Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ENVY, RESENTMENT, AND HUMAN NATURE

We do not need a scientific study to conclude that evil is always among us. As long as humans exist in this world, there will be evil. You can see it on a daily basis; or, at least read about it. "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones," observed Marc Antony in Julius Caesar.

And, as The Shadow radio program used to remind us, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

Well, psychiatrists do. We have the task of dealing with the dark side of human nature regularly--whether it manifests because of drug use; because of a biological or physiological or genetic abnormality; or whether it is due to the essence of being human, and therefore flawed and susceptible to evil.

Recent science investigations suggest that one very special human evil, envy , is hardwired into our brains:
A new study on covetous adults explains why other people’s possessions always seem better.

Seeds of this desire are sown in the mirror neuron system, a part of the brain that is activated in a similar pattern whether a person is performing an action or merely watching someone else do it.

“Mimetic desire” was first articulated by the French philosopher René Girard in the 1980s. Envy can spread among people like a disease, a force that explains much of human behavior, Girard proposed. Now, French neuroscientists have verified the phenomenon and even attempted to explain how it happens.

“They really take a philosophical theory and make it an experiment,” says neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni of UCLA.

Copying other people’s desires is a good way to learn about the environment, says study coauthor Mathias Pessiglione of INSERM in Paris. Eating the food that other people eat, for example, is a simple way to avoid food poisoning. But this adaptive feature can break down when desired objects are in short supply.

Pessiglione and his team showed adults one of two videos: a piece of candy sitting on a surface, or a person’s hand reaching toward a different-colored piece of candy. Participants then rated the desirability of each candy they saw. As the mimetic desire theory predicts, people rated the about-to-get-grabbed candy as more desirable. The same effect held for clothes, tools and even toys, the team reports in the May 23 Journal of Neuroscience.

A key point about envy is that it is never directed toward that which is bad; rather, it is a hateful attack on the good.

People who specialize in ENVY usually don't really want the good things the other person has as much as they want to insure that the other person doesn't have them or that they don't get to keep them.

If they do desire someone else's possessions, that desire comes in a distant second to the desire to destroy the good that others have.

ENVY is the underlying emotion behind the Marxist trope, "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need". The "enlightened" and morally bankrupt among us have always believed that economic self-interest means simply voting yourself a share of the money earned by others.

Such individuals wouldn't know how to create wealth if their lives depended on it; that's why they seek power over others--they see it as the only way they can survive in the real world. Since they cannot admit that painful truth to themselves, they will seize other people's wealth with one hand, while signing the political bills that make it impossible to create the wealth on which they themselves depend.

The truth is that they deeply hate those who create the wealth they want to steal, and seek to destroy them--even though at some level, they understand they cannot survive without them.

They count on the fact that this reality is never spoken of in polite society.

In today's America, envy is celebrated (watch some of the Occupy Wall Street people in action--or, for that matter, listen to many congressmen and senators opine on the subject of making sure that everyone pays their "fair share" ). It is always a malignant and consuming pastime because it is one of the more destructive aspects of human nature.

RESENTMENT is closely allied with ENVY. Professor Sowell has written about the politics of resentment, too, and the creation, back in the 1960s, of a whole government-supported industry of race hustling:
Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” — a war that we have lost, by the way — bankrolled all kinds of local “leaders” and organizations with the taxpayers’ money, in the name of community “participation” in shaping the policies of government.

These “leaders” and community activists have had every reason to hype racial resentments and to make issues “us” against “them.”

One of the largely untold stories of our time has been the story of how ACORN, Jesse Jackson, and other community activists have been able to transfer billions of dollars from banks to their own organizations’ causes, with the aid of the federal government, exemplified by the Community Reinvestment Act and its sequels.

Racial anger and racial resentments are the fuel that keeps this lucrative racket going.

The modern Democratic party is almost entirely based on hyping both envy and resentment, and appealing to the worse of human nature. By doing so, they have created destructive and wealth-destroying armies of entitlement whose goal, whether they admit it or not, is actually to destroy wealth and the source of wealth.

Without envy, there would be no Democratic Party today.

And when Sowell says that, "Whole totalitarian governments have risen to dictatorial power on the wings of envy and resentment ideologies", it is clear to even the least observant that this is the destructive path which is being foisted on this country by many of its current leaders.

ENVY and RESENTMENT are the bane (or should I say "Bain"?) of civilized society. In fact, these negative human emotions are essentially de-civilizing for those individuals who freociously cling to them and to their own sense of entitled victimhood.

Societies that are based on the emotions of envy and resentment are doomed to descend into "tragedies written in the blood of millions", as each individual and special interest group fights all the others for their "share" of an ever shrinking amount of wealth. Eventually, they run out of other people's wealth to steal .

