Year: 2013

Celebrating Humanity Instead of God

Unlike most progressives, traditional Americans believed that only God was to be worshiped: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. They saw human beings as flawed and vulnerable to evil. Newthinkers, on the other hand, tend to believe that we should celebrate humanity instead of God.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• We should celebrate human beings, not God.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• Humanity is the ultimate authority.
• We human beings need to fully realize that we are already perfect.
• Killing a human for any reason is akin to killing God.

 

Americanism, though fed by emotion as are all things human, grew out of and was shaped by a written religious tradition. Newthink, however, grew wild out of an emotional groundwork. Newthinkers believe they are transcendentally noble, and that their feelings are inherently good. But emotions, like water, can be life-giving or destructive, depending on how they are channeled.

…rationality alone cannot determine right and wrong. The intellect must have a substructure: one must defer to the written authority of God as traditional Americans did, or to feelings as progressives do.

As the newthink worldview tree developed, in its branches the philosophy of humanism grew. Humanism is really an aspect of newthink. God was replaced by humanity, and the civilizing process in God’s name was replaced by endless battle. In its definition of humanism, the dictionary says that “Humanist beliefs . . . seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.”* But rationality alone cannot determine right and wrong. The intellect must have a substructure: one must defer to the written authority of God as traditional Americans did, or to feelings as progressives do. Without a good foundation for rationality, anything – rewarding sloth, killing babies or even exterminating entire ethnic groups – can be made logical.

Devout newthinkers believe human beings are already inherently perfect, but that perfection is hidden or corrupted by society. From that perspective, celebrating human beings instead of God makes sense. When humanity is equivalent to God, killing any human is anathema, equivalent to killing God. That is part of the unconscious dynamic behind death penalty opponents in America. Their reverence for all human life blinds them to any distinction between the state execution of a murderer after a jury trial and any other killing of a human being. They may quote the biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” But, as I learned from Dennis Prager, properly translated into English from the Hebrew word ratsach, that commandment really reads “Thou shalt not murder.” That is an important difference. The original Hebrew did not use the word harag (to kill), nor muth (put to death); nor shachat (to slaughter).** Murder is a subset of killing: it is that subset –“the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”*** – which God prohibits. To traditional Americans – unlike newthinkers – the execution of a tried murderer and his own criminal act were not morally equivalent.

* The New Oxford American Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 2001).

** Timothy E. White, Free to Love: Looking at the Law Through Jesus’ Eyes, (Tate Publishing, 2008), p. 57.

*** The New Oxford American Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Without God, All Ideas Are Equally Good: From God to Solipsism

Progressives tend to believe that, since all cultures are equally virtuous and all ideas are dependent on culture, all ideas are equally virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• All ideas are equally virtuous, since all cultures are equally virtuous, and all ideas are dependent on culture.

WorldviewTree_p057

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• Judgement is unvirtuous. To judge is to discriminate against some ideas. Like all other discrimination, discrimination in ideas is unvirtuous.
• All opinions are equally valuable.
• Absolute knowledge doesn’t exist. Everything is relative. Knowledge is nothing but a social construct.

 

Intellectual judgement is unvirtuous to newthinkers because it requires the elevation of some ideas over others. Traditional Americans praised fine judgement in a person. But if a progressive describes you as judgmental, it’s not a compliment.

When judgment is unvirtuous, all opinions become equally valuable. This is another reason for the progressive worldview’s incognizant anti-intellectual streak.

A common saying nowadays is, “everybody has an opinion”– as if that means that all opinions are equally worthwhile. Progressive culture tends to refrain from making judgements about anything (except, of course, about non-progressives) because of their sense that judgement is unvirtuous. When judgment is unvirtuous, all opinions become equally valuable. This is another reason for the progressive worldview’s incognizant anti-intellectual streak.

