Maybe it’s because it is one of my pet peeves, but Mike Adams’ April 20th column struck a nerve with me…of total agreement. He starts off with the following observation (note the added emphasis):
The culture has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. Some of the changes have been so subtle as to be almost undetectable. But one change has been so dramatic that few people could deny or ignore it –although opinions vary as to the desirability of its effects on the larger culture. The change I am talking about is the increasing tendency of people (especially men) to share their feelings instead of their thoughts when discussing intellectual matters.
This holds true even for conservatives who are being sloppy with their language and start their description of their thoughts with “Well, I feel that….” Makes me want to slap them silly and loudly demand that they tell me what they think, not what they feel. (Note: no persons of either liberal or conservative persuasion have been injured due to personal actions on my part…I haven’t really done this…yet…it’s just how I feel about it…I’m merely venting here.) Those (few?) readers of The Interface that have been with me since the beginning will recognize this observation as being a consequence of the evolution of the mode of public discourse from that of typography (i.e., the written word) to that of video (i.e., the visual impression) as described by Neil Postman in his work entitled Amusing Ourselves to Death. The impact on objective truth in public discourse has been substantial and for the worse. Subjectivity reigns over objectivity. Yet facts can be stubborn things.
I won’t rehash the arguments given in my extensive series or Postman’s book, but the predictions he made based on following to their logical conclusions the trends he observed are coming frighteningly true…to the detriment of those given to this post-modern affliction. Those who observe the strategies of today’s liberals have often noted the extent to which they depend on trying to arouse negative emotions towards conservative opponents rather than dealing with the facts and data of the situation. Likewise, they bolster their own position not with content but with how good it makes them feel.
Of course, Dr. Adams is not the first to make a point of this. One of my favorite quotes from Bill Whittle deserves presenting here again (you can also find it on my Quotable Quotes page):
We live in a sea of information, an Information Age: and yet, it has been almost half a
millennia since mankind has been so unwilling or unable to use critical thinking to separate the intellectual wheat from so…much…chaff! Critical Thinking – the ability to analyze data, determine its usefulness and fidelity, to learn how to assess reliability, question methodology, weight expertise and all the rest – is in shockingly short supply these days. It’s not just a shame; it’s an epidemic, it is a fatal metastasizing disease in a democracy where information is used by the public to make the decisions that steer the ship of state. For the ability to think critically allows us to see the unseen; to find the truth behind the falsehood, as well as the falsehood behind the truth.
Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole. Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous “theories” …theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.
Bill Whittle, Seeing the Unseen Part 1
So, with this as context, Dr. Adams provides some sad but typical examples whereof he speaks. His concluding statement is so accurate that I emphasize the whole thing. Try to read it thoughtfully and objectively, because in the long run, reality doesn’t care how you feel, but what you think and the behavior that springs from those thoughts, for “Even a child is known by his deeds [not his feelings], whether what he does is pure and right.” (Proverbs 20:11 [NKJV])
One could almost say that higher education is over-run by students who are possessed of an endless range of emotions and a boundless desire to share them with others. But one emotion is notably lacking from their repertoire: Humility.
It’s really easy to sit around and talk about your feelings. It means never having to defend an idea on its own objective merits. It means our nation can continue to feel smarter while its collective mind continues to atrophy.
The problem for liberals is, Real Reality really will bring you back down to earth ultimately…frequently unpleasantly, regardless of what you feel about it.