Saturday, November 12, 2005

Let's Discuss Bush Derangement Syndrome Again

Glenn Reynolds discusses the hate mail he has received since his comments that I linked to in the previous post:

This bit of hatemail, though, seems to carry the flavor best:

Did you ever really think you'd be the kind of person who would be calling dissenters from a right-wing, gay-bashing, anti-evolution, incompetent war-making administration "unpatriotic"?
I'm not sure where evolution or gay rights come into this (I've "dissented" on those points myself, after all), but I think this illustrates that the "Bush lied" issue has more to do with anti-Bush sentiment than with anything having to do with the merits of the war.

The Instapundit is exactly right about this. It has to do with an unreasoning hatred of Bush, or as Charles Krauthammer put it in his definition of Bush Derangement Syndrome:

"the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush."

What is going on here--I mean, besides the usual opportunist agenda of the Leftist/Socialist/Communist remnants of the last century? I have discussed this issue several times in this blog, but the dynamics bear repeating because the lies keep getting repeated; and so the hysteria continues.

The psychology of some of the Bush Haters is pretty cut and dried. They hate Bush because he stands between them and the implementation of their collectivist "utopian" vision. I have no time to waste on them, except to note that their intentions are deliberately and decidedly malevolent toward this country. They want it to fail at anything and everything it does and they openly cheer for the barbarians at the gate.

They are indistinguishable from the barbarians we are actively fighting, with the only difference being that they have different ideas about which group of thugs will be in charge of the "utopia". They prefer themselves--a more secularly-oriented set of thugs--to rule.

But what about the average person on the street who has, or has come to have a visceral hatred of President Bush? Perhaps they simply didn't vote for him in 2000, believing the media propaganda or caricature of his intellect and capabilities; or perhaps they simply didn't like him because he was from the opposition party, or a Texan. or any other number of normal reasons.

It seems to me that the Democrats and the Left have used their continuous propaganda well, but there is a also a strong personal psychological factor involved in being able to convince normally sane people that the source of all evil in the world is George W. Bush.

After 9/11, in many cases, even a mild dislike of "W" rapidly morphed into the ferocious Bush hatred we are now all familiar with. The opposition to a conservative Republican; and reasonable disagreement with his policies became a swooning hysteria; and an unmitigated, deranged hatred with all the accompanying paranoid delusions.

Virginia Postrel recounted this insight:
When I was in New York a few weeks ago, a friend in the magazine business told me he thinks the ferocious Bush hating that he sees in New York is a way of calming the haters' fears of terrorism. It's not rational, but it's psychologically plausible--blame the cause you can control, at least indirectly through elections, rather than the threats you have no control over. I thought of that insight today when I glanced at Maureen Dowd's column and read this sentence, "Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again)."

That is the voice of a petulant child, angry that she has a tummy ache while Daddy is at work or Mommy is visiting a friend, or the voice of a grouchy wife angry that she has a migraine while her husband is out coaching the kids' baseball team. You're upset that you're in pain (we've all been there), so you get mad at someone whose presence wouldn't make the pain any better. No mature student of politics believes the president of the United States goofs off on vacation. It's not the kind of job you escape. George Bush may be completely insane to voluntarily. spend July in Texas--as opposed to Bill Clinton's favored coastal retreats--but Osama bin Laden is no more or less a threat than in Bush were in Washington. But if blaming Bush makes people feel better, safer, or at least able to focus their anger on someone they can hurt, they'll blame Bush.

The number of things that Bush has been blamed for in this world since 9/11 (even acts of God like Tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural disasters) is the stuff of major comedy. You name the horrible event, and he is identified as the etiologic agent.

He is blamed when he does something (anything) and he is blamed when he does nothing. He is blamed for things that ocurred even before he was President, as well as everything that has happened since. He is blamed for things he says; and for things he doesn't say.

What makes Bush Hatred completely insane however, is the almost delusional degree of unremitting certitude of Bush's evil; while simultaneously believing that the TRUE perpetrators of evil in the world are somehow good and decent human beings with the world's intersts at heart.

This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement".

One way you can usually tell that an individual is using displacement is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality. Instead, by using displacement, an individual is able to still experience his or her anger, but it is directed at a less threatening target than the real cause. In this way, the individual does not have to be responsible for the consequences of his/her anger and feels more safe--even thought that is not the case.

This explains the remarkable and sometimes lunatic appeasement of Islamofascists by so many governments and around the world, while they trash the US and particularly Bush. It explains why there is more emphasis on protecting the "rights" of terrorists, rather than holding them accountable for their actions (thier actions, by the way are also Bush's fault, according to those in the throes of BDS). Our soldiers in Iraq are being killed because of Bush--not because of terrorist intent and behavior. Terrorist activity itself is blamed on Bush no matter where it occurs.