Primitive thinking, a term from developmental psychology, describes a tendency in children of a certain age to see things only in extremes. To a child engaged in primitive thinking, it’s not “you won’t listen to me now,” it’s “you never listen to me!” Similarly, adults can also chronically overreact mentally in a cognitive pattern called polarized thinking. Imagine a continuum of certainty which ranges from absolute on the left to random on the right; hard sciences are on the left end of the continuum, close to absolute. When it became clear that the “laws” of social science often could not be scientifically proven in the same way that those of chemistry or physics were, and that they were subject to biases, social scientists overreacted. Instead of accepting social sciences as somewhere in the middle of this continuum, they perceived them as being at the right end of the continuum, in near-randomness. Acting like polarized thinkers, they perceived chaos everywhere rather than seeing degrees of randomness, or relative relativity.

relative relativity n : the concept that randomness exists in all science, but can range in degree from near 0% to near 100%

This polarized thinking has led to the academic trends of deconstruction and postmodernism. Postmodernism began as a form of literary criticism, but has become a tool used to explain everything, science included. It views science as a cultural construct with no more objective validity than any other type of knowledge.

Deconstruction is the academic process of “removing biases” – in other words, sucking all the wisdom out of knowledge.

Deconstruction is the academic process of “removing biases” – in other words, sucking all the wisdom out of knowledge. Postmodernists become intellectual termites who use the theory of deconstruction to disassemble and thereby devalue any intellectual work by revealing perceived biases or inconsistencies. What is the ultimate purpose of postmodernism? It exists to deconstruct (destroy) the traditional body of knowledge and wisdom so it can be replaced by newthink. When deconstruction is taken to the extreme, absolute knowledge disappears. Only our experience remains, which leads ultimately to solipsism. Solipsism is defined as “a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing.”*

“The self is the only existent thing.” Then where is God? He is missing within newthink, though some progressives have yet to realize it.

* Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, (G. & C. Merriam, 1977).

The Destructive Self-Delusion of Progressive Cultural Diversity

Progressives tend to believe that it is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief is as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• We need to accept and support every subculture’s language, not require them to speak English.
• We need to weigh each culture’s beliefs and traditions on an equal footing with our traditional American culture.
• We must undermine traditional American culture because it erases important cultural differences.

 
America had always been a melting pot. Traditional Americans maintained their ethnic traditions at home, but joined a common culture in public. As time went by, for the most part, they assimilated. But to newthinkers, that melting pot is progressively unvirtuous. They envision a more virtuous “mixing bowl” of cultural diversity in which people maintain their original cultures and live together harmoniously.

As Michael Medved explains, Michael Novak’s 1972 book, Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics, encouraged this vision with its investigation of blue collar ethnic Americans who seemed to be retaining their old-world cultural identities.* Today, however, these same ethnic groups – Polish, Greek or Italian – have largely united with the broad American culture. They retain some of their old cultures’ traditions and attitudes, but they are distinctively American today – not European. Most importantly, they intermarry with other ethnicities, and their children become cultural Americans rather than part of a subculture. Except for African-Americans, marrying someone outside your ethnicity is the norm; within two or three generations, all immigrant groups have joined the broad American culture.**

Traditional Americans strived to give equal opportunity to individuals; progressives endeavor to create equal results for groups.

Despite the persistence of American assimilation, their belief in the virtue of cultural diversity attracts progressives to multiculturalism. The dictionary definition of multiculturalism is “the policy or practice of giving equal attention or representation to the cultural needs and contributions of all the groups in a society…”*** Traditional Americans strived to give equal opportunity to individuals; progressives endeavor to create equal results for groups. Newthinking bureaucrats and businessmen routinely promote all cultures on an equal footing with traditional American culture. Ethnic studies replace traditional American civics courses and the English language becomes just one multilingual ballot or telephone menu choice among many.

To newthinkers, all cultures are inherently equal. But then how does one explain why some cultures are obviously more successful than others? Newthinkers deal with the conspicuous reality of cultural inequality by ignoring it, denying it based on biased perception, or blaming it on oppression and exploitation. As we will see, newthink’s existence depends on the maintenance of permanent subcultures that believe they are oppressed.

Progressives believe in cultural diversity, but only if each culture unifies with the progressive worldview, is properly categorized, and accepts newthink beliefs.

