Wednesday, 23 March 2016

God Help Us All

Rod Dreher has a very interesting post out today that is worth your time and consideration. 

In this post about Donald Trump, Dreher begins by quoting a 2009 book by sociologist Christian Smith titled Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood. In speaking of young adults it says:
We are failing to teach them how to deal constructively with moral, cultural, and ideological differences. We are failing to teach them to think about what is good for people and in life. We are failing to equip our youth with the ideas, tools, and practices to know how to negotiate their romantic and sexual lives in healthy, nondestructive ways that prepare them to achieve the happy, functional marriages and families that most of them say they want in future years. We are failing to teach our youth about life purposes and goals that matter more than the accumulation of material possessions and material comfort and security. We are failing to challenge the too-common need to be intoxicated, the apparent inability to live a good, fun life without being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And we are failing to teach our youth the importance of civic engagement and political participation, how to be active citizens of their communities and nation, how to think about andliveforthe common good. On all of these matters, if our analysis is correct, the adult world is simply abdicating its responsibilities. 
Moreover, if our analysis is correct, we in the older adult world are failing youth and emerging adults in these crucial ways because our own adult world is itself also failing in those same ways. It is not that the world of mainstream American adults has something great to teach but is simply teaching it badly. That would also be a problem, but at least a remediable one. Rather, we suspect that the adult world is teaching its youth all too well. But what it has to teach too often fails to convey what any good society needs to pass on to its children. 
In short, if our sociological analysis in this book is correct, the problem is not simply that youth are bad students or that adults are poor teachers. It is that American culture itself seems to be depleted of some important cultural resources that it would pass on to youth if it had them — and yet not just for “moral” but also for identifiable institutional reasons, as repeatedly noted above. In which case, not only emerging adulthood, but American culture itself also has a dark side is well.
This is very, very important because as Dreher goes on to say:
Smith et al. found that most of the emerging adults (EAs) they studied have no way to think through moral and ethical dilemmas. None. They go with their gut. They are terrified of proclaiming moral rules that everyone should follow, lest they seem judgmental. Broadly speaking, they believe that if an action makes you happy, then it is good, for you — even if they themselves could not imagine doing the same thing. “Moral individualism” is the rock upon which their inner lives are built, with “moral relativism” a significant additional source for many of them. If they feel something is true or right, then it must be so.
This is emotivism, and it is impossible to reason with. As MacIntyre has said, you cannot have a cohesive society built around emotivism. Public rationality and deliberation become impossible.
Read that again. ... you cannot have a cohesive society built around emotivism. Public rationality and deliberation become impossible.That is where we are right now in American society.

Dreher than quotes a post from Scott Adams at Dilbert Blog titled Donald Trump - Con Man
The evidence is that Trump completely ignores reality and rational thinking in favor of emotional appeal. Sure, much of what Trump says makes sense to his supporters, but I assure you that is coincidence. Trump says whatever gets him the result he wants. He understands humans as 90% irrational and acts accordingly.
Rand Paul, on the other hand, treated voters as if they were intelligent creatures who make decisions based on the facts. His campaign didn’t last long with that message. Rand Paul knows about a lot of stuff. He’s a smart guy. But apparently psychology is not on the list of things he knows. And psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president.
Trump knows psychology. He knows facts don’t matter. He knows people are irrational. So while his opponents are losing sleep trying to memorize the names of foreign leaders – in case someone asks – Trump knows that is a waste of time. No one ever voted for a president based on his or her ability to name heads of state. People vote based on emotion. Period.

And if you do not find that extraordinarily frightening then God pity you. No, God pity us who must live with your emotional reasoning.

Dreher then says:
Trump is the Uber-American, a man of his time. When you look at him, America, you see yourself in the mirror. We made him. He is us. Crass, passion-driven, materialistic, vain — this is who we have become.
And that is the saddest commentary in America I have ever read. May God help us all.

Dreher's post is worth your time. Donald Trump, Über-American.

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