Sunday, August 13, 2006
Another Bite of the Apple:
If You Act Nice You Are Nice with an explanation
You won't be surprised to hear that getting tangled in useless arguments is a weakness of mine. I had an old one with a conservative Sunday, the argument against the idea that there isn't any such thing as being generous. He said that people who seem nice only do good things because it makes them feel superior, they do it to save their own souls, etc. It was a waste of time but I did come up with a new angle on it.
The charge of hidden selfishness behind generous acts isn't anything but a guess based on pop psychology, it isn't proof. Even a conservative can directly experience a good act and can compare its results to an act of selfishness, a good act is tangible. Sometimes you can see hypocrisy behind showy acts of charity and words that sound nice but that doesn't prove anything about other acts. The charge falls apart unless you can show a result that is selfish.
Pop hedonists like to say that people only act out of self-interest but that's not based on anything but cynicism and one of Freud's more destructive lines of hogwash. It's hard-hearted but it isn't hard logic. The results of the action are real, the charge of hidden selfishness is what is airy-fairy. Nastiness isn't any guarantee of realism.
And I will repeat, So take some of them apples, greed balls!
A Partial Explanation
Why have I repeated myself? One of you politely expressed your confusion as to why I said it in the first place and that deserves an explanation.
One of the things that has and does weaken the left is a loss of confidence in our positions. A lot of that, I believe, can be traced to these kinds of cynical ideas gaining popularity during the past fifty years.
The ideas gained ground on the assumption that their cynicism was some kind of magical guarantee of realism. The idea is that anything less cynical could be chalked up to self-congratulation for moral superiority or wishful thinking.
Without more evidence than can be produced these charges are no more than bad natured speculation. This is especially true when the results don't seem to hide ulterior motives.
Until the left abandons these counter-leftist assumptions foisted on it, the frankly idealistic and generous programs favored by us are at a fatal disadvantage. Liberalism and the left have a basically optimistic view of life, that we aren't doomed to an eternal and savage fight to look out for #1.
First posted July 5, 2006 at olvlzl