Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal:
Pop quiz—What does more to galvanize radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video?

If your answer is (b) it means you probably have a grasp of the historical roots of modern jihadism. If, however, you answered (a), then congratulations: You are perfectly in synch with the new Beltway conventional wisdom, now jointly defined by Pat Buchanan and his strange bedfellows within the Obama administration.
If you're of the view that Israel is the root cause of everything that ails the Middle East—think of it as global warming in Hebrew form—then nothing so powerfully makes the case against the Jewish state as a flag-draped American coffin.

Now consider Lady Gaga—or, if you prefer, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker or any other American woman who has, at one time or another, personified what the Egyptian Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb once called "the American Temptress."

Qutb, for those unfamiliar with the name, is widely considered the intellectual godfather of al Qaeda; his 30-volume exegesis "In the Shade of the Quran" is canonical in jihadist circles. But Qutb, who spent time as a student in Colorado in the late 1940s, also decisively shaped jihadist views about the U.S.

In his 1951 essay "The America I Have Seen," Qutb gave his account of the U.S. "in the scale of human values." "I fear," he wrote, "that a balance may not exist between America's material greatness and the quality of her people." Qutb was particularly exercised by what he saw as the "primitiveness" of American values, not least in matters of sex.

"The American girl," he noted, "knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it." Nor did he approve of Jazz—"this music the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires"—or of American films, or clothes, or haircuts, or food. It was all, in his eyes, equally wretched.
The settlements are merely the latest politically convenient cover behind which lies a universe of hatred. If the administration's aim is to appease our enemies, it will get more mileage out of banning Lady Gaga than by applying the screws on Israel. It should go without saying that it ought to do neither.

Read the entire article. I think Stephens is absolutely correct in his analysis of "why they hate us".

Whatever you may think of Lady Gaga's provocative sexuality and lyrics; the animus directed toward her from adherents of Islam is of an intensity light years beyond that of the shocked disapproval of a typical American parent trying to protect a young child from an excess of sexuality and narcissism. Disapproval is one thing; a viscious misogyny--i.e. an intense hatred and fear of all things feminine-- is quite another. And it is the latter that characterizes Islamic extremism (and not a few of the supposed "moderates" of that religion). In short, they are, as Lady Gaga might say, "caught in a bad romance."

Islamist terror can be thought of in part, as a response to sexual rage, frustration, and the humiliation of being connected to a "degraded mother." Thus the men in such a culture must constantly assert their masculinity, defend their masculine "honor", and strike out in rage against any who "shame" them.

This is apparent in the sexual mutilation of terror victims who are perceived as "inferior" by the Islamists, and on a par with women of their own culture. It is also seen in the Freudian symbolism of the barbaric act of beheading; as well as in the ubiquitous rape of non-muslim women around the world.

To some extent, such behavior has been seen in all cultures that debase or oppress women. In misogynistic cultures (and individuals) there is usually both the revulsion of the "whore" combined with a perverse obsession with, attraction to, and idealization of "perfection" in a woman (the "madonna" complex). In order to be idealized, women must be stripped of any hint of sexuality.
As a culture, the Arab-Islamic world has perfected this "stripping" to a nightmarish art form of shapeless, individualess, blank nothingness.

Misogyny can be defined as an unreasonable fear or hatred of women. Ever since Eve tempted Adam, women have been reviled in many ways and for many overt reasons around the world and in various cultures. They are hated and feared for their bodies, which tempt men to give into their "base" instincts; They are feared and considered "unclean" because of their monthly cycle of bleeding; they are hated for their unique feminine abilities, which are invariably considered malicious--or worse, evil--by the misogynist individual or culture.

There are three basic motivations underlying why men fear/hate/vilify women (and they are not mutually exclusive, but may exist in various combinations or all at the same time) :
-sexual frustration;
-castration anxiety, and
-resentment and anger at being dependent on women, especially the mother.

The idealization of women, on the other hand, originates from the innate desire of all humans, male or female, to return to the perfect union with the mother that each experienced in the womb.

There are also multiple reasons why women might hate other women on both an individual and societal level, and thus are often complicit in their own subjugation in misogynistic societies.

Many women hate or envy other women whose existence lowers their own status with men, i.e., other women who are more attractive than they are either in looks or accomplishment, depending on the cultural expectations. For example, in one culture a woman might attract men because of her beauty; in another because of her purity or religious devotion. A corollary to this is that the aging woman will increasingly become aware of her diminishing attraction to men or usefulness to a society that only values her reproductive capability. This sets up a dynamic tension between old and young women. In all cultures where female genital mutilation occurs, while it is the male-dominated society that mandates it, the operation itself is performed by older women on younger women; and has the direct effect of decreasing the sexual capabilities/responsiveness of the younger--thus "leveling the playing field" by some accounts. Older--"useless" women--can become societal heroes only by embracing the violence and rage of the sexually frutstrated and fearful men.

Needless to say, the family dynamics in viciously misogynic cultures like those dominated by Islamic extremists, create severely impaired girls and boys. It has been noted by many researchers and observers that children of both sexes are routinely physically and sexually abused by male relatives (indeed there are religious rules in Islam that designate under what circumstances babies may be used for sexual gratification by adults) . The boys are publicly circumcised and the girls clitoridectomized. Since a woman's behavior is the source of all shame and dishonor for the men in Islamic society, women must be ruthlessly controlled. The degree of control is proportional to the degree of sexual repression and frustration (and hence rage) that is mandated by the culture/religion.

In normal societies, the act of "mothering", which is almost always relegated to the female, may be accomplished by either females or males as long as they provide that early and continual nurturing, acceptance and security that a baby needs. The role of "fathering" can also be taken on either by females or males, particularly to the offspring of the same sex and that role usually begins at about the toddler (age 4 give or take). To raise a healthy child, healthy males and females are essential. But in misogynistic societies, the cultural debasement and humiliation of women has a profound impact on both female and male children.

Male children in societies that demonize or debase women must overemphasize their "maleness" in order to separate from the mother. As grown men, far from being able to mitigate the aggressive impulses of a child, such men will encourage these impulses in order to "prove" to the world at large that they (and later, their sons)have not been "feminized". Cultures where women have extremely low status almost always encourage the development of inadequate, "macho" men, who need to prove their "manliness" constantly.

In "Where Have All The Mothers Gone?" I commented about a study which demonstrated the power of "good" mothers --i.e., normal, healthy, functioning and unoppressed by their culture-- in overcoming aggression or "bad" behavior in children. Researchers discovered that "good" mothering was able to prevent aggressive and self-destructive behavior in at-risk monkeys. In human terms, "Good" mothering provides a child with respect, love, and security-- the basic aspects of "nurture" that are essential for normal development.

The findings of this and other landmark research clearly suggest that without an early mothering influence children were much more likely to grow up to be aggressive and antisocial.

From a psychological perspective then, the freedom and empowerment of women in society are absolutely critical because women are responsible for the earliest environmental influences on children--influences that will impact the child throughout his or her life. If the society has little respect for women and regularly demonizes, debases or humiliates them, the impact will ripple for generations. This is the primary reason why encouraging and promoting women's rights around the world should be a high priority in US Foreign Policy.

Women subjected to institutionalized, societal abuse (such as what we saw under the Taliban; and what we see to a greater or lesser extent in almost all Islamic countries--where physical abuse is sanctioned; where women are sexually demonized; where they are deprived of education, as well as physical, social, economic and political freedom) are hardly in a psychological position to be able to provide effective "nurturing" to children.

