Thinkers versus feelers

James D. Miller, writing on TechCentralStation, makes a fundamental and useful distinction between those who react emotionally to public events, and those who react from a process of reason. He uses the imbroglio over Bill Bennett's recent comments as the most recent, but far from the only manifestation of a troubling tendency:

 No thinking person listening to Bennett would conclude that he ever advocated abortiong black babies.

But Bennett's abortion remarks did conjure a horrible image of the mass killing of unborn black children. Feelers, those who believe emotional reaction should trump all else, naturally were horrified at Bennett's comment. A feeler would find this image very painful to bear. A feeler, therefore, might feel that Bennett would have presented listeners with such a word—picture only if he himself was not bothered by the idea of killing black babies. Thinkers, however, have been defending Bennett because they believe that intellectual rigor often requires deliberately confronting painful images to get at truth.

 

Besides attacking Bennett, feelers have also gone after Larry Summers, Bill Maher and John Roberts....

 

 Schools, with their focus on raising students' self—esteem, are doing everything possible to raise our children as feelers. U.S. students do horribly on international math tests but get top marks in mathematical self—esteem. Anything that makes a person or group feel bad is considered a sin by the educational establishment. One educationist even frets over "the damage done to [students'] self—esteem by the dominant culture's fetish about reading and writing." Another consequence of the triumph of educational feelers is the prevalence of speech codes at many colleges which are designed to prevent favored groups from having their feelings hurt.

Miller is right, of course, But the causes go beyond elementary schooling. Postmodernism, with its belief that there is no truth, and that power is all that matters, has damaged our academic infrastructure and corrupted our intellectuals. Empowering the powerless means being guided by the interests and their feelings. Feminist college and graduate courses in particular emphasize that feelings are real and valid criteria for making decisions.

 

Any site named "The American Thinker" will naturally incline toward reason rather than emotion for making decisions. Emotions are a valid consideration, as Bill Benett no doubt now realizes. It is not reasonable to aggravate emotions neeldlessly. But our societal trend toward honoring emotion over reason is a big problem for future generations. It is an invitation to a more primitive society.

 

Thomas Lifson  10 03 05

James D. Miller, writing on TechCentralStation, makes a fundamental and useful distinction between those who react emotionally to public events, and those who react from a process of reason. He uses the imbroglio over Bill Bennett's recent comments as the most recent, but far from the only manifestation of a troubling tendency:

 No thinking person listening to Bennett would conclude that he ever advocated abortiong black babies.

But Bennett's abortion remarks did conjure a horrible image of the mass killing of unborn black children. Feelers, those who believe emotional reaction should trump all else, naturally were horrified at Bennett's comment. A feeler would find this image very painful to bear. A feeler, therefore, might feel that Bennett would have presented listeners with such a word—picture only if he himself was not bothered by the idea of killing black babies. Thinkers, however, have been defending Bennett because they believe that intellectual rigor often requires deliberately confronting painful images to get at truth.

 

Besides attacking Bennett, feelers have also gone after Larry Summers, Bill Maher and John Roberts....

 

 Schools, with their focus on raising students' self—esteem, are doing everything possible to raise our children as feelers. U.S. students do horribly on international math tests but get top marks in mathematical self—esteem. Anything that makes a person or group feel bad is considered a sin by the educational establishment. One educationist even frets over "the damage done to [students'] self—esteem by the dominant culture's fetish about reading and writing." Another consequence of the triumph of educational feelers is the prevalence of speech codes at many colleges which are designed to prevent favored groups from having their feelings hurt.

Miller is right, of course, But the causes go beyond elementary schooling. Postmodernism, with its belief that there is no truth, and that power is all that matters, has damaged our academic infrastructure and corrupted our intellectuals. Empowering the powerless means being guided by the interests and their feelings. Feminist college and graduate courses in particular emphasize that feelings are real and valid criteria for making decisions.

 

Any site named "The American Thinker" will naturally incline toward reason rather than emotion for making decisions. Emotions are a valid consideration, as Bill Benett no doubt now realizes. It is not reasonable to aggravate emotions neeldlessly. But our societal trend toward honoring emotion over reason is a big problem for future generations. It is an invitation to a more primitive society.

 

Thomas Lifson  10 03 05