ruling elite or what?!? He also mentions the use of “honored prophets” who are essentially infallible and beyond reproach. Do I need to even say his name?
The pattern brought about by these elements is: Crisis, Solution, Results and Response. For the Crisis, evidence is seldom given, or when it is, statistics are seized upon by the proponent while at the same time ignoring evidence to the contrary, sometimes when that evidence is even in the same document. The Solution, they say will lead to A, while critics say it will lead to Z. The Result is usually that it leads to Z, and the Response is where burden is placed on the critics to prove that it was the “solution” that led to the “result”. Often, even when Z is reached, proponents state something along the lines of “Imagine how bad it would have been if we had not acted?” He goes through a few examples, including the “war on poverty”, “sex education” and crime. As one would expect, teaching kids about sex did not reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy and STDs, it caused the two to skyrocket. The same occurred with crime and also with people depending on the government.
This is interesting in light of the recent push to offer birth control to students through the public schools that has been in the news. Common sense cries out that if you make pregnancy a much less likely option by giving out the pill like candy, that STDs, teenage/premarital sex is going to jump tremendously. But we are told no, no, you do not understand. We are just making it safer for the children. Ah yes, the children. What’s next? Oh wait…I also read this article about how global warming hurts children. Oh, it would be hilarious if it weren’t a freaking nightmare that people buy into this. And of course, according to Harry Reid, global warming is one of the reasons for the fires in California. What, did the arsonists brains get fried by global warming so they started the fires? Or was global warming what made the environmentalists stop every single effort to clean out the dead matter to make any fires much more controllable? Well if global warming did those things, I guess it is responsible. Bad, bad global warming.
Also see The Anchoress, who makes some very good points about the resistance to questioning of Global Warming by the media, which at the same time jumps all over the Bush administration for supposedly taking alarmist views on terrorism, etc. At least terrorism is real.
Another area that fits this pattern, the liberal mentality, the vision of the anointed, is illegal immigration. When Congress attempted to pass the Immigration Reform Act (cough: amnesty), there was a grassroots swelling like none have seen in years. They had to shut down the phone system at the capital because so many people were trying to reach their Senators to tell them not to vote. But what did the Democrats do? They called these people bigots, racists, and that they just didn’t understand. Yes, we the American people are just too stupid to follow along with Reid, Pelosi, Clinton, Obama and all their ilk. Or, if we are smart, we are just mean and heartless and don’t care. It’s incredibly interesting to me that Sowell’s summary of the “vision” can be applied point by point to today’s politics.
I will mention tid-bits from Sowell’s book from time to time as I make my way through. I highly recommend that everyone read a copy. The sad thing is that the people who really need to read this never will, or will read it and never understand it.
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