Saturday, October 30, 2010

A REMINDER

In case you had forgotten about this sort of thing in the excitement leading up to November 2nd, here's a little reminder:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BITCHES, CHOICE, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTION

Two recent items in the news demonstrate how truly pathological the leftist women's movement has become. The first item shows the incredible hostility and rage that is directed toward women who don't follow the leftist party line and are (gasp!!) Republicans. (But we know this by the irrational hatred that is regularly directed toward Republican women like Sarah Palin, don't we?):
Yesterday, The View’s Joy Behar said “She’s [Sharron Angle] going to hell, this bitch!” Behar also compared Angle’s latest ad to a “Hitler Youth” commercial.

So today, Angle sent Behar flowers, with a note thanking Behar for helping her raise $150,000 online yesterday.

So what was Behar’s gracious response? “I’d like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants,” she tartly said. “And they’re not voting for you, bitch.”


And this little bit of psychopathology comes via Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner:
DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with. And that holds true even though many women have the economic potential to provide for their children themselves…Uncertainty allows mothers to select for their children the father who would be best for them. The point is that paternity was ambiguous and it was effectively up to the mother to name her child’s father, or not… Many men have, of course, ended up raising children who were not genetically their own, but really, does it matter…in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice.[emphasis mine]


Does anyone else see the irony in this feminist diatribe that is, among other things, anti-science, anti-male, anti-truth, anti-honesty, and anti-reality? I just about fell over laughing when I came to those words about removing from women "a powerful instrument of choice."

Yeah, right.

Today's Marxist/leftist and oh-so-progressive women's movement is nothing more than a powerful anti-female institution whose goal is to remove choices from women and to keep them locked up in the left's ideology. The last thing in the world these "champions" of female empowerment want is to allow women the opportunity to choose an option that is not sanctioned by the masters (and mistresses) of the collectivist left. Behar merely says out loud, and in the accepted tone of outrage and venom what they all believe deep in their black little hearts about any woman who does not automatically bow down before the holy altar of eternal .victimhood erected by the political left.

Let's look for a moment at the actual definition of "bitch" (beyond that of a female dog):
a : a lewd or immoral woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse


Now most reasonable persons might think that that it is highly malicious and spiteful--not to mention somewhat immoral-- for a woman to deliberately force a man to support a child she knows is not his. Most reasonable people might suspect that what the author of the article from which the second quote comes really objects to is the loss of power to control and humiliate men--a power that came with ignorance. Damn those scientists for taking that power--and ignorance-- away!

Once again, though, we see the power of unconscious defenses, e.g., projection, in action.

Ask yourself: who the real, honest-to-goodness bitches in these two little examples might be?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

VIRUS ATTACK !

My main blogging computer is down with a virus (or is it a worm?) that got past all its defenses. It's being fixed, but blogging will be light until after this weekend probably. DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

Monday, October 25, 2010

WHITE ELEPHANT PRESENT SWAP COMING UP

The Democrats gave America a white elephant present in Obamacare, and now the American voters are going to give the Dems a gift in exchange: they are going to vote them out of office (at least I fervently hope so!)

The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance cost exceeds its usefulness. If you haven't been to a white elephant gift exchange party (sometimes called a "Yankee swap", then you've missed the chance to get rid of some awful gift that was presented to you by giving it to someone else or giving it back to the original owner. In this particular case, the party starts on November 2nd and we will be giving back the favor with every vote cast against a sitting Democrat. In fact, some "elephants" are going to be partying big time:
Incumbents, beware: The major votes you’ve cast in Congress over the past couple years appear likely to come back to haunt you this Election Day (Or, see, via Hot Air: "It's not the economy stupid, it's Obamacare")

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most Likely Voters think their representative in Congress does not deserve reelection if he or she voted for the national health care law, the auto bailouts or the $787-billion economic stimulus plan. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Those votes also appear to be driving factors in the GOP’s consistent lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot. Most strong supporters of President Obama believe those who voted for the measures should be reelected. Even more of those who Strongly Oppose the president disagree.


Let's see. As I recall, every single Republican voted "NO" on that "historic" health care bill. How ironic that this stinky white elephant present given to the American public will result in a "red" elephant political comeback.

NOVEMBER 2: TIME TO GIVE BACK! .



[Political cartoons by Eric Allie]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ISLAMIST RAG

I definitely agree that what we need now is a Tom Lehrer, who
...never shirked from irreverent confrontations with the absurd, maudlin veneer of political correctness that has now become institutionalized in the West, smothering free expression with laws and regulations and censure. Honesty is now taboo, enforced in the 21st century with a new and far more menacing dimension: fear of retribution by Islamic mullahs and splinter terrorist groups.


So, here's to Professor Lehrer and his extraordinary irreverance! My, it was liberating...and, since NPR can't fire me, here's my meager contribution to the cause:

THE ISLAMIST RAG

First you get down on your knees
Beg your captors "Pretty please?"
Bow your head in great respect
So they can cut it from your neck

They can kill you for blasphemin'
Stone you till you're really screamin'
Every other moron is quoting from the Quran an'
Doin' the Islamist Rag!

If you want to use Islamic law
You must have a deeply comic flaw;
But then some Iman gets to see ya
And dispense some great sharia

If you're facing marital strife
The Quran says to beat your wife!
One, three, five, seven
Virgins wait for you in heaven!

So get down upon your knees
Beg your captors, "Pretty please?"
Bow your head with great respect
So they can cut if from your neck.

Allah, peace be on his name
Does not want you to feel shame
So start beheadin' ain't no use dreadin'
Just doin' the Islamist Rag!

Friday, October 22, 2010

THIS IS WHAT DENIAL IS ALL ABOUT, AFTER ALL

From Hot Air quoting Matt Welch, regarding the firing of Juan Williams from NPR:

Williams’ firing is a clarifying moment in media mores. You can be Islamophobic, in the form of refusing to run the most innocuous imaginable political cartoons out of a broad-brush fear of Muslims, but you can’t admit it, even when the fear is expressed as a personal feeling and not a group description, winnowed down to the very specific and nightmare-exhuming act of riding on an airplane, and uttered in a context of otherwise repudiating collective guilt and overbroad fearmongering
Remember the definition of psychological denial : the refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. Williams committed a psychological no-no that threatened the pervasive and all consuming psychological denial that the political progressive left is committed to--i.e., he showed some psychological insight.

At the center of all psychological denial is a hidden agenda. That agenda is usually not completely conscious--meaning that the denier has not thought through the issues surrounding his denial; and may not even be aware of what his motivation is in asserting something is true when it isn't; or false when it isn't.

Denial need not be absolute and completely cut off from reality. Even among alcoholics and drug users there is a varying level of awareness of their problem. Some accept that they are in jail or sick because of their substance use, but yet are still not willing to do anything about it. Some may recognize some facts about their drinking (like that they get put in jail), but completely deny the impact of those facts on themselves or their families; or the future implications of continued drinking or drug use (e.g., that they are killing themselves and will die).

The hidden agenda or underlying motivation behind the denial is very frequently related to the potential adverse consequences that could ensue if the denial were eliminated and reality acknowledged. That is where the unnacceptable feelings, needs, and thoughts come in. The denier (or part of him) has made an unconscious decision that awareness of certain feelings, needs, or thoughts is more threatening to his sense of self than the act of denial.

Hence the left's incredible refusal to face the failure of their ideology, despite the enormous amount of evidence before their very eyes. They will denounce anyone who attempts to pierce the veil of delusion (e.g., Juan Williams); they will always blame anyone else (see here, how the White House completely understands the voter's anger...at Bush!!)--by the way, this is another psychological defense that exists in order to shore up the denial of reality and it is called displacement, or the separation of affect from the threatening object or reality onto a less threatening object; they will never blame themselves.

What we are witnessing is a psycholgoical defensive maneuver that has become perhaps, the most common response to the worldwide threat of Islamofascism. It is a very specific kind of psychological denial, known as displacement.

It is the same defense that is at the root of Bush Derangement Syndrome. And it is also the dynamic behind the current rise of anti-semitism and anti-American sentiment that exists right here in America--even among relatively normal individuals otherwise.

You can think of psychological displacement as a process analogous to how attenuated viruses work when a person is immunized with them to prevent the catastrophic consequences of an otherwise life-threatening virus.

