Secular Saints: The Public Display of Progressive Virtue Under Newthink

In progressive society, social advantages adhere to those who seem to possess worldlove. They gain popularity; they are shielded by the fierce protectiveness of other newthinkers; they are granted a default attitude of forgiveness for any transgressions; they walk in the glow of secular sainthood. These secular saints’ great progressive piety is derived not from actions but from the public display of their politically-correct, progressively-virtuous thoughts, and their worldlove.

English: Al Gore's Hearing on Global Warming
English: Al Gore’s Hearing on Global Warming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Politicians, to whom popularity is always important, strive for it under newthink through the appearance of progressive virtue. Aging celebrities, anxious to hang on to their adoring public, often publicly exhibit worldlove late in their careers. Large corporations spend millions in advertising dollars seeking to wrap themselves in the glowing mantle of PV. The environmental movement is in large part a corporate public relations effort to achieve progressive virtue. This isn’t always just conscious cynicism; people continuously and unconsciously seek the appearance of virtue as it exists within their worldview, whether it be goodness under Americanism or progressive virtue under newthink.

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Progressive Empathy

As Dennis Prager often says, empathy trumps standards in progressive society. Devout progressives are motivated by their worldlove. (Worldlove is a bundle of emotions which are typically dominant in progressives, including sensitivity, empathy, righteousness and love.) Thus, for example, it is considered progressively virtuous – sensitive and loving – to accommodate foreign speakers with their native language in the public square rather than insist that all Americans speak a common tongue. That those foreigners are then disadvantaged throughout their lifetimes by their lack of fluency in standard English is irrelevant to the empathic newthinkers.

Another example: it is more progressively virtuous to pass failing students to the next grade than to insist that they be able to meet the academic standards necessary for promotion. That those students are then unable to cope with the even more stringent standards of higher classes and are primed to fail throughout their lives is, again, not relevant to the sensitive and loving newthinkers.

…worldlove initially seems all warm and fuzzy to those in its embrace. But the lucky recipients of that hug would be better off snuggling with a boa constrictor. When standards are replaced by worldlove, the results are almost universally disastrous.

Progressives filled with worldlove are able to bask in their own progressive virtue. And worldlove initially seems all warm and fuzzy to those in its embrace. But the lucky recipients of that hug would be better off snuggling with a boa constrictor. When standards are replaced by worldlove, the results are almost universally disastrous.

 

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Worldlove

Progressives tend to believe that sensitivity, empathy, righteousness and love are extremely important and should be the core of a progressive society.

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.
• Our motives are inherently noble.
• We are progressively virtuous.
Progressive virtue is supremely important.
• Sensitivity, empathy, righteousness and love are extremely important and should be the core of a progressive society.

 

Here’s a new definition:

worldlove n : a bundle of emotions which are typically dominant in progressives, including sensitivity, empathy, righteousness and love

Peace, Love & Happiness
Peace, Love & Happiness (Photo credit: las – initially)

It’s not coincidental that this sensitive and loving righteousness that I call worldlove is emblematic of the feelings of a good mother. The prototypical emotional package of mothers has been sublimated and emerges as the emotional core of progressives, while the object of this sensitive and righteous love is no longer a child, but society as a whole. This is another example of an evolutionary micro-feminine drive – in this case, motherly love – transported into the macro world.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• One must never hurt the feelings of the progressively virtuous.

 

Worldlove is nurtured by newthinkers like a precious and fragile seedling. In truth, it is the seedling of the newthink worldview tree in each individual progressive. Progressives are hypersensitive about the effect of words and actions on other progressives with worldlove.

political correctness, instead of being understood as a new moral code, is commonly thought of as merely a hypersensitivity to the negative effects of words…

This trait is so conspicuous that political correctness, instead of being understood as a new moral code, is commonly thought of as merely a hypersensitivity to the negative effects of words – so much so that the dictionary definition of political correctness is “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”*

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

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A Progressive Belief: Progressive Virtue Is Supremely Important

Progressives unconsciously and/or consciously believe that progressive virtue is supremely important.

