- Is he poor? Someone must have robbed him of what he is entitled to!
- Is he angry and feel hatred? Then the object of his hatred magically becomes the one who hates...him!
- Is his genius not recognized? He must have powerful enemies that prevent him from achieving the success he knows should be his.
- Has he made mistakes in his life? Someone has tricked him into acting a certain way.
The above mental gymnastics allow the paranoid person to external blame and avoid responsibility for his situation in life, as well as his own feelings. It is always someone else's fault and not his. It is always someone else who has the objectional feelings, and he is always the victim of it.
In addition to externalizing blame for one's own pitiful situation in life, there is yet another advantage to paranoia and projection: often, a creative distortion of reality can reliably pump up one's own self-esteem. You are righteous, persecuting the true racists and you, yourself, are incapable of any racist thoughts or emotions. Sometimes, it pumps it that self-esteem up at the expense of a great deal of fear; but nevertheless, it is comforting to know that someone appreciates your genius or the threat you represent. Clearly if the CIA, FBI, aliens, Jews , POTUS, Republicans [fill in your favorite bogeyman here] are out to get you, you must be special and unique.
In short, paranoia and its little brother projection organize and distort reality in a way that makes it palatable; and, at the same time help the user to avoid recognizing some unpleasant truths about himself.
Psychological projection, which is often not as bizarre as full-blown paranoia, is a particularly good way of doing this, because by projecting one's own feelings onto someone else, you can make yourself appear particularly virtuous.
The con artist does this consciously and deliberately and understands the effectiveness of the psychological maneuver. Con artists come in all sorts of political stripes, of course, but in our day the great examples are pretty much exclusive to the political left, because the vast majority of the left's minions have such an intense need to appear virtuous. In fact, the appearance of virtue in themselves is much more important than any other reality.
Let's look at some examples helpfully provided by Gagdad Bob today:
For the thoroughly ironicized secular left (which should always be distinguished from any form of liberalism), there is no truth but no truth. The con artist thinks everyone Âhas an angle,Â and cannot imagine someone who is innocently motivated by an agenda-free love of truth, with no strings attached. This is why you will have noticed that the left is inherently suspicious and paranoid, and therefore habitually attributes motives to positions. Since it is often the case that their positions are actually cynical motives in disguise, they think this is true of everyone.
Therefore, you canÂt possibly be against judges tinkering with the basic unit of civilization and redefining marriage. Rather, you are simply using this as a cynical ploy to get more redneck homophobes to go to the polls. You canÂt possibly think that racial quotas are bad for blacks. You must be a racist. You canÂt actually believe that raising the minimum wage causes unemployment. You just hate poor people. You donÂt really think that global jihad is a genuine threat. You just want to frighten people so that you can maintain control over them. You canÂt possibly believe that Darwinism is logically self-refuting. You just want to teach Genesis as science and impose a theocracy. You canÂt simply believe that Roe vs. Wade represents atrocious legal reasoning veering on judicial tyranny. You just want to Âcontrol womenÂs bodies.Â You donÂt want to harshly interrogate known terrorists. You just enjoy torturing people. You donÂt really want to intercept their phone calls either. YouÂre just spying on Americans. And of course, if you do not accept all of the dubious speculations of the global warming theorists, you hate the earth.
And on and on and on. Again, Truth is reduced to motive, which represents nothing less than an attack on reality.
In all the examples above, you can see how the political left has redrawn reality in order to pump up their own righteousness and virtue. Anyone who opposes their policies is automatically branded as racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic-- take your pick, depending on the circumstances.
Hell, anyone who offers ANY new ideas in these areas are automatically branded with one of the "isms".
It is useless to point out, for example, that trillions of dollars have already been spent on helping the poor and the disadvantaged in this country. What has resulted in the long run from that effort? We have given people fish to eat, but we havenÂt taught them how to go fishing. And, as proof of that, we have the spectacle and pathos of New Orleans during Katrina; with the predictable reflexive response from the Left that, ÂGeorge Bush hates black people.Â
Perhaps--just perhaps--it is the Left's own policies that ÂhateÂ and discriminate against black people? Perhaps it is their victimization of blacks that Âkeeps them in their placesÂ and not the horrible "racial prejudices" of those awful Republicans. Maybe it is the pervasive Marxist ideology absorbed by the left (and sadly, many Democrats) that has stripped them of all capacity for thoughtful analysis and that forces them to think only in terms of ÂoppressedÂ versus ÂoppressorÂ, Whatever, their brains are so constrained by their paranoia, they cannot conceive of any other way to view the situation.