Psychotherapy itself revolves around, and works because of the temporary displacement of the patient's psychopathology onto the therapist--which is called transference. Let's say, that the patient has a conflict with his father. For all intents and purposes, the therapist becomes the psychological father and the therapeutic relationship plays out the drama in a less threatening, and more manageable setting.

The entire purpose of displacement is to gain control over the conflict. By focusing on something you have some control over, the psyche is much less threatened. You can fire your therapist; you can express your hatred unreservedly and there will not be the consequences if that hatred were directed toward the real object of conflict. You can even pretend, that if it weren't for the therapist, everything in your life would be perfect.

Displacement can be thought of as an slightly more mature type of projection. In projection, the individual remains oblivious to the fact that he owns and is responsible for the emotions that he imagines are in the person or group into which he is projecting. In other words, ownership of the idea and/or affect is banished from the self.

In displacement, the idea or emotion is deflected from one object to another, less threatening one, but the ownership of the negative emotion or idea (e.g. animosity, anger) is retained--and may even be raised to a virtue. A common example is the person who is angry at a loved one, but settles for kicking the dog. The anger is evident in the action and is still owned by the person experiencing it.

At its most primitive, anti-semitism is a form of psychological projection (just as all racism is). We see this infantile defense used repeatedly in the Arab/Islamic world. They seem unable to appreciate the irony of their labelling of Islam as a "religion of peace", for example, and dismiss the barbarism done in the name of Islam as misunderstandings or the actions of only a few. In other words, they dismiss their own aggression in toto; asserting that it is the Jews who are always the aggressors; that it is the Jews who are out to destroy them; and that they are the poor, helpless victims of the Jews. By distancing themselves from their own aggression and projecting it onto Israel and the Jews; they have retained their honor as the peace-loving people they claim to be.

It is essential to the success of the defense that they portray themselves as the victims and be seen as the victims in the eyes of the world. Even when their own behavior is responsible for the deaths of innocents, it is rationalized away and ultimately also blamed on the Jews.

Displacement, too, is also an effective method for psychologically avoiding reality. It is a step above projection and is considered simply neurotic. While projection can often appear to be completely uncoupled from reality, displacement has the advantage of allowing someone filled with unpleasant emotions to have an acceptable object onto which to express those emotions. Note that in projection, the individual completely denies that he or she even possesses or is capable of possessing those unacceptable emotions--it is the "other" who possesses them, and wants to inflict them on you.

Denial has many faces and can express itself in many clever ways. At its heart, though, no matter what it is called, it is an attempt to avoid a threatening and painful reality. Unfortunately, in the long run, the avoidance of even a threatening or painful reality only results in more pain; more dysfunction; and can even threaten survival.

And, progressives want to hang onto their dysfunctional ideology no matter what the cost to them, or us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

FLOATING UP TO THE TOP OF THE LEFT'S VICTIMHOOD TOILET HEIRARCHY

In the post "The Victimhood Heirarchy; or, the Leftist Food Chain", I wrote:
From the perspective of the socialist utopian, what matters more than Women's rights or Gay rights,[or Black rights-- any individual's rights, for that matter] are the rights of the designated "oppressed culture." The dogma of multiculturalism trumps the lesser dogmas of feminism or gay pride. This is probably because for the socialist utopian, might makes right and the needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few--and the few better remember that fact, or else.[*ref: Juan Williams]

In the socialist utopia, there is no room for individuality or personal preference; or tolerance for differences. You always must subsume yourself to the collective; and the bigger the collective, then the more power victimization can be exploited.


If you needed more evidence that Islam has percolated to the top of the Left's victimhood food chain--other than the fact that they can abuse women and gays with impunity and nary a word of condemnation from the left--then observe how instead of condemning this sick culture, the left positively trips all over themselves defending it against people like Bill O'Reilly or Juan Williams.

Wretchard today writes about the return of "blasphemy"; and you should read it all. This is his conclusion:
The rise of blasphemy probably mirrors the most unremarked phenomenon of the 21st century: the comeback of religion. Not only have Christianity and Islam risen with unprecedented speed in the Third World, but Western equivalents such as Communism and Environmentalism are now subliminally established as state religions in “progressive societies”. This is the modern age of faith, and how. Under these circumstances occasions of offense are likely to multiply and not diminish. Belief, and therefore blasphemy, is back. Ironically it has returned just as the secular world was congratulating itself on creating a multicultural world in which religion had been banished to domestic altars. It was in fact creating its parody all along: a patchwork of monocultures, a series of echo-chambers, a checkerboard of ghettos each with its own public idol living in uneasy proximity with each other.

At this rate there must eventually come a time when we simply cannot understand each other, when people suddenly jump up at the mention of opening an egg on the big, or mayhap, on the little end, when the demand for reasons itself will have become the ultimate disrespect. That’s called ‘enlightenment’, or sometimes ’sensitivity’ or ‘understanding’. If you don’t understand it, why excuse me, I have to call the cops.


What else is communism but a secular jihad, complete with its own form of sharia? All of these totalitarian utopian fantasies--be they secular like the Marxist variety; or religious, like the Islamist variety--share the desire to harvest as many human souls and control as many human minds as possible.

The culture of victimhood and the PC multicultural society cultivated by the left is the perfect breeding ground for the Islamic jihad. Just watch (and you better keep your mouth shut!) as those "brilliant" and "reality-based" intellectuals of the left encourage and support sharia in the years to come.

UPDATE: Can you just imagine the "new world order" that these two clowns have in store for you?
The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship on Wednesday, saying they are united in efforts to establish a "new world order" that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

THE LEFT'S MINDLESS RHAPSODIES ARE HITTING A SOUR NOTE

In a post titled "The Four Pillars of the Socialist Revival and the Rise of Islamofascism" I laid out the thesis that the re-animation of socialist/communist/Marxist ideology after its supposed demise at the end of the last century, was due to four separate lines of attack on western civilization.

These four lines of attack included:

  • Leftist Environmentalism - which has at its center the idea that humans are destroying the earth; and implicit in that assumption is the idea that technology is evil and that we would all be better off returning to a more primitive lifestyle;
  • Multiculturalism - which asserts that ALL cultures are equally good and wonderful; EXCEPT for western culture which is uniquely evil;
  • Politically Correct Thought, Speech and Rhetoric - through which the nihilism and anti-reality/anti-reason tenets of postmodern philosophy are enforced; and
  • Terrorism - or, direct physical attacks and the use of physical force to intimidate those who do not agree with your political ideology

    The good news is that there is mounting evidence that these strategies are beginning to backfire on the left.

    First, leftist environmentalism placed all its eggs in the global warming basket; and that basket has been slowly unraveling for the last several years. Most recently the expose of the global warming scam among even scientists has made the entire movement the object of ridicule and well-deserved suspicion of its underlying motivations. A key feature of leftist environmentalism is that global warming (or global cooling or whatever) is primarily due to the evil behavior of human beings. The corollary of this is, of course, that the superior intellect of leftist elites make them uniquely qualified to control the evil behavior of the unwashed masses and save the planet!

    Next comes the denunciation and failure of the multicultural society by the German President, Angela Merkel:
    Somebody eventually had to say it — and German chancellor Angela Merkel deserves credit for being the one who had the courage to say it out loud. Multiculturalism has “utterly failed.”

    Multiculturalism is not just a recognition that different groups have different cultures. We all knew that, long before multiculturalism became a cult that has spawned mindless rhapsodies about “diversity,” without a speck of evidence to substantiate its supposed benefits.


    The multiculturalism line of attack against western civilization was necessary in order to delegitimize the economic and political liberty that is the hallmark of western civilization. By attempting to equate these western values with racism and oppression directed at other cultures, the dead-ender elites of communism and socialism hoped to institute subtle and clever assault against capitalism and freedom--which stand squarely in the way of their obtaining power over others. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams because of the useful idiots of the left (and not a few in the middle and on the right). This is why it is so heartening to see a European country where these ideas firmly have taken root open their eyes to reality.

    A parallel line of attack on political freedom--particularly freedom of speech--has been the dogma of political correctness. On university campuses we have witnessed the insidious erosion of freedom of speech by the academic left. Just go to the website of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) if you want to understand how free speech is being stifled in the one place where it should most be revered and protected. Instead, "freedom of speech" is granted to anyone deemed politically correct by the campus left; while those who disagree are routinely characterized as racist, sexist, homophobic and/or Islamophobic. When speech is not felt to be consistent with leftist dogma, it is called "hate speech."

