"Just Tell Them...

I have worked 40 years to make the Women's Suffrage platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon."

Susan B. Anthony

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Nature of Evil, The Will to Take Action, and How New Age Thinking has Infiltrated the Right. (Day 8 in the Letterman Situation)


I have been having an interesting conversation with one "Kwakerjak" at Cynthia Yockey's blog. It has to do with why the Right Wing is so reticent to stand up for itself against jerks like Letterman.

To be honest, I was quite surprised to read Kwakerjak's take on a certain conservative principle.... that sounds an awful lot like New Age mumbo jumbo to me.

Here's how the conversation is progressing:

First off, Cynthia vows to get Dave fired. And Rick Moran asks where are the rest of the Cynthias? (That's a brief paraphrase, so go to the link and read it all!)

Next Kwakerjak says:

However, there is a problem that you seem to be running into, namely the utter abhorrence that most conservatives have for victimhood. To put it simply, it is widely held on this side of the political spectrum that thinking of oneself as a victim will always, always, always lead to profound unhappiness, because it means acknowledging that someone else is in control of some aspect of your life. This is considered to be true even if the person in question really is a victim—some might say especially so. Thus, in the eyes of many on the Right, you are doing the Palins a disservice by encouraging them to think of themselves as victims.

To which I respond:
Never give up. Never surrender. Sounds like Johnny Mac!

I like that!!

Just to be clear….

Standing up for a fourteen year old girl does not make one a “victim.” It makes one a hero! No matter what a few fanatics on the Right may say. (Hell, they sound a lot like a few LW, new age, ” create your own reality” whackos if that is what they really think.)

There is evil in the world. Pretending that it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. That is the strategy of the Obots… and I dare say…. it’s not working so well in Iran or South Korea.

It won’t work on Letterman either.

Then Kwakerjak clarifies:


It’s not “a few fanatics” on the Right that believe that, it’s a core principle of conservatism. People who believe that they are victims tend to think that they are entitled to something that someone else has denied them; as a result of this, there is a tendency to focus on forcing someone else to “make” you happy, rather than improving one’s own lot in life (because why should I improve my own life when it’s somebody else’s fault that I’m miserable?). It starts a cycle of dissatisfaction: when you neutralize one oppressor, there is a tendency to find another, then another, then another, until one becomes mired in an obsession with correcting every perceived slight, instead of focusing on what can actually bring real happiness (family, friendship, religion—basically, any social institution that encourages one to place the needs and desires of others over those of oneself).

So what do those on the Right do when they are victimized? They gripe about it for a while, and then return their focus to those social institutions that produce real happiness and satisfaction—which, not surprisingly, is exactly what most on the Right want to do. In other words, they don’t want David Letterman or his employers to be the one who decides if they’re happy with their life, because that means giving up autonomy.

I’m not saying that this should apply in this instance; what I’m saying is that you’re going to have to convince conservatives that this is more than just an attempt to enable the Palins to feel sorry for themselves (the fact that they obviously don’t feel that way should go a long way towards helping in this). Basically, what I’m saying is that you’ve got to convince conservatives that this is a valid exception to the otherwise ironclad “victimhood = bad” rule, because to most of them, that is not self-evident.


And I respond again:
That’s an important point, Kwaker. And I think you may be on to something.

But, fact is… the Palins are happy. At least from outer appearances. Letterman never affacted their “happiness” did he? No more than an Iranian coup is affecting mine. I have a life, a family…. a job. Just as Sarah does.

BUT… being “happy” (whatever that actually means… and yes I have a degree in Family Science so I am quite familiar with “happiness scales”) does not absolve one of the responsibility to do what is right.

That is a major blind spot in the New Age community, as far as I am concerned. And I find the possibility that half of the U.S. thinks that way (as you indicate) to be disturbing beyond belief.

What is this obsession that Americans have with being “happy?” Heroic actions aren’t born out of “happiness.” They are born out of discernment about what is right… and determination to make that happen.


*****************************

Wow. When I decided to support Sarah, I had no idea the lame-brained nonsense I would find on the Right. I thought only the Leftie, New Agey, Kumbaya singing, O-bots believe that... as long as they are happy... it doesn't matter who rules Iran.... or what Letterman says about Willow Palin.

Geesh. The very idea that, as long as Sarah is "happy," who cares what Dave Letterman does to 14 year old girls totally toasts my titties!

So what do ya think, PUMAs and Palinites? Can we rise above this kind of wishful, nay magical, thinking and continue to fight??

SYD

PS. This post is really not about whether Letterman should be fired. Rather, it is about the path for decisive action in this, or any matter. In the case of Letterman (and Iran) I tend to agree with Senator McCain. Some battles are worth more of a fight than are others.

Our movement needs to be on the watch for ANY attack on the children of pols. Period! It's not about "happiness." It's about what is right.