Women whose own aggressive impulses have been savagely constrained by society and who have few options to sublimate those impulses, are at grave risk of encouraging aggressive and violent "acting out" on the part of their children on their behalf-- especially the male child who must be seriously conflicted about his love for and identification with a lowly-regarded woman.

In other words, such women will hardly prevent inappropriate aggression in their offspring, when such aggression vicariously meets their own needs. And the male children will have to assert their separation and distance from the debased female that is their mother, as aggressively and violently as possible. The father, who might undo some of this early pathology is himself also in the grip of the dysfunctional societal demands, and he must constantly deal with subverting his own normal sexual drives which can only find expression through sanctioned deviancy (as exemplified in Rule 19) and aggression toward women who dare to challenge the societal taboos(i.e., unveiled women, "uppity women", or any infidel women).
Is it any wonder sexual impulses become so perverted and directed toward children? Or that child sexual abuse becomes the only societal outlet for sexuality? Or that the residual aggression is expressed in a barbaric, uncivilized manner?

Family dynamics obviously play an extremely important role in the development of personality, especially in providing values and role-models. The dysfunctional family of Middle Eastern Muslims, where women are hidden and oppressed; prevented from ever being able to grow up normally, while the sexually repressed and enraged men must avoid the shame of the feminine and must aggressively defend his honor and manhood by controlling and debasing anyone who threatens it.

Under the Taliban, which arguably has been the most malignant iteration of Islam's dysfunction, women were actively oppressed and beaten for any attempt to express themselves. Even today, there are actual "debates" about this whether such behavior is multiculturally 'acceptable'.

Sexuality is an essential part of each individual. The double standards of modesty and behavior encouraged by the current practice of Islam are destructive to the normal development of personality in both males and females. Psychopathic traits in males are societally encouraged, while females are conditioned to be their willing victims. (When women seek to "equal" men by blowing themselves up, you know there is some sort of psychopathy at work--as opposed to "gender liberation"). Also, ask yourself how will a child be able to grow up normally, knowing their mother thinks of them in this way?

A culture that is so viciously misogynistic gives rise to both men and women who are severely dysfunctional in almost every sphere of human activity.

On the whole, a society that tolerates someone like Lady Gaga (and even finds some or all aspects of her talent worthwhile) is far preferable to the "utopia" of acceptable misogyny envisioned by the radical Islamic extremists, whose goal is to impose their caliphate on all of us. At least you can turn Lady Gaga off.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here is a great essay by Dr. Theodore Dalrymple on the difference between self-esteem and self-respect:
Self-esteem is, of course, a term in the modern lexicon of psychobabble, and psychobabble is itself the verbal expression of self-absorption without self-examination. The former is a pleasurable vice, the latter a painful discipline. An accomplished psychobabbler can talk for hours about himself without revealing anything.

Insofar as self-esteem has a meaning, it is the appreciation of one's own worth and importance. That it is a concept of some cultural resonance is demonstrated by the fact that an Internet search I conducted brought up 14,500,000 sites, only slightly fewer than the U.S. Constitution and four times as many as "fortitude."

When people speak of their low self-esteem, they imply two things: first, that it is a physiological fact, rather like low hemoglobin, and second, that they have a right to more of it. What they seek, if you like, is a transfusion of self-esteem, given (curiously enough) by others; and once they have it, the quality of their lives will improve as the night succeeds the day. For the record, I never had a patient who complained of having too much self-esteem, and who therefore asked for a reduction. Self-esteem, it appears, is like money or health: you can't have too much of it.

Self-esteemists, if I may so call those who are concerned with the levels of their own self-esteem, believe that it is something to which they have a right. If they don't have self-esteem in sufficient quantity to bring about a perfectly happy life, their fundamental rights are being violated. They feel aggrieved and let down by others rather than by themselves; they ascribe their lack of rightful self-esteem to the carping, and unjustified, criticism of parents, teachers, spouses, and colleagues....

Self-respect is another quality entirely. Where self-esteem is entirely egotistical, requiring that the world should pay court to oneself whatever oneself happens to be like or do, and demands nothing of the person who wants it, self-respect is a social virtue, a discipline, that requires an awareness of and sensitivity to the feelings of others. It requires an ability and willingness to put oneself in someone else's place; it requires dignity and fortitude, and not always taking the line of least resistance.

You might have noticed in recent years that the overwhelming emphasis in our narcissistic culture has been to emphasize self-esteem at the expense of self-respect and personal responsibility.

For years now, pop psychology and its gurus have mesmerized the culture at large. All their self-help tenets have percolated through K-12 educational curricula; and been accepted wholeheartedly by the cultural elite of Hollywood and the intellectual elite of academia.

The triumvarate of contradictions that claims to be based on "scientific" psychology includes the hyping of (1) self-esteem (increasing your self-worth without having to achieve anything); (2) hope (achieving your goals without any real effort) and (3) victimhood (it's not your fault that you haven't achieved anything or made any effort). See here for more discussion.

These three fundamental axioms of leftist thought have risen to prominence in our society even as concepts such as self-respect and personal responsibility have been mocked and denigrated.

Indeed, the very use of words like "personal responsibility", for example, have become politically incorrect--racist, even--primarily because personal responsibility is not compatible with the three fundamental leftist axioms noted above.

After several decades, the intellectual impoverishment brought about by faux self-esteem, fairy-tale utopian fantasies, and eternal victimhood--all pseudoscientific psychological deceptions designed to maintain dependence on leftist ideology-- are now becoming apparent:
Over a 20-year span beginning in the early 1970s, the average SAT score fell by 35 points. But in that same period, the contingent of college-bound seniors who boasted an A or B average jumped from 28% to an astonishing 83%, as teachers felt increasing pressure to adopt more "supportive" grading policies. Tellingly, in a 1989 study of comparative math skills among students in eight nations, Americans ranked lowest in overall competence, Koreans highest — but when researchers asked the students how good they thought they were at math, the results were exactly opposite: Americans highest, Koreans lowest. Meanwhile, data from 1999's omnibus Third International Mathematics and Science Study, ranking 12th-graders from 23 nations, put U.S. students in 20th place, besting only South Africa, Lithuania and Cyprus.

Still, the U.S. keeps dressing its young in their emperors' new egos, passing them on to the next set of empowering curricula. If you teach at the college level, as I do, at some point you will be confronted with a student seeking redress over the grade you gave him because "I'm pre-med!" Not until such students reach med school do they encounter truly inelastic standards: a comeuppance for them but a reprieve for those who otherwise might find ourselves anesthetized beneath their second-rate scalpel.

The larger point is that society has embraced such concepts as self-esteem and confidence despite scant evidence that they facilitate positive outcomes. The work of psychologists Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligman suggests that often, high self-worth is actually a marker for negative behavior, as found in sociopaths and drug kingpins.

We see the people who have inhaled this "psychology-lite" everywhere around us, and in all levels of society. Particularly we can notice it in the elites of Hollywood and Academia; who alternate between 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).

But the real victims of all this hype are our children, because these foolish notions, without a scintilla of scientific evidence (but they make some people feel very very good about themselves) have become the pop psychology dogma of public policy in education.

And, the corollary of their implementation has been an equal and opposite de-emphasis on taking personal responsibility for one's actions and behaviors and accepting the consequences, both good and bad. As a result, self-respect, which must be earned remains elusive; but self-esteem is everywhere--every two-bit thug and bureaucrat has an excess of it. But, as Dalrymple notes, it is never enough.

Since a person's character is not only determined by successes in life, but by how failures are dealt with; healthy self-esteem is the by-product of negotiating those successes and failures with integrity and honesty. By doing so, one gains the much more important quality of self-respect.