    This is one of the best and most succinct discussions of the desire to criminalize "hate speech":
    This push must be, and will be, resisted by all who care deeply about freedom of speech because, at the end of the day, "hate speech" is really a very subjective judgment that very much depends on the eye of the beholder, or, if you will, the ear of the listener. Extreme examples are easy to identify, but most liberal experts in this field neglect to point out that obscene and so-called "fighting words" that invoke extreme emotion are already not protected as speech under current Constitutional jurisprudence. That being the case, the "extra" protection afforded by "hate speech" codes really are illusory. What is really going on here is an attempt to declare beyond debate certain subjects that the Left finds offensive.

    More mundane examples, however, are likely not to produce such unanimity of judgment. Is Little Green Footballs and invaluable political forum that focuses on the plans and deeds of Islamic Fascists? Or is it a racist hate-site that the government should shut down? We suspect the answer to that question very much depends on one's political views.[....]

    We understand that freedom of speech is painful to liberals. We know what you're going through, having had to live through the era when you controlled the public debate and no dissenting voices to liberal orthodoxy were allowed into the hallowed halls of CBS News or the New York Times.

    Hate speech codes are nothing more and nothing less than an attempt to criminalize one's political opponents and should be resisted by all who care for liberty, be they right or left.(Emphasis mine)


    But there is hope that the PC madness is also unraveling. Those who celebrate freedom and who have been dismayed by the suppression of speech that "hurts the feelings" of others can only rejoice at the recent events in one of the more "politically correct" countries of the world:
    The criminal case against Geert Wilders appears to be unraveling.

    Wilders, the controversial Dutch lawmaker and filmmaker known for his outspoken stances against Islam, was facing prosecution in his home country for allegedly inciting racial hatred. But prosecutors in the case said Friday they've asked the court to drop the charges.

    The prosecutors now say that Wilders was targeting the religion, not Muslim individuals, and he has some leeway as a lawmaker to make statements about social problems, Reuters reported.

    Earlier this month, Wilders appealed for freedom of expression and then exercised his right to silence as the trial began, at a time when his popularity and influence in the Netherlands are near all-time highs.

    Wilders has compared Islam to Nazism and called for a ban on the Koran. He argues he has a right to freedom of speech and that his remarks were within the bounds of the law.


    Finally, we come to the last pillar upon which the hopes and dreams of leftists everywhere are held up: direct violence against those who disagree with you. The pervasive terrorism of the 21st century is a direct consequence of this line of attack on western civilization by the dead-enders of communism, socialism, and Marxism. It is no coincidence that Islamic fanaticism has not only risen, but been thriving in a culture dominated by postmodern leftist ideas. In this collusion we have a perfect example of the historical confluence of socialism, communism, and fascism. All three ideologies are nothing more than the utopian fantasies of the totalitarian mindset. Radical Islam and its quest for complete control over the minds of man is the ultimate expression of leftist ideals.

    It is this same mindset, rooted in collectivist hubris and moral relativism, that forms the basis for almost all leftist thought today. And, it is also the basis for the rise of Islamofascism over the last half century.

    The alliance between historical remants of those failed 20th century ideologies--responsible between them for more human misery and death than ever before known in history--and the Islamic fanatics (who represent the 21st century totalitarian mindset) is clearly visible in the precepts of postmodernism political correctness and multiculturalism, which dovetail perfectly into the rhetoric that rationalizes terroism and the behavior that appeases and enables it. Their mutual goal and utopian dream is to control the minds of men.

    The tyranny that each group desires to impose is not viable in a world where human thought is free; and thus, the purpose of postmodern philosophy is nothing less than to undermine mankind's perception of reality itself.

    Because only in a psychotic world, cut off from reason, truth and reality; can there be even the slightest sliver of hope that the anti-human, anti-freedom agenda of the left might still be able to be imposed upon the human world.

    Fortunately, people everywhere on earth are starting to wake up and realize what is happening. They see that human progress is being held hostage by the utterly failed ideas and policies of the political left, who want nothing more than make the clock run backwards on human progress. Here in the U.S., we have a chance to repudiate once and for all these misbegotten and utterly irrational ideas; and crush the hope (and change) that burns brightly in the breasts of the left's political elites; whose sole motivation has been and always will be to obtain power and control over the human mind.

    UPDATE: On the leftist environmentalism front, here's an interesting (and spot on) take on "The Climate Change Chameleon":
    Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is a remarkably flexible ideology. Calling it "global warming" for many years, advocates then renamed the crisis "climate change" after the unexpected cooling of global surface temperatures from 2002-2009. Last month, John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, urged everyone to start using the term "global climate disruption." What's next -- "catastrophic climate calamity"?


    Whatever it takes, I guess, to get control over us clueless climate deniers.

    UPDATE II: NPR fires Juan Williams...screw free speech. Do you begin to see how this alliance between the left and Islam works? Political correctness is the handmaiden of terror. Don't hold your breath waiting for the knee jerk accusations of NPR being "racist"--I mean, Williams was clearly a traitor to his race....

    Key William's quote (and insight from someone with moderate views) from last night: "I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality."

    Cliff May on Williams' firing: "...at NPR most people favor engagement with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — but not with Bill O’Reilly."
  • Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    THE CHAMPIONS OF THE POOR AND OPPRESSED AND THE FAILURE TO END POVERTY

    Robert Rector is not surprised that liberals, supposedly reexamining the 'culture of poverty', are not departing from liberal orthodoxy:

    One might imagine that experts researching the “culture of poverty” would examine how marital collapse, eroded work ethic, and indifference to academic study contribute to financial poverty. Guess again.

    Instead, editors of The Annals firmly declare that the main cause of poverty is “material deprivation itself.” In other words, the cause of poverty is poverty: The cure for poverty is to artificially boost the incomes of the poor through welfare payments, free food, housing, medical care, and so on.

    This is nothing new. Liberals always have insisted that poverty causes dysfunctional behaviors rather than vice versa. But, if having a low income caused problem behaviors (such as illegitimate births and eroded work ethic), then most Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries (whose incomes were far lower than those of today’s poor) should have been drowning in dysfunctional behaviors. Of course, they were not.

    One of the goofier notions behind the War on Poverty is the idea that that those in the underclass behave differently than the middle class because they have less money — and, therefore, the way to improve behaviors is to give the poor more income. The U.S. already has “invested” over $15 trillion in anti-poverty spending based on this idea, and the problem has gotten markedly worse.
    Read it all.

    So, many times in politics, programs that originate with the "best of intentions" end up doing exactly the opposite of what was intended. Yet, many people are so ideologically committed to one way of thinking that they not only refuse to change, but keep pouring money into programs that can be shown to actively harm the people they are meant to help; and reinforce the stereotypes they are meant to end.

    What makes matters worse is that the "champions of the poor and oppressed" (as they like to characterize themselves) then virtually demonize anyone who suggests an alternate strategy-- even when that strategy has been proven to work. We see this time and again in their attempts to portray the Republicans as the party that "hates the poor"; or that Republican or conservative policies reinforce racism, hunger, and deprivation. Take a look in your newspaper today and I'm sure you'll see an article asserting something very like this.

    On the topic of poverty and its causes, the political left appears to be incapable of reasonable discussion without hurling around the accusations mentioned. And since this is an issue they do not under any circumstances want to discuss or debate, one could reasonably conclude that it serves some intense psychological need to think about poverty the way that they do.

    Many people --both Democrats and Republicans-- genuinely want to end poverty. Many sincerely want to help the poor to have better lives. So, why not go with what works, instead of what doesn't and has never worked?

    I have said it many times before, and I'll say it again: POVERTY HAS A CURE --but it is not in the psychologically devastating social programs that promote victimhood and encourage generation after generation of the poor to think of themselves as helpless and unable to advance because of the oppression of the "rich"; or because of racism or sexism etc. etc.

    The cure is economic opportunity; the cure is MORE capitalism, not less. It is not to develop more "compassionate" and condescending social programs that artificially encourage "self-esteem" or promote helplessness and dependence.

    Nor is the solution to continue to pour $$trillions into a"war on poverty" that has truly been in a quagmire since its inception.

