Activism and emotion pale beside science and reason

Activism and emotion pale beside science and reason, by Greg Sheridan.

Here’s the punch line — political culture in the West has become so crazy that in the pursuit of love and justice people increasingly practise hate and violence. …

No, it’s a squabble over power and money. They just say it’s about love and justice.

This is a deep crisis in Western political culture and Australia is experiencing it fully. Let me offer some examples. Conservative senator Cory Bernardi retired from the Senate this week and warmly thanked the Australian Federal Police for their help over the years. Bernardi is not an extremist. He also does not claim any victim status. But it turns out people have come to his home making threats, his wife has been subject to vicious texting abuse, people have threatened savage violence against him and the schools his kids attended. This sort of thing goes on across the board ideologically.

Cory Bernadi

Targeted for violence by the left

The three causes that excited the most abuse for Bernardi were his opposition to same-sex marriage, his opposition to strong ­action on climate change and his criticisms of Islamism, although the latter was by far the least of it. …

The left’s contempt for others is ruining democracy:

The movement most likely to produce extremism in our politics is green activism. We have seen in the Occupy Wall Street, farm ­invasion and Extinction Rebellion demonstrations a contempt for normal politics, a determination to take direct action and a settled conviction that mere democratic election confers no legitimacy on a government. And the accompanying conviction that anyone who opposes these movements justifies extreme rhetorical, and sometimes physical, attack. …

Ideology and emotion are everywhere destroying good policy options. …

[John Anderson, former deputy prime minister] draws deeper cultural lessons: “Our young people have been trained to rely on their emotions rather than facts.”

Modern education and culture, he thinks, tell young people that the world is divided between completely good people and completely bad people, and “climate change hysteria could be the tipping point for Western societies”.

How we got to this point is a huge intellectual debate. Many writers see the loss of religion, the loss of unifying transcendent ­belief, as key.

Os Guinness in Last Shout for Liberty argues the West is still ­adjudicating the conflict between the American Revolution, which was a conservative movement to allow citizens to pursue lives of virtue and tradition with minimum interference from the state, and the French Revolution, which empowered the state to do anything.

The left is currently dominated by unhappy people. They hate themselves, and project that hate wildly. Individuals whose subconscious is offended and angry at their sins and what their conscious mind has done are unhappy people. They are at war with themselves, and nothing in the external world can placate their inner turmoil. No matter where they go, they are still there.

Religion used to be the cure for this, with the strong message of forgiveness of sins. Religion grew as a way of mediating our modern conscious brains suitable for crowded human societies, with our mammal brains, with our reptile brains, and with all the other bits and pieces in our evolutionary past. But the left mainly discarded religion. Sigh.

Hate, hate, hate …. it’s all about projection.