Paul Mankowski on sentimental moralism: We're told that a goldfish has a memory so brief that at the conclusion of each circuit of its bowl it forgets everything it knew at the beginning. I think of …More
Paul Mankowski on sentimental moralism: We're told that a goldfish has a memory so brief that at the conclusion of each circuit of its bowl it forgets everything it knew at the beginning. I think of liberals as moral goldfish, blissfully free of moral memory, who swim about in a ceaselessly changing bath of sentimentalisms. They are often full of moral indignation, but this indignation doesn't derive from moral principles -- from the kind of reasoning that can tell you that this embryo is an intact human being even though it doesn't look like one -- rather their resentments are triggered by emotionally freighted images they take in from the stream of ephemeral pop culture: music, films, videos, and especially television. Historical precedent and philosophical consistency are simply not important. Hence the very same persons who blame the bystanders of 1940 for not taking more risks to derail the Holocaust often oppose (and abusively oppose) those who blockade abortion clinics, even though the latter are responding to the moral reasoning that makes it urgent to rescue the innocent from unjust death. Or again, how often have sentimentalists shown us the famous picture of that Vietnamese girl running naked and screaming from her napalm burns? Yet when pro-lifers attempt to display photos of aborted fetuses, they're blacked-out or shouted down. Different moral principle? No, wrong sentimentalism, wrong yuck-factor.
gold fish & red herringsBusted Halo's Bill McGarvey interviews Melinda Henneberger, who, as is her wont, pin-balls all over the theological map as her feelings flip her. I …