There is a natural distinction between emotional responses to topics and situations, which are unique to every individual, and the theoretical ‘truth’ of the matter, that is subject to much more than the sentiment of any individual responding to it.
For example, when I hear about IS-fighters returning from Syria to their homelands, my emotional response is simple: one shot to the base of the skull at the border and be done with it. My theoretical response is very different, however, because I value the concept of Rechtsstaat as the cornerstone of Western civilization in general and individual liberty in particular.
The problem up for discussion in the next sections is not that imperfect individuals have responses to situations that are imperfect, but how individuals deal with those responses and the significance they attach to them.
For example: when confronted with a situation that illicits strong emotions, such as IS-fighters returning from presumably criminal activity abroad and burdening our justice system and national security with upholding their individual rights, I see variations of only 2 reactions: what I’ll call the emo-dominant response, and the ratio-dominant response. The emo-dominant response to this situation might be to 1) have an emotional response about the justice or injustice of the situation 2) demand that the theoretical dimension conform to the emotional intuition about the justice or injustice of the situation.
My own emotional response, which falls in the extreme right corner of the emo-dominant response, when shared by others might translate into them demanding that the law be changed to allow for execution of suspected criminals at the border. In other words: the imperfect emotional realm is used as a template to modify the theoretical realm and the foundations of the Rechtsstaat itself.
The ratio-dominant response might very well have the same emotional reaction to the situation, but accepts that the particular emotional response is a bad template to rearrange a universal theory of law. The negatives of being done with criminals by shooting them at the border (dissolution of the Rechtsstaat and the basis of Western civilization) outweigh the personal satisfaction I’d derive from shooting said criminals.
The direction is significant in determining the category. Does the theoretical conform to the emotional, or is the emotional inferior to the theoretical? This hierarchy might (and probably does) shift from situation to situation in most people. The odd thing about political ‘debates’ we see on social media – this post being born on a social medium is no coincidence – focuses only on the initial particular response and seem to extrapolate the emotion of the individual to their theoretical inclination.
If you are a ‘bad person’ who would love to shoot criminals at the border (guilty) you are automatically suspected of wishing to dissolve the rule of law. It becomes more important to have the ‘correct’ emotional response than what it is you actually believe should happen. This results in a pathological need to reconcile the personal with the universal, and ostentatious demonstration of the ‘correct’ sentiments ( ‘deugpronken’), not simply the correct theoretical conviction. This is not only weird, baffling and annoying, it is also theoretically nonsensical.
Of course there are differences between the universal and the particular, necessarily so! Of course it is normal for a judge, or any individual for that matter, to state that they would love to shoot criminals on a personal level, but as a representative of the law they cannot allow for what their heart desires. This is not suspect, this is not something to be resolved by collapsing the particular with the universal, it is something to be accepted as a natural and even necessary byproduct of being an individual.
This pressure to exhibit the ‘correct’ personal responses to match up to the correct theoretical judgment can be so great that it gives rise to a new breed of humans: personified dogmata. Persons whose emotions always seem to coincide with the dogma’s they and/or their political group adhere to.
If individuals are no longer allowed to have particular deviations from the theoretical ideal for fear of being tarred and feathered, they cease to be individuals. There is no end to the evil that can come from this development and it is my hope that this short theory of political sentiments might contribute to turning the tide on this trend to eradicate the individual and all its idiosyncrasies.
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