Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Mommy is a Democrat... and a Passive-Aggressive Ex-Wife from Hell

The previously scheduled post has been pre-empted by the following, since it is fresh in our mind. We'll get back to it next week.

What is it about liberals -- or about liberalism -- that makes it impossible to communicate with them? To be fair, they would insist that the problem is quite simple: that they possess the truth, and that their political adversaries simply refuse to accept it.

This failure on our part troubles liberals, whose painfully acute compassion compels them to find some way to shove the truth down our ungrateful pieholes. In fact, Obama even confessed to Charlie Rose that the biggest mistake of his presidency thus far has been the failure to "tell a story" to the American public.

In other words, he and his policies have not failed. Rather, it turns out that he has gotten the policies right -- that was the easy part -- but that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."

When he ran for office, people had the opposite concerns about Obama: this guy is obviously a polished BS artist with a soothing, tobacco-burnished baritone, but is he a half-educated ignoramus who substitutes ideology for thought, every time?

Turns out we had it backwards. For he has been satisfactorily "juggling and managing a lot of stuff" alright -- economic stuff, racial grievance stuff, government expansion stuff, deficit stuff, unemployment stuff, medical stuff, Middle East stuff, homosexual stuff, you name it.

Obama concedes that there is, however, one "legitimate criticism" and it is this: sure, people care about all the aforementioned stuff, "but where's the story that tells us where he's going?," i.e., where Obama is taking us?


Unfortunately, he doesn't explain. Actually, he's already explained that he can't explain, but that he needs to tell us a story in lieu of an explanation. I suppose we'll all be subjected to this likely story over the subsequent three months.

This is just one more example of the inability of liberals to be self-critical. Again, in their cramped little minds, the thinking must go something like this: "There is a straightforward liberal solution to every problem. Therefore, it is a waste of time and energy to actually condescend to address objections to the liberal program. To the extent that people fail to understand it, then there is something defective in them. But I'm so darn compassionate I'll try to do an end run around their defective cognition by expressing the truth via myth."

In short, there's no need to rethink his ideas. He just needs to express them more obscurely.

Taranto has an insultaining discussion of this dynamic, based upon an excellent piece by Zombie at PJ Media, which I'm thinking maybe it was a mistake for me to resign from, since I actually got more readers back then. Oh well. Charles Johnson also quit, and how could he be wrong about anything?

It turns out that this refusal on the part of liberals to acknowledge reality is not a bug, but a feature. In the past we have devoted at least one post to the Berkeley professor George Lakoff, whose ideas about "framing" have come to dominate leftist discourse, and go a long way toward explaining why liberals are so annoying. I mean, imagine if your spouse tried to pull such a condescending attitude on you. You'd want to throttle him or her.

Technically I suppose you could say that I'm professionally qualified to be a "marriage counselor" -- back off, man! -- but this is the last strategy I would recommend to the husband who is having difficulty getting through to the wife, or vice versa. Here's how it works:

"Don't repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them."

As Zombie explains, "This is why conservatives and liberals can't seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative 'moral frames,' every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.

"Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions--it simply ignores them...."

Taranto points out that "This is an important insight, not only into the way the left debates and otherwise communicates, but into the way the left thinks -- or fails to think. The book's subtitle, after all, promises an instruction in 'Thinking and Talking Democratic.' Lakoff and Wehling command their readers not only to act as if opposing arguments are without merit, but to close their minds to those arguments. What comes across to conservatives as a maddening arrogance is actually willed ignorance."

Which is of course incorrect. It is arrogance and willed ignorance.

In the past, I have on several occasions elaborated on the idea that left and right in many ways reflect the male and female -- or Mother and Father -- archetypes. Thus, in my view, a properly functioning state wouldn't come from left or right field, but from center-right field.

Why center-right, and not just center?

First of all, let's break down the concerns and responsibilities of the respective fields. The Father dimension involves first and foremost self-defense, which goes to domestic security, justified violence, autonomy and sovereignty, law, and punishment, plus standards, independence, achievement, etc.

Conversely -- or complementarily -- the Mother realm has to do with health, compassion, community, charity, nurturing, mercy, etc. As one can see, it is intrinsically more emotional, which is precisely why liberal arguments are so rooted in emotion and not thought. For a liberal it is sufficient to show some poor uninsured kid to tear down the greatest medical system in the world; or, it is sufficient to show a grieving mother to condemn a war. Each of these may be sad, but they are just a cheap substitute for hard thought.

And in any event, we can no longer afford the outrageous alimony and adult-child support payments, so it's a moot point. Mommy is going to have to cut up the credit cards and begin economizing. No more of your cockamamie sob stories. I see that look on your face. I know you want another "stimulus." But this time it's real: We. Are. Tapped. Out. And I'm not pissing away another cent of our children's inheritance just to keep you partying with your government union boy-toys. Some compassion you have!

The reason why a country should be center-right is that, as Dennis Prager has explained, masculine values tend to be more "macro" in nature, while feminine values tend to be more "micro" (and of course, this hardly means that a woman cannot lead in the macro realm, as exemplified by, say, Margaret Thatcher). Therefore, just as it is inappropriate for a father to treat his family as if he is the dictatorial general and his wife and children mere privates, it is inappropriate to treat the state as if it is a bountiful and inexhaustible breast and the citizens as dependent sucklings.

