Thursday, November 30, 2006

NEGOTIATING WITH CANCER



(Cartoon by Eric Allie)

A BEAUTIFULLY DARK PLACE

This piece in American Thinker by Selwyn Duke is a must read for anyone who cares about free speech (hat tip: Larwyn). In "How We Will Lose Freedom of Speech" Selwyn says:
If people were asked about actor Michael Richards' epithet-laced outburst at a Los Angeles nightclub, there would be a lot of focus on the verbal assault but very little on an assault on freedom of speech. In truth, however, if there's anything at all relating to this story that rises above gossip-column fodder, it's that it's also fuel for demagogues who seek control over discourse in America.

Representing the two targets of Mr. Richards' bile, Frank McBride and Kyle Doss, "civil rights" attorney Gloria Allred appeared on Hannity and Colmes Thanksgiving eve. The stone-faced Allred opened with a very telling assertion, boldly proclaiming, "This is not free speech, this is hate speech!"


Read the entire piece.

Meanwhile, the crooks and liars at the blog of the same name are deathly frightened of Newt Gingrich's suggestion that the country will be forced to re-examine free speech as it attempts to deal with the terrorism:
a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,"


I am, of course, waiting to see the site champion Michael Richard's racist rant, which Gloria Alred insists isn't free speech, but is "hate speech". I will be waiting until the cows come home, I fear, because the minions of the left are incapable of making such an abstract connection. To them, "hate speech" is any speech they happen to oppose, and it most certainly does not include speech by those poor, oppressed terrorists (terrorism doesn't actually exist in their minds except as a natural response to the evil of American Imperialism, Bush, or Israeli oppression--take your pick). For them, it is only really truly "hate speech" if the hate is directed at one of their specially-designated victim groups who are deemed to require special laws to protect their civil rights. Did you know that the left is deeply concerned about religious intolerance....but only for Muslims (one of their newest addition to their special victims unit) and NOT, of course, for the pervasive and nitpicking intolerance they routinely exhibit toward any symbol, word, or expression of Christianity. Now, isn't that shocking?

This sort of cognitive dissonance and intellectual insanity is not because they are particularly ignorant of the U.S. Constitution. Rather, it is because as Duke suggests, they have a very specific political agenda that has been slowly but surely changing American society into their utopia. This "social engineering" on their part doesn't give a damn about free speech except insofar as it can be used to forward their socialist agenda. It doesn't give a damn about freedom of religion, except insofar as it can be used to forward their socialist agenda.

In short, it doesn't give a damn about the US Constitution, except insofar as it can be convoluted and manipulated to create their socialist paradise, where real freedom of speech---including the freedom to be offensive and (gasp) hurt other people's feelings---is but a dream; and real freedom of religion wouldn't exist anyway because they don't believe in God in the first place.

To extend the cognitive dissonance even further, they will defend to the death the terrorist's "rights" to kill us and plot against us; but poor Michael Richards (who probably is undoubtedly a racist) must be thrown to the PC wolves for daring to utter his brand of hate speech, while Danny DeVito remains a darling (isn't he soooo cute?) because his hate is directed at an acceptable recipient.

Other acceptable recipients (besides Bush and Cheney) in case you haven't figured it out, are: America, Israel, Anyone who supports America or Israel; Jews, Republicans, (and that includes Black Republicans and Gay Republicans, in particular, who are frequently singled out for hate speech that is specially designated for "race traitors" and "hypocritical" Gays--i.e., the one's who prefer to keep their sex lives private).

In The Political Left and their Totalitarian Dreams, I said:
What interests me is the transformation of the Democratic Party into a tool that every major enemy of this country--from the North Vietnamese, to the Soviets, to the Syrians all the way up to the present day-- has been able to use to advance their objectives at the expense of America. As Feldman notes, this does indeed give new meaning to the term "opposition party".

It also give new clarity to one of the issues that I have talked about on this blog repeatedly, and that is the complete betrayal by the political left in this country of the values and freedoms upon which the U.S. was founded.

How easily they deceived themselves (if it was deception at all) into thinking that they had more in common with the communist party leadership of the USSR than with the duly elected president of the U.S. How easily people like John Kerry supported and enabled the dictators of North Vietnam. Is it any susrprise at all that today, in our war on terror, that this same political party and the same deluded base that animates them see the terrorists as the oppressed victims and the US as the evil oppressors?

Good grief, they have been acting out this drama for over half a century now, and they've got the "good guys" and the "bad guys" clearly identified in their own minds it seems.

And the U.S. has NEVER been the "good guy" from their point of view. This rather incredible consistency on their part demonstrates a dedication and committment to the principles of tyranny, as well as both a hatred for this country and an unquenchable lust for power, that is difficult to imagine could originate in the heart of any American--let alone elected representatives of this country.


The left's dream is America's nightmare, as one by one the values and freedoms that America once stood for are quietly undermined and stripped away (for our own good, naturally) and replaced by the totalitarian utopia run by the morally superior and unconditionally self-righteous political left who always know what is best for all.

In the beautifully dark place that America will become under the guidance of the left's social engineering programs and political correctness tribunals; in that wonderful socialist paradise where everyone is finally forced to be "equal" in all possible ways and for all possible outcomes; not only will we lose freedom of speech and freedom of religion; but we will discover to our dismay, that all the precious liberties that America once stood for have also disappeared.

[We may also discover that one of those "special victim groups"--specifically the terrorist fanatics that the left seems hell-bent on protecting to the death--have a parallel and even darker agenda lined up for the useful idiots who enable them--but that is for another post. Suffice it to say that for now, at least, the useful idiots of the left have convinced themselves that an alliance with terrorists and despots is to their political advantage.]

In this socialist darkness, the beacon of liberty--the lamp once held high to greet those who came to America to find freedom in an unfree world --will have finally been extinguished by the creeping and oh so seductive tyranny of the political left.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW...

...is not love or global orgasms, but more neoconservatism.

Wretchard observes in a brilliant post:

...you can kill more people with a well intentioned peace than with a well intentioned war

and, that in the case of both Zimbabwe and Iraq:

...simply because we don't hear the tree fall in the forest doesn't mean it doesn't fall. And the question is why it should be any different with a problem like Iraq. The challenge of terrorism forming within the chaos of the Third World will remain with us until we learn to meet it. We haven't learned how to yet. And it's not clear that solving this problem is optional.

Rather, solving the problem is absolutely essential for all of Western civilization. But the solution may not lie in simply discovering the correct military response to assymetrical warfare (though that may be a part of the solution). It seems to me that the solution to the problem posed by the "death by benign neglect" that is going on in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and numerous other places around the globe; as well as the international hysteria that surrounds the desire to run away, ignore, and/or pretend that real problems don't exist. can only be solved with good ideas that counter the bad and destructive ideas that have sapped the will of the West and plunged it into nihilistic despair.

The problem is countering the source of this pervasive nihilism, promulgated and promoted by the West's own intellectual elites under the pseudonym of postmodernism.

And the only intellectual remedy brought forth in the last five decades to nullify postmodern philosophy and rhetoric is neoconservatism.

If you listen at all to the MSM, you might begin to think that neoconservativesm is either in dissaray, dead and abandoned by all its former adherents.

Since (particularly recently) I take everything the MSM says with the proverbial grain of salt, I suspect that the truth is something very different entirely. Neoconservatism has been pronounced dead by its opponents many times in the decades since its ideas were first formulated; primarily because the philosophy that underlies neocon policies is extremely threatening to the methodology of today's postmodern political left.

Today's left is a nothing more than the hallow shell of what was once known as "liberalism"; and it is held together by the empty and meaningless rhetoric of postmodern intellectual nonsense, otherwise known as political correctness and multiculturalism (or, cultural relativity).

Neoconservatism as an intellectual theory actually arose from the observation in the 1960's that classical liberalism had been hijacked by the left and its essence literally reconstructed to suit the needs of socialists and communists who were beginning to realize that the jig was up for them.

All over the world it was becoming apparent that political and social collectivism was an abject failure. Where implemented, such policies led to intractable poverty and misery economically; and unbelievable oppression and the crushing of the human spirt politically and morally.

