Friday, August 31, 2007

SCUM AND VILLAINY

An interview in the Jerusalem Post with Natan Scharansky, who discusses where President Bush went wrong:
Many politicians and institutions that should be promoting democracy and freedom are cynically reluctant to do it, because Bush raised the agenda," Sharansky went on. "That's why I give Bush an "A" for raising the idea, a "C" for implementation and I give his opponents, who abandoned the idea, an "F," because they are attacking Bush not for inconsistency in implementing the agenda but for raising it. Their approach denies the people of the Middle East the ability to live in freedom."

Sharansky called Bush "a lonely dissident for democracy in the White House" because of his lack of support. But he cited three cases where Bush could have and should have been more consistent in his insistence on democratization: the Palestinians, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.


Sharansky, whose book, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, is the author who inspired Bush to push for democracy and freedom in the Middle East.

Sharansky is exactly correct on several points. President Bush continues to be demonized for even raising the idea of spreading democracy and freedom in the world. To the extent that such behavior has been fueled by useless "utopian" fantasies, it has failed; that is, anyone who expected "perfect" freedom or "perfect" democracy to instantly bloom in that Middle Eastern desert, is high on idiocy. Neither Freedom, nor Democracy are perfect; nor will they ever be. Leave it to the utopian leftists to think that everything and everyone must be perfect to exist in their perfect and unreal world.

I sincerely doubt that anyone would be able to get much above a "C" in today's postmodern (i.e., insane) world, where a simple (i.e., not particularly nuanced) and fundamentally good person like Bush--who means what he says and is himself honestly--is more frightening to the political left than a tyrant or a murderer. Even Republicans and conservatives tend to misunderestimate the man and want to hold him to ideological points that he in good conscience is unable to support.

But an "A" in conception and a "C" in execution are both passing and perfectly acceptable.

I wrote:
[Bush] has had a lot to deal with over the course of his presidency and, to say the least not everything has been handled with extreme competence. But we are a nation at war and I expect major mistakes will be made. Most of the emotionalism of the left and the media has focused on issues that frankly are trivial or irrelevant to me as a voter. I could care less about their rage toward Gonzales; I think Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame should go to jail for their self-aggrandizing and utterly deceitful behavior. They are just two pitiful clowns who history will erase from serious concern. I could go on about the manufactured "scandals" but you catch my drift.

No, if there is one thing I have to take issue with the President for, it is that he has chosen to "rise above it all" and not aggressively defend himself against all the deliberate falsehoods and malicious attacks that have come his way. As one of my friends has put it, "The man has a Christian martyr complex!"

I suppose he figures that history will ultimately judge him well (I think it will for all the missteps); or perhaps he feels that it is enough to help this country change course and go on the offensive against Islamofascism. Contrary to what meatheads like John Edwards think, the war on terror is quite a bit more than a bumper sticker.


Bush's strategy has always been to introduce the seed of democracy and individualism into the sick collectivism of Middle Eastern politics. In that, I believe he has succeeded and receives a "passing" grade.

As for Bush's opponents, to paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, than those who have failed abjectly to stand up for Freedom and Democracy in the world today and who dare criticize Bush for even trying.

NO MORE DR NICE GUY

Hard to believe, I realize, but I have been tagged with a "NICE Award" by Nan at American Daughter:

The Nice Matters Blog Award is for ladies who:

...are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also, for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award. have not only great blogs, but also who have more to them, there is caring, friendship and inspiration too.

I want to thank American Daughter for the honor she passes on to me--though I'm not sure I deserve it.

Here are the definitions of "nice" found at m-w.com:

Main Entry: nice
Pronunciation: 'nIs
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): nic·er; nic·est
Etymology: Middle English, foolish, wanton, from Anglo-French, silly, simple, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescire not to know -- more at NESCIENCE
1 obsolete a : WANTON, DISSOLUTE b : COY, RETICENT
2 a : showing fastidious or finicky tastes : PARTICULAR : exacting in requirements or standards : PUNCTILIOUS
3 : possessing, marked by, or demanding great or excessive precision and delicacy
4 obsolete : TRIVIAL
5 a : PLEASING, AGREEABLE : well-executed : APPROPRIATE, FITTING
6 a : socially acceptable : WELL-BRED : VIRTUOUS, RESPECTABLE
7 : POLITE, KIND


After looking at all the meanings attributed to "nice", maybe I'm more deserving of the award than I thought!

As you can see, some of the definitions of "nice" are not...well, nice (see #1 or #4 as well as the origin of the word itself), but as descriptors, they certainly fit some female bloggers I am familiar with, and whose names I will not mention because I will try to live up to the #7 definition of the word.

As far as lady bloggers who are described by #6 ("WELL-BRED, VIRTUOUS, RESPECTABLE), I really couldn't say for sure, though I suspect those terms characterize several!

I considered passing the award on to Siggy, who fits definition #2, but he is not a lady; and is, in fact, three dead shrinks and not one of them remotely female (well, maybe Carl).

So, here are my nominations for the POLITE, KIND, PLEASING and AGREEABLE aspects of "nice", as well as the PRECISE and DELICATE meanings. These are gals who are, in my book, really nice in all the most positive connotations of the word; AND they are also tough, intrepid, and inspirational at the same time!

Neo at Neo-neocon

Fausta at Fausta's Blog

The Anchoress at The Anchoress

Dymphna at Gates of Vienna

Maxed Out Mama at Maxed-Out Mama

Betsy at Betsy's Page

Dr. Helen at Dr. Helen

I have done my duty by niceness, and now I will revert back to my regularly scheduled personality style!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

DREAM TICKET

Reuters reports that:
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is tipping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to team up and win the U.S. presidential election.

Clinton leads Obama in the race to be the Democratic nominee for the November 2008 election, and Castro said they would make a winning combination.

"The word today is that an apparently unbeatable ticket could be Hillary for president and Obama as her running mate," he wrote in an editorial column on U.S. presidents published on Tuesday by Cuba's Communist Party newspaper, Granma.


Fidel Castro's dream ticket? Aren't they special....

A GENERATION DESTROYED BY THE MADNESS OF POSTMODERNISM

This exchange, from an interview by John Leo of Victor Davis Hanson posted at Hanson's site, got me thinking:

Leo: You argue that a college class today on World War II "might emphasize Japanese internment, Rosie the Riveter and the horror of Hiroshima, not Guadacanal and Midway." How can we overcome the obsession with race, class and gender in studying military history?

Hanson: I'm afraid an entire generation must pass first. Those who came of age in the university in the 1960s and 1970s — now department chairmen, deans, senior theses advisors, scholarly associations' presidents, etc — wanted this revolution of easy arm-chair therapeutic moralizing and self-appointed censure of perceive contemporary sins, got it, turned off the students, forfeited hard-won standards, and lost their public readership — and now must suffer the consequences of irrelevancy for a generation. It is not an accident that a David McCullough or John Keegan or Martin Gilbert now writes outside the campus. Vibrant military history has gone on despite, or perhaps even because of the failure of the academia.


Sadly, Hanson is talkin' 'bout my generation. I know firsthand how all that nonsense from the 60's and 70's has totally screwed up academia, because I have had to function in that environment for most of my career.

And the dysfunction is not confined to the field of Military history, but extends to virtually all subject areas in academia. My own field has certainly not been immune to the postmodern perversion; and some might argue that it was actually psychiatry and psychology which unleashed the "therapeutic psychobabble" that has become the predominant vehicle of postmodern rhetoric, with its emphasis on self-esteem, feelings, multiculturalism, political correctness, and the eternal entitlement of endless victimhood.

In the postmodern world, reason, truth and reality are mere subjective constructs and nothing is absolute; what happened in the past is to be interpreted only by the standards of the moment; and morality is also relative, except when you are a member of an approved victimhood group and are automatically granted absolute moral authority (except in certain cases, apparently).

As I noted in a previous post:
One of the wondrous aspects of postmodern rhetoric, where reality and truth are only relative, is that anybody's "reality" is as good as anybody else's. For the dedicated postmodernist, polls and opinion are the final arbiters of truth; and the results of a poll or two, constructed along ideological lines to fit a particular template, is all you need to confirm your reality. Reality is a matter of opinion (simply ignore any polls that don't agree with your reality, of course).

This type of micraculous rhetoric can even determine today, what history will say many tomorrows from now. With enough repetition and passion, "history" can be set in stone in the temporal present! Extremely convenient for anyone who wants to avoid confronting their own contradictions in the present.

The rhetorical passion and word play is mere camouflage for the inherent philosophical and psychological contradictions that the postmodern left exploits in order to achieve and maximize political power. They are perfectly aware that their positions don't make any sense and can be refuted by anyone with basic knowledge of logic and logical fallacies; but their goal is to maintain the psychological denial necessary to believe in the left's ideology. Interpreting this defense and exposing it is essential to countering that ideology.