Progressive cultural diversity is a self-delusion. Progressives believe in cultural diversity, but only if each culture unifies with the progressive worldview, is properly categorized, and accepts newthink beliefs. Cubans must not be freedom-loving small capitalists: they must see themselves as poor and racially oppressed. African-Americans must not be adults just as capable of self-achievement as European-Americans: they must see themselves as marginalized, culturally separate and racially oppressed. New immigrants must not be eager employees: they must see themselves as exploited workers. Christian Americans must not be worshipers of God: they must believe in the nobility of humanity. Newthinkers – who purport an unwillingness to push cultural integration – vigorously try to integrate everyone into their worldview.

When initiates into the progressive worldview from these subcultures reach for the American dream, they are hobbled by their newthink beliefs. All the things that actually correlate with success – education, marriage, stable family life, a traditional code, business savvy – newthink defines as traits of the oppressive mainstream culture. Newthink‘s version of cultural diversity is destructive to those who internalize it and see themselves as oppressed.

* Michael Medved, “No, America’s never been a multicultural society”, Townhall.com, http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2007/10/10/no,_americas_never_been_a_multicultural_society, October 10, 2007.

** Ibid.

*** Webster’s New World College Dictionary, (Wiley Publishing, 2010).

The Fear of Ethnocentrism and the Death of Standards

To traditional Americans, judging the quality of a culture was a commonsense and everyday practice that acknowledged a common standard for all people… this common cultural standard was the opposite of bigotry.

To traditional Americans, judging the quality of a culture was a commonsense and everyday practice that acknowledged a common standard for all people. Though Americans have been persuaded by progressives to be ashamed of it, this common cultural standard was the opposite of bigotry. That some cultures and subcultures came closer to that standard than others was obvious to them.

In contrast, a devout progressive is unwilling to make judgements about cultures (except of course regarding the superiority of progressive society over traditional American society). Newthinkers unconsciously believe that it is arrogant to judge other cultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is arrogant to judge other cultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

 

As newthink takes over, people become increasingly unwilling to judge even the products of various foreign cultures or American subcultures. The idea of a hierarchy of cultural quality is anathema to devout newthinkers. Heavy metal music is as good as classical music which is as good as rap. Tattoos and piercings are as good as evening dress which is as good as sweats. Cultural standards are out the window because all cultures, hence all cultural products, are equal. Newthinkers believe that America is not exceptional; that it has in fact been an oppressive and exploitative force; that its cultural output is not in any way superior to that of any other cultures; and that its traditional culture should not perpetuate.

Bust of Herodotus. 2nd century AD. Roman copy ...
Bust of Herodotus. 2nd century AD. Roman copy after a Greek original. On display along the portico of the Stoa of Attalus, which houses the Ancient Agora Museum in Athens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After all, ethnocentrism is a habitual trait of humanity. Anthropologists point out that ethnocentrism causes every culture to believe that it is the pinnacle of humanity, sometimes to the point where others are viewed as less than human. Herodotus, the Greek historian, described the ethnocentrism of the ancient Persians like this:

Of nations, they honor most their nearest neighbors, whom they esteem next to themselves; those who live beyond these they honor in the second degree; and so with the remainder, the further they are removed, the less esteem in which they hold them. The reason is that they look upon themselves as very greatly superior in all respects to the rest of mankind, regarding others as approaching to excellence in proportion as they dwell nearer to them; whence it comes to pass that those who are the furthest off must be the most degraded of mankind.*

But ethnocentrism doesn’t require distance. As Yi-fu Tuan discusses in his book Topophilia, in northwestern New Mexico there are five distinct cultures whose ethnocentrism helps maintain their cultural integrity and distinctiveness in the face of modern media and continual intermingling. Each of these groups describe themselves as “people.” the Spanish-Mexicans call themselves la gente; the Zuni, “the cooked ones”; the Navaho, dineh; Mormons, the “chosen people”; the non-Mormon European-Americans refer to themselves as “real Americans” or the “white man.”** Similarly, in a nearby area, the Cherokees referred to themselves as ani-Yunwiya, meaning “real people.”***

Progressives, aware of ethnocentrism, assume that they suffer from the same degree of cultural chauvinism. Thus they are reluctant to criticize or oppose foreign cultures. They instead prefer to believe that all cultures are equally virtuous and that, besides, outsiders can’t truly understand the essence of other cultures. To avoid the taint of being perceived as cultural chauvinists, newthinkers make the leap from believing in the nobility of all human beings to believing in the nobility of all human cultures. The see-no-evil syndrome takes over: they focus on the good in other cultures and become blind to the bad. If one is looking for the good, one is always going to find it; if one is blind to the bad, one is never going to see it.