    Can we finally just admit that this so-called "war on poverty" -- a war that has been going on for decades--has been lost and that continuing the same old policies--or expanding them--simply do not work?? Not only have these programs become a perpetual quagmire, but they continue to truly victimize each new generation of the poor; especially blacks who compensate for this ongoing humiliation through the young black culture's "glorification of their devalued status" ( I think ShrinkWrapped once used this phrase)..

    The entire war on poverty that maintains "material deprivation causes poverty"; and which refuses to look at the societal consequences of devaluing marriage and family; demonizing the wealthy and the entire work ethic; and glorifying dysfunction and victimhood, is doomed to fail generation after generation. Look at the deplorable behavior and caustic rhetoric directed against notable and successful black thinkers, for example; especially those who disagree with the political left. What you will see and hear is that, instead of 'curing' poverty, we have created an entire subculture that devalues education; and extols attitude, violence, and hypersexualized misogyny. Anyone who sucessfully escapes the pit of poverty and the left's propaganda and begins to think for themselves outside the leftist/progressive box automatically become gender or race "traitors".

    Policymakers whose goal is fighting poverty need to pay attention to the link between economic freedom and prosperity. They need to empower poor families economically. They need to stop encouraging victimhood by their policies; and encourage personal responsibility that gives people a tangible stake in their own lives. If they do that, the psychological benefits will automatically follow.

    Thomas Sowell once brilliantly wrote in a column:
    People in the media, in academia and among the intelligentsia in general who are obsessed with "disparities" in income and wealth usually show not the slightest interest in how that income and wealth were produced in the first place.

    They are hot to redistribute the existing income and wealth but seem wholly unaware that how you do that today can affect how much income and wealth will be produced tomorrow. Any number of schemes for redistributing wealth have ended up redistributing poverty in a number of countries.

    "Progressives" in the media and among academics and intellectuals claim to be interested in ending poverty but the production of more output is the only way to end poverty for millions of people.

    It not only can be done, it has already been done in many countries, for all countries were once very poor by today's standards. But most self-styled "progressives" show virtually zero interest in economic history or in economics in general.
    Read the entire essay. Sowell is absolutely correct. Poverty has a cure. But for the progressive and postmodern left to embrace that cure would require letting go their death-grip on an ideology whose economic redistribution plans have repeatedly been shown to be catastrophically ineffective and oppressive in the real world.

    Redistributing wealth, the method of choice to 'cure' poverty which is constantly promoted by the political left, is a scam that progressive con artists have played for many decades now. What they actually do is redistribute poverty because the goal of the scam, as Sowell brilliantly notes, is to give themselves "sweeping powers to control other people's lives, in the name of curing the ills of society."

    Underneath the caring, compassionate exterior that the holier than thou political left presents to the world is a con artist/tyrant whose primary desire is control over others.

    UPDATE:Speaking of redistributing poverty... YES WE CAN!...raise the national debt $3trillion in 2 years.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    HARDWIRED NOT TO THINK CLEARLY WHEN NARCISSISTIC

    Tom McGuire calls out President Obama for his smug condescension toward the American people:

    Bitterly clinging to his pop psychology, First Sociologist Barack Obama regales a Democratic fundraising event with his latest insight into the minds of the Great Unwashed:
    WEST NEWTON, Mass. - President Barack Obama said Americans' "fear and frustration" is to blame for an intense midterm election cycle that threatens to derail the Democratic agenda.

    "Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared,” Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. “And the country's scared.”

    McGuire is absolutely correct in noting the amazing similarities between pop psychology and how the typical leftist rationalizes his or her political beliefs. In fact, I would contend that pop psychology has risen in parallel and prominence along with the entire political correctness thing; giving all that leftist PC dogma bullshit a shiny pseudo-scientific patina.

    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).

    In a previous post, "Self Esteem Is Not Necessarily Good For You" I stated:

    The pop-psychology that promulgated the widespread belief that if you nurture kid's self-esteem neglected to mention that if the sense of self was already damaged, all you managed to do was to create a narcissistic monster...it was a waste of time and money--as this article reports. If the 19th century was the age of hysteria (and basically, Freud was responding to the excessive sexual repression present in that century); then the 20th was the age of narcissism. In this new century, that narcissism seems to be morphing into an even more malignant sociopathy that pervades society and impacts almost all our social, political, and educational institutions.

    Our cultural focus on enhancing "self-esteem" has resulted in the near-worship of emotions and feelings at the expense of reason and thought; on emphasizing "root causes" and victimhood, instead of demanding that behavior be civilized and that individuals exert self-discipline and self-control--no matter what they are "feeling".

    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).

    I suppose hyping self-esteem, hope, and victimhood seemed like a good idea at the time. But now that we can see how foolish and deceptive it is---and how ineffective and counterproductive--perhaps it is time to end the influence of this PC pop psychology in public policy?

    Ask yourself what the purpose might be in constantly using this pseudo-science; this psychology "lite" to justify your superiority? And, make no mistake about it, this PC psychology, a very powerful political tool, is also being widely embraced by many psychiatrists and psychologists; politicians and dictator wannabes--all of whom share the desire to erase the entire concept of free will from human experience and to limit free speech; control human thought; and erode human freedom:

    Steven Pinker, noted Harvard psychologist and linguist delivered an address to mark Boston's Ford Hall Forum's presentation of their Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Pinker's speech draws valuably upon two of Pinker's hats - as psychologist and FIRE adviser in offering a sharp analysis of the threat that rising notions of psychology pose to free speech. Pinker outlines the subconscious force of the "psychology of taboo", and the theoretically innocuous speculations, such as the price of betrayal or infidelity, that "in fact are corrosive because they require people to think exactly the kind of thoughts that they should not think if they are committed friends, allies, family members." Recognize that taboo? I'm sure. Individually, it's a taboo that's hardwired; the problem rises when institutions larger than the individual, such as academia "which is, at least nominally devoted to pursuing the truth no matter how uncomfortable it makes people emotionally" begins to buttress the taboo with institutional force, banning speech and inquiry of sorts that might cause discomfort, and squarely quashing first amendment rights in the process. This is the path that leads to the University of Northern Iowa seeking to ban "unwelcome electronic communications" and it's a frightening one for sure.

    Pinker's entire speech is here.

    This sort of nonsense used to be limited to the academic world--supposedly devoted to free thought and ideas;but the American people, in a arguably insane moment moment of giddiness (another reality of human experience, unfortunately) chose to elect one of those know-nothing academics who have no experience outside the Ivory Tower, i.e., no experience in the real world.

    In "Hyping Self-Esteem, Hope, and Victimhood", I wrote:

    Becoming a victim --as we all have learned from famous TV stars, prominent politicians; religions, races, and even nations--is an advantageous state of being in many ways, several of which are:

    -You are not responsible for what happened to you
    -You are always morally right
    -You are not accountable to anyone for anything
    -You are forever entitled to sympathy
    -You are always justified in feeling moral indignation for being wronged
    -You never have to be responsible again for anything

    I cautioned that the list above was never meant to be exhaustive; and from the behavior of our moralizing and condescending President, we can add one more key feature of embracing this faux science: you can bend and shape PC psychology to defend even the most insulting and indefensible positions.

    Since you feel yourself to be 'always morally right', those who oppose you are simply the 'Great Unwashed' whose intellect cannot match your own exhalted, enligtened state of mind. These inferior beings (i.e., us) "cling to their guns and religion"; "fail to think clearly" because they are appropriately concerned about not only their own, but their children's future; and they "ignore" the pseudo-scientific dogma disguised as "facts and argument and science." Of course, the ultimate usefulness of the pop psychology schtick is that you can always fall back on the victimhood maneuver--e.g., those who oppose you must be racist (or sexist or homophobic or Islamophobic--depending on which particular victimhood group you claim membership in)

    Personally, nothing infuriates me more than this sort of arrogant, ill-informed, self-promoting and supremely narcissistic refusal to look at external reality. If, on November 2nd, the clueless progressives of the hopeychangey mindset are not completely, totally, and inescapably repudiated, then we must assume that they are the ones who are "hardwired" in their narcissism and arrogance; and will never give up trying to control the likes of you and me.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    HOSTAGE

    Reason's Matt Welch wants newspapers to just simply admit that they are frightened of Muslims:
    As Radley Balko noted in yesterday's Morning Links, the Washington Post and other newspapers pulled Wiley Miller's syndicated "Non Sequitur" cartoon from their comics pages two Sundays back, because Miller pulled a familiar-to-Reason-readers "where's Waldo?" gag with the Prophet Muhammad, satirizing the new 21st century taboo on the depiction of even jokes about the fear of depicting a historical figure who really existed.