Stephen Hicks asks this important question (page 184):

The pattern therefore raises the question of which side of the contradiction is deepest for postmodernism. Is it that psotmodernists really are committed to relativism, but occasionally lapse into absolutism? Or are the absolutist commitments deepest and the relativism a rhetorical cover?


The possibility that the relativism is primary can be ruled out with some thought. If the modern leftist truly embraced relativism, then you would not see the uniformity of their politics or their reactions to events in the world. Instead, you would be able to observe an infinite number of postmodern leftist opinions and beliefs from all over the political spectrum. And, have you? Or, have you noticed that their opinions march completely in lockstep with their political ideology?

I must conclude from that observation that the moral relativism they preach so relentlessly as part of their multicultural drivel; and which equates the unceasing and institutional barbarity of terror groups like Al Qaeda (see here) with U.S. troops in Iraq; equates the deliberate targeting of innocents with herculean efforts to spare innocent life; equates Bush with Hitler; Iraq with Vietnam; etc. etc. are simple rhetorical devices that are being used to manipulate and advance their fundamentally socialist / totalitarian agenda.

That is why they can easily ignore any evidence that contradicts their arguments; never acknowledge that their arguments (or more precisely, their beliefs) have been debunked; instead, they simply redefine words or resort to word games (the various meanings of "is" for example); or move the goalposts (those aren't the WMD's we were looking for) when convenient.

At any rate, it occurs to me that perhaps I am wasting my time fighting so relentlessly against all this postmodern psychobabble. Most of the people on the left are not going to experience an epiphany and see the light of reason (a few may); nor are they about to abandon their dysfunctional and warped perpective of the world, because it is far too convenient and pleasurable to imagine their feelings are the center of the universe. For the committed leftist, slavery and death are not too high a price to pay just to be able to feel good and virtuous about themselves.

But perhaps, as Hanson suggests, all it will take is a generation or so to sweep out all the intellectual garbage that now clutters our campuses, warps our political discourse, and undermines Western Civilization. Maybe--just maybe--the postmodernists are a merely a transient evolutionary diversion (sort of like the Dodo) that arose out of the decaying remnants of failed 20th century socialist utopians; and which will quite naturally and deservedly become extinct after their nihilistic antics take them out of history and into the annals of comedy.

That is, if the Mohammedan angels don't take them-- and the rest of us-- out of history first.

Makes you want to Howl with exasperation doesn't it?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats
floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene- ment roofs
illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the
scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn- ing their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror
through the wall....


-Allen Ginsberg

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

YOU'RE GONNA MISS HIM WHEN HE'S GONE

David Warren writing in the Ottowa Citizen recently, suggested that the world is going to miss George W. Bush when he leaves office:
Like al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the many other adversaries America and the West must continue to face, the Russians are looking forward to the time after George Bush leaves office. It is assumed that the American electorate has by now tired of playing policeman to the world, and that the next president will be a liberal Democrat, eager to make unilateral concessions, slash military budgets to fund social programs, and cut-and-run from foreign battlefields.

They may well be right...

America is demonized as the "cowboy," going it alone; and Western politicians, especially on the left, score easy points by smugly playing to their domestic anti-American galleries. The lethal enemies of the West cannot help but notice this dynamic, and from car bombings in Iraq, to the rhetoric of Russian and Chinese military commanders, they exploit it to drive further wedges between the U.S. and her allies...

We are caught in a trap. The very success of the Bush strategy, in preventing another major terror strike on the U.S., in confronting and arresting the progress of Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and also in consolidating the post-Cold War European gains of NATO and the European Union, contributes to an illusion of security in a world that has seldom been such a dangerous place. People forget what alliances require.


Now wouldn't that be something.

YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE
(GWB singing with Brooks and Dunn)

I'm still hurtin' from the last time
The polls made fun of how I talk;
I can't find much to believe in
You even hate the way I walk
Heaven knows I'm tryin'
To get this war done and won;
Go ahead and diss me--
'Cause you're gonna miss me when I'm gone

Not much chance we're gonna make it
If I'm the only one who's tryin'
You know I'm running out of vetoes
The West is running out of time
Someday, Dems are gonna wake up
And wonder what went wrong
Go ahead and diss me--
'Cause you're gonna miss me when I'm gone

The EU's good at going through the motions
But all we get are alibis
And I get this empty feeling
Are they the best we got for allies?
I don't see them doin' their part here,
They don't know what's going on;
Go ahead and diss me--
'Cause they're gonna miss me when I'm gone

Go ahead and diss me--
'Cause you're gonna miss me when I'm gone

Go ahead and diss me--
'Cause you're gonna miss me when I'm gone

STUFFING VIETNAM DOWN THE THROATS OF THE LEFT

Personally I rather liked that Bush used their own rhetoric against them the other day, and challenged their unwillingness to admit what the consequences of pulling out of Vietnam really were for this country....They didn't like it, did they? As far as I'm concerned, that means he hit a bullseye.



Victor Davis Hanson notices some of the insanity that has ensued since Bush stuffed Vietnam back down the left's throats:
In all the hysteria over the Bush Vietnam evocation, people are losing their sanity. Now those in Vietnam are being dragged out and quoted by the mainstream media to prove Bush’s lunacy. But what are subjects of a police state supposed to say — “I wish our present Communist dictatorship had lost”? Do we think Cubans routinely give widely publicized interviews criticizing their Castroites — and live?

And then there is the “they weren’t that bad” strain of criticism, as if we are supposed to have forgotten that well before the partition hundreds of thousands fled the north to escape Communism, that Ho’s collectivization efforts, as was true anywhere in the Communist world where such confiscations took place, killed thousands, or that during Tet hundreds, maybe even thousands, were taken out and shot in Hue by Communist thugs. No need to mention the boat people, the reeducation camps, and Cambodia.

The problem with talking about Vietnam is the paradox that all seem to wish to forget — reminiscent to Thucydides’s remark that an ill-thought out thing like Syracuse could have nevertheless worked had the Athenians not torn each apart at home.

So few want to admit that something that was a clear-cut disaster from 1963-68, got better with Vietnamization and counterinsurgency between 1969-73, was largely stabilized and viable by 1974-5, and then completely undercut by Congressional military cutbacks, and refusal to fund promised arms. So Vietnam, like the expedition to Sicily, was a blunder that could have nevertheless — with a little more resolve — finally still been saved and followed the evolutionary path of a South Korea.

Note the recent quotes from Pakistani and Syrian strongmen to the effect that the U.S. abandons its friends. These are not right-wing talking points, but candid assessments by selfish, calculating dictators about the world as they saw it. Their referents, like bin Laden’s, are mostly Vietnam.


Candid assessments by the narcissistic and calculating political left are never forthcoming unless their ideology can benefit from such analysis. To them, getting the US out of Vietnam was a great (personal) victory. It doesn't matter to them that they unleashed the killing fields and enabled tyranny for generations. They were and are completely virtuous in their desire to end war, no matter what the cost to others.

All they were saying then and now is to give peace--and oppression, and hate, and evil--a chance! And who could argue with that sentiment?

UPDATE: Robert Tracinski has some related thoughts this morning on Bush's invocation of Vietnam:
This certainly has caught the left by surprise, since the history of the Vietnam War is territory they thought they owned and controlled, which is why they have attempted to fit every conflict since 1975 into the Vietnam template. An editorial cartoon published early during the invasion of Iraq aptly depicted the Washington press corps as unruly children in the backseat of the family car, pestering the driver with the question, "Is it Vietnam yet? Is it Vietnam yet?" They assumed that if Iraq was Vietnam--if it fit into their Vietnam story line about dishonest leaders starting a war of imperialist aggression that was doomed by incompetent leadership and tainted by American "war crimes"--then it was guaranteed to be a humiliating defeat for their political adversaries....

Whatever the failures of American strategy in Vietnam, there is no doubt that the anti-war left pushed for American failure and accomplished it by persistent and vigorous legislation. And that is the crucial issue. If the architects of the Vietnam War in the Johnson administration can be criticized (as Moyar does) for not doing enough to win the war, the later anti-war left actively pursued American defeat and humiliation as their goal. They didn't merely want us to withdraw; they wanted us to lose, and they did whatever was necessary to make sure that happened.

So instead of being a story of the failure of imperialist, war-mongering Republicans, the Vietnam War was the story of two separate failures by Democrats.


Read it all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

ANTICIPATION vs DENIAL

This interview with Retired Vice Admiral John Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center is a sobering assessment by a mature individual:

Q: Earlier this summer, there was talk that people were picking up chatter that reminded them of the summer before 9/11. The Germans basically said this is like pre-9/11. They said, “We are very worried.” What do you make of this?We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West and is likely to [try to] attack, and we are pretty sure about that. We know some of the precursors from—

Attack Europe?
Well, they would like to come West, and they would like to come as far West as they can. What we don’t know is…if it’s going to be Mark Hosenball, and he’s coming in on Flight 727 out of Karachi, he’s stopping in Frankfurt, and he’s coming on through with his European Union passport, and he’s coming into New York, and he’s going to do something. I mean, we don’t have that kind of tactical detail. What we do have, though, is a couple of threads that indicate, you know, some very tactical stuff, and that's what—you know, that’s what you’re seeing bits and pieces of, and I really can’t go much more into it.