"Hope" is meaningless unless it escapes the land of fantasy and conforms with reality; and "victimhood" should only be a transient state that motivates a person to change behavior--not a celebration or a way of life.

For many on the left side of the political spectrum, the concept of "personal responsibility" is inextricably linked to conservative moral principles; to business success and capitalism; and--the bugaboo of collectivists everywhere-- individualism. It is no secret that the political left has idealized certain social and political systems because they suppressed the individual and elevated the state, insisting that individuals have no right to exist for their own selves, but only to serve others.

Those on the left mistakenly believe that it is individualism and "evil" capitalism that is linked to narcissistic behavior. But as I have explained in previous posts, there is a flip side to "selfish" or "grandiose" narcissism-- and that is narcissism rooted in idealism, rather than selfishness; or "idealistic" narcissism (discussed at some length here if you are interested). This second kind of narcissism (the flip side of the coin, if you will) is less obvious to an observer, since it is disguised with a veneer of concern for others. But it is equally—if not more—destructive and causative of human suffering, decay, death and misery. Both kinds of narcissism are a plague on the world; and both are well-traveled avenues for limiting freedom and imposing tyranny. The "grandiose" narcissism is the stimulus for individual tyrants, while the "idealistic" narcissism leads to groups imposing their will on others.

The idealistic narcissist is invested in utopian fantasies. Their self-esteem is derived from the power they feel in controlling the lives of others, and they desperately need to maintain a constant supply of "victims" they can pretend to champion. In general, they are extremely resistant to taking responsibility for their own behavior or the implementation of their utopian dreams--all of which have been emotionally catastrophic for the individuals in the system. Is it any wonder that the political left identifies personal responsibility as a dangerous and radical concept? In a world where personal responsibility and accountability for one's behavior is expected, they themselves would have to answer to that thing we call "reality."

This they cannot and will not do. That is how little self-respect they have to go along with their inflated sense of self-esteem.

Thus, they have constructed a whole system ("political correctness") to stigmatize and intimidate those who believe that self-esteem must be earned by achievement and is dependent on one's choices and actions; that "hope and change" come about not by wishing and lovely rhetoric, but by doing; and that your current bad situation may not be (entirely) your own fault, but by constantly externalizing blame for that situation, you miss opportunities to make necessary changes in your own behavior that keep you down. By taking responsibility for your own life, you stop waiting to be rescued and do what you have to do to rescue yourself. You can stay a "victim" and wallow in "victimhood", but the essence of maturity and adulthood is taking charge of your own life and not letting others dictate who you should be, or what you should do.

Unhealthy narcissism (yes, a certain amount of narcissism not only can be healthy, it is essential to function optimally in life) is encouraged by the "self-esteem gurus" in education, whose nonsense continues to reinforce the inappropriate grandiosity of young children by facilitating a faux self-esteem; just as the radical environmentalists and politically correct, kumbayah types (among other groups) continue to reinforce the malignant selflessness that comes from fervently believing in the perfectibility of human beings.

Between the two influences unleashed on the vulnerable minds of our children, is it any surprise that by the time they get to college, kids are either dysfunctional, self-absorbed narcissists; naively malignant do-gooders; or (at best) completely and irrevocably cynical about the pervasive indoctrination and anti-intellectualism they have been subjected to in their educational careers?

Dalrymple correctly notes that, "Self-respect requires fortitude, one of the cardinal virtues; self-esteem encourages emotional incontinence that, while not actually itself a cardinal sin, is certainly a vice, and a very unattractive one. Self-respect and self-esteem are as different as depth and shallowness."

Or as different as achieving maturity versus remaining childish.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


This is truly pathetic:
Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.

"We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and "mercenaries."

How low can the U.S. go, It will take Obamacare a little time to equal the degrading and horrific conditions that characterize health care in countries like Communist Cuba. But I suppose that is the goal. A few years ago I wrote about the Cuban health care system. I reprint that piece below. Not much has changed in the intervening years, I fear. There is still an illness of the soul; a progressively fatal disease that destroys the spirit and scars the body and soul; and this is the disease that the pimps of Obamacare have now loosed on this country.

Read on.

Sometime back, Val at Babalu Blog discussed "Cuban mythology", particularly the recurring theme about how wonderful Cuban health care is:
Every single time the island of Cuba and fidel castro's revolution are covered anywhere in the media one of the points always mentioned is Cuba's free healthcare. You can practically time it. If it's in print, you get the lead issue in the first and second paragraph, a mention of fidel castro or one of his cronies in the third paragraph and then the plug for the lauded free healthcare available to Cubans in the fourth. I dont think Ive ever read an article about castro or Cuba where the "healthcare" isnt mentioned.

Every single castro supporter clings to this healthcare thing like it is some kind of holy grail. In a debate, the fact that Cuba has the most political prisoners in the world is ignored. The fact that Cubans on the island lack even the most basic of necessities is ignored. Tourism apartheid is ignored. Everything is ignored save for the free healthcare and 100% literacy.

Of course, none of these Free healthcare! cheerleaders have ever been to a Cuban hospital. They've never been to a Cuban clinic. Hospitals and clinics serving the average Cuban, that is.

All the usual gushing praise for Castro's healthcare system has been resurrected more enthusiastically than ever since the glowing report from Michael "Sicko" Moore, who gleefully exposes the dirtly little secrets about American health care, giving example after example of how insurance companies and "the system" have screwed average American citizens (and interestingly, not the poor). John Podhoretz, who reviews the movie has this to say:
Sicko is pointedly aimed not at the almost 50 million Americans who don't have health insurance but, rather, at the 250 million Americans who do. Moore wants universal health care run by the government.

Usually, calls for this radical solution to America's health care ills are laden with appeals to the conscience of those who have coverage about the nightmarish lives of those who don't. Cleverly--and Moore is nothing if not clever--Moore is trying to convince people with health care coverage that they might even be worse off than people without. At least the uninsured don't believe they are covered, only to discover their insurance company won't pay for treatments it considers experimental. The sad tales on display here, and they are undeniably sad and infuriating, involve not only the failure of people to get proper treatment but also the profound disappointment they felt at being turned down by their insurer.

Fortunately, Moore proposes a cure for the disappointment with a sweet, uncomplicated message. We can have it all: great medical care with no bills, administered by loving institutions, and practiced by happy doctors. That's the way it is in Canada, Britain, France, and even Cuba, according to Moore. And we won't even have to pay for it, the way we do now.

I have worked in the American healthcare system most of my adult life. I have watched it become more and more "socialized" and less and less market driven (at least the part where the doctor and patient interact); and as it has gone in the socialized direction, it has slowly but surely gone down the toilet. With every new government-mandate (and they come out daily, believe me; emanating from the concerned state and federal level as fast as our beloved representatives can write them) ; every cost-saving restriction; every righteous criminalization of physicians; the quality of care has deteriorated proportionally and the quantity of paperwork escalated in equal measure. No longer are patients responsible for paying for their health care, some "third-party" is (usually the government). There is now a huge industry of middlemen and women who exist solely to stand between doctor and patient and shout, "NO!" to both of them.

In other words, the problem with American healthcare is that there is already too much government control, and too few payers (there should be millions of payers-- each and every person must take responsibility for their own precious health and that of their loved ones-- and not pass off the responsibility to the collective who basically doesn't give a flying f*** about them as individuals in the least.

To the extent that our system today rigidly determines what kind of financial transactions and treatment options are permitted, you have a sicko system indeed.

But to suggest that MORE government and less individual responsibility is the solution to today's " health care crisis" is not only disingenuous, it is absolutely ludicrous.

