Friday, August 07, 2009

Stop Grinding

I work with a psychiatrist who mentioned offhand (when three of us were discussing how random Newsweek had become) that he likes to listen to the BBC and read The Economist to get a more objective POV. I didn't have the heart to tell him that both of those, especially the BBC, are quite liberal in their slant. He's a wonderful guy, smart enough that the word "prodigy" probably got bandied around as a child, and a very solid thinker.

I'm glad I didn't say anything. I recall from the early 90's a survey which showed that people who took two newspapers voted more conservatively, even if both newspapers were liberal. The POV from the BBC is not going to be objective, but it's at least different, and causes one to think.

Thinking is a good thing. Conservatives should remember that in terms of principles, evaluation, and observation, thinking in itself works to our long-term advantage. We need to retain the confidence in our beliefs that provoking anyone to think, at all, will eventually bear fruit. Will we lose many battles along the way to those who will play off the emotions and social status of liberal views? Absolutely. We will in fact lose most of the battles.

But if better ideas and devotion to the truth does not eventually prevail, and only the few are able to see through the fog, then there is no point in making it better for the others, except for simple kindness. We must give them the dignity of risk as well. If people wish to be manipulated on and on, then they are not ready to be free. Protecting them from their decisions will perpetuate their childhood.

That is perhaps world-weary and uncaring, and it frightens even me. If the semi-sensible people of the the country cannot bear the truth, then it is the poor, especially the virtuous poor, who will suffer most. The sociopaths will find a way to survive, even by the skin of their teeth.

The Skin Of Our Teeth. A tangential association, but stunningly appropriate, now that I think of it. One of my favorite plays, and very much a message for our times, even if it was written in the 1940's.

Next tangent. The Skin of Our Teeth, 1942. The Abolition of Man, 1943, Orwell's 1984, completed in main in his head in 1944. Perhaps only war, and pushing great thinkers to the brink, can elicit the truly prophetic. That's my working theory.


ELC said...

Lewis's book is online: The Abolition of Man

@nooil4pacifists said...

Excellent post.

Also, having subscribed to the Economist for almost 20 years, I've witnessed its seismic shift to the left. This is particularly true with respect to its editorial opinion on U.S. politics, which is consistently more left-driven than the magazine's take on Europe.

Further, I agree about The Skin of Our Teeth. But it's rarely performed anymore, probably because the play's optimism and hopefulness is out of fashion with today's doom-saying progressives.