But this did not affect our threat level. We didn’t change our code.
We’re pretty high-threat right now. Until you know something that is going to make a difference, you know, you don’t necessarily change the threat level. What that does is really stir a lot of people up and get them ticked off, but it probably doesn’t accomplish very much.

And you don’t as of today see any particular reduction in that threat?It’s still there. It’s very serious, you know, and we’re watching it. We’re learning more all the time, but it’s still a very serious threat.

Last thing: Are we winning or losing the war on terrorism? This is a long war. People say, “What is this like?” I say it’s like the cold war in only two respects. Number one, there is a strong ideological content to it. Number two, it is going to be a long war. I’ll be dead before this one is over. We will probably lose a battle or two along the way. We have to prepare for that. Statistically, you can’t bat 1.000 forever, but we haven’t been hit for six years, [which is] no accident.

I will tell you this: We are better prepared today for the war on terror than at any time in our history. We have done an incredible amount of things since 9/11, across the board. Intelligence is better. They are sharing it better. We are taking the terrorists down. We are working with the allies very carefully. We are doing the strategic operational planning, going after every element in the terrorist life cycle. So we have come a long way. But these guys are smart. They are determined. They are patient. So over time we are going to lose a battle or two. We are going to get hit again, you know, but you’ve got to have the stick-to-itiveness or persistence to outlast it.

Now, compare the Admiral's assessent with this one from your run of the mill ideological hack from the lefty blogsphere, who isjust one of the many people in denial about terrorism. Glenn Greenwald claims that "fear of terrorism" has been "inflamed and exploited" by the Bush Administration for the purpose of gaining power:

Bush opponents must finally overcome the one weapon which has protected George Bush again and again: fear. Fear of terrorism is what the Administration has successfully inflamed and exploited for four years in order to justify its most extreme and even illegal actions undertaken in the name of fighting terrorism.

Let's discuss this from a psychiatric and psychological perspective since these are the terms used in the quote above.

This blogger is essentially arguing that-- instead of using a healthy and appropriate psychological defense called anticipation against terrorism and the Islamofascists (who most certainly want to kill us and destroy our society)--we should instead switch to a psychotic one, denial; and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is...President Bush. The latter is a defense mechanism called displacement that I have already discussed in an earlier post.

In fact, there is a strong element of paranoia here too. And a noticeable touch of both projection (ask yourself who is really desperate about getting and keeping power) and hysteria--though he thinks he can use it to describe normal people justifiably afraid of irrational fanatics not amenable to reason. The implication is that the only purpose such "fears" (deemed "inappropriate" by Greenwald's) are being manipulated must be to "justify illegal actions."

The basic tenor of his fear is easy to deduce: while we are fighting this illusory enemy, Bushitler has been amassing power and will soon set himself up as a dictator and destroy our freedom. I will let you decide who we have to fear more--the President of the United States or the religious fanatics of Islam who want to obtain nuclear weapons and have issued a religious fatwa justifying using them? Who do we have to fear more: those who are trying to prevent another 9/11 or those who would like nothing better than to do something even worse in our country?

Anticipation is the realistic anticipation of or planning for future discomfort. This defense mechanism includes goal-directed and even overly careful planning or worrying--depending on the situation. Anticipating realistic events such as death or illness or separation and loss; and then consciously utilizing personal insight and self awareness to mitigate the worse effects, if possible is the height of maturity and healthy psychological functioning.

Let me quote George Vaillant (page 71):

Anticipation involves realistic and affect-laden planning for future discomfort. [...] of all the mature defenses, anticipation rearranges outer and inner reality the least. Rather than use self-deception, anticipation spreads anxiety out over time. It involves the self-inoculation of taking one's affective pain in small, anticipatory doses....In the worlds of the psychoanalyst Heinz Hartmann, one of the pioneers of ego psychology, "The familiar function of anticipating the future, orienting our actions according to it and correctly relating means and ends to each other...is an ego function and, surely, an adaption process of the highest significance."
[...]
Most of us, like Scarlet O'Hara would prefer to "think about it tomorrow." Making a list of worries before embarking on a trip seems like a reasonable cognitive coping strategy. But nobody likes to worry; thus we "forget" to act on such advice. We would never miss planes or forget to floss our teeth if we had consciously pondered the unpleasant consequences in advance. Moreover, it is far easier to plan voluntarily for neutral events like plane trips and tooth decay than for affect-laden events like funerals and the real costs of war.

Anticipation, and the appropriate and realistic worry that an attack like 9/11--or even worse-- are the psychological factors that are protecting us, even as I write this post. President Bush and his administration by their actions have given the American people 6 years without an attack on the homeland (not that he will get any credit for it; and not that the left will credit the Patriot Act or even the increased surveillance of the NSA; or the actions of the military in Afghanistan or Iraq). To the political left, our safety is all a big mysterious and magical state of being independent of any actions to ensure it.

Or, as Greenwald and his clueless ilk prefer to imagine: we have been safe because of "fear-mongering" and that the threat/risk is overblown.

Of course it is. Until another 9/11 happens. Or until something worse occurs. Then they will be all over Bush and Company for lying to us about the threat and screaming, "WHY DIDN'T YOU PROTECT US?" like the little children they are.

Here is what Greenwals said about dealing with terrorism:

What must be emphasized is that one can protect against the threat of
terrorism with courage, calm and resolve – the attributes which have always
defined our nation as it has confronted other threats. Hysteria and fear-mongering are the opposite of strength. The strong remain rational and unafraid.

Excuse me? What does he think we have been doing? The courage, calm and resolve of both our President and our military forces has been inspiring. it is people like Greenwald and his friends who lack "resolve."

He talks about "hysteria and fear-mongering." What is it except hysteria and fear-mongering that motivates people to believe that the President of the United States intends to eliminate our most precious civil liberties and establish a fascist state? What is it except hysteria that can only focus on the daily death counts from Iraq, and not on the context of what our soldiers are dying for? What is it except hysteria that concludes the death of 3000 innocent Americans at the hands of religious fanatics in ONE DAY is nothing to be concerned about; but the death of 2500 professional soldiers in FOUR YEARS is enough to cut and run?

I would also like to point out to Mr. Greenwald, that the strong are rational and appropriately afraid. Because if they are not afraid, they will die. If they do not take steps to protect themselves, they will die. If they ignore for too long the threats amassing to kill them, even the strong will die.

I am not arguing that there should be a carte blanche given to the executive branch of government. But even the Founding Fathers understood that during a war is no time to be arguing like children about who gets to do what. The Constitution allows the president to assume powers and responsibilities that he otherwise would not even want. It is truly hysteria and fear-mongering that motivates Greenwald and people like him. Their hatred of Bush and Republicans knows no reason and it is impossible to convince them that we are not going to become a fascist state under George Bush--just as it was impossible to convince them that the fascist state run by Saddam represented a serious threat to the world.

I'm sure Greenwald trembles in his bed at night, waiting for the Bush Gestapo to come and take him away. I say this because, underneath all the posturing about civil rights and such, paranoid people are actually very fearful people who are desperately avoiding dealing with their fear; as are people in denial of reality.

Those of us who prefer to be proactive and anticipate for future attacks are the ones who are dealing directly--and appropriately-- with our fears.

Monday, August 27, 2007

NOT WHOLLY IRRATIONAL--OR, THE RATIONAL ROLE OF FEAR IN HUMAN EXPERIENCE

Theodore Dalrymple writes in National Review about complacency and Islamism, and this paragraph caught my eye:
"The problem for the complacent, however, is that not only have a small number of Moslem fanatics already blown themselves up, unlike the Chinese, Jews, Poles, and Hindus, but they seem to have received widespread understanding, to say no more, from their coreligionists. It is no consolation to the worried that 90 percent, 95 percent, or even 99 percent of Moslems do not support terrorism. In Britain, that still leaves 200,000, 100,000, or 20,000 who do support terrorism, if only intellectually. There may be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over 99 just men, but in the security services and the population at large there is more concern over 20,000 supporters of terrorism than over 1,980,000 peaceful men. This is not wholly irrational."

Anyone who by now has not realized that Islam has given carte blanche to the fanatics in its midst is either completely out of touch with reality, or living on another planet

Muslims in Europe claim they are justified in rejecting Western society for a variety of reasons:
(1) oppression;
(2) poverty;
(3) the Iraq War; and/or
(4) the institutionally "racist" culture of the West, which "forces" Muslims to accept the values of the countries they choose to imigrate to. Interestingly, Muslims seem to expect that those countries should be forced to abandon their own traditions and adopt Muslim values.

