Saturday, March 01, 2008


Once again, Wretchard cuts to the core of the issue when German authorities cave on freedom of speech after threats of Muslim violence:

German authorities closed an art exhibition organized by a Danish artists group named Surrend after "after threats believed to be from Muslims " unless they removed a poster depicting the Kaaba. "The director of the art gallery in Berlin said there had been threats of violence if the poster was not removed, so they had decided to shut for a while."
But the enforcers of political correctness have failed to grasp is that things have already gone too far. It's no longer about dialogue, it's about a deadly ideological conflict. Yet when momentous issues pivot around hanging up a poster or releasing a home movie it's probably a sign that we are both in deep trouble and deep denial.

Wilders is no longer engaged in 'dialogue'. He's engaged in guerrila theater; gone outside of parliament to snipe from behind the cover of the very things his unnamed opponents shelter behind. It's not the art gallery that is temporarily shutting down but the cognitive processes of the politically correct mind. They're in an endless loop with no hope of escape until someone hits the reset button.

Wretchard goes on to note how those threatening violence unless their demands are met are not confronted for their behavior; instead, the insensitive people who have dared to offend them with art; or speech; or whatever--are the ones "responsible" for causing the problem.

This is an extremely fascinating line of 'reasoning' for the PC crowd who are usually obsessed with determining and proclaiming victimhood. By logical extension, they must also believe in their heart of hearts feel that rape victims "ask for it"; battered women must be responsible for their spouse's violence against them; and, in general, anyone who is bullied and pushed around must be the "root cause" of the bully's violence and threats.

How in heaven's name have people who are so invested in the whole "victim/oppressor" template and apply that dialectic to every situation, managed to PERVERT and INVERT reality to such an extent so that the thugs and bullies--i.e., the violent oppressors in the real world-- have become "the oppressed"? How did victims of violence, or threat of violence, become the oppressors?

I have talked about this psychological dynamic many times, and it involves both psychological projection and denial. Deep denial, in fact. Denial so opaque, that to let in even the slightest sliver of the light of reality would be overwhelmingly traumatic for the denialist, and would turn their basic assumptions about the world and about themselves topsy-turvy.

The consequences of this sort of deep psychological denial can be seen every day in today's world. But like all defense mechanisms, it serves a very important purpose for the users.

As a psychiatrist, I would be the last person to maintain that even a primitive defense mechanism like denial doesnt have some positive results for the individuals and groups who use it. Obviously any defense mechanism that results in immediate death or injury of the person using it would probably not last long as a viable strategy in the real world; nor would it be particularly helpful for the species as a whole.

In fact, denial does work--at least for a while--and that is why it is so often resorted to in extremus.

Some of the positive consequences of psychological denial include:

In the short-term, psychological denial can help a person maintain their sanity--which would be threatened by awareness of a painful truth or reality
In the short-term, denial can help a person function day to day
In the short-term, denial can prevent a person from having to acknowledge painful thoughts, feelings or behavior and help them protect both their selfhood and worldview from unacceptable reality that is threatening to either or both

The operative word in all of the above is "in the short-term." In the short-term, even the unhealthiest of defenses--such as denial, projection, paranoia-- may be creative, healthy, comforting, and coping. And, while the behavior of those in denial may strike observers as downright peculiar at times, in the short-term, they may be transiently adaptative.

In fact, psychological denial is a way to integrate one's experience by providing a variety of filters for pain and mechanisms for self-deception. It creatively rearranges the sources of conflict the individual faces so that the conflict becomes manageable (hence the 'inversion of reality' mentioned above serves to: (1) protect themselves physically from the threat of violence and (2) protect their world view from the acceptance of facts or truth which effectively negate its premises and hence threatem them emotionally . All they have to do is to creatively rearrange the sources of conflic, and shazam! Both physical and emotional danger are neatly avoided!

But let us now consider some of the negative consequences of psychological denial:

• In the longer-term, denial requires continued compromises with reality to maintain the pretense that "everything is fine!" or "If only X would happen, everything would be fine!" (or, in the case Wretchard discusses, "If only those artists would stop offending Muslims, everything would be fine and we could all live in peace."

Eventually, however, denial has to escalate. It breeds delusional thinking, along with paranoia and then the inevitable conspiracy theories begin to take the place of rational thought in those who deny reality for long periods of time. (See all the 9/11 conspiracy theorists for examples in our own country; or the increasingly shrill accusations that anyone who alludes to the threat of Islamic terrorism is a fearmonger and promoting a 'culture of fear' in order to fool the American public into thinking we are at war. See here and here for common examples in the muslim world which is rife with conspiracies and which could not exist as a cohesive society without this sort of dysfunctional glue to hold them together.

• The denier must then place the blame for the unacceptable reality on someone else and that leads to increased conflict between deniers and non-deniers. Efforts to maintain their denial consumes them and will lead them to escalate their anger and rage as their denial becomes untenable and ever more obvious.

• The denier will begin distort language and logic to rationalize and justify their behavior(examples of this are too numerous to mention, but I have discussed it here , here and here) . Eventually, cognitive strategies and rational argument will be abandoned altogether by the denier, because those strategies are not sustainable and are unable to convince others; at which point the person in denial will simply refer to his feelings or emotions as the sole justification.

• The denier will feel justified in acting out against those who threaten the peacefulness of their fantasy; they will use psychological displacement to attack those relatively less dangerous (i.e., the cartoonists, the filmakers, the artists etc.) and give a free pass to the bombers, the terrorists, the murderers. The only kind of 'power' those in denial can ever 'speak truth to' are generally the kind that won't hurt them (i.e., the US Government); they are scared shitless of anyone who might actually harm them in any way. These brave, brave Sir Robins bravely run away when there is a real bully or threat that needs to be faced down. Funny how that works.

• Problem solving and decision making will deteriorate as the entire focus of energy becomes the maintenance of the denial. In place of rational alternatives, excessive emotionality in general; and specifically anger and rage escalate toward those who are "blamed" for the reality that does not conform to the denier's world view.

• In the end, interactions with those in denial are characterized by the denier's frequent smugness; sense of superiority; arrogance; belittlement of alternative views; and undiluted hatred toward anyone or any idea that questions their world view or underlying ideology.

The left's current consensus views on terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, political correctness and multiculturalism is primarily based on a web of deep denial.

9/11 did not wake them up; rather it forced them to openly move toward what they have supported surreptitiously all along--the elimination of free speech in the name of political correctness and multiculturalism; a dictatorship where the pseudo-intellectual, politically correct priesthood rule; and complete control over the lives of others (for their own good, of course!). Since their objectives dovetail nicely with those of the Islamic terrorists, they have made common cause with them and have not lost many opportunities to enable and encourage them, even as they denounce America and the principles of freedom and democracy out of one side of their mouth, while remaining convinced that their actions are patriotic and are representative of "true" American values.

The denialists pretend their actions are motivated from 'love' and 'peace' and a higher form of patriotism; but this is only how they rationalize it to themselves. Their self-deception is simply stunning in its sweeping grandiosity and self-righteousness betrayal of the good, as they cede, one by one, every important value of Western Civilization to the Islamofascist barbarians--and then pat themselves on the back for their compassionate sensitivity and saintly antiwar stance.

Denial is the refusge of the terrified and frightened. The perversion of reality that deep denial leads to if not recognized and corrected is often becomes far more dangerous to the individual--and the society--than the reality that is being avoided.

In the end, denial unacknowledged only facilitates and enables the real threat to life and psychological health.

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