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).

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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.

Americanism’s Government Metaphor

Our worldview’s government metaphor shapes our notions about the ideal form and responsibilities of government. It also defines our responsibilities and rights as citizens, our expectations of our government, our social conventions, and more.

Americanism’s government metaphor was the Government Is Fire metaphor:

Government Is Fire Metaphor
• Government is fire.

History and experience with European tyranny taught traditional Americans that over-powerful government was dangerous. Like fire, it was a necessary evil – essential for civilization and useful in many ways, but inherently perilous. It could grow, burn and destroy. As George Washington said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a handy servant and a dangerous master.” The Government Is Fire metaphor engendered unconscious beliefs like “Government is necessary for civilization,” “government should be kept as small as possible while still performing its functions,” and “unrestrained government is perilous.”

Americanism’s Society Metaphor

Our understanding of the society we inhabit is also guided by metaphor. Our social interactions, our goals, our style, our group affiliations, our self-imposed limits, our ideas of social virtue and vice, and more are defined by the society metaphor we have unconsciously assimilated.

Americanism’s society metaphor was the Society is a Wilderness metaphor:

Society is a Wilderness Metaphor
• Society is a Wilderness
• Humans must civilize the wilderness.

Traditional Americans assimilated this metaphor, again inherited from western civilization, as part of their worldview. They saw society as a wilderness and believed they were obligated to civilize it – the physical wilderness of early America, the wilderness of the unenlightened and sometimes dangerous cultures they encountered, and the inherent wilderness in their own society deriving from human nature. The Society is a Wilderness metaphor generated unconscious entailments like “civilization must be defended from barbarism,” “it is virtuous to fight for civilization,” “wildness must be tamed” and others.

Americanism’s Universe Metaphor

Humans are understandably concerned with the nature of the universe that is their home. The cognitive metaphor explaining the universe is important because it’s so foundational. Our ethics; our spiritual outlook; our view of human nature; our judgement of other individuals and societies; our societal values; our attitude toward the human body, emotions and mind – the universe metaphor shapes all these and more.

The universe metaphor of Americanism – the traditional American worldview – was the God’s Universe metaphor:

God’s Universe Metaphor
• The Universe is a Home.
• God is the Father.

Cultures don’t necessarily view the universe as primarily a home. The ancient pagans, for instance, seemed to see it as a play land for powerful deities in which humans were mere pawns. But Americanism inherited from western civilization, and ultimately from the Old Testament, the God’s Universe cognitive metaphor: that the universe is a home, and God is the father. In reality, the universe is where we live, but it isn’t a home in the individual human sense. Yet metaphors allow us to understand and experience one thing (the universe) in terms of another (home). And so traditional Americans understood and experienced the universe in homelike ways.

The God’s Universe metaphor sprouted unconscious entailments like “people are the children,” “father has a plan” and more – all of which were unconsciously believed and acted upon.

First Post — Definition of Newthink

I’m new to blogging – I’ve got to find my way with this blog, figure out what I want to do with it.

First I think I’ll unloose some definitions and excerpts and take it from there.

As George Orwell illustrated, it’s hard to think about something if there’s no word for it. I created a lot of new words while writing Newthink. The first one forms the title:

newthink n : the progressive worldview

Under my definition, newthink is the worldview of progressivism. Or, to put the cart behind the horse where it belongs, progressivism is the social expression of newthink.

Americanism n : the traditional American worldview

Americanism was the traditional worldview of America. Traditional American culture was the social expression of Americanism.