I have discussed elsewhere how the recent revival of socialism and its collectivist/totalitarian agenda in the late 20th and early 21st century was made possible by the adoption of postmodern epistemology, rhetoric and politics by western intellectual elites:

Multiculturalism and political correctness are two of the fundamental pseudo-intellectual, quasi-religious tenets-- along with a third: radical environmentalism--that have been widely disseminated by intellectuals unable to abandon socialism even after its crushing failures in the 20th century. These tenets have been slowly, but relentlessly absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last decade or so--but primarily since the end of the Cold War.

All three have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula and all other learning environments. They have been at the forefront of attempts by leading academics and academic institutions to rewrite most of history and undo thousands of years of Western cultural advancement. And further, as the culture has been completely saturated with this toxic brew, any attempt to question the tenets' validity or to contest their value is met with hysterical accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or--worse of all --intolerance or insensitivity.

It just so happens, that these tenets represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategy that the socialist remnants in the world have developed and are using to prevent their ideology from entering the dustbin of history.

For more on postmodernism and its implications, see here, here, here here and, of course, here.

The rise of neoconservatism represents the only modern intellectual counter and the only known antidote to the infection of postmodernism and its resultant toxic effects on philosophy, rehtoric, and politics.

In order to succeed in undoing and undermining the clear and unambiguous evidence of socialism's and communism's utter human toxicity, the totalitarians of the political left had to undermine nothing less than reality, reason, and truth. Furthermore, they had to deconstruct and invalidate human consciousness, making sure that the everyone understood that the only apparatus available to humans for perceiving reality--the mind--was completely unreliable, and that the evidence of the senses must therefore be discounted. This intellectual strategy resulted in a pervasive cultural relativism and intellectual nihilism that permeated all aspects of society and intellectual thought. Words and language were redefined to mean whatever one wanted; history was deconstructed--ostensibly to expose it's lies, but really to render it meaningless; and the ideas and values that were the foundation of Western civilization were mocked and shown by postmodern "logic" to be no better than any other random ideas.

Thus, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose; and not significantly different from slavery; democracy is just as much a fraud as tyranny; that which was always considered the good, is really just as evil as evil; and so on. Twentieth century postmodernists thus set themselves up as culturally and morally superior to all other humans in history, and with the postmodern relativistic advantage, they could pass judgement on everyone and everything. Thus from the superior postmodern perspective, there was nothing of value to learn from a slave-holding Thomas Jefferson; there is no moral superiority in a system that strives toward increasing individual human freedom and dignity compared to a system that doesn't even recognize the rights of the individual. There is no difference between right and wrong; good and evil--all are suspect, all are hypcritical, all are imperfect; and thus all such concepts are rendered irrelevant.

The key to this undoing of that which is good and conflating it with that which is evil; of deconstructing the reality and reason upon which more than 5000 years of civilization is founded; is through the nihilistic process of deconstructing and reinterpreting the historical past and redefining and undermining its meaning.

You are probably familiar with the leftist drill, since it is now frequently applied to anything valued in the West (in the last week it has even been used to "demythologize" Thanksgiving so as to invalidate what that quintessential American holiday even means). By using the now-common relativistic formula, all individuals and thinkers in the past are ridiculed, demeaned, and scorned because they fail to live up to postmodern and politically correct standards of conduct. Thus, their ideas are considered meaningless and described as "hypocritical"--the absolutely worse possible sin from the leftist perspective.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington--all the Founding Fathers for the most part--did not have the consciousness of the postmodern intellectual: they were slaveholders! Yet they dared to consider the problem of human freedom, bound as they were to the cultural norms of their time. That they could not entirely break out of the culture of their time, but still could push the envelope of civilization forward is irrelevant to the postmodern left. From the left's perch of moral superiority they blithely dismiss these "white males" as hypocrites with no moral standing. Thus are the foundations and the generationally built constructs of civilization invalidated and destroyed. Is it any wonder that all that is left is the nihilistic garbage that postmodernism deems as "reality"?

But consider, if we do not understand the past; if we abandon the ideas that underlie our values and our morality-- how can we appreciate who we are today? If we are only allowed to think of Thomas Jefferson as a hypocritical colonial slaveholder, then we are forced to pronounce his ideas on the struggle for human freedom as no better and no worse than Hitler's Kampf.

And so, Jefferson's mind-blowing, paradigm-shattering declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" has no more meaning or worth than Yasser Arafat's statement that, "Since we cannot defeat Israel in war; we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel." Both are either completely meaningless; or both are examples of freedom-fighters--who cares which? Bush = Hitler; Good = Evil; Freedom = Slavery; there is no way to judge because the nihilistic relativism we subscribe to has taken away our ability to morally distinguish and discriminate between right and wrong.

By disgarding reason and reality; by abandoning the past and embracing moral and cultural relativism, the left has brought us to this place where we are morally and physically paralyzed and cannot distinguish between the deliberate targeting and killing of innocents and the accidental killing of innocents despite herculean efforts to avoid it; between waging war to give people a chance at freedom and democracy; and waging war for domination and imperialism; between standing up for what is right and accepting the consequences, and abandoning one's values and surrendering with "honor" to the scum of the earth.

By mocking intellectual giants like Thomas Jefferson and dragging him through the postmodern mud; by equating Bush with Hitler; or the behavior of the Palestinians with the behavior of the Israelis; the actions of the U.S. military with the actions of the Islamofanatic terrorist thugs-- the left is desperately trying to numb the mind of the West. Who are we to judge? they scream, desperately trying to prevent history from judging their own unbelievable and pathological destructiveness, their own morally repugnant behavior and ideology.

This is their quest. To establish themselves as the arbiters of moral behavior by behaving immorally; of being "reality-based" without the necessity of having to acknowledge reality; of speaking "truth" to power, without being capable of recognizing truth (isn't all truth relative, after all?).

Just as the Saudis have let the wahabbi religious fundamentalism genie out of the bottle, inflicting it on Islam; so too has the political left let loose the genie of postmodern moral relativism onto Western civilization. The two genies have much in common since both work in tandem to destroy the human mind and spirit. Islamic fundamentalism is actively destroying millions by its soul-murdering ideology; while postmodern nihilists apologize and enable the barbarians at the gate , even as they destroy the very ideas that built the gate in the first place and which offers the only hope for liberating those millions from the boot of fanatical oppression.

If only these postmodern vampires, sucking the lifeblood from Western civilization, could look in the mirror! Would they see the monsters they have let themselves become--or would they see the nothingness reflected by their empty, meaningless souls?

They elevate clowns like Hugo Chavez; swoon over despots like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Fidel Castro; have champagne toasts with fruitcakes like Kim Jung Il. And they admire and promulgate the propaganda of the worse barbarians and murderers in history. They fail to consider the logical inconsistency of their own relativistic arguments: all truth is relative, they say; but then they would have no basis upon which to assert that their "truth" (i.e., postmodernism) is anything but rubbish also. If all cultures are good, then why is Western culture uniquely evil?

The political left refuses to look unflinchingly at the consequences of their ideology or their behavior--and, as much as they want to deny it; as much as they demand people like me retract what I am saying, it is their ideas and their precious utopian nihilism that are the problems that must be addressed before we can win the war on terror; before civilization can address the evil in Darfur, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere. The left must be held to account for their malignantly narcissistic behavior. Envy is their dominant emotion; mediocrity and dragging humanity down to the lowest common denominator is their goal; tyranny and oppression is their modus operandi; and the greatest threat to their ideology is human freedom.
And those are precisely the reasons why neoconservative philosophy can rescue the West from the quagmire of moral and cultural nihilism that paralyzes us and limits our ability to fight the enemies of civilization.

President Bush in his 2005 Inaugural Address said:

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
These words are what neoconservatism stands for in the truest sense. It acknowledges the reality of human nature, both the good and the bad; but chooses the good; it seeks truth from history and uses it to better the world now--not by imposing useless utopian fantasies, but by supporting human freedom and individuality and opposing tyranny wherever it is found; it recognizes that all men and women are entitled to life, libery and the pursuit of happiness; and it understands that freedom is often messy and chaotic, while tyranny is orderly and deadening to the human soul.

