Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Fault Lies Not In Our Politics, But In Ourselves

     The dawn of every new election season is accompanied by a vociferous clamour from voters, bemoaning the low standards of our politics. As if they have no hand in choosing their own representatives in government. After all, isn't our politics just a reflection of our culture, which is the wellspring from where our politicians originate? And if our politics is corrupt, isn't the well that is the source of that politics is also tainted?  In this most recent election, the voters rejected the candidate who ran a positive and uplifting campaign, in favor of the one who ran a campaign that produced the highest percentage (86%) of negative ads in Presidential politics. No intellectually honest person can make the case that it was the decent-minded that re-elected Barrack Obama, but rather those voters in the the clutches of the Jerry Springer mentality. It is their continued acceptance of lower, and lower political standards, as well as societal standards, which have poisoned the well. What the late Daniel Patrick Moynahan called, "Defining deviancy down."
     This phenomenon occurs daily in offices, warehouses and other places of employment. You may have even experienced it yourself, i.e. some one who is totally incompetent gets a promotion and you are left scratching your head. Many times the incompetent possess only one skill, selling themselves. I have worked for companies where the promoted actually have a long record of incompetence and failure. But they have the ability to politic and cause the people who control the levers of power to advance them into positions for which they aren't really qualified. The incompetent seem to possess the ability to make people feel good about providing them with whatever they need to be happy.
     It is not only work places and politics where the phenomenon of rewarding failure is practiced. One can see it in our schools, where students are given credit for "trying", even if their results are empirically wrong. Rewarding incompetence is a corollary to the self-esteem movement that has infected our schools specifically and our culture in general over the last 25 years. We teach our children that getting it right is not as important as feeling right about themselves. Which runs contrary to human nature that teaches self-esteem through actual accomplishment. The Liberal mindset that artificially doles out self-esteem, causes those raised under it to believe in rewarding behavior that doesn't merit the reward, like promoting the incompetent. This practice is in no short supply with much of modern day parenting. How many times have you seen a young mother give an unruly child a treat, just to mollify them? Or allow their child to be disrespectful to others all in the name of letting the child "express" themselves?
     The antithetical to rewarding failure is punishing success, and it is a necessary part of the former mindset. In the last 40 years we have seen a gradual move in our society towards punishing success, which has accelerated almost immeasurably in the last four years. This mindset has become so ingrained in our society that we just re-elected a President, not based on his dismal record of failure, but on his ability to convince people to hate those more successful than themselves. When we reach the place as a society where success and competence have been bred out of us as a people, then the world we will have created will be a soulless and dark place where there is no room for feeding the human spirit through real success, accomplishment and excellence.

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