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.