Neoconservative philosophy represents the beginnings of a neo-rationalism that just might be able to offer new solutions for the intractable problems that have followed us into the 21st century.

By proudly reclaiming the history of Western Civilization, which has been built slowly with great idea after great idea; and which always strives for the good, but is never perfect; neoconservatism remains the only antidote for anti-reality, anti-mind, anti-truth postmodern relativism.

More neoconservatism, please, and faster.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson perceives the same crisis of the soul that I am talking about:
Our current crisis is not yet a catastrophe, but a real loss of confidence of the spirit. The hard-won effort of the Western Enlightenment of some 2,500 years that, along with Judeo-Christian benevolence, is the foundation of our material progress, common decency, and scientific excellence, is at risk in this new millennium.

But our newest foes of Reason are not the enraged Athenian democrats who tried and executed Socrates. And they are not the Christian zealots of the medieval church who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity. Nor are they Nazis who burned books and turned Western science against its own to murder millions en masse.

No, the culprits are now more often us. In the most affluent, and leisured age in the history of Western civilization--never more powerful in its military reach, never more prosperous in our material bounty--we have become complacent, and then scared of the most recent face of barbarism from the primordial extremists of the Middle East.


UPDATE III: Comments on this post are now terminated. Clearly some people have nothing better to do than to waste their time and mine by trying to be obnoxious in the comments when it is clear they haven't a clue what they are talking about. It doesn't happen to be my responsibility to give you chapter and verse of what constitutes neoconservative philosophy--I generally assume my readers have the intellectual capability to read books and have some knowledge about what they are ranting about. Judging by some of the people who arrived via the Daou Report, it seems clear that their brains are so infected with the postmodern virus that they prefer to argue without any knowledge of what constitutes either neoconservatism or postmodernism. It is perfectly clear that they aren't even capable of mounting a rational response of any kind. Typical. I suggest for your reading pleasure--that is if your brains have not completely rotted out from lack of use, that you refer to the books below. Who knows? You might raise that old IQ a few points. OTOH, I would not want your brain to explode, either. Too messy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF KYOTO

It would have been so much more convenient for the eco-doomsayers if this hurricane season had turned out as they originally predicted. But, now they have to deal with an inconvenient truth --specifically, that the 2006 hurricane season was unexpectedly a lot more tranquil than anticipated.

Jesse Jackson, noted climate expert, said while surveying the damage of Katrina in New Orleans last year: "Global warming is no longer academic, global warming is real."

Al Gore, former vice president and current environmental policy pimp has gravely warned Americans that, " We are altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe."

Whoh! Did you realize that the future of the galaxy--of the universe!--was at stake here?

Jackson and Gore are but only a few of the elder statesmen who, believing in the benificent superpower of the state, want that state to rein-in the unbalanced consumption of natural resources by U.S. citizens, who, though they produce more than the rest of the world, should certainly not be allowed to consume more.

In fact, the little known policy document, which for the sake of this post I will refer to as The Protocols of the Elders of Kyoto, suggests that Americans--particularly American capitalists-- have a secret plan to attain world domination through the mass manipulation of human behavior (i.e., the consumption of natural resources) ; and that global warming resulting from our American lifestyle is spawning mega-hurricanes and other natural disasters that will result in the death of millions if something is not done! If these planet-destroying monsters are not stopped, well...the destruction of the entire universe is imminent.

According to the Elders, unfettered capitalism in the hands of America is a WMD more real and dangerous than Saddam--or Mahmoud---with a nuke. And the only solution that can save mankind and the known universe is....more and bigger government; more regulations; more control of the means of production; yada yada yada.

It is all right there in the Protocols. Which, like most documents of its kind, conveys a "higher" truth, above and beyond what known science is able to achieve. Because, the sad, unacceptable truth is that known science is only at the stage of having a discussion about the origins and timeline of this global warming phenomenon. There are, in fact, many scientists (without the same credentials as Gore and Jackson, it is true) who actually have different hypotheses and theoretical analyses about what has been happening to the environment over the last 50 to 100 to 1000 years.

But, that is precisely why you need critical documents like The Protocols of the Elders of Kyoto--so that you can bypass all that pedestrian data and those contrary facts, and embrace those "higher truths" so often hidden from common sense and rational thought. And one of those higher truths is that, for the good of us all, environmental science must be politicized and immediately translated into public policy.
Common sense and rational thought would suggest that science is far from achieving any real concensus on global warming; that the data are wildly inconclusive and often contradictory; that the danger, if it exists, may not even be amenable to quick fixes by government bureaucrats or grandiose international treaties--as hard as that is to believe.

Some would point out that this politicization of science is done not only by the Environmental Elders of the left, but also by those on the right who, for example, want to limit government funding of stem cell research. But consider this: all of the examples you can point to of the political right politicizing science actually result in less big government control over these issues--i.e., the cessation of government funding (which shockingly is not the same thing as "banning" such research) --not more.

If I were inclined to paranoia, I might even have the niggling and intrusive thought that perhaps-- just maybe--all the hysteria and fear-mongering generated by the eco-doomsayers has two simple goals: to establish the moral and intellectual superiority of the environmental Elders; and to establish their natural right to dictate and control the lifestyles and choices of all the rest of us. For the good of the planet and all of mankind, of course.

Perhaps it is just my imagination, but I seem to recall having heard the same utopian melody being played many times before....

UPDATE: Like religions in the past, the priests of environmentalism can offer you some plenary indulgences.

UPDATE II: Trying to get junk science in the schools--so what do you do with 50,000 DVD's nobody wants? (hat tip: Larwyn)

Monday, November 27, 2006

A 2006 CHRISTMAS STORY




And, when Ralphie Nancy et al do manage to shoot their foot off, I'm sure they can blame a falling icicle or something--just like their fictional counterpart did!

UNDOING

It has been a mere 20 days since the American electorate voted to give the party of no ideas (or, what I have consistently called the "party of nothing") control of the House and Senate.

What a difference a few weeks makes!

In this relatively short span of time, the enemies of civilization have been emboldened beyond their wildest imaginings. Indeed, their joy at this not-wholly-unexpected coup can barely be contained. The violence everywhere has escalated; the assasinations can now go on unopposed--because there is even more reason to suppose that the gormless U.S. will not respond.

While the American public and the Democrats have not quite grasped the truth yet, it is completely apparent to the political left and their Islamofascist religious associates that the ascendency of the Democrats ensures both their short and long-term victory in all areas.

Many people reading this will pooh-pooh the above analysis, dismissing it with a simple, "Oh! That is far too harsh, Dr. Sanity! Let's just give the Democrats a chance."

But you see, the Democrats have actually had a chance for the last six years, and for anyone watching them, it has been clear as a bell that they have had no intention of actually doing anything. They have brought forth no ideas or solutions; they have failed to work together with the Republicans toward an American victory; and they have basically opposed every single initiative, plan or idea for one reason and one reason only: because it comes from the BusHitler regime. Their only motivation and goal since the election of 2000 has been to undo anything that the Bush Administration does.

UNDOING is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person attempts though contrary behavior to ward off threatening thoughts or feelings. Undoing can also be a convenient way to 'explain away' habits or behaviours that are not considered in line with an individuals' (or group's) personality; and, finally, by using the defense of undoing, one can rid oneself of gnawing feelings of guilt by compensating the injured party either symbolically or actually. Undoing can be thought of as the behavioral component of reaction formation, a psychological defense in which any unacceptable thoughts or feelings are turned into their opposite.

The Democrats have a lot of undoing to do. They must make themselves a religion party of "peace"; they must prove that they are "reality-based" and that the idea of spreading democracy and freedom in the world is a stupid delusion; they must, in short, wipe the Bush Administration off the map; as if it never existed. Because if they can do that, they can go back to pretending that there is no real threat from terrorism--only from Bush and Cheney.

Now that the Democrats are in charge, they can easily segue from expressing their dysfunctional emotions about this to actually acting on those dysfunctional emotions.