As someone once famously said, if you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it's free.

For Michael Moore to pimp for Fidel Castro and it mythologically "wonderful" healthcare system is beyond despicable. It reveals either a profound ignorance about the real world manifestations of commmunism; or fanatic dedication to an abstract ideology and not to real people in the real world.

I grew up during the Cold War. I was assailed with stories about the Soviet Union and its "scientific and medical achievements"; as well as its "economic progressiveness". I had the impression that the USSR was a serious rival of the U.S. in all these areas. After all, didn't they launch the first man into space? A remarkable achievement, right?

Some years later, I was sent to the USSR on a NASA trip at the height of the Cold War to meet with some of the researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP). From the moment I arrived in this people's republic, it was obvious that I was in a 3rd world country. Everything was grungy and dirty. And I mean everything. The sheets at the slummy hotel I was staying at were filthy. I shared a bathroom with two other rooms, both occupied by men. The bathroom was so disgusting that for two days I couldn't bring myself to take a shower (the tub was crusted in dirt and didn't look as if it had been cleaned in years). There were dead bugs on the floor of the room. The radio in the room did not work. The window in the room could not be completely closed (it was November and the outside temperature was about 18 degrees). Did I mention that this was an ELITE hotel for academics visiting the IBMP and other Soviet institutes?

As I wandered around Moscow, the only people I saw were standing in lines to get food. There was one line for bread. One for milk. One for meat. The faces of the people were dull and resigned. Faceless women wrapped in scarves for warmth sluggishly swept the dirt on the sidewalks from one side to the other (I could never figure out why). Above the streets, on the buildings were old banners that proclaimed in Russian "Glory to Soviet Science".

When I tried to buy something in a "tourist" store (under the supervision of several Soviets assigned to me) the clerks (there were four of them, although there were very few people in the store) completely ignored me for the longest time; then when I went to pay they never once spoke to me or looked at me. They kept up a conversation among themselves that seemed to have something to do (as far as I could tell from my limited Russian)with the last time they had bought meat it had been bad.

At the IBMP, scientists I was supposed to confer with on psychological issues in space, spent most of their lecture time talking about the "wonders" of Soviet science. Their papers were peppered with such phrases. In private, when they were sure none of their bosses were listening, they would plead with me to tell them what other researchers were doing in their field. Did I think that their research was interesting or useful? Most places I have travelled in the world to visit scientists, I would be queried at length about my work. But the Soviet scientists were desperate to know what was going on in their fields. They were not permitted to read "outside journals"; there was noone who could review and critique their work, except their immediate colleagues. All too often, the political considerations overrode scientific ones.

Every evening these scientists would quietly apologize to me and others in the group because they had to publicly denouce us as "capitalist liars". Over and over again we were told, "We have to say these things to get along here."

It was an eye-opening experience for me to see up-close how totalitarianism chips away at the human soul and at human dignity; destroying any talent; encouraging mediocrity; crushing independent thought; and eliminating initiative. The evidence of this simple truth was all around me.

Take a close look at the pictures over at Babalu Blog linked above. What you are seeing is the world of people who don't care anymore. I saw the same thing in the Soviet Union in the 80's. The stench of hopelessness and mediocrity is unmistakable. These are the symptoms of a slowly disintegrating human soul.

Which is why something like this is so incredibly appalling. That artists would defend Castro and his oppressive regime is the height of self-delusion and is a betrayal of the human spirit that art expresses.

That Michael Moore would say such things and prefer the Cuban system over the U.S. is not in the least shocking. The man is an idiot; specifically, the variety that loves to bash American and capitalism at every opportunity, even as he cashes in and personally benefits from his association with them.

For every instance that Moore presents, I can give you a dozen counter-examples of how the doctors and healthcare professionals I have worked with have done extraordinary things for patients.

And if you are, like Moore, inclined to think of Cuba as a "worker's paradise" you might just read this post by an EMT who was stationed at Guantanamo for a while and is now in medical school. Here is some of what he has to say:
We deployed in the vicinity of the fenceline. We met the refugees as they approached, and with weapns in hand, denied them entry to the base. They had managed to traverse a kilometer deep minefield covered by towers with machine guns to get to this point. They had left everything they had ever known in order to get out of there. And we stopped them. We had orders. We had our orders, so we followed them. After enough shouting and threatening, the refugees eventualy gave up and headed back. Back into Cuba. While I was sweating my balls off under the hot sun, these refugees made a mistake. They had gotten through the minefield the first time, but they had not followed in their own footsteps going back. While I was thinking to myself how I wish these people would hurry up and go back so that I could head back to someplace with air-conditioning, one of them stepped on a landmine.

That explosion touched my world.

Then, I witnessed the worst thing I ever saw in my life.

As the dust cloud wafted away from those refugees, nobody ran. Nobody screamed. Nobody said anything.

They just laid down to die in the middle of a minefield that was the sun's anvil.

Think of how badly you would not want to die like that. Think about that real hard. Think about slowly dying of exposure in a minefield. Think about what would make you risk such an outcome. Think about it real hard, and then remember that as bad as that was, it was better than going back.

The apologists of tyranny are again hard at work trying to redeem the one of the last outposts of communist enslavement. They see a "worker's paradise"; a "healthcare utopia", but underneath the civilized veneer of Castro's Cuba is the same deadening illness of the soul that infected all the other failed communist and socialist "paradises".

And for that illness, the only cure is Freedom.

[ Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden ]

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Wretchard, using the recent health care reform bill as a springboard, makes a rather compelling case that another word for "progressivism" is fascism. At the end, he quotes Ezra Klein:
Ezra Klein, writing in the Washington Post agrees that it is indeed “time to move on”. On to final victory. He believes Obamacare was a tremendous victory in the culture wars and virtually rubs his hands in glee at the prospect of telling people what to do with the rest of their lives.
I don’t want to suggest this bill is all progressive victories. It isn’t. It isn’t single-payer and there’s no public option, and though I think the excise tax is a progressive tax, I grant that reasonable people disagree on this matter. But the fact of it is that this bill represents an enormous leftward shift for American social policy. It is not, in my view, a sufficient leftward shift, but it is unmatched by anything that has passed into law in recent decades. Progressives have lost some very hard battles but are on the cusp of winning an incredibly important war. For all its imperfections, health-care reform itself is deeply, deeply progressive. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the conservatives who have made opposing it their top priority.

There’s another word for progressive in its present day meaning. And that word is fascist.

The left and its ranks of marching-in-lockstep neo-marxist fascists, harbor the sublime fantasy of imposing their ideological agenda on everyone "for their own good".

Remember all the hysteria about the Bush Administration's imminent implementation of a theocratic, fascist state? The truth is that the political left and its quasi-religious agenda represent the greatest threat to freedom in our society. Psychiatrists refer to the specific tactic of psychological denial used to deflect a hidden agenda by imputing one's own psychological motives to others, as "projection".

While they nibble away at freedom from within, they tacitly encourage our enemies, whose agenda is to destroy it from without.

I make no claim that the political right is always and at all times on the side of truth, or reason, or reality. Clearly, they are not any more perfect than anyone else. Nevertheless, these days they are a beacon of clarity and a pillar of common sense compared with the idiocies promulgated by political left day in and day out. The sinister side of the political spectrum have clearly abandoned common sense and rational thought altogether in their pursuit of power. And, along the path to their utopian paradise, they have also lost any sense of proportion, fairness and decency they once might have laid claim to.

