Friday, June 21, 2024

Trump and the Post-Shame Society

Axios essay:
America is reaching the pinnacle of a post-shame society forged by Donald Trump and reinforced by powerful patrons.

Why it matters: Nearly 50 years after Richard Nixon resigned before ever being charged with a crime, the GOP is a month away from nominating a convicted felon to be president. Polls suggest the race is extremely close.

The big picture: While he may represent the most extreme example, Trump isn't the only one who has realized a lack of shame can be a crucial survival skill. ...

Between the lines: The "never back down" phenomenon has spread to corners of the business world in recent years — led primarily by Elon Musk. ...

The bottom line: If Watergate happened in 2024, there's every chance Nixon would have hung in there.

I think Pres. Nixon should have hung in there. Everybody thinks he was guilty, but nobody can say what he was guilty of. I always thought his biggest crime was obstruction of justice, by telling the FBI that the Watergate break-in was a CIA operation But most of the burglars were CIA operatives, and the FBI is under the Executive Branch, so I think the President can tell the FBI whatever he wants. I do not see why it is a crime.

Axios refers to the Guilt–shame–fear spectrum of cultures:

In cultural anthropology, the distinction between a guilt society or guilt culture, shame society or shame culture, and a fear society or culture of fear, has been used to categorize different cultures.[1] The differences can apply to how behavior is governed with respect to government laws, business rules, or social etiquette. This classification has been applied especially to what anthropologist Ruth Benedict called "apollonian" societies, sorting them according to the emotions they use to control individuals (especially children) and maintaining social order, swaying them into norm obedience and conformity.[2]
America has always been a guilt society. Immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Arab World are nearly always shame-based, and do not assimilate even after several generations.

The guilt mechanism is vastly superior to shame and fear. If you want proof, just ask parents who have tried these three methods. For example:

Shame is a uniquely painful emotion. Unlike guilt, which is linked to specific actions and therefore serves as an effective behavior modification tool, shame is universal. It makes us feel bad about ourselves as people in ways that can lead to self-harm and severe physical effects. When someone feels shame, their heart rate increases, their body temperature elevates, and their muscles contract. Shame-filled people lose sleep and their appetites, becoming irritable, sick, and prone to drug and alcohol abuse. This is all very bad news for parents of young children, who research suggests are neurologically vulnerable to feelings of shame during the first two years of their children’s lives. Why are we wired this way? Because we inherit our shame and because we’re all too willing to entertain the notion that we’re bad parents.
Using guilt teaches kids to think for themselves, and to develop autonomy and responsibility.

This is one of the big differences between Christendom and the rest of the world, and the difference has persisted for a millennium. I suspect that it is in the genes now, as Westerners are much more individualistic than Asians, whether religious or not. It is a good reason for Europe and USA to not allow immigration from shame-based societies.


CFT said...

I recall one Bill Clinton wagging his finger at the camera with tremendous conviction. Didn't really strike me as his being particularly ashamed of himself. Al Gore certainly didn't have much shame, his family wealth was almost entirely from oil and yet he still to this day loves to fly around the world on private jets while telling everyone how ashamed they should be for their carbon footprint. John Kerry was also caught paying off his former dalliances and didn't show much shame...and he certainly wasn't dragged into court so his mistress could mock his penis size, and then be prosecuted for 'election interference' as a felon.

For me to take shame seriously, there has to be some genuine self reflection and remorse, followed by a change of behavior, which clearly isn't happening inside the political party of woke and virtue signalling. If you want to draw my attention about something someone else is doing wrong, don't be doing even more of the same thing yourself. Democrats do so love to clutch their pearls while doing far more of what they claim to hate.

"I may have been born at night, but not last night"
famous southern idiom

“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”
Judge Judy

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"
Hamlet, probably Edward De Vere 17th Earl of Oxford

CFT said...

Correction, I meant to say John Edwards, not John Kerry got caught paying off their fling. John Kerry was just a garden variety blowhard that tried to turn a minor finger injury into a purple heart medal.