    As is typical of the genre, Washington Post editors tried to play their own "where's Waldo" with the censorship process:
    Style editor Ned Martel said he decided to yank it, after conferring with others, including Executive Editor Marcus W. Brauchli, because "it seemed a deliberate provocation without a clear message." He added that "the point of the joke was not immediately clear" and that readers might think that Muhammad was somewhere in the drawing.


    If the Post's new standard for comics is to make jokes "immediately clear," then it might be time to kill the comics page altogether. No, Martel/Brauchli, you pulled the cartoon because your fear of Muslims outweighs your commitment to free expression, period.

    Now comes L.A. Times media critic James Rainey, who, even while concluding that the cartoon should have run (the L.A. Times, to no one's surprise, suppressed it), makes sure we understand that fear was not a factor, nosiree:
    That's not to agree with some commentators who have called the refusal to run the comic a cowardly retreat from radicals. I'd say the ax that fell on "Non Sequitur" had more to do expediency. Moving in a hurry, with many other decisions that seemed more pressing at the time, editors probably killed the item rather than face the possibility of a furor for a piece they honestly felt was not of high quality.

    Uh-huh. This is really how these gut-checks work. A boundary-stretching case comes before you, and suddenly everyone's an art critic. (Rainey: "I didn't find the panel especially powerful or witty.")


    I especially like the comment that "fear was not a factor, nosiree". These people are not only afraid of Islam, they are absolutely terrified--so terrified that they are willing to give up just about anything, including their freedom, to placate the viscious thugs who are in control of that religion now.

    So, who are the real Islamophobes? Remember, a phobia is a fear; and Islamophobia is a word that means a fear of Islam.
    The point being that the Islamophobes are clearly not those who publicly defy Islam's threats and attacks and who just go ahead and publicly criticise it anyway and publicly mock it anyway. Where's the "phobia" in that? No, the phobia - the fear - is being shown by those who refrain from such criticism and such mockery, because they are afraid, and are afraid even to admit that they are afraid (because that too might be interpreted as an implied criticism of the thuggishness of that which they are refraining from criticising or mocking).


    Watching all the kow-towing, bowing and placating; the sucking up and constant forced inclusion into all aspects of American life (even while EXcluding and even eliminating symbols of all other religions); all the perverse pseudo-outrage at any possible slight to this poor, vilified "religion of peace"; and the constant charges of Islamophobia that erupt whenever anyone dares to suggest that putting a monument to Islam on or next to the site of the 9/11 attacks is obscene (and let me make one point here: the terrorists who flew planes into the WTC did not "just happen" to be adherents of Islam--the entire raison de'etre and motivation of these heinous murderers was religious; and to this day they are celebrated as heroes in that religious culture)one gets the impression that there is a strong unconscious psychological process at work here that is disguising an intense, primal fear.

    Let's talk for a moment about Anna Freud's concept of Identification with the Aggressor.

    Many parents are familiar with a wide variety of children's games in which the children pretend to be wild animals or or even imaginary viscious creatures. Maurice Sendak's famous children's book, Where the Wild Things Are is a perfect example of such games. This kind of play by children psychologically allows them to do several emotional tasks at once.

    First, the play allows them an expression of instinctual energy in a setting that is generally not particularly destructive or dangerous. With parents benignly watching over the play, children can literally get away with "monstrous acts" and if they are too rambunctious, they are easily controlled (as Max's mother does in the book).

    Second, and just as important, the child through this play can transform their own intense anxiety about being attacked by "monsters" into an identification with the monster. In children's games, this is a pleasurable experience, and helps to lessen the normal kinds of fears and anxieties that are a part of childhood.

    Thus we can see the origins of what has become known as the "Stockholm Syndrome" or Anna Freud's concept of "identification with the aggressor."

    By taking on some characteristic of a thing which causes extreme anxiety, a child is using that identification (or introjection as it is sometimes called) as a means of reducing his or her anxiety by morphing from the passive role to the active role. With psychological identification, instead of being the object of a threat, you become the one making the threat.

    In children this is considered a normal part of the development of the "superego" as children learn to master their anxiety. In fact, this capability of identification with another is essential for normal psychological development and when it is not brought about by excessively traumatic events in a child's life (i.e.,during the safety of play) the child can develop normally. The healthy result of this process is an introjection and assimilation of others leading to normal human relationships and empathy and understanding of other people.

    When there is abuse or trauma in the picture, this normal process which otherwise allows a child to develop mastery over his or her fears, will sometimes become extremely exaggerated and dysfunctional; resulting in psychological displacement (a neurotic alternative) or even outright projection and full-blown paranoia (psychotic alternatives).

    Here is a quote from a released hostage in Iraq:
    "I was treated very respectfully and courteously apart from the fact that I was detained against my will and threatened with beheading," Sands told The Associated Press on Saturday. "I was not beaten, starved or treated badly."


    Note that this was said of the people who threatened to behead the hostage in question.

    In fact, it is not too uncommon for some people in such a hostage situation, particularly where they fear for their lives, to fully and completely identify with the side that is threatening them.

    There is an episode of Firefly (interestingly titled "Bushwacked") where the sole survivor of a Reaver attack is rescued by the crew, but he has been the witness to such horrors that he literally transforms himself into a Reaver in order to cope with the trauma. Reavers are what is left of a human being when all civilizing mental processes are stripped from their minds; only the primitive and animalistic part of the human remains. Thus they are capable of any atrocity.

    If you have read some of my posts on psychological defense mechanisms (here ), you will realize that "identification with the aggressor" involves the use of a particularly primitive defense called "projection", where one's own unacceptable feelings or behaviors are placed on another individual or group. Thus it is not at all uncommon for those who are sadistically traumatized to become sadistic themselves and carry on the trauma and to project their feelings of helplessness and trauma onto others as they create more victims. This mechanism explains why some abused children go on to become abusers themselves when they are adults. It also explains why someone of Jewish heritage would admire a Hitler and hide their ancestry; or why people in general might find themselves supporting and defending people who despise them or even might want to kill them.

    Identification with the aggressor is only considered normal when it is innocuous --as in children's play.

    When it occurs in adults in real life situations, it can literally transform those who unconsciously use it into the very monsters they fear the most, as they cope with their severe anxiety, dread, and terror.

    I do not contend that coping in a healthy manner to traumatic circumstances is an easy thing to do. In fact, maintaining psychological health under those circumstances may be very difficult. One must do what one must to survive and get out of the deadly situation. Personally, I would say anything (even lying, if necessary) and do anything--right up to the point where it would betray my own fundamental values, without which I am not myself anyway) in order to survive.

    But it is after the trauma; after the attack; that the hardest and most painful part of coping psychologically presents itself. And to survive psychologically will require not a little insight, self-awareness, and honesty; possibly shame and/or guilt; and most of all, using one's rational faculty to help understand all that has transpired both externally and internally. In this way, one may permit one's self to tap into the terrible feelings of fear and humiliation and to deal with them --instead of repressing them, and letting them deal with you and thus, unconsciously control you and distort the reality of what happened to you and what may still be threatening you.

    An example of this is the case of the hostage above, who clearly dealt with his fear by identifying with his captors and projecting some of his own normality onto them-- as in, "they were so respectful and courteous to me"....

    Yes, they were. As "respectful and courteous" as anyone could be when they are threatening to cut off your head. In the same way that Islam is only a misunderstood religion of peace--as "peaceful" as any religion could possibly be that intends to dominate the world, kill all those 'infidels' who will not submit to their ideology; and install sharia law to eliminate political, economic and social freedom from the face of the earth.

    The free people of the world are being held hostage by the so-called 'religion of peace'. Indeed, many in the most free and prosperous nations are suffering from a Terrorist-induced Stockholm Syndrome. The intense fear generated by this violent, angry and dysfunctional religion/culture and its adherents has begun to erode the committment of many (especially those of the "progressive" label) to all the basic human freedoms that humanity has worked so hard to achieve. Even human progress itself is threatened by this persistent phobia ; this horror whenever anyone stands up to the bullies of Islam.

    So now, who are the ones for whom the dreaded label of "Islamophobia" really applies?


