06 June, 2009

An urgent plea to peers in my age group with children..

Much hash has been made lately of the "death of so-called Conservatism". Anyone who believes such nonsense is as deluded as Karl Rove when he speaks of the "permanent Republican majority."

I blurted this short missive out in response to an article on Salon.com (whose track record for delusion is worthy of note):

College Republicans and the Millenial Generation

I have faith that a new generation of right-wingers [are] waiting in the wings.

After all, feel-good "Positive Self Image" schooling has profoundly damaged a generation of children, producing selfish, narcissistic little sociopaths whose lack of critical thinking skills combined with their inflated egos are primed to gravitate to the self-affirming message of modern "conservatism".

We live in a nation that tolerates the shallow platitudes of charlatans like "doctor" Phil McGraw, and suffers the theatrics of smug, self-serving Ayn Rand freaks and fringe idiologues like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

It is only a matter of time before this new generation of brats, unable to tolerate challenges to their delusional sense of self worth, cling to the hysterical "me first" rhetoric of the privileged yet "victimized" right.

This is cult initiation on a mass scale. An army of "true believers". It's going to be ugly, believe me.

Let us ponder for a moment the tendency of people everywhere to remember the hits and forget the misses.

This is of course a extremely curt version of the concept of Confirmation Bias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

Confirmation bias, tied with the insipid and now discredited theory of child development and education that a positive self-image leads to better performance in school leads to a toxic combination of self-serving delusion and an intolerance toward challenges to ones ego; to wit, ones personal perceptions of truth tied to feelings of self worth, and critical analysis of fact becomes a personal attack against which individuals naturally resist.

Strategies for neutralizing any aspect of primary education that would be traditionally considered merit-based are literally dumbed-down: honor rolls are eliminated, competitive sports, even basic educational requirements in the form of "social promotion".

And parents who naturally want to believe that their child is special, by becoming doting "stage parents", actually help inhibit their child's development.

Without getting into too many of the painful details, I feel I made it through this gauntlet of meaningless "good feelings" by being truly tortured as a child; and while I have many scars and crosses to bear, I feel that I am at least more prepared than the majority of happy coddled children that preceded and followed me during this dark period (which is hopefully coming to a close).

In other words, I am better suited to win at an emotional or existential knife fight than the kid who grew up with Dr. Phil-esque platitudes that did not ever match their achievement.

So, parents, please.. please please please.. do not buy into this positive-image, law-of-attraction hooey.

The only way we learn is by making mistakes. And someone who thinks that they are incapable of being "bad" or "wrong" is someone without guilt, shame or empathy.


dypak said...

Just because we can't live well with hopelessness, doesn't mean we should try its' opposite. Extremes are a flight from the self, because ideals are human concepts and not possible in truth. No one is perfectly good or bad and don't quote me examples "Hey, You, Hitler and Ghandi!!".. seriously what people could learn if they studied cult psychology (would have many people operating very differently than they do now.)

The D.L. said...

yeah, word. lovely, dr. vds

Bridget Callahan said...

It's interesting, cause I just read this review of a dating guide that pointed out women are more scared of "nice guys" because nice guys who believe they are nice guys are incapable of understanding when they have done something wrong or hurt someone. *They* could never do something like that, because *they* are the nice guy.

dr von drinkensnorten said...

Sounds like mostly bullshit to me, but I can see it. I, for one, am a nice guy that frequently hurts the feelings of people close to me. I embrace my jerkiness as a part of my personality.