Generalities and Exceptions

The earlier post about generalities is boring. I did not write it at the critical moment and the enthusiasm at the end was neither warranted or deserved.

In that post there is only one point worth anything: if you are going to give good traits to a group, it means there are bad traits as well. Outside of this point, the whole post is fluff and meaningless.

People attack generalities. They see exceptions to the rules, to the general judgment leveled, and believe that judging the group means you judge the excellent individual too. For example, it is obvious that single mothers raise worse children than traditional mothers with husbands and income. This very obvious fact is denied, not only on behalf of the excellent single mothers out there (no one denies they exist), but also and more importantly the Egals use those excellent single mothers as excuses to attack every “judgment” or “discrimination” made by a normal decent person.

It is better that we trust our own judgments on these things, rather than go about saying “oh no, I can think of an exception, so now I need to deny the obvious.” And indeed, this practice might begin as politeness—”I don’t say nasty things about single mothers because I might make a mistake, and there might be single mother out there that is excellent. I have heard of Mrs. Gilmore.”

What begins as an act of politeness turns into a discipline, eventually into a prison. And the inmates scream through the bars demanding the rest of us huddle in. What I mean: It is easy to go from being polite on behalf of a few excellent single moms, to thinking well of all single mothers. This movement is especially easy when you do not want to say anyone is better than anyone else as a moral principle. And so the mind becomes imprisoned. Instead of thinking who is better and why, i.e., instead of doing what a mind naturally does—seek out the good things and avoid the bad—the Egal begins to spend his (or her!) time figuring out ways to second guess and undermine his own judgments. When Strauss says “anyone with eyes can see” he means “anyone who does not blind himself can see that this is so.” When Norm Macdonald says to an interviewer “You haven’t heard? Black people are poor” he is attacking that prison with comedy.

We are called into the prison in two ways. First of all, the inmates demand that we too refrain from being honest with ourselves. They demand that we join them in the Prison of Wishful Thinking. This form of aggression is what we might call moderate leftism, and normal Republican Partyism. But then the inmates go further, and we learn that single mothers are better than traditional mothers. Isn’t this so? Isn’t every group that is obviously worse first protected against “discrimination” and next proclaimed superior? They are innocent. Those who are their betters are not innocent, or at least they are suspect. They probably think the wicked condescending thoughts. And they subtly discriminate and oppress, even just by being happy and unconcerned. Traditional mothers can only redeem themselves by becoming an “ally” of single mothers.

I want this blog to be a fight against that prison and every form of ingratitude. We have a good crew.

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