Lately, of course, we have been witness to numerous charges of "islamophobia", thrown out by orgainzations such as CAIR quite regularly as the "victimhood" card is played even for avowed religious fanatics who act in Islam's name.

Actually, I think I have a healthy, rational fear of a religion which has millions of adherents aggressively seeking my submission or death.

For most of my life, it seemed reasonable to ignore Islam, and I liked it that way.

If I had thought about Islam at all (and I didn't) it is likely that I would have been completely turned off to it; as opposed to being indifferent to it. Once, while I might suffer mild disgust when stories of the extremism of some of its believers would make headlines; frankly, I never understood enough about the religion to place the responsibility for such behavior onto the teachings of its priests or leaders.

After 9/11 and becoming aware of organizations like Al Qaeda; ideologies like Wahhabism and its spread; and suddenly recognizing the Palestinian issue for the red herring it was, I could no longer permit myself to be ignorant of the core "Muslim values" they exemplified.

In an ideal world, I shouldn't even have to say it, but Islam has forced me to explicitly and loudly state that I absolutely, thoroughly and unequivocally reject Islam as it is currently practiced. What follows is not an exhaustive list, but let me touch on some of the highlights that form the basis of my rejection:

1. If we are going to talk about oppression, shall I begin with the ubiquitous institutionalized oppression and humiliation of women in Muslim society? Detractors claim that the Quran does not foster this attitude, but witness the devaluation of women; the sexual fear of women; the incarceration of women; the infantilization of women; the social marginalization of women, etc. etc.

2. The overt and institutionalized anti-semitism in Islam, that is frankly paranoid and of psychotic proportions.

3. The assumption of the victim role while actively victimizing other religious groups. This is the entire psychological manipulation involved in the cries of "Islamophobia !"

4. The hypocritical call for tolerance, while promoting intolerance and bigotry among its own adherents.

5. The glorification of death rather than life.

6. The fostering of mindless obedience and punishment of independent thinking.

7. The poverty of ideas and rational thought among its leaders.

8. The inability to condemn unequivocally the barbaric acts done in the name of Islam.

9. The fact that Islamists would force their religion on me, if they could.

As I said, the list is not exhaustive. There are many more reasons why I have come to my intense rejection of this particular religion. As stated in a previous post::

I DON'T CARE ABOUT ISLAM except insofar that people of that faith want to destroy me, my family, my country and my way of life. For more than 50 years of my life, Islam and I got along famously. I completely ignored it; and praise be to Allah, it completely ignored me.


After September 11th, I could continue to live in a state of denial and ignorance about the fact that Islam had come to represent values that are incompatible with human life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Or, I could face reality and recognize Islam as a serious threat to all I hold dear and value in the world.

No; a rational, healthy fear of Islam and its aggressive desire to subjugate the entire human race under the yoke of its god by any and all means (including using freedom and democracy to facilitate its totalitarian policital agenda) is perfectly appropriate and continually justified by the fanatical behavior of millions of Muslims everywhere on the planet.

This is not Islamophobia; this is common sense.

Hannah Arendt once said, " Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival." So, let's review the rational role of emotions like fear; which, as Dalrymple suggests is "not wholly irrational" at all.

These days, "fear" is often used as if it were a dirty word; when in fact, fear is a perfectly normal emotion that we are (thankfully) hardwired to experience. One notable aspect of fear, as opposed to terror, is that the fear mobilizes the person experiencing it (physiologically to fight or run away from that which is threatening), while terror immobilizes.

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 that threatens the survival of the individual.

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.

One common response to to Islamic fanatacism and terror activity is to completely ignore or discount the fear that it can generate in any reasonable person, and pretend that it is perfectly normal and understandable--even appropropriate and reasonable!-- for Islam to demand our submission and constant sensitivity to their beliefs , without any corresponding sensitivity on their part to anyone else's beliefs.

That response is called psychological denial in my business; and the sheer number of strategies our psyches can use to deny reality is amazing.

Two of the healthiest psychological responses used to cope with fear include anticipation and humor (see this link again, and then think about the Danish cartoon fiasco).

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. It is remarkably sane and rational to be afraid of the many insane and irrational Islamic 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. Rationally deciding how to productively manage that fear is the second.

Let me be clear. If you pretend that the many and daily Islamofascist threats both here and around the world up to and including Iran's goals of obtaining nuclear weapons and of wiping the US and Israel off the map--are nothing to be afraid of and have nothing to do with Islam, then it is doubtful that you will be able to take evasive action from that 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; 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.

NOT-SO-SUBTLE SIGNS

The MSM's take on an old saying: if you can't say anything bad about Iraq...don't say anything at all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

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.

**NOTE: I am now getting many more submissions than I can possibly include in the weekly Carnival. Please don't be offended if your submission is not used (oh, okay, be as offended as you like) as it only means that for a variety of reasons I wasn't able to fit it into the "flow" as I put together each Carnival.

REMEMBER, THERE ARE SO MANY INSANITIES AND SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. Alas... there is no cure for the common cold!
Nor is there any cure for common stupidity. The wages of postmodernism is insanity.

2. I know...why don't we call God--Bob? Or Bubba maybe? Or, Kenny Rogers? Maybe they were separated at birth?

3. Ahmydinnerjacket is beside himself!

4. Gynophobia and pornography....great combo. All washed up?

5. The definitive expose on religious killers! And, for some killers even death is too light a sentence.

6. Heresy! We wanna recreate 68! They say the darndest things, don't they? E.g, leaving Vietnam had no negative repercussions; none at all. It's all about the power of anti-Americanism.

7. But what about the bike paths and nature trails? More important than infrastructure.

8. Calling out the global warming alarmists. Remember, you can't spell "environmentalist" without the "mental"....Will they hold a grudge ?

9. "Vote for the Ass, Get $10 Gas" and other great bumper sticker slogans for the DSCC! Let's help them refocus their message, if not their energy.

10. "It is not enough to have the right opinions. You must have them at the right time, and you must express them in a way that reflects people's desire to feel good about themselves."


11. Transcending reality, one neuron at a time. You wonder, what is wrong with those people? The new voice of the Democratic party? Or just the same old voices?

12. Cleavage, sex and the easily manipulated. There must me some way we can improve on this figure...

13. Policies that result in non-compliance. It's all part of what your typical totalitarian government thinks it can handle. Ergo Hugo's twilight time zone policies! If they think they can control reality and truth, then surely time is a piece of cake!... Leave it to the "reality-based" leftists to come up with this sort of insanity.

14. Yes, but is it intelligent life? And does it have any earning potential? Why quit one rat race to run in another? It's good to know that money's not evil after all !

15. Bulletproof backpacks?? The latest in paranoia gear. But then, what do you expect with parents of this caliber? Time to cut the cord?

16. Ummmm. Ok. Video games make the human race better. But, doesn't it depend on the particular humans playing them?

17. Man's best friend, or competitive athlete?

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

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, August 25, 2007

A WELL-DESERVED FISKING


"...the inevitable wages of a quarter-century of elite postmodern thought."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

FIDEL, R.I.P. ?

UPDATE: Bumped to 8/25 -- Perhaps Fidel has gone to visit Osama in his gravecave? This from Fausta at Pajamas Media:
Throughout the past year the world has been treated to a series of videos and photos showing the ailing Castro wearing a jogging suit while entertaining visiting dignitaries, most prominently his disciple Hugo Chavez. Chavez, who is providing Cuba 80,000 barrels of oil daily, always returns from these trips exulting about how well Fidel is recovering.

After each of these, the Cuban government’s newspaper, Granma, repeats the same carefully crafted message the Cuban people have been hearing for nearly fifty years: to continue the struggle, to strive for the impossible. The US is “a decaying empire that threatens us all”. It also reminds Cubans that they too, should endure their sorrows – sorrows inflicted by Castro’s own dictatorship – without complaint. The bottom line of the message is, Nothing is ever going to change.

But the reality is that things will change, and will change rapidly immediately following the news of the death. Everything, from large-scale civil upheaval from a people long-oppressed by a cruel government, to a large number of exiled Cubans seeking to reunite with their relatives by bringing them to the USA, to a total collapse of Cuban society, can not be dismissed as a possibility.

The existing Cuban power structure will collapse.

When Castro dies, will the Cuban government release the information at the time of the death? That is very unlikely. Even with all the behind-the-scenes preparations that may or may not have taken place over the past twelve months, there will be a delay because those in power will try to hold on to power for as long as they possibly can.

So the question is, for how long will the news of Castro’s death be delayed?


-------------------------

Breaking at the Babalu Blog.... scroll there for updates. We've been down this road before, but hope springs eternal and we can always pray:

A PRAYER FOR CASTRO

Now as I lay down to sleep,
I pray the Lord your soul to keep;
And if He keeps it very well,
It's sure to find its way to hell.

