Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The demise of dignity

David Brooks has an interesting editorial on the New York Times site concerning dignity and the loss thereof from our culture:
Washington absorbed, and later came to personify what you might call the dignity code. The code was based on the same premise as the nation’s Constitution — that human beings are flawed creatures who live in constant peril of falling into disasters caused by their own passions. Artificial systems have to be created to balance and restrain their desires.

The dignity code commanded its followers to be disinterested — to endeavor to put national interests above personal interests. It commanded its followers to be reticent — to never degrade intimate emotions by parading them in public. It also commanded its followers to be dispassionate — to distrust rashness, zealotry, fury and political enthusiasm.

He has me right up until he holds up Barak Obama as a modern example of dignity. But then perhaps when he lists a trait of dignity as putting national interests above personal interests he equates party interest with national interest. Certainly Obama has done much for his party, his followers, and his supporters. I don't see much sign of him doing what is best for the national interest.

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