There is a question that all of us need to ask. How we respond makes all the difference in what type of life we lead and what type of world we make.
That question is: Does an action feel good or do good?
Let me give three areas of examples -- personal life, the left and most recently, unfortunately, the right.
In the personal sphere, many parents, especially in this last generation, have done what feels good rather than what does good.
It feels good to give one's children what they want, but it rarely does good. It feels good to build children's false self-esteem -- giving them trophies for no achievement, for example -- but it doesn't do good. It feels good to provide one's adult children with money and other material benefits when they should be providing for themselves, but it doesn't do good. And it feels good to coddle children rather than discipline them. But it doesn't do good.
In the social and political spheres, feeling good rather doing good has characterized virtually every left-wing policy.
Liberals feel good (especially about themselves -- remember, the left founded the self-esteem movement) when they promote race-based affirmative action. Given the centuries of suffering blacks endured in America, it feels good to change rules of admission in order to have more blacks attend more prestigious colleges. The problem is that these policies have done considerably more harm than good to blacks (and to society). The black dropout rate at many colleges is much higher than that of non-blacks; and many black students feel resentful while at college -- believing that, because of affirmative action, they are frequently not regarded by other students as equals. But to progressives, none of that matters. What matters is that they (the progressives) feel good.
For more than half a century, liberals have felt good (again, in large measure about themselves) giving ever increasing unearned benefits to poorer Americans. That these policies have led to an unprecedented percentage of Americans becoming dependent on -- often addicted to -- state handouts in no way disturbs progressives, because these policies make them feel good.
That the left cares more about feeling good than doing good is shown by the results of virtually all of its policies.
For example, over the long run the welfare state must fail, as it is doing in nearly all of Europe. Creating such a state and doing so by "taxing the rich" feels good, but it doesn't do good. There simply aren't enough rich people. Likewise, there are not enough young workers to support retirees. But giving away (someone else's) money feels good.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”