    [Political cartoons by Lisa Benson}

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    GOOD AND EVIL

    Here is a story of human good; human endurance and human ingenuity. Just reading about it brought tears to my eyes and a sense of pride in the capacity for good that exists in us.

    By contrast, here is David Pryce-Jones writing about the malevolent President of Iran:
    ...[T]o enlarge the quest for regional power into a clash of civilizations between so-called “Crusaders” and Islam serves no useful purpose; it is simply false, as well as counter-productive because it warns his enemies that they have no way of becoming friends. He’s able to combine belief that the Hidden Imam of the Shias is on the point of reappearing with a conspiracy theory about 9/11. Bin Laden and other Muslims take the greatest pride in it, but the Iranian president tells everyone that the United States actually destroyed its own monuments. This is on a par with his nonsense about the Nazi Holocaust, which he thinks never took place — but meanwhile he’s going to wipe Israel off the map.


    Human good and human evil. As humans, we are confronted with both on a daily basis...and every single day that goes by, each and every one of us must choose which side we will support on that day. It must be a conscious and deliberate choice, because evil depends on our tuning out the rational mind and allowing it to pursue its ends.

    If we are to stand for that which is good in humanity--and in ourselves, we must renew our vows every day; and take heart and pride in the little victories, like the one taking place in Chile right now. As one of the miners said when he emerged from hell: “I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil. God won.”

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    DYSFUNCTIONAL DEMOCRATS IN DENIAL

    Remember the Clinton Administration bigwigs yukking it up and posing like "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys? They were in profound denial about the threat of radical Islam and refused to take it seriously.

    clinton hear no evil Pictures, Images and Photos

    At least Clinton and his cohorts didn't run the American economy into the ground.

    Flash forward now to Obama and his merry minions. Not only are they continuing the Democratic denial about the external threats to this country; but they have upped the ante and are also completely clueless about the incredible damage they are doing to the American economy with their quasi-socialist agenda:

    [From Diogenes Sarcastica via Doug Ross]



    Laugh it up, bozos.

    The one thing that these dysfunctional Democrats in denial definitely tend to take extremely seriously is their poll numbers.

    Unfortunately for this country, it is the only reality they care about.

    UPDATE: I'm going to be taking a trip to the coast for some R&R and will be back blogging later in the week. I'm sure all the insanity will still be there when I return!

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    NAZI-EQUIVALENTS AND LOW RENT CLOWNS

    Wretchard, in writing on Paul Kengor's article in National Review about Obama's mentor, Frank Davis, reminds us of the reality of communism:
    Both the true believers and the apostates understand all too well that Communists aren’t just funny people but Nazi-equivalents who knew how to win. They were more clever, better spoken than Hitler’s crude spokesmen, but they were every bit as cunning and ruthless as the minions of the Third Reich. Communism owns most of the major genocides of the 20th century. By comparison to Stalin — Frank Davis Marshall’s idol — Hitler was a low rent clown.


    This truth of this apparently hasn't stripped most leftist intellectuals (including the current President) from their admiration of committed communists or of communism itself. Witness the plethora of communist and socialist groups that converged on the National Mall recently to support Obama and stand in unified opposition to those awful, "racist" teapartiers. And, need I mention that the evil, universally condemned and shunned "NAZI" designation was the fond abbreviation of the National SOCIALIST party in Germany? Yet today, NAZI=EVIL and COMMUNIST=OK (or even "GOOD")

    Wretchard's point is that, through an interesting psychological circumstance, communism has essentially become mainstream in the U.S.

    If that doesn't bother you, it should. If it doesn't bother you that someone who was an active propagandist for Stalin's USSR was a key influence in forming the character of the current President of the U.S., then you need to get out of your self-induced stupor and wake up.

    Let me digress for just a moment about religion, because contrary to PC dictates, not all religion is equally good or equally bad.

    Whatever you may think of religion, the Judeo-Christian tradition has, for millenia, provided and continues to provide to those who believe in God a moral compass--an ethical foundation that is now rooted in a committment to a rational metaphysics and epistemology that states that reality exists and human beings are able to percive it.

    The philosophical premises which attempt to deconstruct this tradition are only a few centuries old, but already they have managed to generate more human misery, suffering, and death from the various utopian ideologies which they caused to be unleashed on the human population than in all the centuries before. It is argued, that this catastrophe is a direct result of the "death of God"--or, as I would put it, the deconstruction of the divine--in human affairs.

    You see, communists not only don't believe in a god (except, of course, for their own ideology), they have also abandoned the rational metaphysics and epistemology that is required for an ethics that prioritizes human life as the basis for what is good.

    In an existence where objective reality doesn't exist; and where the human mind is disconnected from it, anything goes. This is postmodernism its ultimate manifestation. And it is from the darkness of this manifestation that communism, socialism and fascism--and their 21st century iterations: radical Islam and radical environmentalism (see here for a more complete discussion of this)-- have erupted into history--all of them variations on the same totalitarian theme in the the postmodern philosophical songbook.

    "Good" communists, and the "low rent clown" socialists all thrive in an environment of economic and political oppression. They facilitate poverty and human misery. And they have inevitably led to the death of millions, all rationalized as for the good of the collective.

    As for the Islamists, far from being an example of a "good" religion are the living, breathing examples of everything that "bad" religion could possibly be--in essence, they are an "anti-religion" religion in the same way that radical environmentalism has become the left's secular religion.

    Mark Steyn in a post titled "The earth is your fuhrer" makes the connection and demonstrates the logical extreme of today's enviromental-fascists, whose ethical "Ideal" is a physical planet, quite indifferent to human suffering; and whom they worship as Gaia/God in much the same way their primitive ancestors worshipped the sun or moon. And like those primitive ancestors, today's environmentalists are even now planning the sacrifices necessary to placate the whim of those destructive gods:
    ... Bigshot eco-panjandrum lays down the law:
    Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute, says carbon rationing is the only way to ensure that the world avoids the worst effects of climate change. And he says that the problems caused by burning fossil fuels are so serious that governments might have to implement rationing against the will of the people.

    "When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it," he says. "This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not." (emphasis Steyn)


    When religion is rooted in human freedom, as it is in the Judeo-Christian tradition, then it is able to enhance human life and give meaning and purpose to that life. When it is perverted and used for secular political ends--as in the case of radical Islam or radical environmentalism, i.e., those who want to impose or mandate some social policy or another on others--then it inevitably leads to oppression and cheapens or devalues human life.

    So, it is essential that today, as the U.S. and much of the world begin once again to flirt with these toxic ideologies (i.e., the "NAZI-equivalent" communists and their "low rent clown" compatriot socialists) to remember all the millions of victims who suffered in these Marxist-inspired "utopias." Especially since the memory of communism's virulence seems to be fading away in our new, improved postmodern political world.

    From Reason TV:




    and, as a companion to the above, here is Reagan's Berlin speech:




    It is well past time for American voters to once and for all stop giving a free past to and (even electing politicians who have embraced the toxic ideology of either communism or socialism. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the adherents of these ideologies--like those of radical Islam and radical environmentalism-- are intent on destroying everything America stands for.

    UPDATE: While I was writing this last night, I noticed this relevant tidbit from Ron Radosh via The Corner:
    The late Italian Communist and Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci was correct. Before any major social change can take place — such as the revolution he favored — those who seek it have to wage a fight for what he called cultural hegemony, via a war of position in which the intellectual and cultural issues that will decide the nation’s future are adopted by the people who desire a new path.

    When he was a Marxist, the great historian Eugene D. Genovese, now a rock-ribbed conservative, wrote against what he called the “cult of perpetual adolescence,” in which would-be revolutionaries rebelled against society for its own sake, and did not want to “face the necessity of waging a long, hard struggle to reshape our national culture as well as our national politics.” That is what is meant by waging the war over culture — and just as Tea Party members and other conservatives have now adopted Alinsky’s tactics as a rule-book for organizing, so must conservatives adopt Gramsci’s insight and wage a war over cultural issues before they can be successful in changing our country’s politics.