In the last 20 days we have just seen the tip of the iceberg of all the undoing the Democrats plan as they take us back to the good old days of the 20th century when we were all bright, happy and completley clueless about the rising tide of barbarism that would engulf the planet. Let's look at just a few of the undoing strategies that have already become apparant:

- Democrats are working overtime to find a rhetorical solution--not one in the real world, of course, but one that allows them to cling to the belief that they are morally righteous and reality based (the word "honorably" is being thrown around a lot; as is "realism") even as they betray all principles and values; abandon the fledgling democracy in Iraq and quickly surrender to the enemy.

- As part of the new "realism" they hope to engage through dialogue the regimes of Iran and Syria. The same Iran and Syia who have been rearming Hezbollah in Lebanon since the cease-fire with Israel. This certainly will be welcome by those regimes who have responded in an appropriately peace-loving and conciliatory manner.

- Not content with abandoning Iraq, there are also plans for betraying Lebanon! The foreign policy wing of the Democratic Party (i.e., the NY Times) proposes what has been needed all along is simply the appropriate expressions of scorn, isolation and sactions (which worked so well in the 90's). Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran are probably trembling....with laughter.

- It is necessary for the Democrats to put the military back in its "appropriate" low place in the heirarch American society. The Democrats wouldn't want a military made up of people with valor and courage; they prefer a military of victims and losers. Charles Rangel leads that charge, along with the equally vapid comedic malfunctions of John Kerry.

- Finally, there is the absolute ultimate undoing, proposed yesterday by Jonathan Chait in the LA Times.

And, don't forget about all the committees the Democrats can now set up to impeach, blame, deny and distort--not only about foreign policy, but domestic as well. They can always count on the MSM's devoted support, and in moments of extremis, they can always use the same talking points of the Islamic fanatics they hope to peacefully engage in dialog and diplomacy. You know, those talking points that inevitably blame America and Israel for everything.

In short, the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Democrats and the left, as well as their ongoing appeasement, enabling and outright support of the enemies of western civilization (just another oppressed victim group from their perspective) continues to reach new lows every single day. And, there is every reason to expect that they will always find a way to dig deeper and with ever more hysteria.

As a psychiatrist and blogger, I look forward to observing and commenting on their ever-increasing psychopathological behavior. From that perspective, the next two years should be quite fascinating as the Democrats strive to undo the last six years, and triumphantly open the gates of civilization to the barbarians waiting just outside.

Fun times, indeed.

UPDATE: Siggy expands this morning on the specific role of the MSM in all this Democratic undoing hysteria. The MSM have been actively undoing the Bush foreign policy activities as fast as they can. They have promoted terrorist propaganda and denigrated our own military in order to do it; they have emphasized anything which makes the current administration look bad and given evil a free pass, focusing instead on any instance of American ineptitude as evidence of unmitigated American evil. Meanwhile the unmitigated evil of the enemies of civilization continues unabated, sure in the knowledge that they, too, can count on the western media to support and enable their goals.
In publishing the IRIN fantasy as ‘news,’ Reuters highlights the difference between themselves and Nazi era media outlets. Those German media outlets were forced to report the lies and deceit and of the Third Reich.

Reuters and most of the mainstream media are perfectly happy to report the ‘party line’ and agenda as real news, willingly and without coercion. They cannot be expected to be taken seriously.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TOUCH AND GO ! Beacons of Reality


It is a dark and stormy afternoon here in Ann Arbor, and as I prepare for my fly-over of the psychosphere, I am grateful that the blogs I am about to visit have such helpful navigational aids! All are beacons of psychological clarity and common sense, so let us l do a few touch and go's and see what ideas are being illuminated in my favorite mental health blog.

We'll start out at GM's Corner, where GM has written a must-read post about "A Certain Darkness of the Heart" that describes a group of people that have decided that their way to salvation is jihad and martyrdom. He notes:
Part of the current political divide in this country over the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, between those who support the "pull out" crowd or at least support something similar and those who support the effort in Iraq and continuing the war on terrorism is the degree to which the individual, clique, political party or tribe see the threat of islamofascism.


Siggy, meanwhile focuses on being "home for the holidays" and what that means, in a three-part series, here, here and here:
If there is one great failing of our ever expanding ideal of bringing freedom to those who have been deprived of that gift, it is the American predilection for efficiency.

We go around the world touting democracy- and we display the fruits of our freedoms as shiny trinkets, as if somehow, democracy can be reduced to an ideology of materialism and consumption. Fast food, movies, and other ostentatious displays of consumerism are used to bedazzle and impress those to whom such luxuries are unknown.

We live in a society where all hungry people have to do relieve hunger is pick up the phone and say, “I’m hungry.” Not only is food available, but you can have it delivered- any kind of food you like. It is no wonder that it is the materialism and consumption mesmerizes people. They do not see or understand the freedom that made that possible. On a darker note, they do not see the work and effort, the blood sweat and tears, that went into creating that society. Too many believe the riches come easily. Culture is ubiquitous and visible- values very much less so.


Meanwhile over at ShrinkWrapped ponders on the immorality of fighting a war morally:
Israel, by behaving morally, is guaranteeing more Israeli deaths and genuinely risking the destruction of the Jewish state. This is the height of immorality and the Israeli leadership seem to be unaware that their aspirations to civilized behavior are not only dangerously corrupt, but risk the worst imaginable outcomes.

The dilemma shared by Israel and America is just this: If by fighting morally, we cannot win a limited war, we create the conditions which will ensure the fighting of an unlimited war.


Neo-neocon is concerned with the obvious imperialist ambitions of the jihadis, and how the political left gives them the proverbial PC pass from scrutiny:
Islamist jihadists have been from the start a pan-Islamic movement, and Islam covers a lot of territory already. They also have a beachfront among the Muslim population of the Western world, and can attract a certain number of followers there for perpetrating inside jobs. In addition, of course, there is the fact that the movement is based on, and feeds off, a religion rather than a "mere" political movement, and therefore is not really of this world--which gives it a far more powerful draw, and far more powerful weapons to use: eternal reward, and war for the glory of God.

But its blatant and domineering imperialism, whose goal (among other things) it to destroy human freedom and all the wonders of the Enlightenment, is minimized or virtually ignored by the Left for the most part (or even tacitly supported, as a foil to Western imperialism, capitalism, whatever "ism" offends the Left) because of its third world origins. The Left follows the rules of the PC Commandments (and if you don't recall them, now would be a good time for a quick review).


And tying this all together with the concept of the "ego ideal" as it pertains to individuals, cultures, and nations, Gagdad Bob has this to say:
One of the problems we face in our war against leftist fundamentalism and radical Islam is that we have entirely different and irreconcilable ego ideals. In the case of Islam, their political and religious ego ideal is the same man. But by the standards of the West, Mohammed was not a model worthy of emulation, at least exoterically speaking.

One of the baleful effects of the secular left has been to “deconstruct” and undermine the heroic and virtuous ego ideals who have always guided the United States. You know the tedious drill -- the founding fathers were just slave holders or self-interested businessmen. Instead of celebrating Lincoln’s or Washington’s birthdays, we merely have “President’s Day,” which is to conflate a quasi-divine being like Abraham Lincoln with a creepy, sanctimonious, petty, egomaniacal, and morally reprehensible weasel such as Jimmy Carter.

But this type of moral “leveling” is always at the heart of the leftist project, because it goes hand in hand with the assault on standards of any kind.


We arrive at Assistant Village Idiot's blog, where he has a round-up of recent discussions of women in Islam:
I have no opinion on whether there is something inherent to Islam which perpetuates devaluing women. Many claim so. I know little from personal experience, but the behavior of American Muslims would suggest that improving status for women is possible. The behavior of Muslims in Europe recently has many darker passages, and in Muslim countries, reports continue to be grim. I recommend the following three articles, heartbreaking as they are.


I check out his recommendations, then head over to Dr. Helen's, where she appropriately wonders
why some sites place a warning on the video of Michael Richard's statements as if people's ears are too sensitive to hear those words but no one places a warning on the Huffington Post when a writer prays for the death of Dick Cheney.

I have to return now to home base at Dr. Sanity , but be sure to spend some time at each of the psychbloggers we visited today, and read what they have to say.