Since current thinking on the left seems to denigrate a lifestyle devoted exclusively to pursuing wealth, money, and objects (sneeringly referred to as "materialistic"); as opposed to a more austere lifestyle emphasizing spiritual or mental development, then most of them should be relatively sanguine about Obama's fantasies of taxing the rich and redistributing wealth to pay for all those grandiose social programs will somehow reduce the astronomically expanding deficit.

If they were actually worried about the astronomically expanding deficit, which there is no reason to suppose they are. They are far more preoccupied with important issues like our moral virtue and our spiritual development and kindness and compassion and social justice. And, oh yes saving the planet from the evils of capitalism and human greed. Their intrusive agenda into our bodies, minds and souls expands on a daily basis.

If we want to save the planet and be morally virtuous, we are told, we must stop our incessant "buying of things we don't need." Church sermons encourage everyone not to lose sight of the REALLY IMPORTANT things and to reject the disgusting materialism of our capitalistic society. Hardly a day goes by when there is not an editorial, article or impassioned plea for us to stop listening to advertisements that "force" us to buy more and more.

As I watched the Democrats and progressives everywhere rejoice and pat themselves on the back because of the supposed "historic" accomplishment of passing a bill where few who voted for it actually possessed even a clue about what was in it; it was obvious that they saw themselves as better people than the rest of us mere mortals.

Their real agenda, however, as much as they try to hide it from themselves under the guise of compassion and caring, always seems to slip out at the most unexpected times:
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) defended the ObamaCare bill on WJR’s Paul W. Smith show yesterday when the host wondered why Democrats wait until 2014 to stop people from dying through lack of universal health care coverage. Dingell tells Smith that it takes a lot of hard work and preparation to create a system that will “control the people.” Freudian slip?

Indeed. As I have noted time and again, the left with their regressive agenda are in complete denial about the sinister motives that drive their so-called "compassion" for others. Progressivism is just another strategy to obtain power over the lives of others. Getting this kind of power over others--and at the same time reinforcing your own grandiosity and sense of superiorioty!-- is far more important than trying to convince others of your position.

But its all part of the ideologically enhanced sense of moral and intellectual superiority that drives all these progressive, neo-Marxist fascists.

If you listen to these fiscal histrionics, who believe that wealth and progress are magically created out of their wishes and whims, you begin to get an idea of the kind of utopia they actually envision--that is, if they were rational enough to actually take their cognitively dissonant ideas to a logical endpoint.

For example, spend enought time around these latter-day Marxists (whose political ideas invariably lead to untold poverty and human misery), and you could easily begin to think that human beings are entirely spiritual beings, existing in a golden glow of non-material nothingness. You would think that people are not composed of matter and have substance in a 3-dimensional, material world. Or, you could cue the Madonna music and believe exactly the opposite: that we are living in a material world, and that human beings are nothing more than physical, material creatures. And, of course the Obama Administration is going to rescue us from ourselves and make it so that we don't have all that money to spend on such useless "things". He says that he's only going to "soak the rich", but as the WSJ noted, there's only one teensy little problem:
Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can't possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama's new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and "the wealthiest 2%." Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That's about 7% of all returns; the data aren't broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% -- about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 --paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.

Note that federal income taxes are already "progressive" with a 35% top marginal rate, and that Mr. Obama is (so far) proposing to raise it only to 39.6%, plus another two percentage points in hidden deduction phase-outs. He'd also raise capital gains and dividend rates, but those both yield far less revenue than the income tax. These combined increases won't come close to raising the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue that Mr. Obama is going to need.


But don't worry. Obama and his minions are sure to come up with many more creative and blatantly psychotic ways to squeeze more money out of those who create it so they can transfer it to those who don't.

Let's stop and think about the Marxist modus operandi for a moment. If you take the anti-materialistic and anti-capitalist, "redistribute the wealth" message to its logical extreme, you must inexorably reach the conclusion that the highest values of society should be to encourage a virtuous--and equal--poverty for all; while homelessness and hunger would be proof that an individual has attained the highest moral plane. From the perspective of the "anti-materialists", malnourished children in societies of mud huts wearing rags and owning nothing- would be the epitome of human existence; since the possession of material wealth only condemns us to meaningless and empty lives given over in pursuit of meaningless and empty things. Clearly the poor have managed to eke out a life of powerful meaning and spiritual worth.

Only one problem with all this Marxist and neo-Marxst BS: human beings are not either spiritual or material. They are both at the same time. And, even more important for this discussion, there is a direct link between human freedom and those material goods the left incessantly tells us we should shun. Consider: all the marvelous goods and services that our incredible capitalistic society makes possible would not exist unless there were thinking, rational MINDS creating them.

The clothing, toys, electronics, food and other material goods that we "don't need" were created by human MINDS, who first imagined them in their thoughts, then found a way to make their thoughts real. When Marxists (or closet Marxists like Barack Obama) talk about "controlling the means of production" they are quite simply talking about controlling the human MIND. And when they talk about limiting your ability to pursue your happiness, i.e., obtain goods that you value; they are talking about controlling the human spirit.

When utopians dream of societies were wealth and material goods somehow mysteriously drop down from the skies above; or when they "imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man", they are actually imagining a world where the human mind and spirit have been deliberately murdered; sacrificed to some "ideal" bouncing around in some slacker's fantasy. When they talk about "soaking the rich", they are actually talking about decreasing YOUR standard of living and capping your dreams and ambitions. The creation of wealth is what drives economies; not its redistribution.

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

Modern-day Marxists (or, neo-Marxist fascists as I often refer to them) and all their totalitarian cousins (including the environmental fascists and the smiley-faced bureaucrats who think they can spend your money better than you can) would have you believe in typically contradictory postmodern style that:
  • wealth is created off the backs of the poor, suffering underclass by the always oppressive and exploiting upper classes; and

  • wealth and consumerism are very very bad because they devastate the environment and destroy the planet.

  • In the first instance, wealth is considered something good that is being stolen from its rightful owners by the evil capitalists; and in the second instance, the very act of creating wealth and consuming it is bad and inevitably mucks up the planet. What unites the two contradictory positions is the underlying desire of both camps to control and enslave the human mind and spirit.

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

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

    By purchasing those goods and services, we honor human creativity as we pursue that which we value and which gives our lives meaning.

    By enjoying the material things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable, we are celebrating the human spirit.

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

    By embracing materialism and honoring the human mind, we are embracing the the highest spiritual and mental development of humanity.

    The reason to enjoy and appreciate all those materialistic "things" is because they are human thought made visible. When we give "objects" to people we love those objects become concrete expressions of our love. And, as physical beings living in a physical world, it is a function of our essential nature to translate the abstract, the intangible, the non-corporeal--the spiritual, if you will--into reality.

    What those who constantly lecture us about the "shallowness" of pursuing material things forget--as they busily attempt to limit our ability to create, let alone pursue them--is that human freedom is inextricably bound up in that "shallow" pursuit. In fact, next time you enter a store and see the incredible variety of wonders for sale--no matter how silly or trivial or "non-essential" they may be--remember that every single one of them is a concrete expression of a human mind. Every time you buy one of those goods (interesting name for material things, no?), you are celebrating the freedom of that mind.

    So, the next time you hear the political left and other neo-Marxist thugs and nannies talk about the necessity of "redistributing" wealth, remember that what they are talking about is nothing less than the enslavement of the human mind and spirit.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010


    Unfortunately, besides health care reform tyranny, there are other serious issues starting to boil over due to this Administration's ideological delusions of grandeur.