In reality, it’s arrogant not to judge other cultures because it displaces a universal standard of ethics on the grounds that we as inherently noble human beings can do better.

And so our current cultural self-consciousness has developed into diffidence and embarrassment at the idea of anything special about American culture. But all this is sophistry. In reality, it’s arrogant not to judge other cultures because it displaces a universal standard of ethics on the grounds that we as inherently noble human beings can do better. It is much more arrogant – and easier – to think that all cultures are equally virtuous, and let non-judgement reign.

*  William Steams Davis, Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, Volume 2: Greece and the East, (Allyn and Bacon, 1912), pp. 60-61.

** Yi-fu Tuan, Topophilia, (Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 31.

*** James Mooney, Historical Sketch of the Cherokee, (Aldine Transaction, 2005), p. 3.

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Cultural Equality and the One World Ideal

The progressive worldview assumes an equality of virtue among all cultures. But while all humans are created equal, not so all human cultures.

Traditional Americans, while championing the given of equal human worth, were free to judge the good, the bad and the ugly in each subculture. The good remained in the American pot, while the bad and the ugly were melted away.

Progressives tend to believe that since all cultures are equally virtuous, it is better to seek cultural diversity than to join a common culture.

The mirage of cultural equality has balkanized America’s cultural standards. Progressives tend to believe that since all cultures are equally virtuous, it is better to seek cultural diversity than to join a common culture. So, for instance, America’s tradition of one dominant language – English – is under attack. Because, under newthink, all subcultures are equally virtuous, they all have an equal right to use their own language. Government has even assumed an obligation to provide non-English speakers with materials in their own tongue rather than burden them with the responsibility of learning English.

Traditional America is losing its ability to reproduce itself because of the dryrot of doubt implanted by newthink’s beliefs.

When a culture loses its confidence, its sense that its institutions and ideals are superior and worth saving, its existence is threatened. Traditional America is losing its ability to reproduce itself because of the dryrot of doubt implanted by newthink’s beliefs. If all cultures are equal, why pass on traditional American culture? Why not instead embrace multiculturalism, especially if to do otherwise is bigoted?

English: John Lennon rehearses Give Peace A Ch...
English: John Lennon rehearses Give Peace A Chance by Roy Kerwood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a seeming paradox which I will discuss later, newthink’s belief in equal cultural virtue has led to the “one world” ideal, in which a global ethic supersedes the nationalistic ethic and nations become less necessary. The boomer generation was exhorted through song to imagine a world with no countries. This exercise in imagination contributed to a bias among progressives toward a policy of lax or non-enforcement of national borders. But as a cell cannot exist without a cell wall, a nation cannot exist without a border. Newthink, given time and the opportunity, will dissolve national borders and unite governments and cultures. Whether that will be a good thing is up to you to judge. (Unless you’re progressive – cultural judgement is progressively unvirtuous.)

The Melting Pot Goes Cold

Progressives tend to believe that all cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• All cultures are equally virtuous because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• It is arrogant to judge other cultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is arrogant to judge the products of other cultures and subcultures because they are composed of equally, inherently noble human beings.
• It is better to have cultural diversity than to group together around a common culture because all cultures are equally virtuous.
• We should join together into one world filled with diverse and equally virtuous cultures.
• All ideas are equally virtuous, since all cultures are equally virtuous, and all ideas are dependent on culture.

