I want to introduce a new word into political lingo: “Mushycons.” David Limbaugh is a good example of one.
He strenuously pushes, in good but blind faith, for what he considers “conservatism.” What is that conservatism? Mostly a strong belief in American exceptionalism, a sentimentalistic view of human nature, and a strong but undefined sense that All Will Be Well if we just act like decent people.
Obviously all would be well if everyone would act decently. But many wont, and his belief that simply saying it over and over will make it happen is telling. It demonstrates that he has no real grasp on the world. He doesn’t understand people.
There are other Mushycons than David Limbaugh. Mike Pence is a good example, though his personal tastes differ from Limbaugh’s. But they both align in that they have a sappy view of human nature and a strong but vague sense that advocating decency will Make All Well.
Now if it were just these two talking this way, I wouldn’t mention it. But they are exponents of a large group on the right. Not a few right-wingers oppose Trump because he isn’t “decent.” Increasingly they’re getting on board the Trump Train. But it’s because he’s got the only train in the station.
So what are these people then? Sappy people with good intentions? Perhaps they aren’t sappy at all. Perhaps this is the answer:
We all tend to view the world from our own standpoint. As such, most of our blindness in life is due to measuring people’s actions from our standpoint instead of theirs. There is no relativism in this. This is merely a question of motive, of goal.
So let’s say folks like David Limbaugh are, and want to be, decent in their lives. They see clearly the good things that flow from this behavior and naturally urge others to act the same. Additionally, they see the evils that flow from not being decent. Their minds turn on little else, and as such they conclude that, as stated above, All Will Be Well if the goal of being decent were adopted. Thus they avoid anyone who doesn’t act in a decent way, and continually, in spite of circumstances, urge that others act decently too.
Now, an incautious decency gets you into trouble. For instance, you wouldn’t want to be president and be decent with Putin. You’d want to be cold and ruthless because that’s what he’s going to be. Anything less will put you at a disadvantage.
Decent people deserve to be treated decently. And indecent people don’t, although it may be politic to do so. But to act decently to everyone is hazardous. It sets you up for dangerous exposure.
To come back to the concept of “Mushycons,” it seems that they can be described thus:
- They do little of their own thinking; thus their intellect is loaded with the ideas of others;
- They know little of the world around them, and thus know little of human nature;
- Therefore, they think that they can just advocate their core motive, decency, and that that will be enough.
I think that, to take concepts from my post on knowledge, that these people aren’t seers or calculators. They see little of the world and as such know little of it. Also, they aren’t thinking men: they don’t draw lines between the things they’ve learned to increase their body of knowledge. As such, they only know what they’ve been told. Since nothing has ever contradicted their view of human nature, they keep their unfounded thoughts. They approach the world very dimly, and measure people based on how they themselves would act. Hence the misunderstanding of human nature.
They don’t see the world as a place built out of people with different goals. Instead, they see a world in which everyone at bottom has the same goal, but some have forgotten it. As such, they think mere advocacy will do the job. It’s like the imprint is there, but it must be unearthed.
I think this is very clear in George W. Bush, and his conviction when president that everyone on earth wanted American style freedom. As such, in the case of Iraq, all they needed was to be liberated for All To Be Well. Since, to Bush, they wanted exactly what he wanted, all he had to do was give them the opportunity and they would act like Americans. This didn’t happen, obviously. It didn’t happen, because the Iraqis have different goals than Americans do. As such, liberating them from Saddam Hussein gave them free rein to do what they’d do, not what we would do.
We see the same thing with people, typically right wingers, who believe that amnesty and immigration is actually a good thing. They’ll say things like “They’re just coming here to live their lives;” or “They just want to escape oppression, like we did with George the 3rd;” or “They just want a better life for their children.” And on and on it goes. All these statements have nothing to do with the immigrants themselves: it’s purely a projection of the people saying them.
This is because, again, they aren’t seers or calculators. They know little of the world, and as such they assume other people are like them. There are bad people, like Saddam Hussein, that keep people from all acting the same: but at bottom, to these people, we all want the same thing.
That explains their naiveté. It also explains their denseness to facts. The statistics of immigrant crime and poverty, for instance, have no effect on them. This is because they don’t have the capacity to process the information, or even just see the results themselves. They are stuck in their own world, because they only understand (A), what is inside themselves; (B), what has been drilled into their heads over and over again.
So at bottom, the Mushycons are this: decent people without clear sight or strong minds for calculation. As such, they know cliches and what’s inside themselves.