    Here is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today, speaking to AIPAC on a subject that should be top priority for the Community Organizer in Chief:
    Time and again the Israeli army was forced to repel attacks of much larger enemies determined to destroy us. Recognizing that we could not be defeated in battle, Egypt and Jordan, embraced the path of peace. Yet there are those who continue the assault against the Jewish state and who openly call for our destruction. They seek to achieve this goal through terrorism, missile attacks and most recently by seeking to develop atomic weapons.

    The ingathering of the Jewish people to Israel has not deterred these fanatics. In fact, it has only whetted their appetite. Iran’s rulers say Israel is a one bomb country.” The head of Hezbollah says: ”If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

    My friends,

    These are unpleasant facts, but they are the facts. The greatest threat to any living organism or nation is not to recognize danger in time. Seventy-five years ago, the leading powers in the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people.

    The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.

    Today, an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large. A radical Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons could bring an end to the era of nuclear peace the world has enjoyed for the last 65 years. Such a regime could provide nuclear weapons to terrorists and might even be tempted to use them itself. Our world would never be the same. Iran’s brazen bid to develop nuclear weapons is first and foremost a threat to Israel, but it is also a grave threat to the region and to the world. Israel expects the international community to act swiftly and decisively to thwart this danger. But we will always reserve the right to defend ourselves.

    We must also defend ourselves against the lies and vilifications. Throughout history, the slanders against the Jewish people always preceded the physical assaults against them and were used to justify them. The Jews were called the well-poisoners of mankind, the fomenters of instability, the source of all evil under the sun. Like the physical assaults, these libelous attacks against the Jewish people did not end with the creation of Israel. For a time after World War Two, overt anti-Semitism was held in check by the shame and shock of the Holocaust. But only for a time.

    In recent decades the hatred of the Jews has reemerged with increasing force, but with an insidious twist. It is not merely directed at the Jewish people but increasingly at the Jewish state. In its most pernicious form, it argues that if only Israel did not exist, many of the world’s problems would go away....

    The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied.

    The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital....

    For decades, Israel served as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism. Today it is helping America stem the tide of militant Islam. Israel shares with America everything we know about fighting a new kind of enemy. We share intelligence and we cooperate in countless other ways that I am not at liberty to divulge. This cooperation saves American lives.

    Our soldiers and your soldiers fight against fanatic enemies that loathe our common values. In the eyes of these fanatics, we are you and you are us.To them, the only difference is that you are big and we are small, you are the Great Satan and we are the Little Satan. This fanaticism’s hatred of Western civilization predates Israels establishment by over one thousand years. Militant Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because of the West, because it sees Israel as an outpost of freedom that prevents them from overrunning the Middle East. When Israel stands against its enemies, it stands against America’s enemies. [read, or listen to it all at the link, of course]

    It is well to remember what Winston Churchill once famously observed:
    An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

    Remember Neville Chamberlain? The crocodiles ate him. A new generation of crocodiles are circling in the sewers of the world today looking for the Chamberlain of the 21st century.

    I believe they have found Chamberlain's equivalent in Obama.

    Obama in April, 2009, in Prague:

    So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. (Applause.) If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed. (Applause.)

    Obama, almost one year later:
    President Barack Obama renewed his administration's offer of dialogue and diplomacy with Tehran on Saturday, a year after his offer of a new beginning with Iran failed to achieve concrete results.

    Obama, who addressed Iranians in a new videotaped appeal to mark the observance of Nowruz -- a festival celebrating the arrival of spring -- has pledged to pursue aggressive sanctions to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

    "We are working with the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable because they refuse to live up to their international obligations," Obama said in the address released by the White House.

    One year later and he's still nattering on about "aggressive sanctions"?? I suspect that after Iran responds to this in a totally predictable manner, his next to issue a statement of extreme bewilderment over their intransigent attitude toward peace and how hurt his feelings are about it.

    Ask yourself why the U.S. is now systematically, and with great haste, selling out our allies and making nice with tyrants all around the world. Our foreign policy is now selfless, unilateral appeasement.

    The crocodiles are circling, and the only free country willing to oppose them has basically been abandoned by the White House. While Obama meets behind closed doors without as much as a photo-op with the Prime Minister of our closest ally in the Middle East; remember (as Charles Krauthammer pointed out on Special Report today) that this is the same President who bowed to the Saudi King and who shook hands in public and posed for pics with Hugo Chavez.

    Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

    UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson this morning:
    So we are watching unfold a sort of Chicago-style Realpolitik, flavored with the traditional academic leftist disdain for the Jewish state. The subsequent result is not so much a cut-off of U.S. aid as a subtle shift in perception abroad: Israel’s multiple enemies now are almost giddy in sensing that America is not all that into protecting the Jewish state, intellectually or morally. And given the nature of the UN, given the power of oil, given endemic anti-Semitism, given the collapse of classical liberal thought in Europe (e.g., Britain was far more deferential to Libya in repatriating a supposedly “terminally ill” mass murderer to Tripoli than it is currently with Israel), and given the realpolitik amorality of Russian and Chinese foreign policy, the world as a whole can now far more easily step up its own natural pressure on Israel, at just the moment when it increasingly has no margin of error with a soon-to-be nuclear Iran.

    Once the U.S. blinks, the floodgates open — that is the real lesson from the incremental, but unmistakable shift in U.S.-Israeli relations. Like radical shifts in thinking about health care, energy use, and amnesty, so too abroad Obama realizes that the difficult process of "change," in this case of becoming a neutral in the Middle East and deeming Israel's democracy unexceptional in the region, will require all sorts of dissimulation, denials, clarifications, and acrimony. But ultimately, the end of "solving" the Middle East crisis will be seen as well worth the now unpleasant and often tawdry means of doing it.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010


    ..of the sort that will live in infamy, I suspect.

    What can the Democrats who voted for this appalling bill go home and tell their consituents??--particularly when they haven't even read the damn thing. Dignity of Congress, my ass.

    UPDATE: Paul Ryan is extremely good here. I especially like the part where he says that, "America is not just a mass of land . . . America is the most-pro-human idea ever designed by mankind...." Yes, yes, yes. And this bill, for all its vaunted 'compassion' is completely and totally anti-human , anti-life, and anti-freedom to its rotten core.

    (h/t The Corner)

    Friday, March 19, 2010


    Or, rather, Dr. Zero's(read it all):
    The only guarantee you have that ObamaCare will provide the promised benefits, and remain within its boundaries, is the trust you place in the word of Barack Obama and his party… and your faith in future politicians who have yet to be elected.

    It is madness to extend such trust to the party of Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, and Harry Reid. There is no reason to trust an administration that places billions of dollars into the hands of unaccountable “czars,” including the odd Communist. Only a fool would believe the endless string of lies and deception from this President will magically transform into honesty and fidelity, after his angry demands for more power are fulfilled. A party that openly plans to subvert what little power remains in the tattered Constitution will not become more lawful after it seizes control of an entire industry. It would be idiotic to believe that a government whose economic projections have never come close to reality can suddenly predict the costs of the most enormous program it has ever produced. Remember, this Administration’s idea of a “system working” consists of frantic airline passengers tackling a terrorist seconds before his underwear detonates.

    It would also be foolish to place such faith in Republicans, or anyone else. Today’s Democrats are not unique in their corruption, a cancer that can be driven into remission with electoral chemotherapy in 2010 and 2012. Massive government breeds massive corruption through its very nature – it is the predictable behavior of people who are no less greedy, ambitious, or deceitful that the most rapacious robber baron. They hide their avarice behind masks of finely chiseled sanctimony, but as the final maneuvers toward the passage of ObamaCare illustrate, they’re just as quick to bend rules and perpetrate fraud as any white-collar criminal.