    Wednesday, October 06, 2010

    RED HERRINGS AND OTHER TECHNIQUES FOR DENYING REALITY

    In "Strategies for Dealing With Denia"l( Part I, Part II, and Part III), I discussed some of the common rhetorical ploys used when someone is attempting to deny or avoid reality. As that post explains,
    "The difference between fallacies and rhetorical ploys is understood most eaily as a difference in the function of the language being employed....politicians, advertisers and newspaper columnists tend to be experts when it come to using rhetorical ploys. Rhetorical ploys typically make a more or less direct appeal to feeling and emotion rather than to reason, which is the domin of argument. Fallacies, on the other hand, are simply defective attempts at arguments....They may fool us into thinking they are not defective, but they are still presented as attempts at argument. Of course, manny writers and speakers will use a mixture of rhetorical ploys, fallacies, and genuine arguments when attempting to persuade us of the truth of their claim."

    the most common rhetorical ploys are:

    -Appeals to FEELINGS : this type of ploy is very common and the user tries to appeal to specific feelings or desires. For example, you may be enticed to believe what is said because of the passion with which it is said (rather than analyzing the content); or because it stimulates compassion, pity, guilt, fear or any number of other feelings.

    Eliciting fear is also known as using "scare tactics", and should be distinguished from genuine warnings for which there is a good reason to act and/or experience the emotion.

    Additionally, when one appeals to feelings; emphasis may be placed on the novelty of the idea; or popularity ("everyone thinks this!") or the sexiness or cuteness etc.; all of which can easily distract from a rational analysis of the idea or product.

    -Direct attack is simply the unapologetic assertion that something is true or not true without any evidence presented.

    -Buzzwords are the use of emotion-laden terms that subtly influence the listener but which offer no information about the truth of what is being said.

    -Scare quotes are used to mock the opposition (I use them myself at times!) by calling into question a particular concept (e.g., terrorism vs "terrorism").

    -Smokescreen is diverting attention from the topic of discussion by introducing a new topic.

    -Equivocation is deliberately making ambiguous statements in order to mislead.

    In the days leading up to November 2, you are going to be seeing a lot of all of these techniques. Pay attention to see who is using them because those will be the people who are not running on their record; or avoiding real issues; or, avoiding reality itself.

    Thomas Sowell demonstrates for us one recent example of the "red herring" technique:
    In an election year, this is the time for an “October surprise” — some sensational, and usually irrelevant, revelation to distract the voters from serious issues. This year, there are October surprises from coast to coast. There are a lot of incumbents who don’t want to discuss serious issues — especially their own track records.

    This year, the October surprise that is getting the biggest play in the media is the revelation that California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman once employed a housekeeper — at $23 an hour — who turned out to be an illegal immigrant. It is great political theater, with activist lawyer Gloria Allred putting her arm protectively around the unhappy-looking woman.

    But why anyone should be unhappy at getting $23 an hour for housekeeping is by no means clear. Maybe she is unhappy because Meg Whitman fired her when she learned that the housekeeper was an illegal immigrant, despite false documents that indicated she was legal when she was hired.

    What is Meg Whitman supposed to be guilty of? Not being able to tell false documents from real ones? Is that what voters are supposed to use to determine who to vote for as governor of California? A far more important question is whether voters can tell false issues from real ones.(emphasis mine)



    And that is the key. The use of the rhetorical ploys listed above are designed to raise false issues with voters so that the real and important issues do not have to be discussed.


    The preponderance of this type of political discourse is directly tied to "politics of political destruction."

    Far too often, narcissistically flawed individuals are hopelessly attracted by the grandiose opportunities of the political arena (as well as the Hollywood arena) like moths to a flame. Their sense of self is starkly invested in the desire for power over others (always, of course, "for their own good") , constant admiration and adulation and grandiose ambitions.

    This makes them remarkably adept at what has become known as the "politics of personal destruction"--a phrase ironically popularized by Bill Clinton, a master of the game, during his impeachment trial.

    For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game he or she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.

    Hence the current state of political discourse and the ubiquitous personal attacks that have become the trademark of all political campaigns.

    If you want to understand why politics has become so virulent and personally vicious you need not look any farther that this sad truth. While politics still occasionally brings out those who have strong personal integrity and values; often it is the people of no integrity and values who are obsessively attracted to the field and are triumphant--and that is true on both sides of the political spectrum.

    By that, I mean that those who would actually make the best leaders generally opt out of the process, because they tend to be too healthy to generate the continual rage necessary to destroy all opponents; or they lack the required-- and mostly distorted --sense of personal "perfection" and grandiosity that drives the power-hungry.

    I am frequently reminded that it is hopelessly naive these days to expect the electorate to vote for a person based on what that person actually stands for; instead, these days most people respond to the negative campaign ads that slice and dice the other guy; and are mainly influenced by botoxed faces and Hollywood-packaged good-looks rather than the content of any candidate's character. The less they know of that character, the better!

    Do you imagine that a Golda Meir or a Margaret Thatcher would have a chance to become the first woman president of the US. Not these days, for sure.

    But real personal integrity and character comes from having a consistent set of values and exhibiting behavior driven by those values. It has nothing to do with looks or rhetoric. Today's classic narcissistically-driven politicians can only flutter in the political winds, and Zelig-like easily take on whatever characteristics their public desire to project onto them. Obama is an excellent example.


    It is easy to be tough and ruthless with political adversaries in the US political battlefield. The kind of threat political adversaries pose is hardly life-threatening (though in other, less civilized nations it may well be). Political bullies (like the Obamas or Clintons) feel perfectly safe in viciously attacking and denigrating those who oppose them. And, when it happens occasionally that a political adversary unexpectedly shoots back and won't go away, the bully easily falls back on the "victim" role and whines about "vast right-wing conspiracies" , "racism", "hate" and the like.

    This is not the kind of person who can face real threats in the real world very effectively because this is not the kind of person who can effectively deal with threats they do not perceive as personal--why should they care much about any other kind, unless the polls indicate they should?

    The best leaders are not obsessed with themselves; with polls; or with accumulating power by pandering to all sides. Those leaders may, in truth, have many other personal flaws--but not particularly of the dangerously narcissistic variety. Whatever those flaws (and we all possess them), they are characterologically able to be more concerned about dealing with external reality; rather than in preserving a distorted and fragile internal one. Avenging petty slights and insults is not a high priority to a psychologically healthy person. Those healthy individuals are far more likely to direct their psychological energy toward dealing with real-world geopolitical threats that endanger both their country and the people they have the responsibility to protect; rather than using that country or the power of their office to counter threats to their endangered self and act on their grandiose fantasies about themselves.

    The latter is the same psychological pathology that is rampant among dictators and dictator wannabes of all stripes. Their concern about others in their group/nation is purely of the “l’├ętat c’est moi” variety. Look at Saddam's behavioral legacy. Observe the recent behaviors of Ahmadinejad or Chavez or Kim Jong Il -- or any of the other despots and thugs that somehow claw their way up to the top of the food chain in their respective countries.

    That the needs of the nation, or the people they serve, might be different from their own; or that doing the right thing is often different from doing the popular thing, are foreign and dangerous concepts. The only reality they know--or care about--is the one inside themselves.

    So the next time you see politicians of the political left, center or right use any of these kinds of rhetorical ploys on an opponent, you will have evidence that they are avoiding dealing with the real and important issues they will have to face if elected.

    And if you vote for them anyway, then you only have yourself to blame for what follows.

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010

    FREEDOM NEVER CRIES

    Mark Krikorian asserts that the government is becoming more and more intrusive into everyday lives:
    The federal government bans the incandescent light bulb. It bans street signs that have all capital letters and mandates what font they need to be in. Now, Congress has seen fit to focus its august attention on the volume of TV commercials.

    The problem is not that these things create unnecessary costs or destroy jobs, which they do, or that lawmakers have more important things to do, which is also true. Rather, the federal government has no business doing any of these things.


    He then quotes Tocqueville, who sums up the consequences of this government intrusion:
    The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.


    If you think of socialism and communism as a sort of political and economic cancer that weakens and eventually kills its host; then the process described above by Toqueville is more like a tapeworm that has infected the body politic. Randal Hoven talks about this tapeworm in terms of taxation:
    A successful parasite must keep its host alive, finding the point where it can maximize its intake without killing off its source of sustenance. So, too, with governments taxing their citizenry. With taxation, governments can reach the point where higher rates produce less revenue.

    An academic study found that a tax increase of just 1% of GDP causes a recession and then a permanent loss of 1.84% of GDP compared to what it would have been without the tax increase. The results of this study have some really broad and interesting implications.

