Gagdad Bob has an interesting post examining the ideas and ideology of liberals (modern day definition) and conservatives (likewise, modern day definition). It’s posted at: One Cosmos: Today’s Score in the Game of Evolution: Conservatives 25, Leftists 0
In one part, he refers to a book, “The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and Save It from Itself, by Lawrence Harrison.
Gagdad Bob uses the contents of the book to demonstrate some of the core falacies and weaknesses of modern-day liberal attitudes and world views:
In the preface of the book, Harrison — a long time USAID director — notes that all of the underdeveloped or underprivileged countries or cultures he worked in were plagued by the same pathologies — disrespect for law, lack of cooperation with one another, acquiescence to (and extertion of) unbridled authority, passivity when encountering problems, lack of civic consciousness, lack of trust, and pursuit of narrow personal interest. It is much easier for scholars such as Jared Diamond to blame geography, insufficient resources, or “guns, germs, and steel” for the failure of so many cultures, but this entirely begs the question of why certain groups — most notably, the Jews or East Asians — thrive wherever they are allowed to take root. In each case, they have a “portable culture” of extremely healthy and adaptive values that stand them in good stead.
I was interested by this paragraph, because it shows some core concepts that are the basis for healthy (and, by contrast, unhealthy) societal attitudes. There are seven pathologies in the above paragraph that point to two underlying dangers for people and the society in which they operate.
Disrespect for law, acquiescence to and exertion of unbridled authority, and pursuit of narrow personal interests all indicate a society in which some individual (or all individuals) or group is the highest authority. There is no external, immutable, higher authority to which one can “appeal” for justice.
Lack of cooperation, passivity when encountering problems, lack of civic consciousness and lack of trust all point to an outlook that rejects a shared sense of goals, responsibilities, and consequences.
These conditions virtually guarantee that a society will fracture into strata of privileged and underprivileged. In addition, they discourage people from striving to solve the problems they encounter in life themselves. Some power outside them will inflict its will on them. They must be and remain the victims.
Gagdad Bob’s article goes on to examine this victimology (to use Bob’s terminology) and how it manifests itself in the categories and subcategories of life that Harrison’s book discusses.
Self-respect and respect for others cannot exist in the above described moral wasteland.
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