Tuesday, September 01, 2009

WHEN DENIAL BECOMES SOCIOPATHY

I have written extensively on the pervasive psychological denial of the political left (see here, here , here, and here, for example). And, I frequently point out that denial is an "equal opportunity" defense mechanism engaged in by all human beings; it is an involuntary, built-in psychic response designed to protect an individual from precipitously having to face unwanted, unacceptable or threatening feelings, thoughts or behavior. The mind simply blocks out reality and truth--and sees what it wants to see or becomes blind to reality.

Nevertheless, the degree of denial engaged in by the political left, particularly since the end of the last century has been boundless. I have always given the political left and its more clueless adherents the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that their unwillingness to face reality was unconscious; and was so pronounced and pervasive because they could not accept the truth that history and the real world had revealed about their beloved and bankrupt ideology. That ideology, whether it is called Marxism, communism or socialism is fundamentally anti-human .

What happens when psychological denial ceases to be unconscious and becomes a deliberate, willful, and consciously evil behavior-- in spite of all the accumulated evidence of its malignant impact on real people in the real world?

At that point we can safely assume that we are no longer dealing with a purely defensive structure in the psyche; we are dealing with aggressive, unadulterated sociopathy.

Jay Nordlinger describes a perfect example of this:
Several readers have asked me to respond to Diane Watson. I do so wearily. She is the Democratic congresswoman from L.A. who said last week that President Obama’s health-care critics were racist — and who heaped praise upon a) Fidel Castro, b) Che Guevara, and c) Cuban health care. She said,
You need to go down there and see what Fidel Castro put in place. And I want you to know, now, you can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met. And you know the Cuban revolution that kicked out the wealthy — Che Guevara did that. And after they took over, they went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new nation, and they found . . . an attorney by the name of Fidel Castro.

It was clear, from her tone, that she regards Castro as a kind of Christ figure. (To listen to the congresswoman, go here.)

I’m afraid I can’t say anything more about these subjects than I have already said. Let me offer a piece from 2000: “In Castro’s Corner: A story of black and red.” And a piece from 2007: “The Myth of Cuban Health Care: Michael Moore gives it a powerful boost.” And, in this FAQ column, you will find suggestions about what to read concerning Che Guevara.I’m afraid that mythologizing about Guevara, Castro, and the Communist dictatorship will never end. Indeed, it will get worse after the Castros and Cuban Communism pass. I used to think — I’ve had arguments with Armando Valladares about this (he is the heroic Cuban dissident who wrote Against All Hope) — I used to think that Castro-lovers in the United States were merely ignorant: They knew not what they said or did. How could all these “liberal Democrats” support a police state? A totalitarian dictatorship?

But, some years ago, I stopped thinking that: I had to swallow that these people — certainly some dismaying percentage of them — actually like it: actually like the dictatorship and all the murderous oppression that goes with it. You can’t remain entirely ignorant or na├»ve after 50 years of this dictatorship. And that is a very, very bitter pill to swallow.
One more point: Many of the leaders of the Cuban democracy movement are black — “Afro-Cuban.” President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to one of them (the political prisoner Oscar Biscet). Many of Castro’s most ardent supporters in the United States are black: Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, Randall Robinson, and so on. What must the black Cuban democrats think of these Castro champions?

Very, very little, I can tell you. (Emphasis mine)


The traditional medical definition of sociopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of social responsibility and failure to adapt to ethical and social standards of the community.

If we think about that definition for a moment, we can perhaps begin to understand what is going on in our world today; and the reason that a huge number of people have embraced a sociopathic lifestyle.

Under the pervasive influence of postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, the ethical and social standards of the community have, unfortunately, been slowly evolving and eroding.

In western culture, ethical and moral standards used to be anchored to the real world (i.e., to reality); but in the postmodern wilderness in which the political left and most of its most visible spokespeople--i.e., leaders in the Democratic Party-- wander aimlessly, ethics and morality are relative and "anchored" to feelings and whim; which inevitably unleashes the baser and more vile aspects of human nature.

The 20th century became the playground (and litter box) for the narcissist; and by the time the 21st century rolled around, malignant narcissism was not even considered deviant, it had gone mainstream. Since psychopathology continually evolves and worsens if it is not confronted and dealt with, what we have now in our culture, particularly the political system, is the endstage of psychological evolution under postmodernism: the sociopath who disguises his or her sociopathy by selflessness (now marketed as "hope and change").

These selfless sociopaths are people who couldn't care less about the individual human being. Individual human beings are expendable; even vast numbers of them--as long as they stand in the way of the implementation of the sociopath's great ideas and compassionate execution of those ideas. They are the fodder that can be used to build "great" societies, utopian fantasies and collectivist wet-dreams.

It used to be that with the rise of civilization, political sociopaths--selfless and selfless-- were (thankfully) few and far between. Even so, when they appeared in history, they wreaked havoc and destroyed lives with great abandon for "the greater good". Needless to say, a central aspect of the 'greater good' was always the advancement of their own glorious self and their ideas.

We can thank primarily the political left and its useful idiots for the persistent, unyielding, and willful celebration of--and ultimately mainstreaming of--malignant narcissism. We have entered the age of postmodern sociopathy and nihilism.

What does it matter if the lives and freedoms of so many individuals are sacrificed to the murderous oppressors of the world? If you "kick out the wealthy" then you have the wonderful socialist paradise of Cuba; or the magnificent utopia of North Korea with all their misery, poverty, oppression and leftist enlightenment!

Under the "enlightened" and "progressive" left, wealth will be redistributed and the human mind enslaved--but so what? As the eminent leftist and quintessential nihilist Joseph Stalin once remarked, "Death solves all problems - no man, no problem."

In the long run we are all dead anyway, right?

UPDATE: ShrinkWrapped is back blogging, and he has some related thoughts on the narcissistic over-investment in ideas:
Even for those with normal levels of narcissism, the probability of falling into an over-investment in one's own ideas is ubiquitous. The maxim that "scientific paradigms change one death at a time" is a recognition that even those (scientists) who are expected to be most dispassionate about their beliefs are subject to the all too human failing of growing wedded to inaccurate or incorrect theories simply because they have invested so much time and energy into them that they are unable to countenance the possibility that they are in error. Those who have more than the usual quanta of narcissistic pathology are far more liable to embrace, and persist in their embrace of, nonsensical ideas than those who lack such a passionate attachment.

Politicians tend to come in two varieties, both exhibiting elements of enhanced narcissism. Most politicians are primarily opportunistic. Their narcissistic investment is in their own importance and power. When the polls go against them, they can rather easily jettison their political beliefs in favor of the more important gratification of being loved, adored, and re-elected. Other politicians are much more ideological and ideologues are prime examples of those who refuse to examine their own beliefs in the light of failure.


Read it all.

No comments: