Pseudostrength

I think a lot of what is currently lauded as strength is actually aggressive weakness.

Aggressive weakness says “I’d be stronger if other people didn’t prevent me from being strong.” It resents signs of strength in others, interpreting them as evidence that these others are consuming an unfair portion of a limited supply of power that ought to be shared, so everyone can be equally strong. It celebrates outbursts of indignation, irritable analyses, passionate denunciations and other articulations of resentment as “brave” or “insightful” — despite the fact that they are riskless repetitions of tried-and-true formulas that guarantee applause, head-pats, dittos, retweets, etc. from fellow weak aggressives.

Strength is different. Strength likes strength. It wants resistance, challenge. Strength will even acknowledge its own weaknesses, often in the form of self-mockery. Strength does not need other people to make way to allow it to be strong, and in fact any refusal to make way and grant it permission or even better — to confront it — provides strength an opportunity to activate and to experience itself.

It could be argued that aggressive weakness is a preliminary to the taking of power in order to gain strength. I’m skeptical that strength is ever gained that way. I suspect if weakness manages to seize instruments of control its own weakness ensures it will use the control unskillfully, and at best will only undermine the strength of others without actual gain of strength.

In my experience strength is generated through living as one ought to. When one is prevented from living in a way that generates strength, then one has a case for taking aggressive action. But the focus is not on other people and how they live, what they believe or what they have. The focus is on the goal of being free to live in a strength-generating way. Other people’s lives, beliefs and possessions might be altered in the effort to free one’s self, but if the other and resentment toward what they have is the focus, my bet is on catastrophe.

I believe this is a liberal attitude, as opposed to what is called “liberal” today, but what is, in fact, a degrading left-wing illiberalism.

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