Our constitution essentially mandates a "center-right" country, in that the main responsibilities of the executive are 1) to defend the nation, and 2) uphold the constitution (and law more generally). And as it so happens, America remains a center-right nation, despite Obama's best efforts to transform it to a hard-left authoritarian social democracy ruled by an ex-wife from hell.

I'll leave you with some choice excerpts from the classic book, Why Mommy is a Democrat, which I posted back in March 2006:

--Ask not what your country can do for you. Instead, organize a demonstration and demand it.

--It's not how you play the game, so long as no one wins or loses and gets their feelings hurt.

--A fool and someone else's money can solve any societal problem.

--If life gives you lemons, file a class action suit against Sunkist.

--Always remember you're above average, just like everyone else.

--A person is known by the company he boycotts.

--When the going gets tough, the tough start leaking.

--Beggars can't be choosers. Rather, they're now called "homeless."

--Boys will be boys until government provides subsidized ritalin for every one of them.

--Regardless of your background, any American who really works hard at it can still be a victim.


Classic. Via Ace:


Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Regardless of your background, any American who really works hard at it can still be a victim."

Equal opportunity! LOL!

7/13/2012 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I've come to think of the left like that Octomom.
Except crazier.

7/13/2012 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes: "I can't afford one child. Why not have eight?!"

7/13/2012 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Why center-right, and not just center?

As C.S. Lewis said, if your dog has bitten the neighbor's child, do you want to deal with the father or the mother?

If serious damage has been done because you are a negligent low-life with an abused pit bull, it's irrelevant. But in most cases, where maybe the kid was teasing the dog or invading its space or as a result of a misunderstanding, it is far better to deal with Dad.

As we've discussed before, the epidemic of too-often-fatal violence in American cities is a result of boys raised without fathers. Boys, and even adult males, used to have fistfights, at the end of which there would usually be "no hard feelings". I was just reading about a locker room fight between Rollie Fingers and Blue Moon Odom in 1973. Both got dinged up a little but shook hands afterward. Nowadays somebody may end up full of nine-millimeter holes.

7/13/2012 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ace also has a good take on the subject.

7/13/2012 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The hypnosis thing is intriguing. I think that could be. Sort of like a mantra or a verbal talisman.

7/13/2012 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In fact, Obama even confessed to Charlie Rose that the biggest mistake of his presidency thus far has been the failure to "tell a story" to the American public.

Oh, good grief. As though if he could only find a potent enough lie, everyone would believe it and that would magically make it true.

I witnessed a relevant conversation today: Having lunch with my portrait group, one of the guys who works at the center was discussing how a new round of layoffs were coming up, only now they don't call it that. The new term is something like "employment adjustment." One I've never heard before, but which of course is meant to sound much less threatening. They talked a bit about how unpleasant things tend to be re-named to sound nicer, and how PC language has become; most of them even seemed to agree that this was somehow a good thing. Then one of the ladies spoke up: "Whatever happened to honesty and straightforwardness?"

The subject changed pretty quickly after that...

7/13/2012 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As Taranto said today, "Obama needs a better narrative than 'Obama needs a better narrative.'"

7/13/2012 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Either that, or he needs to tell a better story about how he needs to tell a better story.

7/13/2012 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - reminds me of when I once worked in a frozen yogurt shop back in the mid-90s. When a flavor started to go bad, it would get really sour and tangy. We were instructed to keep on selling it anyway, and to just tell people it was meant to be "tart."

Obama's narrative about his narrative is like tartness squared.

7/13/2012 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

The scop and role of femininity is to exercise feminine and nurturing virtues in the home. By are not virtues in business or politics. They cannot be generalized. Thy are between th mother and child and th wife and husband.

7/14/2012 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger amazed said...

To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided. The funniest and most painful illustrations are Haidt’s transcripts of interviews about bizarre scenarios. Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? How about with your sister? Is it O.K. to defecate in a urinal? If your dog dies, why not eat it? ... excerpt from the NYTimes review of a book : The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

The book provides a look at systemic differences between Conservatives and Liberals and may be of interest to you. I thought his book, The Happiness Hypothesis, rocked ... looking at this one now.

I've enjoyed looking at your thoughts.
~ DeAnn

7/15/2012 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

It also shows why conservative women are so vehemently hated. For those of us able to tease apart macro and micro nurturing, liberals have especially ugly terms.

7/15/2012 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I think that the point is that they needed to close their minds in order to save their minds.

7/16/2012 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

@Amazed: This is very simple. It is because morality's primary locus is the trained affections - which form a series of gut reactions. To the modern intellect these things seem irrational or post-reasoned (rationalized) but in fact the affection itself is the result of a series of choices, many of which are directly rational. Just because one did not reason about the point at the time does not mean that the conclusion was not thought through - the affections exist to shortcut the lengthly and uncertain process of deliberation about important subjects - such as whether not a canteloupe is rotten, a person is sick, or a man is trying to murder you.

7/16/2012 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Pascal's revision:

"The heart hath its reasons that Reason knows not of, actuellement."

7/16/2012 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, you people are the very same people who frequently complain that "leftists" are "narcissists" and "think they're better people, whereas the right only thinks they have better ideas."

Ahem. As you were.

7/16/2012 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just when we'd given up hope that William would show up and illustrate our thesis in a more vivid manner.

7/17/2012 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Right? I ass-umed at first that his comment was in response to today's post, it's so painfully demonstrative. I was half tempted to counter his unsanity with a dose of reality, but then remembered just how pointless it would be...

7/18/2012 06:29:00 PM  

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