Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Care Bear Stare

Rod Dreher writes:

Has this ever happened to you? You're having a conversation with people concerned about global warming and what we ought to do to combat it. You point out that, yes, climate change is a big problem, but the solutions on the table are unrealistic for various political, economic and scientific reasons. Icy stares all around.

Then someone accuses you of being down at the mouth because you don't care enough about the planet.

Or maybe you've been talking about how to fix the public schools, and you've observed that what ails public schooling is not something that can be remedied by putting more money into the system or simply rejiggering the educational formula according to new theories.

"Well," somebody sniffs, "what's your solution?" — as if the justice or accuracy of the original critique were somehow compromised by the critic's failure to posit an alternative.

Either way, you've been blasted by what journalist Julian Sanchez calls The Care Bear Stare, after the sugary 1980s cartoon characters. As Mr. Sanchez explained on his blog, "The Care Bear Stare was a sort of deus ex machine, the magical furballs could employ when faced with some insuperable obstacle: They'd line up together and emit a glowing manifestation of their boundless caring, which seemed capable of solving just about any problem."

Behind The Care Bear Stare is the ideological conviction that there's no problem that can't be solved by the power of human intelligence and relentless application of good will.

That's a good one: The Care Bear Stare. I've thought about it: Yes, I have been on the receiving end of the Care Bear Stare. Not often, tho. Mostly what I've seen and gotten was the Fire Breathing Dragon.

All politics is local. Here in NC, I get Care Bear Stares. Back in San Francisco Bay Area, Fire Breathing Dragon.

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