 

Cover of Theater Programme for Israel Zangwill...
Cover of Theater Programme for Israel Zangwill’s play “The Melting Pot” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional Americans believed in America the “melting pot.” As Michael Medved explains in an article titled No, America’s Never Been a MultiCultural Society, the term was popularized in a 1908 melodramatic hit adaptation of Romeo and Juliet – The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill – about two lovers in New York city who come together despite their very different origins.* The impassioned Romeo stand-in, David, tells his lover,

Understand that America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming! Here you stand. . . in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians – into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.**

Later, gazing out at the Statue of Liberty, David elaborates:

It is the Fires of God round His Crucible! There she lies, the great Melting-Pot – listen! Can’t you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth – the harbor where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a seething!. . . how the great Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God!***

Since all subcultures are equally virtuous to newthinkers, they see no reason to group around shared cultural ideals.

As traditional American culture is usurped, America’s cultural melting pot is beginning to go cold. Since all subcultures are equally virtuous to newthinkers, they see no reason to group around shared cultural ideals. Instead of a common cultural standard, newthink assumes a cultural equality among all aspects of its various subcultures.

That “all men are created equal” (“men” in the sense of mankind meant women too) was a pillar of the traditional American worldview. People inherently have equal worth. But, contrary to newthink’s tenets, all cultures are not created equal, and, though one is nearly certain to be accused of arrogance and racism by progressives for saying so, it’s not an arrogant or racist assertion – human equality, yes; cultural equality, no.

* Michael Medved, “No, America’s never been a multicultural society”, Townhall.com, http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2007/10/10/no,_americas_never_been_a_multicultural_society, October 10, 2007.

** Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot, (The MacMillan Company, 1909), p. 37.

***Ibid., pp. 198-199.

A Progressive Belief: Children Are More Noble than Adults Because Society Hasn’t Corrupted or Damaged Them as Much Yet

The unconscious logic supporting this belief is as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• We need to strip away society and return to a natural state to uncover our inherent and transcendent nobility.
• Children are more noble than adults because society hasn’t corrupted or damaged them as much yet.

To newthinkers, children are little noble savages who haven’t yet been tarnished by society.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• Adults should have no special authority.
• Adults are arrogant to think they are wiser than children.

 

This progressive belief in the nobility of childhood led to a higher regard for the positive attributes of childhood: innocence, unrestrained emotion, bluntness in speech, immodesty, playfulness and creativity. The celebration of these traits led in turn to their increase in progressive adult society.

This progressive belief in the nobility of childhood led to a higher regard for the positive attributes of childhood: innocence, unrestrained emotion, bluntness in speech, immodesty, playfulness and creativity. The celebration of these traits led in turn to their increase in progressive adult society. Who can deny these childish trends in modern America? The striving for adult innocence helped produce the Beat character archetype typified by the hippies and the new agers. Unrestrained emotion is ubiquitous: it’s the hallmark of punk rockers, leftist activists and almost everyone on television. Compare the refined speech of a century ago with today’s discourse and you’ll see a serious encroachment of potty mouth in the public square. Today’s PG-13 rating would have been X-rated in our grandparents’ time – had they any need for such ratings. The increased playfulness and creativity of modern society are positive, but are often sabotaged by narcissism.

Meanwhile, a lower regard for the traditionally positive adult traits of politeness, modesty, patience and dependability – the difficult and boring aspects of maturity that children must learn to become adults – has led to their decline in progressive America. What used to be called common courtesy is becoming quaint and scarce. Modern Americans not only seek but get instant gratification; they use credit cards to buy things with money that is yet to be earned. Today’s hooray-for-me celebrations in the end zone would have embarrassed football players a couple of generations ago. Yet the quiet heroism of parents showing up for work day after day after day is forgotten.

From a traditional perspective, the positive attributes of childhood are wonderful in children. A modicum of them may be pleasant in adults; a blunt and forthright manner tempered by a good heart can be endearing. But grownups with the traits of children? – not a good thing.

Not coincidentally, negative attributes of childhood like narcissism and reflexive rebelliousness characterize progressive culture.