And, they really really like how good it makes them feel when they can ignore their own racism, sexism or homophobia and project all that onto another group. When they behave in a racist manner (i.e., mocking Condi Rice for being a black Republican) or exhibit anti-semitism (trashing Joe Lieberman for his views) or even homophobic ("outing" Gay Republicans because they are by definition hypocrites)--it is perfectly ok! We're doing it for their own good! We mean well!
As Bob points out, it is quite easy to attribute one's own cynical motives to others. It is inconceivable to paranoid persons that people actually exist who view the situation differently from them. It is inconceivable that they could be wrong about their perception of reality. Con men always think others are out to con them. In fact, most paranoids consider themselves the ONLY reality-based community, because they get to define what reality is and it is always what they happen to feel. And it is always about making sure they feel good and virtuous and self-righteous.
Someday, it will occur to someone that the Left has not had a single new idea for over half a century and that none of the ÂgreatÂ programs they have created have actually worked. Yet they guard those programs jealously, afraid of any new ideas or approaches that might make them have doubts in their precious ideology.
Instead of reducing poverty, their programs have created a class of people dependent on the government for their survival and thus they ensure continuing povertyÂeven through the generations. Motivation is destroyed. Self-respect is trashed. Victimhood and passivity become a way of life whose worse aspects are glorified in the music and culture of the newly created welfare class.
This is social justice?
No. This is the inevitable outcome of Marxist theory in the real world. In spite of the catastrophic failures of applied Marxism in the 20th century to achieve the ÂidealÂ society it espoused, the Left clings desperately to the ideology with which they bluffed their way into the American consciousness.
The twin children of MarxismÂcommunism and socialismÂhave spawned the bloodiest and most sociopathic despots in world history, causing more death and human misery than at any other time in history. You would think that this abject failure on the part of their ideology when applied in the real world would have made them think twice. Au contraire.
Like Scarlet OÂHara, they wonÂt think about that today; theyÂll think about it tomorrow when that great and glorious utopian vision will be imposed upon the worldÂand [of course] they will be in charge.
When confronted with the real evil that exists in the world, e.g..the reality of gays being tortured and murdered systematically in Islamic countries; or the reality of the oppression and humiliation of women; they recite facile multicultural and politically correct mantras that conveniently prevent them from making judgments about such behavior, or from having to take action to stop it.
LetÂs face it. If feminists can adore Bill Clinton, even after Paula and Monica and all the sordid details; then it is only one small psychological step further down this path for them to embrace the institutionalized misogyny of Islam.
Paranoia and projection also provide a rationale and justification (to the paranoid, at least) for acting out against those who--from their perspective-- stand in the way of implementing their social programs and enforcing their way of thinking.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that only psychiatric patients who have a serious mental illness utilize these defenses. Paranoia is, indeed, a symptom of a mental illness; but both paranoia and projection are physiological states of the brain that can be achieved by otherwise "normal" people under the proper circumstances. The distortion of reality that occurs with the use of these defenses is always done to serve inner needs.
Under the proper circumstances, paranoia and projection may be resorted to by entire groups and nations in order to externalize blame and/or resolve some unacceptable national state (in order to counter overwhelming shame or humiliation, for example).
We see this when Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East regularly resort to vicious and unbelievable anti-semitism as they try to avoid dealing with the irrefutable evidence of their own backwardness. Israel and the Jews remain a favorite object onto which unacceptable feelings can be easily externalized.
The political left have their favorites, too. Republicans and conservatives hate the poor, blacks, latinos, women, etc. Yet, it is not the conservatives or Republicans who stand to lose if the poor, or other favored victim groups of the left are empowered and join the middle class.
Paranoia and projection are not mental illnesses that can be "cured" by mass quantities of antipsychotic medication in the water supply. This is a distortion of reality in order to meet the inner needs of a crumbling self or society that cannot psychologically sustain itself otherwise.
To those who are using such a defense, their behavior and rhetoric seem perfectly logical and internally consistent. It is, in fact, as impeccable as any reasoning can be--considering that it originates from distorted premises. Paranoia has been referred to as "the rational in the service of the irrational" for good reasons.
And, by that kind of "logic" it makes perfect sense to use the maximum force possible to destroy those who the paranoid believes are responsible for the evil: e.g., all those absurd conspiracies that are wholeheartedly supported by the left that claim Bush and Cheney downed the twin towers; all those absurd theories that the Israelis created a disease that is specific to Arab genes or that the fictional Protocols are behind the lack of Nobel Prizes for Muslims; or even, against those who create cartoons that mock and humiliate sacred beliefs. This kind of paranoia all comes from the same psychological source.
As long as they maintain those delusions, they do not have to deal with the sad state of their own society; their own sick religion; or their sad ideological failures.