They are all beacons of blinding reality in a frequently foggy and confusingly stormy world.

CARNIVAL OF THE INSANITIES

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity update, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). So, if you want to remain sane, the best thing is to poke some fun at the more egregious absurdities.

Send all entries for next week's carnival to Dr. Sanity by 8 pm ET on Saturday for Sunday's Carnival. Only one post entry weekly per blogger, please. And you might read this before submitting an entry.

Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. Just in case you thought that bitter, angry losers would become less bitter and angry after winning one. And don't forget this bitter, angry loser who is also extraordinarily lame. Geez, always whining about something.

2. Gentrification?

3. Homer Simpson works in Iowa! Counting on the "beer goggle" effect?

4. This is Britain today. God help them. And a major silencing in Australia.

5. Granny bombs. But in some places this is cause to be proud. Evidence that Palestinian "culture" is terminally diseased. Make that Islamic "culture".

6. Oh yes. Here we go again. (UPDATE: well that lasted literally nanoseconds!) History always repeats its ugliest chapters.

7. Why doesn't she just go to one of the many fine Palestinian universities that the PA have built for her education?

8. But he meant no disrespect to their religion! Or their underwear. It's this religions outerwear I have no respect for.

9. Confusion on the left. Is there nothing that they won't deconstruct to undermine American culture? Their own myths are sacred and holy.

10. What's worse than a disillusioned magician? A gold-plated Mao maybe? Or a helplessly victimized Kerry (redundant, really)--the man is relentlessly narcissistic.

11. And, speaking of relentlessly narcissistic...check out the dating habits of the "ecosexuals." Now how are we going to have a global orgasm with that kind of thinking?

12. A Baker's dozin'

13. UN leaps into action in Lebanon. Maybe they should make a phone call? Meanwhile, a "flying pig" moment in Gaza.

14. Finally! An international organization willing to stand up and call Iran to account! (HINT: It is not the UN)

15. Really edgy stuff. But, porn works for Pandas. Maybe it will increase reproductive rates in Democrats, as they try to go global....

16. A journey from impotent anger to no longer caring. Does anyone care?

17. Colorado establishes diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia; And Canada occupies Quebec - send in the UN!

18. Thanksgiving horror stories! More horror stories!

19. Brits tell fishing Poles to stop carping....really!

20. If the NY Times were a real newspaper.... but it's only a fantasy.

21. Now that the Democrats are back in power, see how quickly the economy turns around! Why just this past October, the American middle class was in dire straits.

22. Absolute moral authority? Or just another left-wing publicity hound?

Carnival of the Insanities can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear's √úberCarnival and at the BlogCarnival.

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If you would like to Join the insanity, and add the Carnival of the Insanities button to your sidebar (clicking on it will always take you to the latest update of the Carnival), click on "Word of Blog" below the button to obtain the html code:



Heard the Word of Blog?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

SO MANY REASONS TO NOT WRITE A POST THIS MORNING

It's a lovely day;
The sun is shining after days of gloom;
My knee is feeling a lot better;
I'm hobbling around on crutches instead of using the walker;
Most of the news is either incredibly depressing or completely boring;
There's nothing in particular that grabs me or that I want to write about;
I feel a little burned out;
I don't feel particularly clever...or insightful...or inspired this morning;
It's still Thanksgiving weekend;
The blogsphere seems rather quiet;
There's lots of other things I'd rather do...

I could go on making excuses, but you get the point.

Consider this an open thread! Opine away on whatever is on your mind today. Or, feel free to give me suggestions about topics that you think I should write on... and maybe sometime later today, I will.

Back sometime later when the spirit moves me....

Friday, November 24, 2006

MATERIAL SPIRITUALITY

The day after Thanksgiving traditionally opens the Holiday season, and
typically, that Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Current thinking seems to denigrate a lifestyle devoted exclusively to pursuing wealth, money, and objects rather than emphasizing spiritual or mental development. This lifestyle is sneeringly referred to as "materialistic".

We are exhorted to "Be A Consumer Hero" by participating in "International No Shopping Day". If we want to save the planet, we are told, we must stop our incessant "buying of things we don't need." Church sermons encourage everyone not to lose sight of the REALLY IMPORTANT things and to reject the disgusting materialism of our capitalistic society. Hardly a day goes by--especially during the Christmas season-- when there is not an editorial, article or impassioned plea for us to stop listening to advertisements that "force" us to buy more and more.

I'm afraid I fail to see the problem. To listen to these people you would think that human beings are entirely spiritual beings, existing in a golden glow of non-material nothingness. You would think that people are not composed of matter and have substance in a 3-dimensional, material world. Or, you could cue the Madonna music and believe exactly the opposite: that we are living in a material world, and that human beings are nothing more than physical, material creatures.

The former attitude leads inexorably to the notion that the highest ideals of society should be to encourage poverty, homelessness, nudity, and hunger. From the perspective of the "spiritualists", malnourished children in societies of mud huts wearing rags and owning nothing- would be the epitome of human existence. The Madonna attitude, on the other end of the dialectic, condemns us to meaningless and empty lives given over in pursuit of meaningless and empty things.

But human beings are not either spiritual or material. They are both these things at all times.

As someone who engages in "material spirituality", I happen to believe that all the marvelous goods and services that our incredible capitalistic society makes possible would not exist unless there were thinking, rational MINDS creating them.

I found this article particularly illuminating (hat tip: SC&A):
Thanksgiving celebrates man's ability to produce. The cornucopia filled with exotic flowers and delicious fruits, the savory turkey with aromatic trimmings, the mouth-watering pies, the colorful decorations -- it's all a testament to the creation of wealth.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, because this country was the first to create and to value material abundance. It is America that has been the beacon for anyone wanting to escape from poverty and misery. It is America that generated the unprecedented flood of goods that washed away centuries of privation. It is America, by establishing the precondition of production -- political freedom -- that was able to unleash the dynamic, productive energy of its citizens.

This should be a source of pride to every self-supporting individual. It is what Thanksgiving is designed to commemorate. But there are those, motivated by hatred for human comfort and happiness, who want to make Thanksgiving into a day of national guilt. We should be ashamed, they say, for consuming a disproportionate share of the world's food supply. Our affluence, they say, constitutes a depletion of the "planet's resources." The building of dams, the use of fossil fuels, the driving of sports utility vehicles -- they insist -- are cause, not for celebration, but for atonement. What if, they all wail, the rest of the world consumed the way Americans do?

...Since human survival is not automatic, man's life depends on successful production. From food and clothing to science and art, every act of production requires thought. And the greater the creation, the greater is the required thinking.


The clothing, toys, electronics, and other material goods that we "don't need" were created by human MINDS, who first imagined them in their thoughts, then found a way to make their thoughts real. When Marxists talk about "controlling the means of production" they are quite simply talking about controlling the human MIND.

When utopians dream of societies were wealth and material goods somehow mysteriously drop down from the skies above; or when they "imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man", they are actually imagining a world where the human spirit has been deliberately murdered, sacrificed to an "ideal" bouncing around in some slacker's fantasy.

The entire history of humanity has been driven by those individuals who have the unique ability to make the non-material real; to create wealth out of nothing but ideas. And, while those productive people have definitely benefited materially from their creations; the side effect has been that all of humanity has also benefited. In fact, this transformation of abstract concepts into material goods; of the spiritual into the physical--has been largely responsible for mankind's evolution from caves to modern cities and civilization.

Modern-day Marxists and all their totalitarian cousins (including the environmental doomsayers) would have you believe in typically contradictory postmodern style that (1) wealth is created off the backs of the poor, suffering underclass by the always oppressive and exploiting upper classes; and (2) wealth and consumerism are very very bad because they devastate the environment and destroy the planet. In the first instance, wealth is considered something good that is being stolen from its rightful owners by the evil capitalists; and in the second instance, the very act of creating wealth and consuming it is bad and inevitably mucks up the planet. What unites the two contradictory positions is the underlying desire of both camps to control and enslave the human mind and spirit.