    It would be a horrible mistake to accept a deal with the creators of history’s most staggering natonal debt, based on assurances they will place your interests ahead of theirs, for decades to come. As Darth Vader memorably explained to Lando Calrissian, the State can always alter the terms of the deal, and your only recourse will be praying they don’t alter it any further.

    Back in June, 09, when this monstrosity of a bill was only a gleam in Obama and Pelosi's eyes, I wrote that I didn't care any more and that the zombies and vampires could do what they wanted:

    I'm done.

    My entire professional life as a physician and psychiatrist I have been exceptionally vocal about the prospect of government medicine here in the US. I have given impassioned speeches (when I was younger); written essays in medical journals and elsewhere; and talked until I am blue in the face to anyone and everyone about the horrors of socialized medicine and government interference in the health care system of this country. Once it would have seemed impossible that I would ever want to quit medicine; to stop practicing psychiatry.

    I have watched with dismay as every year we have inched closer and closer to the Democrats and the left's goals; goals which I firmly believe will completely destroy American medicine. I have watched up close and personal the utter soul-destroying consequences to both patients and doctors alike, of the pervasive cultural collectivist and looter thinking in my specialty. Every time this madness is killed, it just doesn't stay dead. Like some kind of putrefying zombie, the left just keeps resurrecting it. Logic doesn't matter. Facts don't matter.

    Let's face it. To the zombies of the left, reality doesn't matter. With President Postmodern in office, aided and abetted by zombie hordes in Congress; why should I pretend anymore that it does?

    This time around, I JUST DON'T CARE ANYMORE. If that's what people want, so be it.

    I'm done. If Congress passes Obama's destructive zombie health plan in any form, I quit.

    I will simply not practice medicine anymore. I will take my psychiatry books and my years of experience and do something else. I used to wait tables when I was in college. It's an honest living and Obama isn't interested for the time being in nationalizing restaurants--yet.

    Let me be clear. I don't believe that people have a "right" to health care; because, what advocating such a "right" basically means is that you believe you have a "right" to my mind; you have a "right" to my professional competence; i.e., you have a "right" to enslave me.

    Having chosen to work primarily in the public sector most of my life, I have watched this entitlement and victimhood mentality grow to incredible proportions in parallel with number of laws, regulations, administrators, and oversight agencies. I have watched the decline of personal responsibility and the rise of endless demands and impossible clinical and psychosocial conundrums that I am expected to solve, even if my patient has no desire to change. I have been demoted to the near-mindless activity of pushing pills to the point that I understand why my collegues see every clinical situation as a biological malfunction--the old adage that says, to a hammer everything looks like a nail, comes to mind. Psychiatrists are the mental health profession's hammer; and drugs are the nail. And, the same powers that tell me to prescribe drugs, warn me against the evil of working too closely with any of the drug companies, for fear I might be corrupted, God forbid, by the dastardly profit motive.

    I have watched as the quality of care has inevitably deteriorated even as spending went up. I have watched the system abuse patients and doctors alike--to the point that the frustration level just keeps going up and is simply not worth it anymore.

    I quit my memberships in the AMA and APA some years back when I realized that they were not really in it to make things better for doctors or patients. Perhaps at one time they were real advocates for both, but now they are like most of those supposedly "capitalist" businesses--like AIG and all the others-- who willingly feed at the government trough and can't get enough of that yummy government pork. They sold themselves long ago--in both areas of clinical and research medicine-- in order to have a place at Big Government's table....

    We will all see what happens when and if the zombies take over health care in this country and make it all like Medicare and Medicaid....and GM and Fannie Mae and etc. etc.

    I expect a Zombie Health Czar (Barney Frank would be perfect) will be appointed any day now. Someone who will have control over doctors' compensation and drug company profits. Someone who won't have to answer to the public who can control implementation of any aspect of the zombie plan that needs to bypass intelligent scrutiny.

    Well, I guess I lied to myself about being done with the whole thing, because I wasn't able to keep my mouth shut about the topic, as readers of this blog know; and I have since written many times about the increasing insanity and duplicity and outright lies about so-called "health care reform"- Obama style. But what I didn't lie to myself about is what I will do if Obamacare passes.

    This weekend is clearly going to be make or break for those of us who value freedom and don't want to see America take a giant leap forward toward socialism and Big Government.

    Like Charles Krauthammer, I believe that--by hook or crook(and undoubtedly it will be mostly crook), this terrible thing is going to be foisted on the American public, who clearly do not want it. But we will get it nonetheless, because we were so careless about who we elected; so mesmerized by empty rhetoric and so zombified by the promises of hopenchange.

    I am pessimistic, but willing to be pleasantly surprised that there are still people of conscience and integrity who will stand against this health care tyranny.

    If there aren't, then this will truly be the beginning of a pathetic end for the American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010


    Over at The Corner, Seth Leibsohn has some well-deserved praise for Bret Baier and his interview with President Obama:
    Bret Baier just concluded the single best interview of President Obama in a year, by any reporter. He was resilient in the face of the president’s obvious attempts to run down the clock by stonewalling; Bret continually hammered a series of questions the president did not want, and yet he was polite in explaining to the president the meaning of the questions just in case they were not what the president was familiar with (see the question about Connecticut for example). It was a model of how not to be cowed by a strong and charismatic leader and a model of a truly independent anchor/reporter. President Obama knew he didn’t have Bret at the very end when his last effort at victimhood was to sarcastically hang his head to the side in response to Bret’s saying he didn’t mean to interrupt, as if Bret were being insincere—which he wasn’t. Anyone who watches the interview can see who was stalling, who was running the clock, who was refusing to answer the questions, and why polite interruption was exactly what was needed. It was a model. If any of the MSM can watch it and conclude anything it is that FNC deserves a) its ratings and b) kudos for being truly independent from the herd of faux independent minds, the likes of which Howell Raines seems to esteem. Bret showed the rest of the press how to do it from now on.

    Actually, I was impressed at how defensive Obama was when confronted with Baier's probing questions; and how poorly the President came off in this hard-hitting--but very polite--interview, despite his highly acclaimed and revered rhetorical skills tricks. Most journalists have given Obama a free pass for most of his political career and it's obvious that the self-styled expert of hope and change doesn't care for it when they actually expect him to answer real, substantive questions. As Ace wryly noted, "I think it's fair to say Bret did not have a thrill up his leg during the interview."

    I guess that when juxtaposed with reality, empty rhetoric begins to wear thin and sound pretty hollow after a while.

    Judge for yourself.

    Here is Part I of the interview:

    And here is Part II:

    I expect we'll soon see the White House find yet another flimsy excuse to come down hard on Fox News and self-righteously boycott it again (apparently they only go to Fox "when it suits their interests." ) Outfoxed again.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010


    [Political Cartoons by Eric Allie ]

    UPDATE: Eric Cantor on the House floor today:
    Madam Speaker, Republicans have come to the floor today because we care about Americans’ health care. We just don't care for this bill. But still, the Majority seems committed to trying to muscle through a trillion dollar overhaul that will change health care for every man, woman, and child. Americans have made it very clear, they don't like this bill. They don't want the government in the decision making of their health care. They want to lower costs, and they don't want their government tax dollars going to fund abortion services. So why can't we start over, Madam Speaker? We ask again.”

    There's been a year and a half nearly of debate over this and still more questions than answers. That's why we are hearing reports that the Majority will try and ram this through without a direct vote on the Senate bill, Madam Speaker. We should take an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill.

    One can only hope that the destruction of Lord Obama's One Ring of Power is imminent....