I pray you'll get what you deserve;
I pray its not what you desire;
Do you think you'll keep your nerve,
As you approach eternal fire?

And if you don't, it's no surprise--
A tyrant never lives his lies.
May all the souls that you oppressed,
Ensure you lack eternal rest.

As I close my eyes tonight,
To contemplate eternal night;
I'd pray for you, I really would,
If only I could see some good.

May God have mercy on your soul;
May all who suffered at your hand
Be waiting there to greet you
As you pass by that Promised Land

May they show you justice,
Of the type that you have shown;
And with your caring and compassion,
May you reap exactly what you've sown.

Now you face the setting sun,
And approach your final sleep;
I know that when you're dead and gone
The free will cheer--and none shall weep.

And Hugo's set to take your place--
Another thug, another face.
He's eager now for you to die
Then he'll be champion of the left's Big Lie
.

UPDATE: Ahhh well. Someday.

Friday, August 24, 2007

CULTURAL RELATIVISM, UNDIFFERENTIATED MEDIOCRITY AND TYRANNY

From Gary Wolf at American Thinker (hat tip: One Cosmos)
Contemporary Western society is tumbling further and further into the abyss of undifferentiated mediocrity. Much of the blame is due to the ideology of Diversity, which exploits a nihilistic, anti-rational strain in our culture...

... if the advocates of Diversity had their way, there would be no rational mind, no God, no regularity, no tradition, no schools of thought. From the vantage point of Diversity, it is crucial that these obstacles be swept away. They cause the individual to focus on behavior, not on outcomes. His world is filled with restrictions, maxims, and standards. This means that he is free to make history....

It is ironic that Diversity, which could develop only in an environment imbued with reason, is contributing to its death. The ideologues believe they can redesign society, starting with its smallest detail. One failure after another, even the totalitarian upheavals of the twentieth century, have done nothing to dampen their zeal.

The pattern is all too familiar: A boisterous campaign to control social behavior -- "Diversity in the Workplace," for example -- as the fixers of social injustice squeeze the population into conformity with their perfectly designed rational panacea. But rationality itself cannot flourish and grow without a free and open interchange of ideas. By imposing what seems to be a rational solution, they create the conditions under which reason and intellect wither away....

I am not saying that certain aspects of equality cannot be desirable, but rather that they tend to be temporal in their usefulness. This becomes more apparent when we consider that equality involves trade-offs. The greater the equality, the greater the mediocrity, and the lesser the inventiveness.


Think about what multiculturalism preaches with all its high-minded rhetoric. Then WATCH WHAT IT BRINGS ABOUT in real life. That is the distinction between focusing simply on behavior --or rhetoric, or intent--versus the consequences or outcome of behavior.

It is in the tribal and entitlement behavior that you begin to see the toxicity of this dogma; as well as the essential oppressive nature of the politically correct dictums that the religion of multiculturalism demands of us.

Having given up any objective standard by which to mediate the vastly different perspectives and world views that each disparate group brings to the table; having encouraged the cannibal and looter cultures to imagine they are as worthwhile as the producer and creator cultures; having abandoned reason altogether in favor of expressing some feel-good platitudes about a supposedly essential "need to belong" to one's race, tribe, religion or group first and foremost; the outcome is what Stephen Hicks refers to as "group balkinization" --with all its inevitable and inescapable disunity, disharmony and conflict.

One wonders how anyone could expect a different outcome?

Why, in other words, would universal brotherhood--or even peaceful coexistence for that matter--result from a dogma that is antithetical to the concept of the universalism of human experience that is the bedrock of civilization; and instead glorifies cultural and tribal differences, no matter how insane or irrational, violent or destructive the cultural practices or beliefs that bring about those differences are?

Multiculturalism with its emphasis on Diversity teaches that what is truly important above all else is belonging to one's sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity, and not that one also belongs to the family of humankind. If the former is held superior, then "social withdrawal" from community and a pervasive distrust of other groups follows quite naturally.

The only "universal" that is shared under such circumstances is a committment to disharmony and, lurking beneath the overt moral relativism, is a grandiose sense of entitlement from each group as it jockeys for postion in the victimhood food chain.

Wolf's conclusion? Diversity is nothing if not egalitarianism stretched to the bursting point...which amounts to political, intellectual and moral tyranny:
So, many times in politics, programs that originate with the "best of intentions" end up doing exactly the opposite of what was intended. Yet, the political left is so ideologically committed to the utopian ideal of egalitarianism which, in the real world simply makes everyone equally poor and miserable (except for the lucky elites who control the social system) that they reflexly keep pouring money into programs that can be shown to actively harm the people they are meant to help; and reinforce the stereotypes they are meant to end.

The politically correct left heaps scorn on business, capitalism, free trade, and globalization; and instead glorify and praise the most primitive and barbaric of cultures and cultural practices. As Bob suggests, they come for the egalitarianism, but stay for the bestiality and tyranny they unleash with their "progressive" ways.

If they really cared about helping the poor; if they really cared about social "justice"--then they would shut the hell up and get out of the way of those evil, greedy capitalistic bastards, who, while pursuing their own selfish, profit-making agendas, in the long run effortlessly manage to increase the standard of living and improve the lives of everyone around them.


Multiculturalism, Diversity and Political Correctness are the holy trinity of the modern "progressive"; but in the real world those lovely leftist platitudes translate into cultural relativism, undifferentiated mediocrity and tyranny.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

LOGIC OF THE DEFEATISTS


T

PROGRESS IS NOT THEIR MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCT

Thomas Sowell writes the that political left have an "investment in failure":

It is not just in Iraq that the political left has an investment in failure. Domestically as well as internationally, the left has long had a vested interest in poverty and social malaise.

The old advertising slogan, "Progress is our most important product," has never applied to the left. Whether it is successful black schools in the United States or Third World countries where millions of people have been rising out of poverty in recent years, the left has shown little interest.

Progress in general seems to hold little interest for people who call themselves "progressives." What arouses them are denunciations of social failures and accusations of wrong-doing.

One wonders what they would do in heaven.

We are in no danger of producing heaven on earth but there have been some remarkable developments in some Third World countries within the past generation that have allowed many very poor people to rise to a standard of living that was never within their reach before.

The August 18th issue of the distinguished British magazine "The Economist" reveals the economic progress in Brazil, Argentina, and other Latin American nations that has given a better life to millions of their poorest citizens.

Some of the economic policies that have led to these results are discussed in "The Economist" but it is doubtful that members of the political left will stampede there to find out what those policies were.

Go on! Take a wild stab at whether those policies involved allowing the "selfish" free market to operate; or whether they represented the latest in "selfless" tyranny.

Sowell goes on to note:
Despite whatever the left may say, or even believe, about their concern for the poor, their actual behavior shows their interest in the poor to be greatest when the poor can be used as a focus of the left's denunciations of society.

When the poor stop being poor, they lose the attention of the left. What actions on the part of the poor, or what changes in the economy, have led to drastic reductions in poverty seldom arouse much curiosity, much less celebration.


In "The Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy of Today's Left", I wrote:

What we have witnessed over the 30- 45 years since the Left ascended to dominate political thought in the mid 20th century, is its rapid and unprecedented decline into wholesale intellectual and moral bankruptcy. The noble values and ideals they once stood for have been abandoned; and almost as if a surreal cosmic joke was being played on them, they have—without even noticing!-- embraced the exact opposite of what they once stood for.

Where once they stood for freedom; they now enable dictatorships and apologize for tyrants. Where once they sought to bring justice to the world; they now defend horrific acts of mass murder and enslavement. Where once they rightly demanded equal opportunity, they have embraced all kinds of racial quotas and discriminatory practices and demand equality of outcome. Where once they sought to empower the weak; they are now instrumental in maintaining and expanding their victimhood.

After all, how can you be a “champion of the oppressed” unless you maintain and nurture an oppressed class that will always require your services to help them?

This rather obvious fact, of course, goes a long way to explaining the rather peculiar attitude that the Left has toward any members of its various victim groups who actually escape victimhood and become successful, achieving and independently thinking adults! The previously altruistic and idealistic worldview is now merely a narcissistic one—and a malignantly narcissistic one at that—wholly preoccupied with the possession and retention of power for an elite few.

What was once a concern that equal opportunity be afforded to all members of our society has run amok and is now a shrill, insistent demand that all outcomes be exactly equal... or else.


Intellectual and moral bankruptcy results from deliberately ignoring the actual consequences of one's beliefs in the real world, and being more concerned with the self-righteousness of one's cause and feeling good about one's self.

And that is why the political left is regressive, rather than progressive. As for "reality-based"....the only time they see reality is when they look in their rear view mirror to watch it recede away from them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL

This story today which is actually about something that happened some months back, is a grim reminder of the kind of depravity and sadism that motivates the creatures we are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in this war on terror/Islamic fanaticism.

