When we speak of someone becoming "hysterical", we are talking about behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable emotional excess or unbridled fear.
Welcome to the wonderful world of feelings, nothing more than feelings (cue the music), where there really is nothing more than feelings. It is a world where there is no objective reality or truth; a world where if you believe something is true, then it is. In other words, it is a world where something can be considered "fake but accurate" or where captured enemy combatants in the middle of a war are considered in a "gulag"; or where a "religion of peace" beheads people; acts terrified of women's sexuality; promulgates blowing yourself up as a devout religious act.
A variety of altered states of consciousness may result from the dissociative process. In one dissociated or hysterical state, sleep-walking (sonambulism), the person appears to be out of contact with his environment, is seemingly unresponsive to external stimuli, and in many cases appears to be living out a vivid, hallucinated drama. That state essentially describes the Left in this country and around much of the world.
Mass hysteria is the phenomenon when large groups of people engage in such dissociation. Political mass hysteria occurs when the emotional excitability and excess serve a political function.
In this case, since I am applying this concept to the Left, one has to ask: 1) what is the nature of the drama? and 2) Why is the Left sleepwalking?
The "drama" is the same old Marxist play of Oppressor vs. Oppressed that has been going on since the beginning of the 20th century. In Act I of this sad little drama, the world was about to be saved from the horrible evils of American Capitalist Oppression of the masses by the brave Soviet Socialist Republic. Unfortunately, reality intervened. By the time Act II was ready to be unveiled, the deaths of millions in the Socialist Republic from the brutal Procrustean torment of Communism had resulted in the Left losing most of its audience. The incredible economic successes of capitalism and the freedom that fires it, compared to the pathetic lives of most under the yoke of communism, made most people realize that Marxism was a dead end--a one act play.
So they rewrote the play. The play's the thing after all--not the reality. Now, cleverly removing key facts from their mind, the Left continues the play; again with the forces of evil being played by American Capitalist Oppression; and now the oppressed are the poor helpless people of the Middle East engaging in peaceful jihad. Oh, the victimhood. Oh, the humanity!
From Samizdata's Perry DeHavilland:
I have often lamented that with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the forces of liberalism did not spend nearly enough time ruthlessly driving intellectual stakes through the hearts of all those who supported the 'Evil Empire' or preached appeasement or claimed that the Soviet system was 'just another way of living' rather than a mass murderous tyranny.
Well in this post-Cold War era in which the fight is now against militant Islam but the enemy within are in many cases the self same people who clearly thought the wrong side won the Cold War. This time we need to not just point out why these people are wrong, we need to grind their faces in their own words for all to see. It is imperative to show that there is often more than just mere ignorance or naivety at work when people choose to take an 'even handed approach' between Al Qaeda, the Taliban or the Ba'athists on one hand and the USA and UK on the other.
Indeed, there is much more. These people are living in their own little world of feelings. They just know, deep down inside their empathic little hearts that America is on the wrong side of history; that capitalism is evil; and that their beautiful Marxist ideology is the salvation of all.
They are so wrapped up in this beautiful fantasy of theirs, that they haven't even noticed that the people they are enabling and supporting are vicious, murdering thugs. Or maybe they have, and that is a matter of complete indifference to them, since all they want to do is cause humiliation with utter and total defeat and death to their arch-enemies--America and capitalism. Their little drama just won't be complete unless this happens.
Of course, what happens in the real world is of no importance. The ruthless oppression of women under the Taliban? Unimportant. The elimination of Saddam's psychopathic regime? A Breach of International Law. The deaths of 12,000 Iraqis at the hands of the mass murdering Zarqawi thugs? Of no matter. But the mishandling of a Koran. HORROR! The humiliation of detainees by a few of the dregs of the military. The End of Civilization As We Know It. And so on.
Yesterday, I heard a Democratic senator bemoaning the fact that the U.S. "attacked the wrong country." The context was that the U.S. should have gone after North Korea and Kim Jong Il, someone who really means us harm--not poor, innocent, misunderstood Saddam.
But you see, if we had done that, only the names of the Oppressed would have changed in our little drama. Instead of the apologies and mea culpas we hear today about Iraq, Islam etc. etc.; we would be hearing about the poor, helpless, starving North Koreans suffering under American imperialism and evil. Even now, we get some glimpses of this meme, which the MSM--the opiate of the Left-- is ready to insert into the psychodrama at a moment's notice. If only the U.S. would negotiated in good faith with Kim Jong Il! (see here for example) This deadlock with North Korea could all have been prevented! All the dear leader wants is to talk directly with the U.S.! Is that too much to ask for? And so on, ad nauseum.
Replay and insert same tragic plot line for Iran, Syria, or any other country that is a potential "victim" of the U.S.
Which brings us to the second question we wanted to answer. Why is the Left sleepwalking through history and resorting to short circuiting their intellect so as to keep from suffering psychological trauma? The answer to that one is simple. They were wrong, wrong, wrong about the nature of man; the nature of society....wrong about,well...just about everything.
Marx and the other gods of the Left have told them repeatedly and quite clearly how history would work out--nevermind that their gurus have been wrong in almost every, single way it is possible to be wrong--all that matters is their feelings that they are in the right.
Ignore the real world! The Play Must Go On!
UPDATE: Here is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
UPDATE II: And here, his "feelings" told him that Gitmo was a Gulag and Rumsfeld an "architect of torture."