Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

George Will vs. Our Spectacular Anger

George takes on the "look-at-me" self-indulgence of "anger chic," which he sees, in his fair-and-balanced way, in the outrage so many claim to feel about either or both President Clinton and the current President Bush. He prefers the old-fashioned and more genuinely political "reluctant anger," which is directed against real evildoers and is actually employed by reason to change minds. Required reading for all bloggers!

Discussions - 6 Comments

Peter, how much of what Will writes about is due to the general lack of skills in the art of persuasion? I would assume those skills used to be taught, and perhaps still are at places like Ashland. I doubt they’re taught much any place else.

My skills in that area are weak at best. Still, I see almost no attempt to employ persuasive techniques any more. It’s more an assertion of opinion followed up with a lot of yelling.

There’s definetely a "showy" or intentionally self-designating component to the more fashionable, less restrained variety of political anger; that seems to be typical of any easily triggered moral indignation. When it’s not used to foreclose debate through a kind of shaming (oddly enough in Martha Nussbaum’s post-shame world), it seems like a mechanism of melodramatic assertiveness: if the world we live in is oppressive and corrupt, then the morally indignant are courageous. In this view the virtue is in being identified as the underdog--this is a necessarily imperfect reading but it seems closer to Nietzsche’s ressentiment than the thymos Mansfield describes so well.

Americans, and especially conservatives, have every right to be furious at Bush. He has us engaged in an Unconstitutional neocon war in Iraq, and he supports the third-world invasion of the US. He is probably the worst president in US History. I voted for him twice but, like many others, I recently signed the Conservative Exodus Project:

like many others, I recently signed the Conservative Exodus Project

"like many others" who apparently share the same IP address.

I’m too furious to read it.

’Unconstitutional neocon war in Iraq’

However, there is nothing to back that claim up.

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