The National Geographic headline is therefore characteristically absurd, but it's also typical of the cultural Left today -- and of its hopeless cravings to validate itself as being smarter, better-educated, and of course, more compassionate than those conservative throwbacks to a brute past. Somehow the Left always needs to boast, and like any other compulsive boaster, it is compensating for its own feelings of inferiority. I suspect that that's the real inner nature of the Left: Most of its followers worry about their personal adequacy in life.
And somehow liberals never get to the most obvious question, which is: Why has the Left ended up killing 100 million people in the 20th century, according to French Marxist historian Courtois and his team? That's the real question the Left must always be made to answer: Why does its blind "idealism" and its unquenchable power-craving lead to such disastrous results, over and over again?
Readers of this blog will appreciate that this is the same point I have made repeatedly when discussing the political left. So, at the risk of being repetitive, let me make it again. [Therapists, I should note, often have to be repetitive in therapy; and sometimes will make the same point over and over again to a patient before it "clicks" in the patient's mind.]
The political left, whose policies always end up enabling and exposing the worse aspects of human nature, are the same people who are always coming up with all those utopian schemes that promise a veritable paradise of human love, compassion, kindness and brotherhood. Why is it then, you might ask, that they end up delivering a toxic brew of hate, envy, misery and discord? How can they be so completely clueless about something as obvious as the reality of human nature?
Perhaps, the best answer to that question is that, when it comes to themselves, the left is constitutionally unable to understand or accept the dark side of their own natures with any degree of clarity, let alone honesty (see here for further discussion).
So, in order to compensate for the inadequacies that they cannot admit to in themselves, they must constantly "validate [themselves] as being smarter, better-educated, and of course, more compassionate than those conservative throwbacks to a brute past."
As Mark Steyn noted during the Bush years:
So much of contemporary life is about opportunities for self-congratulation. Risk-free dissent is the default mode of our culture, and extremely seductive. If dissent means refusing to let the Bush administration bully you into wearing a flag lapel pin, why, then Katie Couric (bravely speaking out on this issue just last week) is the new Mandela! If Rumsfeld is a "fascist." then anyone can fight fascism. It's no longer about the secret police kicking your door down and clubbing you to a pulp. Well, OK, it is if you're a Buddhist monk in Burma. But they're a long way away, and it's all a bit complicated and foreign, and let's not "confuse the very dire human rights situation" in Hoogivsastan with an opportunity to celebrate our courage in defending "academic freedom" in America.
Far be it from me to psychologically rain on the left's self-congratulatory parade, but the artificial sunshine that they direct toward themselves needs to be replaced by the light of a little reality.
In fact, they make my job as a psychiatrist easy. For example, consider this cartoon:
Though they believe that this cartoon and others like it expose the "brutality" and "oppression" of America, it really reveals far more about how members of the antiwar crowd view themselves:
- The lone, courageous and morally righteous troubadour, speaking truth to power
- Theirs is a simple message of peace, love and brotherhood...
- But the bullying, thuggish rightwing nutjobs will use any means--including violence to shut them up and prevent that message of love and peace and social justice from being heard; those inferior intellects will do anything to prevent their compassionate policies for Health Care from being passed; those throwback conservatives are just a bunch of racist, sexist, warmongering, homophobes who want to destroy the earth--and would do so, if not for the courage of the oppressed progressive martyrs who slave night and day to make the world a better place
- But, their brave dissent against the greed of Corporate America is crushed by all the evil that America represents
This heroic self image must comfort leftists greatly, since in the "fascist" state that is the America of their imagination, this was the only kind of vile "persecution" they suffer when they dared to question or oppose BushHitler and Darth Cheney in days gone by.
More recently, they conveniently forget that they are the ones who now are in possession of the reins of power and who control all houses of Congress as well as the White House. Nevertheless, they persist in maintaining the ridiculous charade of being daring crusaders for peace and social justice (and now health care for all). The stance was absurd when they weren't in the majority in Congress; and now it only more obviously exposes them for the inadequate and pathetic humans they secretly fear themselves to be. No wonder they go on and on about enhancing everyone's "self esteem" and are so terrified of getting their feelings hurt that freedom of speech has become one of the first casualties of the PC culture wars.
So don't hold your breath waiting for them to speak "truth" to their own power--getting power over others is what they have always craved. It is the only way they can hold onto the image of heroically fighting against the forces of evil in order to avoid seeing into their own withered souls.
At the risk of catastrophically cracking the wondrous bubble of narcissism that those on the left hang out in, I must point out that they need to do some soul-searching, open their eyes to reality, and answer the damn question posed by Lewis (and many others before him):
Why has the Left ended up killing 100 million people in the 20th century, according to French Marxist historian Courtois and his team? That's the real question the Left must always be made to answer: Why does its blind "idealism" and its unquenchable power-craving lead to such disastrous results, over and over again?
Beneath the priggish self-righteousness; beneath that romantic and suffering image of moral superiority that they cultivate religiously, they have become nothing more than the appeasers and enablers of those who represent the very opposite of peace and justice. Bemeath their aggressive do-goodism; beneath their unwavering belief that they know better how to run your life than you do; there is a vast reservoir of contempt and rage.
Reality is out there, just beyond the hysterical and increasingly desperate attempts to avoid any close examination of their inner motivations. In order to remain in the narcissistic bubble they have constructed for themselves, they simply must keep trying to foist their utopian fantasies on humanity. They don't care about the outcome of their policies, they just care about satisfying that hopeless craving for personal validation.
And, to be brutally honest, humanity simply may not survive much more of their "blind idealism" and unquenchable power-cravings over the lives of others.