PSS. (Disclaimer.) I have nothing against New Age thinking in general. I believe that thought creates... to a point. But, as with anything, there are limits. Willow Palin cannot protect herself from the likes of David Letterman by thinking positively, or trying to be "happy." Nor will Ahmadinajad become less of a tyrant because we "hope" for "change."

7 comments:

  1. I guess if someone broke Kwackerjack's legs with a baseball bat he wouldn't complain because that would just make him unhappy.

    It's not like he's entitled to use his legs or anything.

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  2. Kwakerjak6:26 PM

    Hey, I'm just explaining what the prevailing mood amongst conservatives is, particularly the talk radio set. For example, I was listening to Michael Medved today when he stated one of his many slogans: "Welcome to the Michael Medved Show, where we proudly say every day that 'I am not a victim'!"

    Returning to SYD, I don't necessarily think it's as New Age-y as you say; for example, I don't think I've heard a single person on talk radio claim that the Iranians should live and let live. Naturally, that raises the question of why the situation in Iran is worthy of outrage, but the Letterman situation isn't. I think it's a matter of scale; it's rather obvious that Ahmedinijab and Co. are victimizing a huge swath of people, but in the Letterman case, there's still a widely-held that the whole thing boils down to Letterman not liking Sarah Palin.

    If that's all it was, then the Fire Letterman movement would be little more than conservatives being angry that somebody made fun of them, and let's face it, people who snap at anyone who makes a personal slight at them really are miserable.

    The problem is that conservatives have been suckered into thinking that Letterman was only making fun of the Palins, and is thus merely immature, rather than a sexist jerk who was trying to demean the right of all women to hold whatever political beliefs they wish.

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  3. My point is that singing kumbaya with Ahmadinajad is one way to manifest "wishful thinking." Ignoring Letterman in the hopes that he will go away is another.

    Neither approach is grounded in practical experience. Rather, both are manifestations of faulty belief systems that are grounded in a sort of new agey, magical thinking. In other words.... the belief that says we can control the world by controlling our own thought patterns.

    The fact that the Right chooses a different way to manifest it's fantasmical thinking than does the Left.... does not make it any less fantasmical.

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  4. One really interesting response that I received from T. McKenzie at team Sarah is:

    "This was my reaction. . .a 'riff' on the 'pursuit of happiness' and thinking about what those words might have meant to the original authors/adopters. How different life was back then as compared to how comfortably situated we are right now (after the freedoms were won). Those words were written on the eve of war. . .on the heels of many a bloody struggle and personal sacrifice over decades, if not a century. They most assuredly were not 'New Age' or written lightly within the comfort of an armchair situated by a cozy fire.

    So, for me, I never take those words regarding 'happiness' as being grounded in some place best described as 'Pleasantville.' There is a price to be paid that ensures the liberty towards the pursuit, and no guarantees at the end for success. A price that apparently must be paid by every generation.

    And, for most Americans, others have paid the price of our own 'admission' ticket."

    It is interesting, is it not, how much "happiness" has come to be equated with some kind of "pleasantville" in which we will turn our backs on anything... no matter how serious... in order to remain "happy."

    To me it seems like a sickness of the soul. A way to abdicate our responsibilities as human beings, by denying our own intuitive reactions.

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  5. Kwakerjak11:41 AM

    I wouldn't call it "ignoring Letterman in the hopes that he'll go away," it's more like "ignoring Letterman because you're convinced that he either won't go away, or will inevitably be replaced by someone exactly like him." In other words, for various reasons, they're convinced it won't work, and there's no point in wasting energy on tactics that don't work.

    Of course, this line of reasoning now has a completely unexpected problem to deal with: it looks like it's working.

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  6. Kwakerjak's objection to the "Fire David Letterman" campaign is not germane and therefore does not even need to be considered. The campaign has/had nothing whatsoever to do with victimhood. To suggest that it does/did is suspiciously troll-like.

    Objecting to mobbing and assaults on your children is perfectly legitimate. In fact, it is wrong to fail to object. We have to put a stop to this kind of treatment of our candidates and journalists because if we don't, they will be driven from the marketplace of ideas. We are in a war. Only a troll or a fool -- which is not to say someone can't be both -- would try to persuade the people on one side of the battle that fighting back is against their values. Only fools would take such a specious argument seriously.

    Oh -- and by the way -- when homosexuals complain about being second-class citizens, it has nothing to do with crying victim and everything to do with pointing out that we have over 1,000 fewer rights and privileges than straight people do and not having them kills some of us and reduces the dignity and quality of life for all of us. It is wrong and against conservative values that the apparatus of the state has been employed to enforce the teachings of a coalition of religious organizations to make homosexuals second-class citizens when their real goal has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with inducing as many people as possible to make them babies who will increase the power and wealth of their religion.

    Cynthia

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  7. Excellent points, Cynthia.

    Thanks for visiting... and posting!

    SYD

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