… let me quell your pain.”
And so, quoting the late Jim Jones, does Dennis Miller commence each segment of his radio show. Jones was the charismatic leader of the People’s Temple, the savage demise of which gave us the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid.”
Miller is speaking, as often, ironically.
Thomas Sowell is not, as he makes much the same point:
The famous editorial cartoonist Herblock could write as well as draw. In one of his books, he said something like: “You too can have the soothing feeling of nature’s own baby-soft wool being pulled gently over your resting eyes.” I think of that every time I see Barack Obama talking.
Now, Obama is not Jim Jones and wool, however soft and opaque, is not sweetened cyanide. But the psychological machinery that permits their employment, real or mataphorical, is the same. People don’t like pain; they don’t even want to be uncomfortable. In fact, they want to feel good as much as they can. Especially about themselves.
To what extent does this basic, slightly infantile impulse explain what we are seeing around us today?
Or not seeing.