Thursday, June 23, 2011

How To Disown Your Worldview

by CWK

I just read a piece in Time Magazine where the author, a liberal, tries to give advice to conservatives. The advice is, basically, "be more liberal." The author styles himself as an objective friend of all conservatives, and a man who wants to see them return to their roots: roots, which are, amazingly, liberal.

The piece contains laments such as, "Watching this election campaign, one wonders what has happened to that (conservative) tradition."

One wonders, huh? Which one? O, you, the objective observer. Gotcha.

And, "But (American) history has been forgotten."

Again, which one? Ah, the one which proves your point. Gotcha.

After making the argument that conservative philosophy has been defined by realism, our author laments that fact that contemporary conservatives have drifted toward abstraction. Then, he longs for yesteryear, when, "conservatives used to be the ones with heads firmly based in reality."

For reals? Well, then it would follow that their heads are still firmly based in reality. If "realism" is a tenant of conservatism, and these folks are conservatives -- then, by definition, they must be realists. Or else, not conservatives.

The author pleads, he cajoles, he emotes; he really feels badly about the fall of republicans from prominence. Except, he doesn't. The tone of the article was chiding, with a touch of sentimentality. That bothered me. It bothered me more that our author was pretending to be something he wasn't -- a conservative sympathizer who longed for the good old days.

Why would he do such a thing? Maybe he had his eye on the ever elusive "literary objectivity." Or, perhaps, he thought such an approach would endear him to the opposition. He was, one of them, after all. Only, he wasn't. He saw things just like them. Only, he didn't.

I've noticed this kind of disingenuous writing a fair amount over the years. It feigns objectivity. Or, it feigns partiality with the other side. It amounts to disowning one's worldview. I'm against this with every fiber of my being. So, what follows is satirical advice on how to disown your worldview. Remember, satire folks!


Above all, you want to give your reader the impression that you are neutral, unbiased, and dispassionate. Now, you will need to disown your worldview for a few minutes as you write. Don't worry. It's for a good cause.

Let’s say you are passionate about democracy; you will then need to write your piece as if you were the number one fan of totalitarian dictatorships. Remember, the goal is not to write something which is authentic. The goal is to write something that is dispassionate, and oddly honest: honest in the most perverse and dishonest way possible. Sure, you embrace democracy. You think it is the best form of government. No you don’t. You despise democracies. You see right through them, with all their voting, and electing, and power to the people, and ‘hypocrisy.’

Next, insert your worldview in subtle, tricky ways.

In the previous step, I advised you to disown your worldview. Now, I am advising you to insert it? No, not quite. I am advising you to insert it in subtle ways. If you insert your worldview very subtly your reader will still have the impression that you are dispassionate, while you are, all the while, tricking them into accepting the worldview that you yourself have disowned for the sake of ‘literary honesty.’ Confusing? That’s what your reader will say.

Let’s say you are a liberal. Let's say you are writing a novel. Well, as you are writing your novel about Jess, the farm boy who achieves musical stardom, you come across a serious problem. Jess is probably a conservative republican. Yikes. There is only one thing to do. Jess must become a convinced liberal activist at some point in the novel. So, as he is traveling around Alabama, playing in saloons, he meets up with green-eyed Bella. Bella used to be a conservative, but now she works for Al Gore as a speech writer. Well, Jess falls in love with Bella after seeing her at a show. Blah. Blah. Blah. Jess sees the light, travels back to Iowa, and becomes the first liberal mayor in the history of his conservative small town. Then, Bella breaks up with him just before he gets his first record deal. Blah. Blah. Blah. Then, Jess is abducted by aliens, and taken to the planet Regidon. He barely escapes death by lulling the aliens to sleep with a country and western tune. Blah. Blah. Blah. He becomes the first liberal prime minister of the planet Regidon.

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