|Written by Dr. Joel Wade|
|Friday, 07 September 2012|
For the left, facts don't matter, reality as we think of it doesn't matter; actual, tangible, measureable effects don't matter. What matters is The Narrative.
This reflects a post-modern philosophy that holds that reality is formed by stories, and so reality can be changed according to the stories that are told. They have a story of humanity, and that story is truth for them. You are seeing this on display this week at the DNC.
In that Narrative of the Left:
· Government taking from the wealthy to give to the less wealthy is compassion; those who oppose it are therefore not compassionate.
· Racism is ingrained in our country's psyche, and there are lots of subtle, even secret ways that it is expressed. In order to counter this, government has to take from the wealthy to give to minorities; those who oppose this are racists.
· Wealth is a matter of luck, the "lottery of life." Those who are wealthy therefore owe it to others to share their good fortune with those less lucky; those who show any reluctance to do this are selfish and greedy.
· Fossil fuels cause catastrophic environmental damage; they are a vice to which one can become addicted. The use of fossil fuels is a measure of gluttony and indulgence, and shows a lack of caring and concern for the Earth. Those who oppose limiting the use of fossil fuels are ignorant and selfish.
· Women are oppressed by a patriarchy, and the primary example of this oppression today is the stated belief that abortion is equivalent to killing an unborn child. Those who oppose abortion in any form or at any stage are engaging in a war on women.
· Any use of America's military is by definition imperialism, which is a word that sounds really awful, and must mean something bad. America uses her military primarily to oppress weaker countries, pushing them around like a bully on a playground. This is especially bad when we support Israel, which is bad because Israel is wealthy and successful, and so must have achieved this through oppressing the surrounding Arab countries, which are not as wealthy because of Israel. Those who don't see it this way are imperialistic war mongers who want to kill and oppress people who don't look like them.
· Government jobs are not about making money, and so they are by definition morally superior to private sector jobs, which are all about greed and selfishness. Therefore, the more those government workers are paid, the more we are supporting virtue. Those who oppose increasing government work, pay and benefits are not virtuous.
· Freedom cannot mean the absence or limitation of government force, because that is nothing, and leaves people to their own devices. It is a primitive definition of freedom. Freedom means that government force is used to "bring out the best in every human being." This is an enlightened view of freedom, and those who do not agree are unenlightened, ignorant, and stupid.
These are just some of the stories that the left is absorbed in. They form the narrative with which they make sense of the world, and they are deeply committed to this. We all have stories that we believe that hold deep meaning to us. If somebody were to come along and threaten the validity of our deeply held stories, we would not like it.
If somebody were to tell me that Thomas Jefferson was an evil man, and that the Declaration of Independence was written only to further slavery, I would think they were foolish at best. I would not change my understanding of Jefferson's brilliance and extremely positive impact upon the world. This is a story that I know well, and hold dear.
Those on the left are no different. They hold their stories dear, too. The trouble is, their stories do not guide them to real solutions to the problems we face today. They want to believe that the kind of massive government programs that they think worked for FDR's New Deal will work again now. They believe these stories viscerally and emotionally, and this sets them up for a severe case of confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to see what you want to see, rather than what is actually there, in a way that confirms your wishes or pre-existing beliefs.
We all do this to some degree. In its milder forms, it creates a comfortable sense of continuity; it can be a healthy quality in relationships, where you tend to see the best in your mate, your kids, and your friends, creating a benevolent cycle with them - they feel seen for the best within them, and as a consequence, they tend to think of themselves more in those terms and to act more from the best within them.
But confirmation bias is also what allows us to live in denial, and to perpetuate harmful beliefs which can do grave harm.
We are all susceptible to this. There are very likely some things that you and I believe that if we were to really face the facts would not hold up. The key is to strive to integrate what's true with your experience, over time. But this is hard, sometimes disappointing work. Not everybody is interested in doing it. I don't see many people on the left willing to engage in it.
I think what we're seeing with the absurd, almost delusional opining about racial "codewords" by the likes of Chris Matthews and Lawrence O'Donnell, is a case of confirmation bias run amok. They know that their narrative is true. It has to be true; and they are willing to say or do just about anything to affirm that it is true.
These are pundits, they are paid to be outrageous and controversial; but when enough people parrot such inanities, it becomes a cultural habit. The cultural habit of the left has become a study in confirmation bias.
The arguments of the Obama supporters cannot stand on the facts of our economy at this point, so they imagine how bad it would have been otherwise, and they compare our present economy, with all the jobs "saved," to their fantasy of how they think it would have been without the stimulus, Obamacare, or Dodd-Frank.
Bill Clinton, the master storyteller of the Democrat Party, in his DNC speech Wednesday (9/05), he wove a tale of Democrat wisdom and respect for truth, even claiming that he, unlike the Republicans, actually use math. But this is a story. The data do not match the story line, but Clinton is an exceptional weaver of tall tales; and for the crowd in the convention hall, the story is what matters.
Fortunately for us, America loves a story of redemption. While there is really no hope for Obama to change and grow in office to become a more effective and successful president, there is hope for the American citizenry to learn and grow from our experience of his failed presidency.
If we can do this, we can choose wisely this November, and begin to ground America's story once again in the gritty and practical reality that individual liberty is the greatest true hope for mankind, and that self-ownership and free markets is what brings prosperity and opportunity.
Yes, this is my bias. Free America's remarkable history is my confirmation.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
THE NARRATIVE OF THE LEFT
Posted by Editor at 3:36 AM