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.
• Our motives are inherently noble.
• We are progressively virtuous.
Progressive virtue is supremely important.
WorldviewTree_p076
The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:
• Sensitivity, empathy, righteousness and love are extremely important and should be the core of a progressive society.
• Society has no ultimate right to dictate to us because progressive virtue and progressive unvirtue ultimately trump human law.
• Those who do not agree with us – the progressively unvirtuous – are either ignorant or purposely unvirtuous.
• The end, which is a progressively-virtuous society, justifies the means.

 

Progressive virtue is for progressives what goodness is for traditional Americans.  Just as good is supremely important for traditional Americans, progressive virtue is supremely important for newthinkers.

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Progressive Projection

savagechickensprojectiondefenseThe replacement of good and evil with progressive virtue and progressive vice causes problems in the individual progressive psyche because people have an inherent sense of good and evil which cannot be comfortably suppressed and replaced with virtue categories that don’t reflect their natural, internal compasses. A symptom of this psychological unease with progressive virtue categories is a special case of the projection defense mechanism which I humbly refer to as progressive projection. Projection has been defined as “the process by which one ascribes one’s own traits, emotions, dispositions, etc. to another . . . with the implication that there is an accompanying denial that one has these feelings or tendencies . . . ”* A subcategory of this defense mechanism – progressive projection – is ubiquitous in progressives because progressive virtue is different from goodness. Progressive virtue, by definition, is not “good,” and, deep down, progressives know it and are troubled by it. Thus they take their own unconscious and unacceptable impulses and traits and, without consciously realizing it, project them as the presumed impulses and traits of their opponents. In this way, progressive projection eases their unconscious psychic pain.

progressive projection n : a special case of the projection defense mechanism in which a progressive attributes impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept to his opponents; it is ubiquitous in progressives because of the psychologically uneasy replacement of the virtue categories of good and evil with progressive virtue and progressive vice.

For example, progressives abhor hypocrisy. Many of them believe that they enjoy unfair advantages (whether they do in reality or not). Yet they refuse to give them up, which often leads to the unconscious judgement that they themselves are hypocrites. This trait is unacceptable, so they unconsciously defend themselves by becoming hypersensitive to any real or imagined hypocrisy in others.

Progressive virtue, by definition, is not “good,” and, deep down, progressives know it and are troubled by it.

Whenever a progressive negatively represents his opponents in an emotional manner, take note. Think about what they’re saying and whether it could be objectively applied to them. It’s usually progressive projection. They’re probably unconsciously describing themselves.

* Arthur S. Reber, The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology: Fourth Edition, (Penguin, 2009), p. 570.

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The Enlightened

Progressives tend to see themselves as progressively virtuous.  They don’t need to do anything to achieve this state of virtue; they are virtuous by default under their worldview because of their beliefs.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief in one’s own progressive virtue is:

• Everything we do will be progressively virtuous.
Progressive virtue is supremely important.

 

Social dynamics under each worldview create character archetypes — paradigmatic personality types shaped by the positive and negative rewards of a society — specific to that worldview.  Devout progressives believe they and their actions are progressively virtuous. This has led to the development of a character archetype among the progressive elite – The Enlightened – who feel superior to the less virtuous masses. They perceive their own motivations as noble, they feel infallible, and they appropriate the right to ignore, as much as possible, society’s dictates.

The Enlightened:
The progressive elite – devout and progressively virtuous, they feel superior to the general public. They have a sense of mission focused on promoting their morality and culture, and fighting oppressors. They feel relatively infallible since they are inspired by their presumably inherent and transcendent nobility. Because of that, they are close-minded.

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Virtue Assignment and Virtue Categories Under the Progressive Worldview

While traditional Americans think goodness is defined by objective standards such as the Ten Commandments, newthinkers believe they are progressively virtuous due to their inherently noble motives.