The creation of wealth is only dependent on human thought, human ingenuity, and human desire (all non-material, yet important components of spirituality and mental development) ; and these are the foundations of the material progress you see all around you in the United States. When those non-material components of human existence are extrapolated to the real world, the results are the goods and services that overflow in abundance in economically free societies.

By appreciating those goods and services, I pay homage to the human mind.

By purchasing those goods and services, I honor human creativity.

By enjoying the material things that make my life easier and more enjoyable, I am celebrating the human spirit.

By means of materialism --pursuing wealth, money and objects--I happily provide the means by which many humans can benefit from the imagination of one. I contribute to the advancement of humanity from poverty to wealth; from homelessness to shelter; from hunger to satiety.

By embracing materialism, I am therefore embracing the the highest spiritual and mental development of humanity.

I love "things" because they are human thought made visible. I enjoy giving "objects" to people I love because they are the concrete expressions of my love. As a physical being living in a physical world, it is my essential nature to translate the abstract, the intangible, the non-corporeal --the spiritual, if you will--into reality.

And when I see the incredible variety of wonders for sale in the stores--no matter how silly or trivial or "non-essential" they may be--I see every single one of them as a celebration of the human spirit.

HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

HOLIDAY RICOTTA CHEESE PIE

One of my family's favorites:


Pastry
Sift together in a bowl:
2 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 C shortening (cut in with pastry blender until pieces are size of small peas. Sprinkle gradually over mixture, 1 t at a time
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1-2 Tbs cold water

Mix lightly with fork after each addition. Add only enough water to hold dough together. Mix until egg is thoroughly combined and blended.

Filling
Combine:
3 C ( 1 1/2 lbs) Ricotta cheese
1/4 C flour
2 T grated orange peel
2 T grated lemon peel
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/4 t nutmeg


Beat until foamy 4 eggs; add gradually 1 C sugar. Stir beaten eggs into Ricotta mix until blended and smooth. May add chopped walnuts to the mix if desired.. Pour into pastry. Bake at 350 degrees about 50-60 minutes (until pastry is golden brown). Cool on rack.

SANITY SQUAD CELEBRATES THANKSGIVING !

Over at Pajamas Media Politics Central the latest Sanity Squad Podcast is now posted, and in honor of Thanksgiving, the most American of holidays, the Squad has a pre-dinner conversation about American values and how they’re perceived (or misunderstood) around the globe.

The conversation spans the difference between values and culture, envy’s role in perceptions of America, and the challenges faced in fighting a war against a viciouos and immoral enemy without compromising one’s soul in the process.

Join Neo-neocon , Shrinkwrapped , Siggy and I as we count the many blessings we enjoy living in this wonderful country--where human life and liberty are valued above all; and where each of us can freely pursue our own happiness.




Previous podcasts of The Sanity Squad can be found here; and you can also download them from iTunes.

(The Sanity Squad cartoon drawn by Eric Allie, whose political cartoons can be found here and here)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

IT NEVER ENDS--A Rant Before Thanksgiving

**CAUTION**There is no question that I am in a lousy mood; I am in pain and very tired of being a semi-invalid. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, that quintessential American holiday when we give thanks for our many blessings. But before I sincerely offer up my thanks for all the good things in my life, I feel the need to rant a bit about the world situation. So, beware.

Perhaps this is why U.S. Air acted with remarkable dispatch to get six suspicious people off their flight from Minneapolis-St.Paul to Phoenix:
It just never ends.

Islamic terrorists’ endless fascination with explosives and Western passenger jets exhibited itself most recently last Friday in Germany where six Arabs were arrested for plotting to blow an airliner out of the sky with a suitcase bomb. The terrorist attack was probably to occur last summer during soccer’s World Cup tournament that Germany was hosting, most likely to ensure as big an audience as possible for the heinous crime. The targeted aircraft is believed to have been Israeli.

What makes this particular case perhaps more frightening than others involving airplanes, Islamists and bombs, however, is that none of the plotters planned to give up his own life to commit yet another aerial mass murder of infidels, but rather they enlisted the help of a worker at Frankfurt Airport who, for a price, was willing to smuggle the deadly suitcase onto the El Al plane. The French recently suspended 72 workers from Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris with connections to terrorist groups, about 60 of whom had ties to radical Islam.

One German newspaper report said some of the arrested cell members were Palestinians from Jordan, while the others were from different Middle Eastern countries. Five of the six suspects were released from custody on Saturday after a hearing. Preliminary proceedings have been launched against them for membership in a terrorist organization, although German papers reported it was not yet clear whether the plotters belonged to al Qaeda or a similar terrorist outfit, or to an autonomous group. The police are also investigating other suspects in the case, who are involved the plot’s background.

Investigators stumbled onto the homicidal conspiracy during an eavesdropping operation regarding drug offenses. The scheme was still in the early planning stages; the price to load the suitcase onto the plane had still not been agreed upon between the Islamists and the airport worker, showing that murderous Muslim extremists at least respect the free market when it comes to killing their fellow human beings. Nine apartments in Mainz and Wiesbaden were also searched when the suspects were arrested and taken into custody.


Is anybody else sick of this shit? How many of these kind of plots--hundreds? thousands?--have to be broken-up before we realize that these sick, perverted bastards want to indiscriminantly kill us? I have no more sympathy left for the "moderates" of Islam, who have failed to do anything about this except whine about "Islamophobia". Even psychiatrists realize that you are not paranoid if they really are out to get you--and a significant number of the followers of Islam really really want to kill us. I'm tired of waiting for the so-called "moderates" to do something, since it appears that they either cannot or will not. It is not enought to say anymore that you are against such things being done in the name of your religion, if you also excuse, justify, and apologize for the dysfunctional behavior of the most extreme adherents.

Everywhere you turn, those extreme adherents are using our technology; our laws; and our essential goodwill and tolerance to leverage their homicidal agenda. I have always believed in "live and let live", and I have nothing against those Muslims who want to live in peace.

But I am sick to death of the violent and endlessly rioting Palestinian victimhood cult; of Saudi duplicity and hate-mongering; of warped Iranian mullahs egging on psychotic Iranian presidents; of suicidal and mindlessly rioting Arab youth; of brainless and illiterate imams; of Syrian assassins and serial murders; of the arrogantly murderous thugs of Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Al-Qaeda and all their ilk. I am nauseated because what is being done in the name of Allah--God-- is nothing more than unbelievable and unrelenting evil; and that an outrageous number of the medieval and pathological leaders of this religion are far too interested in all aspects of mass-murdering technology and seem to worship only death and destruction.

And, even more than all that, I am thoroughly disgusted with all western leaders who continually seek to appease what cannot be appeased; who in their cowardly fashion spout multicultural and politically correct nonsense as they sell-out Western values and freedoms; who want to endlessly "dialogue" with barbarians; who want to protect the rights of those who want to kill us; and denounce anyone who has the courage to stand up to the monsters of Islam. I am filled with inarticulate anger at the western media who, rather than fulfilling its historic mission to tell truth to power, now uses its enormous power to silence the truth.

Last but certainly not least, is the contempt I feel for those on the political left who appease, enable, support, excuse and rationalize all of it.

No, it never ends; nor will it ever end. The sad truth is that it will only get worse -- unless we coldly, rationally, and deliberately muster up the will and decide once and for all to counter and eliminate this menace wherever it has metastasized.

ALLAHWORLD

Monty Python believes (albeit cynically and humorously) one should "always look on the bright side of life." Nevertheless, this is extremely depressing even for the most optimistic:
Since the London bombings of July 7, 2005, which killed 53 people, the police have been obliged to keep thousands of Muslims under surveillance while investigating up to a hundred separate conspiracies to commit terror. But rather than expressing shame that such unprecedented measures have been necessary, “moderate” Muslim leaders like Muhammad Abdul Bari have responded with thinly veiled blackmail. As often as not, British support for Israel is invoked as high on the list of Muslim grievances. The message is simple: unless Britain withdraws that support, every Muslim will become a potential suicide bomber.

Such implicit threats have had their effect on the non-Muslim majority. At a dinner after my lecture, a professor remarked, as if it were a generally accepted platitude: “Of course, the only terrorist state in the Middle East is Israel.” Nobody contradicted him. The delegitimization of Israel in the British academic world has become one aspect of a new and more powerful wave of outright anti-Semitism, a phenomenon that has been greatly accelerated by the response to last summer’s war in Lebanon...


