A Harvard psychology professor might want to rethink his claim that conservatives are more fearful

Sometimes, timing is everything.  Steven Pinker, who is a Harvard psychology professor just published a long opinion piece in the New York Times explaining why there is a Red State/Blue State divide.  As a predicate to his discussion, he began by dividing the mindsets that characterize conservatives and their Progressive counterparts:

Conservative thinkers like the economist Thomas Sowell and the Times columnist David Brooks have noted that the political right has a Tragic Vision of human nature, in which people are permanently limited in morality, knowledge and reason. Human beings are perennially tempted by aggression, which can be prevented only by the deterrence of a strong military, of citizens resolved to defend themselves and of the prospect of harsh criminal punishment. No central planner is wise or knowledgeable enough to manage an entire economy, which is better left to the invisible hand of the market, in which intelligence is distributed across a network of hundreds of millions of individuals implicitly transmitting information about scarcity and abundance through the prices they negotiate. Humanity is always in danger of backsliding into barbarism, so we should respect customs in sexuality, religion and public propriety, even if no one can articulate their rationale, because they are time-tested workarounds for our innate shortcomings. The left, in contrast, has a Utopian Vision, which emphasizes the malleability of human nature, puts customs under the microscope, articulates rational plans for a better society and seeks to implement them through public institutions.

(First, a quibble:  David Brooks is not a conservative.  He is, instead, a lukewarm liberal who has a good sinecure at the New York Times by pretending to be conservative.  Aside from that, he’s not very bright.  He can talk the talk, but anyone who is overwhelmed by the crease in a presidential candidate’s pants is not a serious thinker, or even a very serious human being. Quibble over. )

Pinker is correct that Sowell, who is a God amongst conservative thinkers, does talk about the conservative “tragic vision.”  I’m not sure I agree with Sowell’s terminology, though.  He’s not describing tragedy, so much as he is describing a realistic understanding of humankind, unpolluted by Utopianism.

In the tragic vision, individual sufferings and social evils are inherent in the innate deficiencies of all human beings, whether these deficiencies are in knowledge, wisdom, morality, or courage. Moreover, the available resources are always inadequate to fulfill all the desires of all the people. Thus there are no “solutions” in the tragic vision, but only trade-offs that still leave many unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world.

Here’s where the timing bit comes in:  In the above quoted paragraph, Pinker contends that the Left has a Utopian vision.  While it’s true that the Left believes that the State can coerce people into a utilitarian conformism, the Utopianism seems to have leaked away recently.  How else to explain the latest Obama campaign effort (h/t Newsbusters)?

Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea

We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair

It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!

If that isn’t dystopianism, I honestly don’t know what is.  The Obama campaign has no faith whatsoever in human kind.  If it had faith, it wouldn’t believe that the only answer is Big Government.  The campaign would believe in the people and ease off of the constant coercion that is modern Progressivism.

I cannot think of a more repugnant, off-putting advertisement than this dark, twisted vision of the future, one that insults at least half of the American people and that is, quite frankly, stupid and hysterical.  I really thought the campaign had plumbed the depths with its Lena Dunham ad (voting for Obama is like sex) but it’s never wise to underestimate the ugliness behind the Obama campaign.  One can only wonder what the coming week’s ad cycle will bring from a campaign that must work with a pathetic executive record and an increasingly unlikable candidate.

(By the way, to the extent that this video is only one in a series of disturbing Obama campaign videos, you can vote for the one you think is worst here, at the Gay Patriot.)