I am reminded of something written by New Sisyphus (now retired) in this post, which captures the contempt and anger I feel about the great, holy Islamic warrior-cowards. Those great human beings who douse children with gas and set them on fire; who shoot helpless women and children; cut off the heads of people whose hands are tied behind their back; and murder wounded crash survivors -- and then keep a videotape record of their glorious deeds.
The nature of our enemy could not be made any clearer. From Beslan, to Manhattan, to the field in which the helicopter’s passengers met their doom, one theme is constant: the absolute cowardly and craven nature of the Islamic Fascists themselves.

Say what you will about the old fashioned German variety; at least they knew how to fight and fight bravely. These new fascists cannot kill anything that isn’t rendered helpless or unaware first. And, when they are fought head to head they more often than not fall to their knees and beg for forgiveness. Or commit suicide, which, despite what you’ve read at Daily Kos is not a sign of bravery but yet the ultimate in cowardice.


For some years now we have witnessed atrocity after atrocity committed in the name of some supposedly "great" god. Some of the acts are random; some are planned to the last detail to maximize destruction, death and terror. All are deliberate and conscious acts of pure evil.

Eventually, there comes a point when the stunned outrage, repugnance and utter disgust that such behavior generates in a civilized person, has to evolve into something beyond mere outrage.

I am a psychiatrist and I couldn't do the work I do unless I really cared about people and believed the best of them. The only time in my career where I regularly encountered individuals that I could not connect with was during a several year stint working in a county jail. Not all the people there were bad--many were just plain stupid. But fairly regularly I would meet up with the ones who --well, to put it bluntly--raised the hair on the back of my neck and sent shivers down my spine.

Practicing psychiatry as long as I have, I no longer try to talk myself out of this kind of negative response to someone. No, I have learned over the years to trust my instincts in such matters. When I feel this way, I know I am in the presence of something bad. I usually then search for something to connect to in the people who stimulate that reaction--some elemental living thread that makes me feel that I am talking to someone who is also a member of the human species. I try to feel sympathy, even if my normal empathic response eludes me.

Likewise, I have forced myself to watch the beheading videos and other assorted visual evidence that the cowardly Islamic fanatics so narcissisticly make of their despicable actions. Only someone truly evil could even possibly imagine that such technological reproductions of their depravity could be seen by anyone with human DNA without feeling utter revulsion and contempt toward the perpetrators. I have tried to find something in their behavior that I could understand on any level. But these new fascists have taken me one emotional step further than even the serial killers I have interviewed.

In addition to the feelings I mention above, I have felt a growing coldness and an increasing sense of grim determination that this evil must be stopped before it engulfs the world. I believe it was when I watched the al-Jazeera video (that may have even been faked or staged) of an injured American pilot from a helicopter that was shot down, being brutally murdered, after asking help to stand; his body riddled with bullets, while the brave soldiers of Allah the magnificent mindlessly shouted (off-camera) "Allah Akbar"--I finally understood. I had understood on an intellectual level for some time, but the psychiatrist in me had still been searching for something-- anything--that would make it possible for these monsters to be able to live in a human world.

Those who commit such acts are vermin. They feed off of death and destruction. They glory in nothing but death. Once perhaps, when they were children they were human. But they long ago abandoned all humanity for their particular utopian delusion. Now they teach innocent children to hate as they steal their souls from them. They are nothing more than subhuman troglodytes; remnants of a medieval culture that should have died a thousand years ago. The complete, total and irrevocable extermination of this kind of evil and its adherents MUST be the goal of anyone who is civilized.

I don't advocate torturing them or even humiliating them (well, maybe humiliating them).I don't advocate even hating them. It isn't a worthwhile expenditure of emotional energy. Just kill them without any great fuss or angst. And send them and their ideology to whatever hell awaits such pathetic and deformed souls. We owe it to whatever is great and good in the human spirit to do no less. And it is no more than what such creatures deserve.

When you are in the presence of true evil, you have only one real choice. You must face it coldly, ruthlessly and with unswerving determination and loyalty to Life.

Because in every way that matters, this is a battle between civilization and barbarism; between Life and Death.

UPDATE: Hot Air has more on the original story of the 5-year old lit on fire by jihadis.

OFF THE RECORD

From Ed Morrissey writes about Hillary's "2 Million Little Secrets:
The Clinton Presidential Library holds an estimated two million documents relating to Hillary Clinton's activities as First Lady -- a record on which she has explicitly based her campaign for the presidency. She has a page dedicated to it on her campaign web site. Her mantra, "strength and experience", rests on her tenure in the White House.
So why won't the Clinton library open these records to the public? The Los Angeles Times reports that the presidential library won't release them until after the 2008 election.





This is not the first time that information about Hillary which might have negative political repercussions has been suppressed.

Clearly, someone (gee, I wonder who?) believes that the public consumption of all this information would not be helpful to the one or both of the Clintons' political ambitions....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE THINK

Victor Davis Hanson states in an excellent essay titled "Why Study War" (in City Journal):

Indeed, by ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don’t know exactly what they’re doing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, frustrated by the Bush administration’s intransigence in the War on Terror, flew to Syria, hoping to persuade President Assad to stop funding terror in the Middle East. She assumed that Assad’s belligerence resulted from our aloofness and arrogance rather than from his dictatorship’s interest in destroying democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, before such contagious freedom might in fact destroy him. For a therapeutically inclined generation raised on Oprah and Dr. Phil—and not on the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman and William Shirer’s Berlin Diary—problems between states, like those in our personal lives, should be argued about by equally civilized and peaceful rivals, and so solved without resorting to violence.

Yet it’s hard to find many wars that result from miscommunication. Far more often they break out because of malevolent intent and the absence of deterrence. Margaret Atwood also wrote in her poem: “Wars happen because the ones who start them / think they can win.” Hitler did; so did Mussolini and Tojo—and their assumptions were logical, given the relative disarmament of the Western democracies at the time. Bin Laden attacked on September 11 not because there was a dearth of American diplomats willing to dialogue with him in the Hindu Kush. Instead, he recognized that a series of Islamic terrorist assaults against U.S. interests over two decades had met with no meaningful reprisals, and concluded that decadent Westerners would never fight, whatever the provocation—or that, if we did, we would withdraw as we had from Mogadishu.


Pelosi's attempt to resolve and the over-reliance in general on this idea that miscommunication is the root cause of all disagreements, is behind much of the diplomatic insanity (i.e., lunatic appeasement) that runs through the Democratic Party these days. It is an almost shocking degree of naivete about people. In fact, it is also shockingly self-centered (i.e., narcissistic) because it assumes that your behavior is the primary determinant of other people's (e.g., "...Assad’s belligerence resulted from our aloofness and arrogance rather than from his dictatorship’s interest in destroying democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, before such contagious freedom might in fact destroy him) ; and that other people do not have thoughts, feelings, or motivations separate from or distinct from one's self.

This is just one more example of the therapeutic psychobabble that has become the default mode of our culture.


How did this psychobabble--developed in the name of healing and compassion, but which really evolved into a culturally-sanctioned embrace of a dysfunctional perception of reality--come to be so prevalent that is the "root cause" of the naive and counterproductive foreign policy actions advocated (primarily) by Democrats?


Well, I'm afraid that my profession must take much of the blame for this particular insanity, as it has negligently and happily reinforced the primacy of feelings and emotions over reason and cognition.


"I feel, therefore I am. I feel strongly therefore I am the center of the universe!"


The "therapeutically inclined" generation that Hanson speaks of has taken the dictum of psychiatry and psychology to heart. Their needs and feelings have become--for them, at least--the center of the universe. Armed with an over-inflated self-esteem; a bucketfull of wishful thinking; and a feel-good "root cause" explanation for any evil, these rather infantile, postmodern "do-gooders" are filled with utopian fervor, but lack even the tiniest amount of psychological insight into their own motivations whatsoever.

For years now, pop psychology and its gurus have plastered their "psychiatry lite" messages all over magazines like Self, People Magazine, and Popular Narcissism (OK, the last is not a real magazine, but I'm surprised that someone hasn't proudly published something similar).

