A Progressive Belief: Our Struggle Is Not Internal

Cartoon about a dog's guardian angel.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional Americans saw themselves and all humans as imperfect beings, subject to good and evil influences, and prone to good and evil behavior. Remember the old cartoon characters with a little angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? Traditional Americans tended to believe that every person faced an internal struggle to be good. Progressives, on the other hand, believe that people are inherently noble and do not face an intrinsic internal struggle to be 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.
• Our motives are inherently noble.
• Our struggle is not internal.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• Don’t worry, be happy.
• We do not need to struggle against anything inherent to our internal makeup – we only need remove negative habits learned from traditional morality.
• Our struggle is external.

 

Traditional Americans tended to believe that every person faced an internal struggle to be good. Progressives, on the other hand, believe that people are inherently noble and do not face an intrinsic internal struggle to be virtuous.

Three social dynamics are powered by the belief that our struggle is not internal: progressive hedonism, the self-actualization movement and newthinkers’ focus on external rather than internal struggle.

What a weight is lifted from our shoulders if we don’t face an internal struggle to be good! Don’t worry, be happy. It’s often good advice, but it’s a siren song if applied to all situations. The naive hedonist wing of progressivism, very big in the 1960s and 1970s, which gave us everything from acid rock to est, was powered by this unconscious logic.

The self-actualization movement in psychology also grew out of the belief that our struggle is not internal. If we don’t need to struggle against anything inherent in our internal makeup, then psychology should instead focus on striving to help one reach one’s personal potential. That way (so the logic goes) we remove the traditionally imposed burdens that prevent us from fully perceiving and experiencing our inner nobility.

And since newthinkers perceive no need for an internal struggle against the temptations of evil behavior, they focus instead on external political struggle.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s