The Corner

Re: Guilt – and shame

I don’t want to tread on VDH’s toes here, but classicists, following Dodds (1951) may notice that what is at work here is not guilt at all, but shame (see the useful summary of the difference here).  In the environmental world, where I am doomed to operate, liberals certainly seem to behave in a shame culture rather than a guilt culture.  For example, if you hold a view contrary to the “consensus,” you should be ashamed of holding it, whereas in a guilt culture you would be expected to fight for your beliefs.  Similarly, if your actions have resulted in bad things happening, as I demonstrate is the case with the environmental movement throughout my book, you should not be ashamed if no one else realizes it, and that’s how the environmental movement behaves.  So, what Rosenbaum is arguing conservatives should feel is shame, not guilt.  That’s a profound cultural shift.


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