    The punchline is that this study was done by Christina and David Romer. You might remember Christina as President Obama's first chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. David, her husband, is on the recession dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the outfit that everyone relies on to say when recessions start and stop. (The date of this study's release was June 2010. Ms. Romer announced her resignation from Obama's administration in August 2010.)


    In short, in this mutated and progressively "improved" form of socialism, the goal is definitely not to outright kill the unwitting host, but to keep the humiliations and intrusions into the everyday life seemingly so small and so minute so as to put off as long as possible the day of reckoning. Perhaps 'progressives' figure that way no one will notice what they are doing until it is too late and their agenda is fully realized.

    By then, freedom in this country will have all but disappeared; and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will only be a distant memory. Only then will many wake up: I never cherished freedon...freedom never cries.

    Sunday, October 03, 2010

    THE LEFT'S UTOPIAN AMBITION

    From Bruce A. Riggs at American Thinker:
    The post-Cold War era has seen an unprecedented rise in America of European-bred, radical-Left political thought. The radical Left is defined here as any authoritarian Collectivism in which individual freedom is increasingly subsumed by the dictates of a dominant central government: Communism in particular, but revolutionary Socialism in general under its Fascist, Third Way, or Progressive pseudonyms. Regardless of descriptor, the common denominator is the elimination -- or at least the emasculation -- of Capitalism as the hated engine of disparate wealth distribution.

    Today, this Collectivist ideology travels under the sanitized, if disingenuous, banner of "social justice" but remains essentially Marxist nevertheless. As Marx so succinctly put it, "Communism is the elimination of private property." This is an idea that may have been feasible in a tribal world of small, mono-cultural, agrarian communities, but it is completely irrational in today's world. Worse, it's a fatally flawed ideology built on the Left's implicit denial of human nature: man's "out-of-the-herd" evolutionary progress toward individual achievement and self-actualization.

    To suppress human nature and human difference is, in essence, the Left's utopian ambition -- an ambition that requires the totalitarian state.

    It requires a totalitarian state because it is a delusional quest to return man to an egalitarian herd from which he evolved thousands of years ago. And as the history of the twentieth century shows, humanity rebels against such coerced devolution. Marx's elimination of private property coincidentally strips incentives to produce. The result is social decay to a dismal level of perpetual shortages and shared poverty -- just ask the citizens who stood in the endless bread lines of the former USSR.

    The radical Left's denial of human nature carries with it the arrogant assumption that humans are little more than replicated androids content to do whatever government mandates.


    There is a deep hatred of humanity that infuses this type of thinking. If you haven't already seen it, take a look at this video, posted at The Belmont Club, which is so revealing about 'the warped mindset of the Marxoid leftist' that they had to take it down almost immediately when first posted (fortunately, the new media cannot be so easily manipulated and not leave traces). Here it is in all its gory glory:



    Wretchard comments:
    The power of the Party, Orwell noted, is power over the mind of man.

    It has no power over nature. The man-gods cannot talk to God.

    They have to talk to God to build the button. Listen to the laws of science. The same laws, which through evolution, created us in Deep Time, and will create us again should the Greens find a way to destroy us.

    The laws of nature, which they pretend to respect, are commandments they will scarcely listen to. The radical Greens are anti-science and before science was science, it went by the name of Natural Philosophy, authored by the same source which has given men unalienable rights.

    So they will make the men who can still talk to God, who can make out the voice of natural philosophy, build the red button for them. They’ll do it through their control of education, the media, public discourse and the minting of memes. Then — boom, ha ha ha ha — the man-gods will still the Voice forever and have their dominion.

    Or so they think.


    They think this way because they have always gotten away with it before. They have always believed that their parasitic ways could go on forever; that the host upon whom they feed--those who are productive and rational--would always bail them out, even if enslaved. And throughout history, it has always been thus.

    But something strange happened several centuries ago. Mankind had always been striving for freedom and against the forces of enslavement and collectivism, but in fits and starts--until the singularity that was America came into being; brought forth the natural philosophers Wretchard speaks of. We know these philosophers as the "Founding Fathers", and these remarkable men declared that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were the unalienable rights of man!

    It was an incredibly frightening idea to the parasites and second-handers who had always believed it was their divine right to feed off the minds of others.

    These soul parasites can never bear to have the bright light of reason and truth illuminating reality. They cannot ever look in the mirror and be honest about what they see staring back at them. They cannot, and must not allow a shining city on the hill, whose beacon of freedom illuminates the world to persevere. And so they have banded together and declared that YOUR life is theirs to do with as they please. YOUR liberty and pursuit of happiness is hardly their goal--but they disguise their real motives behind words like "social justice" and "hope and change." They will pollute the minds of the young:



    So they have set out, deliberately and cleverly to destroy the revolutionary idea that motivated our Founders. The leftist intelligentsia continually bash freedom, capitalism, private property, business, and free trade; while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of all of them.

    Our academics--even the ones who teach kindergarden-- rail against business and private property. Our present Adminstration has made major efforts to control that which is the foundation of our liberty. Our youth are propagandized to death about the evils of capitalism from pre-school through college.

    Teachers have been well-indoctrinated at the various teachers' colleges; and are well-equipped to indoctrinate all students into the prevailing leftist dogmas of political correctness, multiculturalism (all cultures are of equal value EXCEPT American or Western culture which is uniquely evil); leftist environmentalism (capitalism is destroying the environment); and, of course, "social justice"--the old Marxist dialectic that holds that capitalism is a system of evil oppressors vs the poor, downtrodden oppressed. They see themselves as the champions of the middle class, when in fact, they are the destroyers of the very prosperity that makes a middle class possible.

    In the picture above you see the results of their child abuse. Young minds cannot be allowed to develop even the capability of thinking for themselves, but must submit to their authority. This is the hallmark of their "social justice."

    In fact there is nothing that is "just" about it. It represents the worse kind of oppression with the goal of enslaving the human mind. And enslavement is exactly what is required to establish their socialist utopia, since it refuses to acknowledge the reality of human nature.

    Socialist ideologues like many of those teachers know that in a free market of ideas, the social system they are championing-- which has only brought human misery, slavery and death to those who have embraced it--cannot function in the real world. Thus they must "stack the deck" and take absolute control over the thinking of the utopia's future citizens.

    On some level they even understand that the very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens them to death.

    Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. It has been argued, and I agree, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior.

    Children propagandized by dogmatic tyrants have had not only their capacity to think for themselves abrogated; they have had their capacity to make moral choices taken from them.

    The moral case for capitalism is not taught in our schools, nor is it argued much in our culture. In fact it has been more or less universally accepted by the intellectual elites that systems such as communism and socialism are "morally superior" to capitalism (hence more "socially just")--even though in practice such systems have led to the death and enslavement of millions, and to those unlucky enough not to die from them, they have led to the most horrible shrinking and wasting of the human soul.

    The truth is that neither socialism nor communism nor any kind of religious fundamentalism is compatible with morality at all.

    If one's actions are coerced by the state or religion, or both; if human activity is indoctrinated, legislated, regulated and ordained down to the last minute detail--particularly to the degree we see in other countries of the world --then how can it possibly be argued that one's actions are moral?

    Human behavior under such systems is not voluntarily chosen, but actively coerced.

    But, morality has to be a matter of choice, not mandate.

    One cannot hold a person responsible for actions that are coerced or forced from him. Morality can only exist when freedom of action exists; and thus moral actions in any field of human endeavor require freedom.

    Conduct may only be thought of as moral or immoral when it is freely chosen by the individual. It is only then that the moral significance of the action can be assessed. It is only when we are free to act that we can exercise moral judgement.

    Which brings us to a capitalist political/economic system. Only in a free economic system within a free political system is it even possible to be moral, since benevolence toward others, compassion, charity, and generosity cannot exist without freedom. Benevolence, generosity, charity, and compassion that are mandated by the state, or by a religion (on pain of death or other consequence); or by any regulations on behavior; or by force--are meaningless insofar as individual morality is concerned.

    The left's utopian agenda has already forgotten that human ambition and the drive to freedom is not as easily crushed or eradicated--as the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century discovered; and as the ones of the 21st will soon realize.

    The human spirit--a spirit which strives always to throw off the shackles hold it down; which constantly veers toward freedom and away from slavery--cannot ever be completely extinguished and will always rise from the ashes of the left's next failed utopian experiment.