In revisiting Richard Weaver it occurred to me that a significant by-product of the relativism sparked by the evolution of the philosophy of nominalism that he explains is a pervasive subjectivism that colors every issue in the public realm. As a society it seems we have dumped objectivism and adopted an attitude totally driven by our “feelings”. I recently stumbled upon an interesting article by Lance Morrow, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who discusses this phenomenon as follows:
The 21st century’s amazing alteration in American life–the advance of new normals on every front–have been promulgated by a vast autocracy of feelings…….A sort of arrested development is at work in such passions. In the over-privileged, they amount to a decadent luxury. In the underprivileged, grievances transmuted into feelings become a weapon of demagogues and neurotics. To the rest of us, the adult world is more complicated, and vastly more interesting, than Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Over time, this autocracy can, and already is, creating what some have called “idea laundering”, developing whole new categories of language and nonsensical jargon like “intersectionality”, “triggering”, “sicgender”, etc., that are being trafficked in higher education circles as credible intellectual studies. And the tragedy is that we’re buying into this nonsense. More consequences, and the trouble is that many of these in this instance are not unintended. We need more Weaver, but I’ll bet he is not on many freshman assigned reading lists.