Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Emotion Needs No Canon

Its no secret to frequent patrons of JGAH that every morning's coffee before work starts off with a perusal of Powerline.

During this morning's perusal, I ran across Steve Hayward's piece "Why Is There No Liberal Ayn Rand?".  Steve links to a article that asks the question, and Steve and the posters that follow do a fine job of touching on it.

I wrote what I thought was a good response, and then it got lost somehow.  I'll recap it here.

Steve points out that the left has no "Canon" of great works that it bases its arguments on.  My answer is simple.

Contemporary American Liberalism is driven by emotion.  And emotion needs no canon.  Contemporary American Conservatives tend to look at the world as it is, and understand it based on history, especially the history of the last 100 years.  We attempt to address the human condition vis a vis governance by looking at what has traditionally worked and what hasn't.  In short, we are emotional, but our emotion is based on logical thought.  We hate suffering as much as anyone.  What's the solution?  Not what is the politically expedient solution, but what really works?

We DO have a canon: the works of de Tocqueville, Locke and Adam Smith, to name a few.  Locke in particular influenced the beliefs of our founders and the writing of our Founding Documents.  And to be blunt, history CONTINUES to vindicate our canon. 

The Left and its many adherents in today's Democratic Party, campaign on and are driven by, emotion.  Emotion needs no great text or deep thought, just raw feelings.  That's why Democrats have an easy job campaigning against things proffered by Republicans.  Emotion can easily trump judgment.  And when that happens, people can have a tendency to vote with emotion.  Its an uphill battle for Republicans as a result.

Every time I torture myself by watching Democrats hold conventions and give speeches, I'm left scratching my head and just saying, "Oh Sweet Jesus, how does any thinking adult take this childish party seriously?"

The Ryan pick is truly going to put this to the test.  Can we still win based on reason, keeping emotion at bay?  The next couple of months will show.  I sure hope so.