Read it all to understand how Merry Olde England is fast becoming the latest theme park of the Allahworld chain.

And, if you aren't depressed enough after that, then pick up Mark Steyn's book, America Alone, which I have just finished reading.

While Al Gore runs around like a crazed idiot touting the coming environmental disasters that will befall civilization unless draconian measures are instituted that will pave the way to the best-ever totalitarian --but nevertheless an environmentally carbon-neutral-- utopia; the real threat to civilization just keeps on pushing the envelope.

I look back and contemplate that 30 years ago, the religion of Islam was not even on the horizon of my consciousness. Oh, I knew it existed, but I DIDN'T CARE. Why should I? My life had nothing to do with it; I completely ignored Islam, and, praise Allah, Islam completely ignored me.
Yet today it's Islam a go-go: almost every geopolitical crisistakes place on what Shamuel Huntington, in The Clash of Civilizations, calls "the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims. That looping boundary is never not in the news. One week, it's a bomb in Bali. The next, some beheadings in southern Thailand. Next an insurrection in an obscure resource-rich Muslim republic in the Russian Federation. And then Madrid, and London, and suddenly that looping, loopy boundary has penetrated into the very heart of the West. In little more than a generation.


We can see the beginning of the next theme-park right here in the U.S. From the antics of provocative imams and the cynical exploitation of of our values by organizations such as CAIR; to the willful blindness and psychological denial and displacement of the dysfunctional political left, whose return to power probably couldn't have come at a worse time, and which makes the hope of a positive prognosis for the forces of civilization deteriorate substantially.

Allahworld! Coming soon to an American city near you!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

THE RATIONAL ROLE OF EMOTION

Hannah Arendt once said, " Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival." I thought it might be a good thing to review the rational role of emotions like fear in light of a recent event that is making the news.

According to Hot Air, CAIR has sprung into action, promising "a formal complaint in the morning to protest law enforcement’s inexplicable suspicions about a group of men onboard a commercial flight rising out of their seats in tandem and praying to Allah."

A CAIR spokesman reportedly said the following:

"We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We call on relevant authorities to investigate whether proper procedures were followed by security personnel and members of the US Airways flight crew."

Awad added that public prayer is not a threat to safety or security and should not be viewed as suspicious or criminal activity. (emphasis mine)


For the purposes of this post, I am only going to focus on the idea of "succumbing to fear" and not on stereotyping or prejudice.

These days, "fear" is often used as if it were a dirty word (much like the usage of terms like stereotyping or prejudice, actually), when in fact, fear is a perfectly normal emotion that we are (thankfully) hardwired to experience.

In other posts, I have explained how destructive it is to rely solely on one's emotions as a strategy for living one's life. But is equally irrational to completely ignore feelings and pretend that you don't feel what you do. In other words, fear may be an extremely rational response to a dangerous situation.

Emotion can be an important source of information about reality; or at least, an important source of information about one's internal reality --which sometimes has to be understood, challenged and compared with the external world to ascertain whether what is being felt is a valid guide for action.

Animals do not have an intervening rational process between emotion and action. When they feel fear, they react. Humans, when necessary--i.e., when in imminent danger--will react the same way as animals because we share a similar physiology. But humans are (hopefully) able to understand and appreciate fear in a way that other species cannot. We possess a rational faculty that when used correctly can expand and refine (or consider and discard when appropriate) the information emotions give us about potential threats. Thus, humans are able to deliberately plan and anticipate for future threats--a flexibility not available to most animal species, except where it is already programmed.

But in order to do that, we must still be able to experience fear and listen carefully to what our fear is telling us about reality.

The person without fear tends to achieve death far more quickly than a person who understands what he is feeling; why he is feeling it; and acts on the feeling, when appropriate and necessary.

Now, it is true that fear may indeed drive out reason. But that occurs when fear replaces reason, instead of augmenting or enhancing it. The normal course of events--for humans anyway-- is that a person experiences the fear and then determines (sometime very very quickly) what the best response to the emotion is. Again, thankfully, through a series of reflexes, we are programmed to jump out of the way of attacking rhinos without much reason or intervening thought.

The less imminently threatening scenarios where fear is likely to "drive out" reason is exactly when our psychological defenses distort an unpleasant reality and make us inclined to pretend that something dangerous isn't really so. In other words, when fear goes underground and is covered up, the blissfully ignorant are merely waiting patiently for the slow-moving rhino to strike.

In the news report cited at the beginning of the post, passengers and crew of flight were subjected to several Muslims simultaneously behaving in a manner that is, let us say kindly, extremely uncommon on an airplane (even if it may be common in mosques). In fact, I think it is fair to say that there is no way whatsoever, that these Musims who are now "outraged" and feel "humiliated" could not have had some appreciation for the amount of fear their behavior would generate in their fellow passengers in a post 9/11 world. Yet, these Muslims (leaders in their community even) performed their act anyway, in complete disregard for the feelings of their fellow passengers! (One can only wonder where the PC police are?)

Several options were open to the fellow passengers. First, they could have completely ignored their fear and pretended that it is perfectly normal to have religious observations and chanting to Allah on airplanes. Or, alternatively they could have begun screaming and acting out in an histrionic manner (up to and including physically assaulting the imams because they felt so threatened), in which case, the passengers' normal fear would have been replaced by hysteria--an emotional overreaction to the unusual activity.

Finally, the passengers could have done exactly what they did. Made the flight crew aware of their anxiety about the behavior and asked the crew to intervene. It is this latter scenario that occurred.

Thus, the imams' fellow passengers showed a great deal of sensitivity and reasonableness to the insensitive and provocative behavior of these self-absorbed (dare I say narcissistic?) imams, who apparently believe that their particular religious beliefs trump every other consideration and that everyone must concur with their particular...prejudice...on that issue.

We all feel the emotion of fear. And it is good that we do so. Fear and all our other emotions are the software "shortcuts" that encourage our mind and body to act. An emotionally mature individual tries to understand his or her fear--i.e., he or she uses the rational faculty and reason-- because in doing so, one may determine the appropriate course of action for countering a perceived threat to youself or your loved ones.

Pretending that you aren't afraid; displacing or minimizing your fear; ignoring the slow-moving rhino heading in your direction or other dangerous realities; are hardly effective strategies to deal with the many threatening things in the world today.

In an earlier post, I discussed the defense mechanism of denial:

Denial can be thought of as a complex psychological process where there may be some conscious knowledge or awareness of events in the world, but somehow one fails to feel their emotional impact or see their logical consequences.

Denial is an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes--or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:

-Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
-Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
-Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)

Think of it this way. Every one of us has at one point or another in our lives had to face an unpleasant reality or painful truth and at the very least probably desperately wished it would go away.

This is psychotic denial; completely out of touch with reality. A similar defense mechanism of dissociation -- or, neurotic denial as it is sometimes called-- allows us to replace painful ideas and affects with more pleasant ones that are not disturbing. (e.g., "Oh, isn't it nice that those people are chanting Allah Ackbar in the cabin of my flight?" or Ahmadinejad is a reasonable person. Surely he does not want to destroy Israel!")

With this defense, our consciousness is dissociated from our self. This defense is notable because it is one of the only psychological defenses that can be voluntarily and consciously deployed.

There are many ways to alter our consciousness and to separate it from reality--through drugs, alcohol, meditation, self-hypnosis, lying to ourselves; acting etc. etc. We can pretend to be happy, when we are not. We can pretend to not be afraid, when we really are. The opportunities are endless.

So are the potential destructive consequences.

Both psychotic and neurotic denial are methods of eliminating unwanted feelings, thoughts or knowledge. In the case of the normal fear that the provocative Muslim imams would prefer we not feel; these defenses represent some of the methods being used to deny the current reality of the world. It is remarkably sane and rational to be afraid of the many insane and irrational psychopaths who are out there and who are planning to indiscriminantly kill as many Americans as possible. Being afraid of them is the first step. Logically deciding what to do with that fear is the second.