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.
• Our motives are inherently noble.
• We are progressively virtuous.

 

Humans have a deep and compelling psychological need to assign virtue. Based on a particular morality – a set of rules about what’s right and wrong – people assign virtue by dividing actions into two categories: virtuous and non-virtuous.

virtue assignment n : a psychological process which categorizes actions into two categories: virtuous or non-virtuous, based on the existing morality

virtue categories n : bipolar designations based on the judgement of righteousness under a given system

People fundamentally need to define virtue and vice in their world, and they need to feel personally virtuous (even when they obviously aren’t). Systems of virtue assignment are central to worldviews because they create conviction, cement loyalties and inspire action.

Progressive virtue and progressive vice are newthink’s virtue categories, based on the political correctness system. Good and evil are Americanism’s virtue categories, based on its system.

Progressive virtue and progressive vice are newthink’s virtue categories, based on the political correctness system. Good and evil are Americanism’s virtue categories, based on its system. Among devout progressives, progressive virtue has replaced good and progressive non-virtue has replaced evil. These different systems of virtue assignment are foreign and incompatible with each other. They coexist uneasily and won’t be at rest until one defeats the other.

Virtues Mural Sierra Vista Elementary
Virtues Mural – Sierra Vista Elementary (Photo credit: Edith OSB)

When assigning virtue, the less discriminating, whatever their worldview, conflate actions with individuals and even groups. For instance, say that Fred lied about something. Conflating that action with an individual, one would make a virtue assignment about Fred the individual: Fred lied, so he’s bad. Conflating that action with a group, one might think: Fred is a Yabbadabbadoobian, so they’re all bad. While the process of virtue assignment is universal, the dynamic changes as newthink takes hold. It changes, not just because the rules are different, but because the definitions of groups alter, as we’ll see later when I discuss newthink’s society metaphor.

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A Progressive Belief: Our Motives are Inherently Noble

Progressives tend to see their own motives as inherently noble.

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.
• Our motives are inherently noble.

 The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• Because our intentions are virtuous, we will achieve virtuous results.
• We are incapable of traditional “evil” behavior.
• We are progressively virtuous.

 

Because they are inspired by their own presumably noble feelings and motives, newthinkers tend to feel infallible. They believe that humanity is inherently noble, so virtuous intentions will lead to virtuous results. They believe that their noble motives mean that they are incapable of traditional “evil” behavior. The traditional American belief that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions is foreign to them.

The belief that one’s motives are inherently noble causes close-mindedness. Newthinkers see themselves as freethinkers, but, typically, their self-image is the opposite of reality.

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The Effects of Emotional Reasoning in Progressive Society

Progressives tend to believe that their feelings are inherently noble.

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.
• Our feelings are inherently noble.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• We are unlikely to be wrong because we are inspired by our inherently and transcendentally noble feelings.
• We should follow our feelings rather than external beliefs.
• If it feels good, it’s okay.
• If it feels good, it should be publicly expressed. The need for privacy is illegitimate and comes from fear.

 

People who engage in emotional reasoning believe that what they feel must be true.

Cognitive psychologists talk about a distorted thinking pattern called emotional reasoning. People who engage in emotional reasoning believe that what they feel must be true. It is usually applied to falsely negative thoughts and feelings, but also explains falsely positive thoughts and feelings.

Progressives’ tendency to believe their emotions is emotional reasoning at work. When emotions become truth, hedonism results. “If it feels good, it’s okay” is an unconscious newthink belief. Nobody likes a scold; everybody likes to have fun. But, as recent history demonstrates, newthinkers under the influence of this seductive belief trust that what feels good is good and tend to ignore the consequences. Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone argues that the boomer generation prefers values over rules, being on their own over being on a team.* The resultant hedonism, a persistent trait of progressive society, led to the “Do Your Own Thing” trend of the 1960s, the Me Decade of the 1970s, and the hook-up youth culture of today. While 96 percent of baby boomers were raised in religious homes, 58 percent of them abandoned their religion, and only about one-third of those have since returned. Meanwhile, materialism has soared: in 1970, about 40% of college freshmen rated having lots of money as quite important, but by 1987 that number was about 75%.** Unfortunately, hedonism leads to narcissism, and narcissism eventually leads to unhappiness – another persistent trait of progressive society. The rate of depression has increased by about 10 times in the last two generations.***

