The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely. – Dale Carnegie
Do you have a high opinion of yourself? That is: Do you believe yourself to be generally superior to others? Not in one specific aspect of intellect, ethics, or competence, mind you, but essentially across-the-board, with maybe one or two areas of deficiency you’ll humbly concede if pressed?
If so, you’re not alone; far from it. Peters and Waterman noted that tendency among us more than thirty years ago. They also noted how important it is to our drive to achieve. For a truly realistic man, whatever he thinks of himself, is aware, even if only subconsciously, that his high opinion of himself must be supported by actual accomplishment.
So while it might be inadvisable to start conversations with new acquaintances by praising yourself to the skies, if you believe yourself to be a “winner,” you can relax about it. Just go out there and “win.” Do things: good things, things that will improve the lives of others (and not coincidentally, that will make you a mountain of bucks). Yes, yes, to follow that course you’ll need some actual talent at something, but virtually everyone is genuinely, objectively good at something. Find that something and get to it.
This is not the passion of the Left.
Courtesy of my referrer log, I’ve just encountered a fellow curmudgeon with a few good things to say. I hope he’ll permit me a lengthy quote from his latest:
I’m aware coastal elites deplore me without clicking on Slate, having NPR drilled into my truck’s radio, or watching MSNBC’s talking heads. But, in the interest of paying attention to those who hate me, I tuned in. This one needs a fisking; good and hard.
Let’s start with my failings. They’re still freaking out and I hadn’t absorbed that fact. I assumed nobody can stay pissed forever. Blissful isolation led me to expect the post-election hyperventilation was fading.
At some level I get it. It was a shock. Finding out there are people who aren’t exactly like you is a tough lesson. I always thought that’s why two year olds are such brats. They’re learning the world exists independently of them. This guy didn’t realize the diversity (!) of the electorate and he’s working through it.
I figured it was just a matter of time. Give ’em a week of burning cars or their own neighborhoods, then (for those with lots of spare time) a few more weeks of moping. Eventually being sad gets boring and you move on. Maybe tragedy mired lefty voters need to watch Inside Out, Pixar’s instructional video for children?
Please read the whole thing. It’s a Schaum’s Outline in how to cope with a Leftist on a tear. But beyond even that, it beautifully illustrates one of the fundamental cleavages between the mindsets of the Left and the Right.
To cram it into as few words as possible:
The Leftist believes his personal superiority entitles him to remold, silence, or defeat the Rightist, by whatever means are expedient.
If you’ve ever wondered about the propensity of socialist and communist regimes to institute “re-education” campaigns for their “unreconstructed” subjects, there’s your explanation.
One of the words I most despise, along with the sub-concepts usually associated with it, is compassion. Note how those on the Left wield this word as a shillelagh against those who differ with them. Note also how little personal investment the typical Leftist puts into compassionate (by his lights) undertakings. You can’t help but suspect that he’d rather not rub shoulders with the “oppressed” whose “sufferings” he champions; after all, look at where he’s chosen to live. He feels he’s discharged 100% of his “compassionate” obligations by voting the straight Democrat ticket. All else he leaves to the minions of the State.
But he’s “compassionate.” If you differ with him politically, you’re not, no matter what you may do personally to assist those whose difficulties are no fault of their own. That judgment is the foundation of his “assumption of differential rectitude.” That’s his Weltanschaaung, and there’s little to be done about it.
In quasi-humorous illustration of the effects of this attitude upon our discourse, we have this piece from the brilliant Joanne Nova. Savor it; it’s much too good to reduce to a pull-quote.
By virtue of his superior “compassion,” the Leftist believes himself morally licensed to do anything at all that might advance his cause...even if he would condemn his chosen means were they to be used by a Rightist.
The media, almost entirely composed of the “compassionate,” do their best to conceal, obscure, or rationalize low tactics when embraced for a Left-approved cause. This 2009 piece by Quin Hillyer is a beautiful case in point. I advise you to save it on your own computer, just in case something should happen to it.
As usual, I’ve been circling around my point. That’s my style, as any regular Gentle Reader will know. But the point is sufficiently difficult for men of good will to grasp that in this instance at least, laying a solid foundation for it was important.
Note the disjunction between the Leftist’s attachment to Democrat policies and the real-world results of those policies. Note how few Leftists are willing to criticize their political idols, even by implication, for having failed of their nominal objectives. News junkie that I am, I can’t remember ever hearing a major-media interviewer, graced with access to some Democrat luminary, pose a question at all like the following:
“Mr. Democrat, you and your co-partisans have expanded the welfare state beyond all previous bounds, yet dependency in America continues to increase. You’ve harped on the importance of non-discrimination, diversity, and so forth, yet racial animosity has never been worse. You’ve preached the importance to peace of not having a ‘threatening’ military, yet as our military has shrunk, international affairs have become more violent. Do the evident failures of your policy prescriptions ever tempt you to re-examine them?”
Questions such as that are only emitted by the “uncompassionate.” The Democrat will immediately classify such an interviewer as hostile, and resolve never again to be interviewed by him. His next interviewer will be one of the Good Guys – the left-liberals – with which the media are so well supplied.
Mr. Democrat and his interviewer must have a priority in common to get along. They must share the passion of the Left for its conviction of intellectual and moral superiority:
That precludes ever questioning one’s own convictions or the premises on which they’re founded. It precludes being examined, rather than flattered, by the media. It demands that anyone who seems poised to resist control of his opinions, decisions, or actions be classified as “the enemy:” to be re-educated at the least, destroyed at the worst.
After all, if you’re not solidly behind the Left’s program, you must be stupid, evil, or both, right? If you’re stupid, straightening you out for your own good would be the compassionate thing to do. If you’re evil, that’s not possible; all that would remain is a mercy killing, out of compassion for the poor benighted souls you might mislead if permitted to continue. The reinforcement for the Leftist’s own sense of superiority would be purely incidental.
That is the passion of the Left.