The passengers and crew of this Minneapolis-St.Paul flight behaved rationally according to the appropriate fear the behavior of their Muslim fellow-passengers deliberated incited. They would have been foolish NOT to have acted on such fears, considering other, recent activity on airlines that was more than just suspicious.

Let me be clear. If you pretend that the many and daily Islamofascist threats-- from Muslims inappropriately doing their religious thing in the middle of a crowded airplane (imagine if a Catholic priest had decided to mass for the dead in the plane's aisle) up to and including Iran's goals obtaining nuclear weapons and of wiping the US and Israel off the map-- are nothing to be afraid of, then it is doubtful that you will be able to take evasive action from the charging rhino--no matter how slowly it narrows the gap between you and its horns.

The proper role of emotion is to be an "early warning system" that alerts us that something good or something bad is on the way. We ignore our feelings at our peril; and alternately, if we rely only on them as a method of determining reality, we are equally screwed.

But, when emotions are used in concert with reason, we are able to optimally deal with the real world.

Contrary to what CAIR repeatedly suggests as it tries to brand all such incidents as "Islamophobic", the emotion of fear is not synonymous with prejudice or stereotyping (see here for examples of people of other religions behaving inappropriately and being tossed off of flights); nor does "succumbing" to it necessarily involve irrational, histrionic, or some sort of overreaction to reality. Rather, fear is always an essential emotion that must be appropriately listened to by a rational mind because it is absolutely necessary for survival.

Only the very foolish and the very dead do not experience fear.

Monday, November 20, 2006

MAKE TRADE, NOT WAR

As a strategy for achieving world peace, this has to be by far one of the most idiotically self-absorbed and narcissistic suggestions anyone could ever make. Just the sort of thing that the brain-impaired leftist remnants of the 60's would suggest. As Wretchard wryly observes, "Be sure to wear some flowers in whatever hair you have left."

The fact that the MSM thinks such ridiculousness is newsworthy shows how unserious these morons are about the subject of world peace (or should I say "whirrled peas"?).

Those who are truly interested in world peace--and not just for their own malignantly narcissistic gratification--would do well to read this piece in the CSM by Donald Boudreaux, however (please read it all):
...as the Wall Street Journal reported recently, "Democrats' stances against free trade helped build the party's success at the polls and could tip the balance on trade matters. The new dynamic could put a definitive end to the already troubled effort to reach a global agreement to reduce tariffs and open markets...."
Protectionists (of whatever party) believe that consumers who buy goods and services from foreigners cause domestic employment - and wages - to fall. Economists since before Adam Smith have shown that this belief is mistaken, largely because foreigners sell things to us only because they either want to buy things from us or invest in our economy.

These activities employ workers here at home and raise their wages. Mountains of empirical evidence show that protectionism is economically destructive. The facts also show that protectionism is inconsistent with a desire for peace - a desire admirably expressed by many Democrats during the recent campaigns.

Back in 1748, Baron de Montesquieu observed that "Peace is the natural effect of trade. Two nations who differ with each other become reciprocally dependent; for if one has an interest in buying, the other has an interest in selling; and thus their union is founded on their mutual necessities."

If Mr. Montesquieu is correct that trade promotes peace, then protectionism - a retreat from open trade - raises the chances of war.

Plenty of empirical evidence confirms the wisdom of Montesquieu's insight: Trade does indeed promote peace.

All the arthritic hippies in the world screwing themselves into oblivion, while getting high on various drugs to block out any hint of meaning or connectedness that might come from their orgasmic follies, would never in a million years be capable of realizing that their trusty old slogan "Make Love, Not War" has absolutely no relevance at all to the real world. As they search for new climactic heights to achieve in their self-centered little worlds, they will thankfully be in no rational state to appreciate the global fucking that certain death-worshiping religious jihadists have planned instead.

Far out, dude, they might intone groggily in a purple haze.

No, it is far more likely they would accept the death-worshipping jihadists than any suggestion that capitalism and trade are correlated with peace; or that the overwhelming evidence indicates that trade reduces conflict.

Shit man, they don't need no stinkin' evidence. In their gentle souls they know the truth and have passed it on to the next generation of idiots.

Their feelings were all that mattered in the 60's; and their feelings then and now tell them quite clearly that capitalism sucks. Every postmodern leftist; almost every 21st century Democrat believes this fundamental truth all the way down to the core of what is left of their souls.

That poverty and misery have a cure; or that making trade decreases the chances of war simply does not compute.

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

A POVERTY OF THE SOUL

Victor Davis Hanson completely nails it this morning, when discussing how the West is stumbling when confronted by the parasitism and envy of the jihadist:
But the global sale of PlayStation 3 or a world in Levis is only the glitzy veneer of civilization. That shared taste almost unnoticeably hinges on a powerful and liberal United States that keeps the peace and remains the spiritual and intellectual fountainhead of an entire global system--one ultimately dependent on American core ideas like freedom and tolerance. What pressures China to liberalize, protects the creativity of Japan, assures Europeans they can be postmodernists in safety, and guarantees that the world commerce is protected from both old and new piracy is a confident and strong United States.

In contrast, grant a jihadist his 7th-century dream world, and within months even he wouldn't have a cell phone signal to call in an IED explosion.

So just as the central nervous system controls an animal's most powerful muscles, so too capital, politics, and armed forces are all governed by subtle, unseen public opinion, or the people's will to define and defend their civilization. For America soldiers to fight jihadists in Afghanistan or Iraq, Americans back home must grasp whom they are fighting and why. And that's the core problem when we consider the recent news and the West's response to it....

The rationalist would find a common Thucydidean denominator in all this madness, one of lost honor and rampant envy. There is wealth aplenty pouring into Iran and Iraq through oil that is sold at a high price in a world market whose sanctity is ultimate protected by the United States. So the poverty there of radical Islam is not material, but one of the soul....

How odd that Iranians cannot design a car or computer, but can with the proper instruction manual spend millions of hours putting together Western-designed centrifuges, like the stamped lettered-parts of a build-it-your-self intricate model toy...

So again, the problem with the radicals in the Middle East is not the lack of capital or mental energy. Rather under the influence of Islamism and autocracy a deep-seeded cultural malady distorts human effort and creativity solely for destructive purposes.

Read it all.

Ayn Rand in her writings originated the concept of the "second-hander"; a person who is intellectually dependent on others and cannot create because the source of creation comes from the genuine self. These are the kind of people who are motivated by envy and who take delight in destroying the creative efforts of others (when they cannot steal them). they are a perfect example of the "poverty of the soul" that Hanson talks about.

In The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand and Howard Roark have this exchange about "second-handers":

GW: "I think Toohey understands that. That's what helps him spread his vicious nonsense. Just weakness and cowardice. It's so easy to run to others. It's so hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is the strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence--such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence."

HR: "That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers. They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: 'Is this true?' They ask: 'Is this what others think is true?' Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egotists. You don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation--anchored to nothing. That's the emptiness I couldn't understand in people. That's what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It's everywhere and nowhere and you can't reason with him. He's not open to reason. You can't speak to him--he can't hear. You're tried by an empty bench. A blind mass running amuck, to crush you without sense or purpose."


In other words, the second-hander is the true postmodern man, who exemplifies the essence of what I have called "sociopathic selflessness"--a type of malignant narcissist whose goal is to enslave the individual's creativity for the collective, state or other "ideal".

In a separate essay at Pajamas Media Hanson discusses the "smug piety" of persons like Jimmy Carter who is the poster boy of the type of second-handers dominating the political left these days and whose psyche feels right at home with the islamofascist barbarians. The two represent the totalitarians of both the left and the right.

"Poverty of the soul"; "second-hander" and "malignant narcissist" are three interchangeable descriptions of the tyrants, totalitarians and "do-gooders" that exist across the political spectrum. All are driven by envy and malice; all are incapable of true creativity or productivity in the real world; and all rely on destruction and the enslavement of others as their primary tools for survival.

They and the ideologies they glorify represent the ultimate in spiritual, moral and intellectual bankruptcy, and their alliance is the gravest threat to human life, freedom and civilization.