Saturday, December 13, 2008

Anger = Stupidity? Is that really what you mean?

Brad DeLong offers us a post about Gideon Richman, who ran up against the forces of Drudge in a post that called for some kind of world legal body. I don't really want to get into that here, interesting as it may be (actually, the original post is behind the veil, so I can't see it). No, it's the infelicitous comment Richman makes, which may be simply handled wrong, but strikes me as a fair reflection of the thinking of a lot of people:
There is an unbelievable amount of anger and hatred out there - directed at everything from the UN to big business to Barack Obama. These people can read, but they cannot think.
Richman may not be demonstrating an implication here, but it reads that way, that people who are angry somehow can't think. Well, I am angry, and Carrie is angry (at least sometimes), and Jill is angry, and a whole lot of people are who think that those we have allowed to guide and lead us these past years have done everything but. We see our lives, and the lives of our children and grandchildren, circumscribed in ways we never thought possible, we see what we have worked for jeopardized, and you bet we're angry.

Passion may be the enemy of clarity, but that refers to the white-hot passion that sweeps away all reason. The anger that many Americans feel is a deeply-felt sense of betrayal, but it has not eliminated thinking. It has informed the logical parts of our brains, urging us to seek out the facts that support those feelings.

Of course, not everyone is that way, some people are ignorant and carry only passion into an argument. But it is illogical to contend that anger of necessity leads to an irrational and indiscriminate lashing out, not when so many have used that anger to focus their thinking and their actions. A rant may be the ravings of a lunatic, but so too may it express a passion in a world with too many voices.

1 comment:

JohnDiddler said...

i should keep more careful notes. in our first conversation, you said you were angry. but later you denied it. now you say you're angry again. perhaps you claimed anger all along, and i misunderstood. but i really do remember a point where you said you were not. whatever. i'm not anti-anger, anyway. carrie's angry, but that's not the problem. she's also ignorant. and me? vocal idiots make me angry. so we're all angry. let's rage!

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