Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Final Solution: The Power of Positive Thinking

Norman Vincent Peale was the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church where Donald Trump and his family have enjohed a long association and he was famous for a book called The Power of Positive Thinking ("Overlooked Influences on Donald Trump: A Famous Minister and His Church,NYT, 9/5/16). When you think about it such books are where the real problem lies since with our current devastated landscape of hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear stalemate and mass shootings, positive thinking is hardly what the patient calls for. What's positive thinking, but a value free assertion of individual will. You want to accomplish something and you don’t allow yourself to get cold feet and so you go ahead and acquire a semi-automatic weapon with a special device that allows it to shoot 700 rounds of ammunition a minute. Nothing is going to stop you since you’re thinking positively about the notion of committing mass murder. Al Capone didn’t need to read The Power of Positive Thinking, he learned the principles of it growing up on the streets of Brooklyn. If you think you are going to cave to bigger or stronger guy you are not thinking positively. Kim Jong-un probably hasn’t read The Power of Positive Thinking but it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that he lived by its precepts. Positive thinking is generally delusional when it flies in the face of reality. For instance over the weekend. The Times quoted acting head of Homeland Security Elaine Duke saying the Puerto Rico disaster "is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane” ("San Juan Mayor on Hurricane Response: 'This is Not a Good News Story,'" NYT, 9/29/17). Everybody is getting things done. The Las Vegas shooting is the largest in American history. Kim Jong-un, the leader of an impoverished nation, threatens to destroy the most powerful country on earth. The tepid response to one of the most devastating natural disasters in Puerto Rican history is worthy of praise. These statements all demonstrate the power of positive thinking to wreak havoc.

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