A second result of the emotional reasoning of newthinkers is the incremental “pornification” (a term coined by Laura Ingraham) of progressive culture. To newthinkers, because sex feels good, it is good. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with open sexual display in public, with sex between teen-agers, with sex in the media, with sex without marriage. For millennia, the most common tactic an unscrupulous young man attempting to seduce a young woman might use is to convince them that they are in love. Young progressive men no longer need to use that ploy due to progressive promiscuity. Progressive women are the dupes of the biggest seduction in history: the indoctrination of young women into the belief that unless they adopt the more uninhibited sexual inclinations of young men instead of the naturally more conservative inclinations of young women, they are repressing their true feelings and acting subordinate to men.

Thirdly, widespread emotional reasoning among progressives leads to narcissism. Since feelings are noble, more attention is paid to them, which means more attention is paid to the self: thus the narcissistic streak within the progressive worldview.

Finally, newthinkers’ habitual emotional reasoning leads to chronic blaming. If all feelings are considered noble, negative feelings such as envy, anger and hopelessness must be justified by the object. For instance, one might unconsciously feel envy and think, “He is wealthier – he must have exploited to obtain his wealth.” Or one might feel hurt and angry, and think, “He has hurt me – he must be a bad person.” Or one might feel hopeless and think, “Everything seems stacked against me – the system must be biased.” As in all these cases, instead of taking personal responsibility for negative feelings and working to change them, the newthinker’s negative feelings are validated, explained and blamed on an external cause.

* Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), p. 258.

** Ibid., pp. 258-260.

*** Ibid., p. 261.

The Knockout Game: Thug Culture in Post-Civilized America

Here’s my definition of thug culture from a March 2013 post:

thug culture n : a social pattern characterized by the inherent tendency, especially in males, toward seeking social status based on violence, the maintenance of face, and primitive behavior

Civilization is the historical exception, not the rule. One need only peruse a book on ancient history to see the violence, slavery and degradation that were a part of everyday life. Western civilization and the American worldview slowly imposed civilization. But as the progressive worldview has taken over, the fabric of civilization has worn thin, and thug culture, the human norm, is re-emerging.

As David Geary points out in his book Male, Female, men universally compete for social status and for the control of resources which sustain reproduction. Throughout preindustrial societies, nearly one in three young men are killed during this competition, and those who have killed have gained a definite social asset in many or most prestate cultures.*

Thuggery is also an asset in the post-civilized subcultures emerging throughout America. The “knockout game” – in which a young thug, on video, tries to knock out an unwitting stranger with one punch — is a textbook example of thug culture. The thugs are seeking social status. In their subculture, social status is based on violence, primitive behavior and the maintenance of face.

Unfortunately, there’s an ethnic component to the knockout game, too.  Virtually all of the “gamers” are young blacks and the victims non-blacks.  A higher rate of violence is the norm in African-American neighborhoods: almost 40 percent of violent crimes are committed by young African-American men, who only comprise about 3 percent of the population.**  A young black man is 13 times more likely to commit a violent crime than the average American.  This statistic is the deplorable result of the progressive worldview’s effect on ethnicities who see themselves as oppressed.

The appalling savagery, unfairness and cowardice of these attacks is shocking to civilized people. But don’t worry — as civilization unravels, as newthink usurps Americanism — you’ll get used to it. After all, it’s the historical norm.

* David C. Geary, Male, Female, (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2005), p. 318.

** Larry Elder, 10 Things You Can’t Say in America, (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 43.