Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings



November 25, 2015

Public policy is all about soothing wounded feelings, right?

I do not believe it is good practice for public policy – whether local, state, or national – to be set according to emotion and sentiment. Truth is longer-lasting and provides a much better foundation for life that flourishes.

Genuine love is not squishy. It is not divorced from truth and reality.

I saw this quote recently by a man named Josef Pieper, a Thomas Aquinas scholar. This needs to be read by everyone who is in a place of leadership. Ideally, every American citizen needs to live with this understanding:

Love is not synonymous with undifferentiated approval of everything the beloved person thinks and does in real life. . . . [nor is it] the wish for the beloved to feel good always and in every situation and for him to be spared experiencing pain or grief in all circumstances. “Mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except [the beloved’s] suffering” has nothing to do with real love. . . . No lover can look on easily when he sees the one he loves preferring convenience to the good.

This is a window into our current culture and how we seem to want things to be decided. “Let’s just all feel good. Let’s make sure no one is ever offended – ever – by anything. And let’s make long-term national policy based on how we are feeling right now.”

Never mind that feelings change from week to week. Or day to day. Or hour to hour.

When I write on this blog about today’s issues, I have in mind public policy. I do not intend to personally attack individuals and their choices. I want to encourage us to look thoughtfully at a much broader picture, and not be guided primarily by emotion.

follow your heart

“Follow your heart” is actually pretty wretched advice.

“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (If you are interested, here is the context of this statement. It’s highly relevant to the health of individuals and nations.) The heart needs to be tempered by truth and wisdom.

My call is to base decisions on reality, not sentimental fantasy or Political Correctness, which is today’s gold standard for Being Incorrect.



Photos: Rafael Aguilo on Flickr. Mudretsov Olexandr on Stockvault, Wikipedia

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