All these pervasive "self-help" guides have percolated through K-12 educational curricula; and been scarfed up enthusiastically by the cultural elite of Hollywood and the intellectual elite of academia. The holy trinity of the emotionally sensitive in our midst can be summarized by the hysterical hyping of supposedly "scientific" psychology, includes

(1) (unearned) self-esteem (increasing your self-worth without actually having to achieve anything) - this one fits perfectly into the postmodern creed that dictates that your random thoughts, feelings and opinions are just as good as anyone else's; and that there is no objective reality or truth which can distinguish one set from another;

(2) (unrealistic) hope (achieving your goals without any real effort) - utopia and perfection are possible; simply rid the world of all those "bad" aspects of human nature; and

(3) (undeserved) victimhood (it's not your fault that you haven't achieved anything or made any effort) - there are endless moral benefits to being considered "oppressed" This is in part because many on the political left have an intense narcissistic need to see themselves as "champions of the oppressed", hence the constant need to find and maintain an oppressed class of people to champion. But it also dovetails nicely into the the Marxist dialectic that underlies that ideology. The world is divided up into two groups, you see: the oppressors (i.e., white, male,heterosexual, Republican, Americans or Israelis) and the oppressed (everyone else).The political left proudly stands in solidarity with the oppressed victims of the world; and it is worth noting that their stance is particularly ego-gratifying if those they champion are undeserving victims

The popular notion that nurturing a kid's self-esteem ought to be the highest goal of our educational system has resulted in the creation of little narcissistic monsters who believe their needs and feelings are the center of the universe (many of these highly self-esteemed creatures are now lefty bloggers or make up the core of the antiwar left who parade around nude for peace and exhibit other bizarre behaviors regularly). One consequence of this essential narcissistic approach to the world is the inabililty to understand that other people have needs and desires that are distinct--and sometimes even diametrically opposed--to your own! We are the world, after all! Everyone is beautiful in their own way! All cultures are special and should be valued! All we are saying is give peace a chance! etc. etc.

If the 19th century was the age of hysteria (and basically, Freud was responding to the excessive sexual repression present in that century); then the 20th was definitely the age of narcissism. In the 21st century, that narcissism seems to be morphing into an even more malignant sociopathy that pervades society and impacts almost all our social, political, and educational institutions.

Our cultural focus on enhancing "self-esteem" has resulted in the near-worship of emotions and feelings at the expense of reason and thought; on emphasizing "root causes" and victimhood, instead of demanding that behavior be civilized and that individuals exert self-discipline and self-control--no matter what they are "feeling"; on emphasizing the importance of what is said and intentions (they mean well) , rather than how one actually behaves or the consequences of that behavior.

This is where Pelosi's foreign policy assumptions fit in. What we have is not a failure to communicate; no, what we have is a failure to use cognition and reason; a failure to have ego boundaries; and a strongly held belief that if you just wish for something very very hard, you can make it so because you are so special (i.e., magical thinking).

The work of psychologists Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligman suggests that often, high self-worth of the (unearned variety anyway) is actually a marker for negative behavior, as found in sociopaths and drug kingpins.

Everywhere and at all levels of society we see the people who have inhaled this "psychology-lite" philosophy. They are identified by alternately acting out their narcissistically empowered superiority -- demanding to be noticed, admired and loved (by you); and playing the narcissistically empowered victim -- demanding their inalienable rights and priveleges (at your expense).

I suppose hyping self-esteem, hope, and victimhood seemed like a good idea at the time and the faithful who believe in the trinity mean well. But hasn't it become clear how foolish and deceptive it such irrationality is, as well as how ineffective and counterproductive?


And maybe, just maybe--though it will offend terminally offend the sensibilities of the therapeutically-inclined generation--it is time to end the influence of pop psychology in public policy.

THE BALLAD OF KARL CHRISTIAN ROVE

Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post:


From the moment he leaked word of his departure to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Karl Rove has been lionized and vilified by the media hordes.

He is either a political giant, shrewdly plotting a series of victories during the Bush presidency, or a nation-wrecker, sowing the seeds of division to boost the GOP. The nicknames -- "Bush's Brain," "The Architect" -- match the portrayal of an important historical figure.

But what if journalists are part of an unspoken conspiracy to inflate Rove's importance -- not for ideological reasons but because it makes for a better narrative? What if they are the architects, using well-placed aides to build a stage for inside-dope stories involving Rove and his colleagues?


Well, whatever you think of Mr. Rove, there is no question that he is a legend in his own time....

THE BALLAD OF KARL CHRISTIAN ROVE

(sung to the tune of "Davy Crockett")

Born on a Christmas Day in '51,
Studied politics because it was fun;
He plotted and schemed till Republicans won.
Became Bush's Brain in 1991 .

Karl, Karl C. Rove, kingmaker extraordinaire.

He was single-handedly the Architect,
Though the Dems were whipped, he got no respect.
And as he was handling this tricky chore,
Made himself a legend, forevermore.

Karl, C. Rove the man the Dems all fear.

He never went to Congress to serve a spell,
But his evil plots made their life a living hell.
He took over Washington, I heard tell,
And stuffed Joe and Valerie in the Liberty Bell.

Karl, Karl C. Rove, a devil and a demon, they swear!

When he at last resigned, his politickin' done,
The left went right crazy (and that's no pun!)
So he packed up his gear, and Dick Cheney's gun--
Just to be sure they wouldn't press him none.

Karl, Karl C. Rove, political pioneer!

Monday, August 20, 2007

INSIGHT vs SELF DELUSION

A committed leftist recounts the shock and dismay he felt after 9/11, which eventually led him to question his world view. The piece is at The Guardian, and titled "The Day Reality Hit Home". Here is an excerpt:


A midlife crisis did indeed ensue after 9/11. In truth it had been brewing for some time. It wasn't my midlife crisis, however, but that of Western culture at large. No matter what other aims may have motivated this singular act of terrorism, it was beyond question that it was planned as a symbolic, as well as a lethal, attack on 'the West', whether the target was militarism (the Pentagon), capitalism (the WTC), or cosmopolitanism (the heterogeneity of the victims). The problem was many in the West were not sure that it was worthy of defence. For some time in the post-Soviet era, as America established its position as the sole superpower, a West-based movement had been growing that rejected the spread of free-market capitalism and the Western values that underpinned the global market. Known as anti-globalisation, it drew attention to the poverty and deprivation that was such a common feature of life in the Third World. But it also posed some stark existential questions about the Western way of life. 'What was the point?' the anti-globalisers seemed to be asking, all we do is buy stuff, turn everywhere into a market, and force McDonald's and Starbucks down other people's throats. Our culture is nothing but consumption. As the anti-globalist writer Naomi Klein argued a few weeks after 11 September: 'Part of the disorientation many Americans now face has to do with the inflated and oversimplified place consumerism plays in the American narrative. To buy is to be. To buy is to love. To buy is to vote.'

Drinking in the devastation, numbed and intoxicated by the scale of what had taken place, I struggled, like everyone else, to make sense of it all. And in my case, as with many people from the liberal-left side of the political spectrum, that job was made more difficult by the fact that the United States was the victim. From where I came from, the United States was always the culprit. There was Vietnam, Chile and the dreadful support for repressive and often debauched regimes right across Latin America, Africa and Asia. I was a veteran of CND anti-cruise missile marches in the 1980s. I had gone to Nicaragua to defend the Sandinista cause against American imperialism. America was the bad guy, right? America was always the bad guy.

Clearly some basic moral calculations needed to be performed. Which vision of the world represented more closely my own liberal outlook? The cosmopolitan city of New York, a multi-racial city of opportunity, a town where anyone on earth could arrive and thrive, exuberant, cultured, diverse, a place I had visited and loved for its liberty and energy and excitement? Or the people who attacked it, those arid minds who wanted to remove women from sight, kill homosexuals, banish music, destroy art, the demolishers of the Bamiyan Buddhas who aimed to terrorise everyone they could into submission to the will of their vengeful God? It was, as they say, a no-brainer, or should have been.

But was there not also an obligation to ask if this heinous crime was more complex than it first appeared? That was the progressive instinct: don't be fooled by the mass media, which we all knew was a propaganda industry, look behind the scenes, examine the bigger picture, think about the context, study history. And so if you wanted to consider yourself a member of the thinking classes, it was not enough to recoil in horror, you also had to take into account America's own score sheet in matters of cold blood. 'It's terrible,' was the often heard formulation, 'but....' Did I think there was a but? And if there was a but, could it be any kind of justification for what had taken place? And if it wasn't a justification, what was the point of the but? Was it there to show one's even-handedness and sense of fair play? Or purely for decoration? I knew right from the first second where my emotional sympathies were located but what was my intellectual position?

What helped guide me to the answer was the alternative analysis, the 'It's terrible, but' in which the 'It's terrible' was the decorative part of the equation. A number of commentaries that articulated this response quickly began to appear in different newspapers. Perhaps the most indignant came, with impressive alacrity, on 13 September in my daily newspaper, the voice of liberal Britain, the Guardian. 'Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers in New York and Washington,' wrote Seumas Milne, 'it has become painfully clear that most Americans simply don't get it... Shock, rage and grief there has been aplenty. But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent.'


Insight can often be a painful process. Unlike the use of the immature or primitive psychological defenses, which are all highly contagious socially--the development of psychological insight is necessarirly an individual journey that is at best uncomfortable and, at worse, painful or even devastating.

If that is so, you might ask, why would anyone want to undertake the journey?

