Sunday, January 17, 2021

A different interpretation of the recent putsch

 Over at Sarah Hoyt's place, there's been a bit of debate over whether the orgy of silencing actions represents fear on the part of the left (her view) or the cruelty of petty, cowardly bullies who suddenly think themselves safe from retaliation (mine). I don't intend to continue the debate here; there are arguments to support both sides, let's leave it at that. But I just read a third view over at American Greatness: it's an extinction burst.

“An extinction what,” you ask?

“Extinction burst” is the term behavioral scientists use to explain the angry, escalating, often violent response you get when you say “No” after having said “Yes” in the past.

An extinction burst is what your toddler does when he screams and drops to the floor kicking wildly because you won’t let him race down the store aisle after he knocked things off a shelf. It’s what teens do when their curfew is finally enforced. It’s what office gossipers do when coworkers signal they don’t want to hear it any more."

And as anybody who's raised children knows, the worst thing you can do when your toddler throws that tantrum is to let yourself be intimidated into giving in to it. Famous last words include:

"It's just this one time" 

"I'll let it pass this once because of the circumstances"

"Ok, but don't ever do it again"

The author has some suggestions for how to say "No," and make it stick. 


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