Thursday, December 20, 2012

Manly Thors Day Special: Not about Newtown

Regular readers will have noticed that the names "Newtown" and "Sandy Hook" have not appeared here. Except for this brief mention, I don't plan to bring them up. I would judge that as of today we do not have nearly enough information about what happened, how it happened or why it happened to even begin to reach conclusions let alone create policy.

And yet, conclusions have been reached and policies proposed. Never in my lifetime has so much logic- and fact-free argument been produced so quickly and propagated so much as has happened since last Friday. The president himself was saying there are things we "have" to do within hours of the event. And by some bizarre coincidence, the things that suddenly became important to do after the event turned out to be precisely the things he and his party wanted to do before the event.

Considering not the event, but the reaction to it, I thought of a Dostoevsky quote I saw quoted on another site.
But let me tell you, the whole trouble stems from immaturity and sentimentality! It’s not the practical aspects of socialism that fascinate him, but its emotional appeal – its idealism –what we may call its mystical, religious aspect – its romanticism…and on top of that, he just parrots other people.
We might get hung up on the word "socialism" here but you can take it out and plug in "liberalism" or "progressivism" or even "conservatism" in its place.

I'm sorry to have to report that the article at the other site where I saw the quote went on to exemplify perfectly all the things that Dostoevsky singles out in that quote. This, in any case, is not an argument about left versus right. There are good, solid arguments for being on both sides. The problem is that we don't hear them because an entire generation of men have grown up like Pyotr Verkhovensky, who is described in the quote above. Men who have grown up immature and sentimental. Men who love to wrap their silly little views, which they just parrot from others in the first place, in romantic robes as if they were fighting racism or really doing something about the gap between the rich and the poor.

Well, not actually doing anything themselves you understand but running around repeating and retweeting things that they first heard others say or tweet. And getting increasingly angry and contemptuous of all and any opposing views as they did so.

You really don't want to be like that.

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