Not coincidentally, negative attributes of childhood like narcissism and reflexive rebelliousness characterize progressive culture. Narcissism flowers under newthink. The progressive motto seems to be, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but why it hasn’t done more.” Progressives are always rebelling against something; it’s in their cognitive DNA. As we will see, rebellion is a fundamental feature of newthink: its society metaphor defines society as a battlefield and social interaction as war. But newthinkers are also prone to rebellion because of their affinity to childishness. They are rebels perpetually in search of a cause.

America has not yet widely assimilated some of newthink’s unconscious beliefs. However, they logically exist as branches of the newthink worldview tree and therefore can be treated as predictions of the future direction of progressivism. For instance, the sub-beliefs, “Adults should have no special authority” and “Adults are arrogant to think they are wiser than children,” are just little buds on a branch. But buds have a tendency to grow. For example, some hippies tended to abdicate parental authority while raising their children. It’s a trend that may increase in progressive society.

The rise of modern America’s youth culture correlates with the rise of this unconscious belief in childhood nobility. Newthinking youth tends to reject the authority of adults. As yippie Jerry Rubin said in the 1960s, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.”

A Progressive Belief: Wisdom is Felt, Not Learned

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• We need to strip away society and return to a natural state to uncover our inherent and transcendent nobility.
• The more natural, the more virtuous.
• Emoting is natural and therefore virtuous; thinking is unnatural and therefore unvirtuous.
• Wisdom is felt, not learned.

WorldviewTree_p047

 

To newthinkers, emoting is natural and therefore virtuous; thinking is unnatural and therefore unvirtuous. Wisdom is felt, not learned.

…if seniors aren’t wiser than younger people, then why give them any deference? Under newthink, they’re really just wrinkly, cranky and unfashionable versions of everyone else.

Radical ramifications are created by this disrespect of traditional wisdom. They include the devaluation of older Americans: if seniors aren’t wiser than younger people, then why give them any deference? Under newthink, they’re really just wrinkly, cranky and unfashionable versions of everyone else. If the advantages of age aren’t appreciated, then the sizzle has to go to the young.

Newthink trash-cans tradition – another effect of this disrespect. If wisdom is felt, not learned, then tradition doesn’t really matter. The spoiled generation which grew up in the sixties looked at the blessings of American society and found them wanting. Western civilization and all its accomplishments were taken for granted. They could do it better.

Newthink’s disrespect of traditional wisdom is self-justifying. If traditional wisdom is worthless, then a new worldview is necessary. That opens the door for newthink.

A More Progressively Virtuous, Less Intelligent America

Photo taken July 26, 2002 of American Boy Scou...
Photo taken July 26, 2002 of American Boy Scouts sitting around a campfire ring at a week long summer camp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All educational systems indoctrinate their students into their worldview and attempt to shape them into virtuous members of their culture. The Boy Scout’s oath (“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country…”) distilled traditional America’s cultural guidance to their youth. Bound by honor to a duty to God and country, children were taught to obey the law, help others, and stay strong, alert and morally straight. Americanism largely succeeded in its effort to inculcate those values.Likewise, the progressive educational system functions very competently in its unconscious core function: the production of young newthinkers with a keen sense of progressive virtue, combined with limited knowledge and intellectual skill. It’s no accident that graduates have become increasingly ignorant as newthinkers have expropriated the American educational system. If progressive culture truly honored intellect, its students would emerge highly knowledgeable and intellectually proficient. Instead, our progressive educational system has led to declining intellectual performance. According to one large study only 31 percent of college graduates can read and extrapolate from a complex book.* As Mona Charen points out in her book Do-Gooders, the more time a child spends in America’s educational system, the worse he fares compared to students from around the world. Nine-year-old American kids score a little above the worldwide average, but the downward arc has begun: by 13 they’re below average, and by their later teenage years, they outrank students in only a few countries like Cyprus and South Africa.**

If progressive culture truly honored intellect, its students would emerge highly knowledgeable and intellectually proficient. Instead, our progressive educational system has led to declining intellectual performance.