It isn't even a stretch of the imagination for some to blame 9/11 on Bush. This is the insane "logic" of most psychological defense mechanisms. They temporarily spare you from the painful reality around you and give you the illusion that you are still in control.

This is exactly the illusion/delusion circulating in the minds of many of the Bush Haters. They want desperately to forget that there is a tidal wave of terror reverberating around the world and to pretend that everything is America's and Bush's fault. If that is true, then they will still be in control of events.

So what do they do? They lionize terrorists like Zarqawi ("freedom-fighters"). They explain away the horror and brutality by refering to them as "insurgents" and "militants". They support Palestinian suicide bombings as justified and see the Palestinians--not as independent agents acting of choice, but as victims of America and Israel.

They sincerely believe that Osama is a reasonable person and seek dialog with him; but that Bush is not. They threaten violence toward Bush and hold demonstrations; and placate and enable those who would implement Sharia Law in their country without a qualm. Hundreds of their fellow countrymen are murdered by terrorists, but they demand that troops be pulled out of Iraq (thinking that if they hadn't cooperated with the evil BushHitler, their countrymen would have been spared).

Rather than blame the terrorists; rather than admiting they have to take action against them; their fear is transformed to anger and displaced onto President Bush. If everything is his fault, then the reality of what happened does not have to be faced (this also explains the intense psychological denial that these same individuals tend to have about 9/11).

Bush becomes the "criminal mastermind", so devious, so evil, that everything he says is a "lie", everything he does is part of a vast global consipiracy. His family has intimate ties to Bin Laden and the Saudis; He is trying to enrich his oil business friends; He is trying to avenge the insult to his father by getting rid of Saddam; He plans world domination etc. etc. I could go on an on, but you get the point.

What is most funny is that these psychologically naiive individuals simultaneously think of Bush as this "criminal mastermind"--a genius of evil; and also as a complete moron who isn't capable of uttering a sentence without making a hash of it; or that his brain is controlled by the equally evil Karl Rove.

The cognitive dissonance required to have all these contradictory beliefs swirling around in one's brain is astonishing. But besides the primary function it serves to erase from consciousness what is happening in the world today, it is serving a secondary purpose--it makes them feel in control of what might come.

They can predict with the complete accuracy of the delusional mind that whatever happens--whatever horror is unleased by Al Qaeda or Hamas or Islamic Jihad--was caused by President Bush's actions/inactions/intentions (take your pick).

They can conduct a brave protest march against the evil Bush...but clearly they don't dare protest real terror or terrorist acts the way that the Jordanians or the Lebanese did, for example. The terrorists are simply poor, misunderstood individuals who have been oppressed by...Bush. Get rid of Bush (or America; or Israel) and voila! Problem solved!

It would be a foolproof defense against the threat, except...except...if it weren't for ... reality. It would be foolproof, except that the REAL horror; the REAL evil will just not go away. The REAL evil just gets bolder and more aggressive. Like the Nazis in the last century, the REAL evil will not be appeased, and is aware of this psychological weakness inherent in their enemies. In fact, they count on it - because by exploiting it is the only way the terrorists can win.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, those who are mindful and deliberate in their attacks and are using them for personal political gain; or to advance a totalitarian agenda are simply evil. But there are many people who normally have some degreee of goodwill and sense. Those are the people I am trying to wake up. Think and ask yourselves-- what you are doing? Look around at what is going on in the world.

It is not Bush who is lopping off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia. It is not Karl Rove who is exhorting mindless minions to explode at wedding parties in Jordan. It is not Bush's policies that have induced immigrant Muslims to riot in France.

It is the cold-hearted ruthlessness of a fanatical ideology that intends to wipe our civilization off the map. It will not be appeased, and the more you feed it with appeasement, the stronger and bolder it gets. Please note, that since 9/11 there have not been any direct attacks on the U.S. homeland. They have settled for smaller "hit and run" targets of opportunity. Why? Because they rightly fear what we might do if another attack occurred (and besides, they have the MSM and the Left to wage their attacks on the homeland).

This is not to say that such attacks might not occur when the enemy has the sense that America will never fight back. There are many who give them that assurance daily.

As a psychiatrist I work with patients who use maladaptive psychological defenses all the time. The goal of treatment is to help them develop insight and self awareness and begin to take responsibility for their own lives and actions; and to face reality--no matter how painful or unpleasant--not to close their eyes and hope and wish it will go away.

In other words, to act like mature adults and deal with it.

As long as they focus all their energy on hating Bush and act like the whiny petulant and angry child, who expects daddy to instantaneously make everything better-- or else they won't like it; then they don't ever have to act like mature adults and cope with reality in a mature fashion. It is soooo much easier to blame everything on daddy.

UPDATE: Of course, they could also just be Stuck on Stupid. Like this guy .

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