    Aragorn: Hold your ground, hold your ground. Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that will take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails. When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields and when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight. For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you, stand Men of the West. - from Return of the King (movie version)

    Sunday, March 14, 2010


    James Lewis, in showing how completely absurd an article on the National Geographic website is ("Liberals, Atheists More Highly Evolved?"), makes the following perceptive comment:
    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.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010


    [Cartoons by Lisa Benson ]

    UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin in Commentary:
    Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen tryto sound the warning on ObamaCare:

    Their blind persistence in the face of reality threatens to turn this political march of folly into an electoral rout in November. In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation. Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again.

    Quite simply, Obama has lost, they observe, the public-opinion battle: “If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate’s reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.”

    The polls are wrong or the voters are dolts or they will learn to love it. We’ve heard some variation of each of these excuses over the past year. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats are in denial. But I think it’s more properly seen as contempt.

    So, is it denial--or is it contempt? My own opinion is that it is the typical sort of psychological denial and delusion seen in the "do-gooder" contingent who see themselves as vastly superior to all of us mere mortals; and who think they can run our lives better than we can....

    UPDATE II: Rich Lowry on Obama's latest "new" idea on health reform, which is identical to every other statist idea to control the market: price controls!
    The worst fears of the American public would then be confirmed. Government cost-control — even in the form of harmless-sounding “premium caps” — leads inexorably to waiting lists and inferior care.

    The president and his allies are not principally on a mission to improve Americans’ health care — they are on an ideological mission to expand the power of government over Americans’ lives. This latest presidential power grab confirms that fact.

    So, if you want rationing and poor quality in your health care, then Obamacare is just the thing for you.

    UPDATE III: The final push is for all the martyr videos to come....[From Michael Ramirez (via Rick Steroni)]:

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010


    Apparently there is no end in sight to all the ways this Administration intends to control American lives: now it is focusing on fishermen:
    The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation's oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.

    That's a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning.

    "When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to end one of the best scientifically managed big game hunts in North America (spring bear), the results of their agenda had severe economic impacts on small family businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario," said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

    "Now we see NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the administration planning the future of recreational fishing access in America based on a similar agenda of these same groups and other Big Green anti-use organizations, through an Executive Order by the President. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.

    Read it all. The sign in the photo says just about everything you need to know about this Administration's priorities.

    O! the gallant fisher's life,
    It is the best of any:
    'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife,
    And 'tis beloved by many.
    Other joys
    Are but toys;
    Only this,
    Lawful is;
    For our skill
    Breeds no ill,
    But content and pleasure.
    - The Compleat Angler (ch. XVI)- Izaak Walton (1593 - 1683)

    Walton could never have possibly anticipated the intrusive political busybodies and do-gooders of our day and age....

    Sunday, March 07, 2010


    Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm-- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
    -- T. S. ELiot(The Cocktail Party)

    Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer makes an irrefutable point in saying that an essential aspect of any mass movement (e.g., Islamism, fascism, communism, socialism etc. etc.) is that it spreads by encouraging utopian fantasies and promises of future societal bliss. In order to succeed, all such movements must have followers who are "true believers" through and through; and, as the annointed ones, they are eager and willing to sacrifice themselves (and often many others) for the sake of their cause.

    As people become unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives, they become succeptible to anyone or any group who makes vague promises of the "hope and change" kind.

    From a psychological perspective, all such movements are particularly attractive to any individuals who happen to have significant defects in their own sense of self to begin with. Belonging to a "glorious cause" (and such causes are certainly not exclusive to one side of the political spectrum or the other)and immersing one's defective self in the "collective", offers an opportunity to create a "new" self; one that is usually quite imaginary, but gives you much more of a sense of your own importance.

    Of course, not all members of such movements are "true believers"--only those who persistently refuse to face reality --and to consider all the unpleasant truths about both the movement and themselves.

    It is even true that many mass movements offer the potential for individual healing and are even productive from a social standpoint. Most people have some cracks in their individual identity, and the need to belong--to a greater or lesser degree-- to something beyond our narrow selves is quite healthy (see my series on Narcissism and Society for a more in-depth discussion of this). But when true believers slip into what I have termed "narcissistic awe" or narcissistic idealism"; they begin to believe they that they know better how to run your life than you do; and when the cracks in the self can only be filled by exerting power over others, then they become absorbed in what T.S. Eliot calls "the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

    They may not mean to do harm, but they do. The history of the last century is littered with millions of dead people who were the objects of the true believers' good intentions.

    In 2003, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Hoffer, Thomas Sowell noted that:
    Among Hoffer's insights about mass movements was that they are an outlet for people whose individual significance is meager in the eyes of the world and -- more important -- in their own eyes. He pointed out that the leaders of the Nazi movement were men whose artistic and intellectual aspirations were wholly frustrated.

    Hoffer said: "The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause."

    People who are fulfilled in their own lives and careers are not the ones attracted to mass movements: "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding," Hoffer said. "When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."

    What Hoffer was describing was the political busybody, the zealot for a cause -- the "true believer," who filled the ranks of ideological movements that created the totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century.

    And, Sowell noticed back in 2008 that many of the followers of Barack Obama were 'true believers' who had attached themselves to the ultimate "political busybody" who was going to--by force of his incredible personality--heal the planet; bring hope to the hopeless; and change to the world, leading us into a glorious future.

    And, speaking of political busybodies; you should ask yourself, are the Democrats "true believers" in Obama and Obamacare? Are they willing to fall on the sword that Obama and Pelosi and Reid are so cleverly holding out to them? Do they really believe that Obama is the new messiah? Are they willing to sacrifice themselves in order to pass a wildly unpopular bill that will forever alter the relationship between Americans and their government (and not in a very good way)?

    Mark Steyn thinks that they are:
    So there was President Obama, giving his bazillionth speech on health care, droning yet again that "now is the hour when we must seize the moment," the same moment he's been seizing every day of the week for the past year, only this time his genius photo-op guys thought it would look good to have him surrounded by men in white coats.

    Why is he doing this? Why let "health" "care" "reform" stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest?

    Because it's worth it. Big time. I've been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally "conservative" parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (Let's not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a "conservative").

    The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

    Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. Less than three months ago, they were stunned at the way the Democrats managed to get 60 senators to vote for the health bill. Then Scott Brown took them back down to 59, and Republicans were again stunned to find the Dems talking about ramming this thing into law through the parliamentary device of "reconciliation." And, when polls showed an ever larger number of Americans ever more opposed to Obamacare (by margins approaching three-to-one), Republicans were further stunned to discover that, in order to advance "reconciliation," Democrat reconsiglieres had apparently been offering (illegally) various cosy Big Government sinecures to swing-state congressmen in order to induce them to climb into the cockpit for the kamikaze raid to push the bill through.

    True Believers? You better believe that many of them are, baby.

    Obama understands the necessary psychological dynamic very well--in fact, he's counting on it. Why else does he continue to offer himself up in these ridiculous photo-ops and repetitive speeches--none of which actually say anything of significance or clarify anything about the 2000+ page monstronsity in question.

    Hoffer wrote in The True Believer that
    The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.

    Now, there are situations where the 'singlehanded defiance of the world' is not at all a bad thing. But you need to be careful about that defiance; and make sure that when you take such an uncompromising stand that you are consistent with reality.

    The problem is that a true believer is completely uninterested in, and indifferent to, reality.

    As Steyn says, "...government health care is not about health care, it's about government. Once you look at it that way, what the Dems are doing makes perfect sense. For them."

    And, it will definitely make them feel important in the grandiose style that is characteristic of political busybodies. Unfortunately for the rest of us, what they are doing is utter nonsense--and not a little fanatical.