This dumbing-down of America’s population is not a fluke, and it’s not only caused by an incompetent educational system. There are several unconscious newthink beliefs that contribute heavily to it. But the ones we’re focusing on now, the unconscious beliefs that “emoting is natural and therefore virtuous” and “thinking is unnatural and therefore unvirtuous,” have led to an increased social emphasis on feeling rather than thinking. Under newthink, a virtuous progressive should have feelings about things; having thoughts about them is secondary. Abstract thought – a salient and specifically human trait – has become the disreputable servant of feeling.

Because of the anti-intellectual nature of newthink, progressive America has less regard for rationality than traditional America. As its assorted character archetypes – from Modern Thugs to Beats – have grown in prevalence, their anti-intellectual timbre has influenced America, coarsening and stupefying it. Ours is a degenerate culture: the average American of 100 years ago could intellectually embarrass the average Jay-walking American of today. Nineteenth-century farmers went to school half as long as we do and the ones who did were more intellectually accomplished. Check out an 1800s textbook if you doubt it. Our great-grandfathers in their youth could have whupped us physically and intellectually.

* Paul E. Peterson, “Ticket to Nowhere,” Education Next, Spring 2003, Vol. 3, No. 2.

** Mona Charen, Do-Gooders, (New York: Sentinel, 2004), p. 198.

To Progressives, Emoting Tends to Be Perceived as Natural and Therefore Virtuous; Thinking Tends to Be Perceived as Unnatural and Therefore Unvirtuous.

Let’s examine the next unconscious belief in this branch of the newthink worldview tree: Emoting is natural and therefore virtuous; thinking is unnatural and therefore unvirtuous.

The logic supporting this belief is as follows, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• We need to strip away society and return to a natural state to uncover our inherent and transcendent nobility.
• The more natural, the more virtuous.
• Emoting is natural and therefore virtuous; thinking is unnatural and therefore unvirtuous.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• It’s better to follow your feelings than to analyze things.
• Wisdom is felt, not learned.

 

The devout progressive intellect doesn’t seek truth; it rationalizes emotions.

The devout progressive intellect doesn’t seek truth; it rationalizes emotions. It’s analogous to neurotic rationalization: in the neurotic, the neurotic behavior or feeling exists and the mind is tasked to explain it, without regard to truth. For instance, a neurotic with a social anxiety disorder may develop negative opinions of people, which conveniently give him a reason to avoid uncomfortable social situations. In the same way, newthink’s beliefs exist due to unconscious processes and it is the job of progressive intellectualism to try to make them logical. The highly progressive Soviet Union produced libraries of Marxist literature full of elaborate and obscure theory with little connection to reality: the literature on Marx’s theory of monetary value is one example. This dynamic is at work today in the social sciences, the arts, and the popular culture. It’s not as prevalent in the physical sciences, which are fundamentally unfriendly to counterfeit theories, but the manipulation of physical data to support progressive theories is not unknown. In the climategate scandal, scientists from the University of East Anglia and elsewhere, among other things, cherry-picked data to create a graph showing a formidable but bogus warming trend in the late 20th century. Newthink perverts the traditional goal of science: to find the truth without regard to the emotional reactions to that truth. Newthink intellectualism tends to be rationalization, not explanation.

Contrary to their self-image of intellectual daring and fairness, progressives tend to be close-minded to anything that conflicts with their worldview. Their intellectual positions tend to be emotionally-based rationalizations which must be defended at all costs – not empirically-based ideas to be impartially changed when new evidence or arguments are presented.

Although all worldviews operate on both conscious and unconscious levels, newthink originated in emotions; Americanism originated in texts – the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. Traditional thought is more intellect-based; newthink is more unconscious, its consequences less thought through. This emotional reasoning, by the way, is why it can be so hard to reason with a progressive. Contrary to their self-image of intellectual daring and fairness, progressives tend to be close-minded to anything that conflicts with their worldview. Their intellectual positions tend to be emotionally-based rationalizations which must be defended at all costs – not empirically-based ideas to be impartially changed when new evidence or arguments are presented. Newthinkers tend to be emotional reasoners, not truth-seekers. It’s difficult to argue someone out of a feeling. To change a progressive’s mind, one must make them aware of their emotional attachments to the unconscious beliefs behind their intellectual position – not an easy task.