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.

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.