The short answer is that optimum psychological and physical health, as well as one's ability to function effectively in the world, require a person to be in touch with reality. All sorts of temporary compromises can be made with reali ty, but in the end, the piper will have to be paid. And, in the long-term, the cost of ignoring or distorting reality could very well be prohibitive.

While the use of immature or psychotic defenses (e.g., denial, projection, paranoia) or the neurotic psychological defenses (e.g. displacement) represent a somewhat creative attempt to compromise with an unpleasant or unpalatable reality, they are only able to grant a temporary reprieve from the consequences of reality. The use of these defenses almost never serve the individual's interests in the long run, as they can seriously disrupt interpersonal relationships and the ability to work productively. Since such immature psychological defenses are "contagious" (in the sense that they can be conveniently used by entire groups and societies to distort, manipulate, and avoid reality) , they can also wreak havoc on a grand scale.

Under stress, and threatened with psychological trauma or the disruption of cherished beliefs, even basically healthy adults may retreat to dysfunctional and immature defenses to cope. For the most part, such a retreat is an automatic and unconscious process.

As long as it remains unconscious, the individual is not able to get beyond it and effectively deal with the threatening reality. The defense stands between him and the real world, protecting the psyche from any awareness. While stress and crisis can induce regression to more primitive psychological functioning, it also may also provide a stimulus for intellectual and emotional growth, and offer a person the opportunity to make new connections, question old beliefs, or understand the the hidden motivations and dynamics within that explain why the individual cannot face the truth.

Specifically, unconscious processes can be made conscious through the development of insight; and thus alter the self-destructive path that an individual or a group may be on.

In a comment about a comment [posted at Protein Wisdom] we catch a glimpse of how powerful the forces of self-delusion are; and how, when a true-believer is faced with having to question some dearly-held assumptions by a compellingly written piece like the one linked to at the beginning of this post, they will retreat even further into denial, delusion, and paranoia:

Comment by happyfeet on 8/19 @ 10:01 am #

I’m stealing this from Jules Crittendon’s comments here:
# tinknorati Says:
August 18th, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I think this new meme — “Democrats are trying to find a way to get in on the smashing success of the war in Iraq” — may be my favorite crazy Bush-cultist meme ever. To believe this, you have to forget that we’ve been hearing these same claims of “progress” for years, and the people who claim that there is no such thing as “progress” in Iraq are always right. (Yes, I’m linking to The Evil Sock Puppet. Therefore all the direct quotes in that article are like totally inaccurate.)

I know why the Bush administration goes for this stuff; if Bush admitted that Al-Qaeda is a minor factor in Iraq, that conditions on the ground are no better than they’ve ever been, and that the only way for Iraq to get better is if we leave (and that the longer we wait to leave, the worse the bloodbath will be when we do leave), he’d have to admit that he failed. Bush would rather see America defeated — since the only real “defeat” is remaining in Iraq — than admit he was wrong; I understand that.

And I understand Crittenden’s enthusiasm for American defeat and American death; if we leave Iraq, we’ll be safer and more secure, but fewer Muslims will be shot on a daily basis, and anyone who’s read Jules on a regular basis knows that he would rather see America defeated than see one more Muslim survive than necessary.

But most importantly, the right has always been at war with liberals and Democrats. So the idea of keeping troops in Iraq, forcing Democrats to spend most of their time trying to find a way to stop the war (since this is in America’s national security interest, and the Democrats are the national security party) is OK with them; it’s a defeat for America to keep all these troops in Iraq, but that’s the point: defeating America — or the half of America that doesn’t agree with Bush — is the goal of the right. So while Crittenden and Bush know we can’t “win” in Iraq, staying in Iraq is a way to “win” against the evil Dhimmicrats. The fact that it’s in America’s national security interest to leave is irrelevant when you have declared war on America, which is what Bush and his cultists have done.

Remember, more dead Americans are totally worth it if it bums out Democrats.

It’s striking how crafted that comment is, but what I want to highlight is the bit about how “the right has always been at war with liberals and Democrats.” It’s a formulation that completely elides Al Qaeda and September 11 and the idea that there are forces actively working to thwart the establishment of a non-totalitarian Iraq, and I think Anthony’s piece suffers a bit in not better illustrating the contortions the left endorses in its desperation to protect the pre-9/11 narrative. Anthony’s relatively benign sketch of the liberal pathology, limited here to a look at Guardian columnist’s Seumas Milne’s initial reaction to 9/11, may help explain how the Guardian found his narrative appealing. I wonder but that the Guardian doesn’t see Anthony as an object lesson that illustrates how September 11 did indeed have the power to break liberals whose commitment to the narrative was… insufficient. Don’t let this happen to you. Gird thyself!


Indeed. Gird thyself. More contortions and further compromise with reality will be necessary!
Many paths can be taken to reach self-delusion, i.e., a denial of reality. Each individual will embrace the psychological denial--through projection, paranoia, displacement or any one of a number of strategies-- for their own personal reasons; even when the delusion or distortion of reality is a shared one (e.g., the striking phenomenon called "Bush Derangement Syndrome"; or any number of bizarre conspiracy theories about 9/11).

But there is only one path that leads to insight and self-awareness and it is through the individual's distortions and lies; straight to the heart of his or her most cherished beliefs about himself and the world. If he can look at those beliefs and face himself and his own motivations squarely and honestly; and then reconcile them to the painful reality and truth he observes in the outside world; he is surely on that one path that leads to personal growth and self-discovery.
OTOH, if he never is willing to look in the mirror or question his beliefs; if he believes himself to be both intellectually and morally superior and that it is unnecessary to question his own motivations; then he is on one of the many paths that will take him to the wonderful world of denial.

Insight is an amazing thing. The power or act of seeing into a situation and apprehending the inner nature or motivation of one's self--especially the why--can be extremely liberating; or, it can be extremely painful--sometimes both. But, only when a person becomes aware of the his own hidden agenda and his inner motivations can he begin to gain control over them and correct any dysfunctional behavior that they generate.

Insight for the person quoted in "happyfeet's" comment is likely to be somewhat devastating. Someday (one can only hope anyway) he is going to look in that mirror and see a repulsive, angry, hypocrite staring back; someone who has betrayed almost every "liberal" principle he claims he stands for.

Typically, the insight gained from self-analysis is able to free a person from a life of bitterness, unhappiness and unearned guilt (see here, for example).

But there are situations where achieving insight and understanding the motives behind one's behavior (as well as what one can and cannot control) can generate deserved guilt and shame. Experiencing such unpleasant emotions can be productive and initiate a change in behavior for the good. While it is painful to acknowledge horrible truths about one's self--but truths nonetheless-- such understanding essential for personal growth and normal personality development.

In the link above regarding "The Mirror of Insight", I wrote:

There is an inner courage required to look at one's self in the mirror of insight and truly know the person looking back. All of us are capable of the most horrible behavior; just as we are capable of finding ways to rationalize it and cover it up or blame others for it. Psychological health requires that we look into that mirror frequently and understand our own motivations and behaviors and not flinch in recognizing the truth about ourselves.

That is the only way we can begin the process of change that leads to solving problems and personal growth. Recognizing the problem by looking at ourselves in the mirror is the first hurdle that must be overcome. Admittedly, it is not the only hurdle; but without it individuals and societies go off careening off in all the wrong directions--directions that will never lead to the recognition or acceptance of reality, and so can never lead to effective solutions. In psychiatry we refer to this abiiity to look in the mirror and see what and who is reflected back at us truly as "insight". Ultimately, the development of self-awareness and psychological insight are the keys to solving most human dilemmas that lead to our own unhappiness and misery--both in individuals and societies.

It is likely that true evil never looks into that mirror; never questions their own motivations and always sinks to using the most immature and infantile coping mechanisms. That inability to acknowledge any degree of responsibility for their behavior; or to see clearly into their own souls--particularly on a societal level is responsible for much of the human misery, genocide, and brutal behavior we witness all around the world.


By making the unconscious conscious, we gain control over our lives and are able to make choices and attack problems based on a clear view of reality. Yes, we may make the wrong choice, or screw up in dealing with the problem even so; we may even discover some unpleasant truths about ourself. But when our psychological defenses are distorting or obscuring reality to begin with, we are far more likely to ignore a problem or pretend that it doesn't exist and then suffer even more serious consequences.

Read the piece from The Guardian; then read the comments quoted by "happyfeet" again. You will easily be able to determine which writer is in touch with reality; which writer examines his own feelings and motivations thoughfully and seriously; versus simply spewing out talking points--without real thought or cognition--in a narrative the individual has never bothered to question. See if you can tell whose writing is genuine; whose struggle to come to terms with reality is compelling; and whose is a smug, self-righteous rant by someone who clearly thinks he possesses both a superior intellect and superior moral virtue.

One writer is on the path to insight and self-awareness; the other is running very fast in the opposite direction-- toward the transient comfort of denial and delusion.