Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Liberal Error

I've noticed a tendency, a pattern of sorts, among modern American liberals. They seem most often to conflate side effects and cause.

Self Esteem

Liberals love to talk about self esteem, as though low self esteem were its own cause and not simply the mental health equivalent of scurvy. Without achievement, we lack the self esteem to stay away from suicide, drug abuse, and undesirable sexual activity. But just a little self esteem is enough to ward off these potholes of life. Too much self esteem leads to arrogance and sociopathy.

Low self esteem is undesirable, but high self esteem is just as bad. Furthermore, you can't supply the self esteem innoculation with unmerited praise, and the reward of doing a good job is often enough without any praise at all. As Dr. Sanity says,

Our cultural focus on enhancing "self-esteem" has resulted in the near-worship of emotions and feelings at the expense of reason and thought; on emphasizing "root causes" and victimhood, instead of demanding that behavior be civilized and that individuals exert self-discipline and self-control--no matter what they are "feeling".
Healthy, well-adjusted people have moderate self-esteem, but that cannot be given -- it must be earned.


Diversity is not a source of strength in human societies, it is a symptom of it. Unity gives strength, .and people are different enough without foolishly trying to make them more different. A people who are unified is a stronger people. But to be strong, a people must have freedom;. A free people develop diversity. Mere enforced superficial (e.g., racial) diversity does not enhance strength in any way. This topic deserves more treatment, and will be the topic of a future post.

Guns and Violence

Just days before the Virginia Tech massacre, my son's high school English class viewed two videos about the Columbine school schooting. One delved into the actual motivations of the kids who committed the acts of murderous rage, and the other was Michael Moore's Waiting for Columbine. My son identified with the first documentary, saying (and I'm of course translating here from the original teenagerese) that he understood the pain of peer rejection. We agreed that was hardly an excuse to go killing people, but he pointed out that if someone were intent on killing, there's not much that can be done about it. Anyone with a library card can learn how to destroy.

Michael Moore's shlockumentary, on the other hand, he found ludicrous. He took Moore's point to be that if K-Mart had not sold the bullets the Columbine killers had used, they would not have been able to kill. Getting the bullets taken off the shelves would solve the whole problem, he thought Moore to be saying. Knowing as he did the amount of time and thought the Columbine killers put into their rampage, not having those bullets would not have held them back. Guns were their plan B. Plan A was homemade explosives, which failed. Without the bullets, even assuming they couldn't find any anywhere beside K-Mart, they would have come up with some other plan B.

The Columbine rampage didn't happen because bullets were available. It happened because humans ostracize those who are different, and we live in the time of leverage from which there is no return. The bullets were available because we live in a dangerous world, not the other way around.

Now gun control advocates are playing this VaTech massacre for all it's worth, saying that it was caused by the availability of guns. No, it was caused by a lack of guns in the hands of the victims.

Massacres are a result of gun control, not a reason for more of it.

I could go on listing examples in which liberals conflate cause and side effect, such as Global Warming (is the world getting warmer because of the CO2 in the air, or is there more CO2 in the air because the world is getting warmer?), or social justice (to a liberal, life is only fair if the outcome is fair; the conditions are judged by the outcome). However, I'm not really happy with this post, and though I am fairly happy with all of the points made, am not sure I've made my overall case.

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