A Progressive Belief: Great Social Evil Is Improbable

Traditional Americans believed that they must carefully guard against great society-wide human evil. To them, history provided many examples – tyranny, slavery, Nazi death camps, soviet gulags – of humanity’s dark potential. But newthinkers, to repeat a point, don’t even think in terms of “evil.” It’s not one of their virtue categories. While they do worry about society-wide crises occurring due to human stupidity, they are generally unconcerned with the possibility of great social evil because it doesn’t fit their template for vice. It’s not that they would condone evil behavior; they just tend to be blind to it.

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.
• Great social evil is improbable.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• We don’t need to tirelessly guard against genocide, war or tyranny.
• Since all humans are inherently noble, if we can show strangers that our motives are inherently noble, they will exist peacefully with us.

 

Pacifism is a conspicuous part of progressivism largely because of the newthink belief that the inherent nobility of humans makes great social evil improbable. Progressives think the great scourges of humanity unlikely to occur among the progressively virtuous; they believe that as the benighted are educated about progressive virtue, they will be less likely to occur at all, and that those who purposely shun progressive virtue — the “evil conservatives” — will always be a small anomaly. That, for instance, is why progressives are happy to shrink the Defense Department and direct the savings elsewhere: on a very fundamental level, they assume that it won’t be necessary in the near progressive future.

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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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