For proof of this, all you have to do is look at human history.

Human nature with its envy, greed etc., is a simple fact of reality that cannot be avoided.

Interestingly, the Democrats very existence currently depends on pretending that they are "better" people than the rest of us, and not prone to ordinary human failings-- unlike those evil, racist, homophobic, money-grubbing, subhuman Republicans.

Democrats like to define themselves as the party of poor and middle-income Americans, but a new study says they now represent the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional districts.
In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats....

Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts."

All these rich 'cultural Marxists' identify themselves as Democrats because it is just so cool and hip--and virtuous--to champion the 'poor and oppressed.' How unfortunate for them that this virtuousness requires them to nurture and maintain a never-ending supply of the 'poor and oppressed'; and to encourage and support victimhood and entitlement.

The last thing that the today's Democrats; or their leftist, Marxist base really want is for the poor to become independent of their virtuous and compassionate largesse. So they must stoke the fires of ENVY and RESENTMENT. They promote class-warfare and try to appeal to the worse aspects of human nature.

They cannot appreciate that capitalism and the free market -when conducted under the rule of law in a free society; and without special privileges granted from corrupt governments-- offer a healthy channel for the redirection of negative emotions like envy and resentment and greed into something positive for both the individual and the larger society.

Something, I might add, that Marxism, socialism and all its variants completely fail to do.

You cannot escape the reality of the dark side of human nature. You can either channel that dark side and use it constructively to benefit yourself and incidentally the society you lives in; or you can encourage and facilitate it in all its destructive power, and by doing so create the hell on earth we've come to associate with communist and marxist societies.

When it comes to understanding human nature and encouraging the development of healthy psychological and behavioral strategies for positively channeling destructive human emotions, capitalism has nothing to fear from collectivism of any stripe.

As Jonah Goldberg observed:, "It is an eternal trope of leftism to assign to its enemies problems that are generic to humanity itself."

I have pointed out repeatedly that this tendency is actually a psychological projection--a way of disowning this unpleasant aspect of human nature in themselves--leaving them free to pursue their Marxist/Utopian delusions.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

DECEIT, DELUSION, DENIAL AND THE MORAL DECAY OF THE WEST

This comment made by Wretchard on one of his posts a few weeks ago struck me forcefully and I have been thinking about it ever since. I think the reason I cannot get it out of my mind is because it encapsulates the sense of despair that I feel at the moral disintegration of western civilization and all that it once stood for. I am reproducing the entire comment:
The West because of its higher culture and acceptance of the Scientific Method has a significantly more sophisticated military technology than the Islamic World. However this enabling higher culture normally compels the West to observe niceties like the Geneva Convention and the Judeo-Christian concept of honor and decency. The Islamic world lacks sophisticated military technology and is compelled to use relatively ineffective military methods such as IEDs, suicide bombs, human shields, etc.
And who creates this split-level morality? Well there’s a paper describing the Taliban’s “tactical innovation” of using five year old soldiers.
The Taliban is teaching five year old boys to kill British troops. The children are being converted into soldiers at an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan. The terrorist group turns boys into fighters, human shields, and suicide bombers (Owen 2008). …

The Viet Cong used children as spies (Peer 1970), suicide bombers, and sappers …

The most significant finding is that Libya is the major hub in the CST network. Numerous groups have passed through the training camps, representing Africa, the Middle East, South America and Europe. Except for the absence of Asia, this correlates with the regional spread of child soldier using groups in armed conflicts from 1987-2007 …

I believe child soldier use is a tactical innovation (McAdam1982, 1983). The practice is a fairly new method that developed in response to large-scale social forces and the ground-level needs of guerilla fighters. This paper outlines the historical foundations of child soldier use, locates the point of origin, and provides a skeletal view of how the tactic has diffused via terrorist training camps.

So in our current world, if the Taliban use child soldiers, it’s a tactical innovation. But if American soldiers pick up a Koran without white gloves, it’s a war crime. What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong if you accept this picture?

No doubt teaching five year olds to kill British soldiers is a tactical innovation, objectively speaking. But it is also something that has to be seen for what it is: a moral abomination. Let me go a step further and call it the blackest sort of sin. For it is written, “Let the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

There are some who would find even the use of those words, spoken by Him, hateful as perhaps Dracula finds certain symbols repugnant. But that judges Dracula more than what repels him. We live in an era where right and wrong, good and evil have been inverted. We kill babies and call it choice. We spare murderers and call it enlightenment. We see how the Taliban corrupt children and admire them for their cleverness. There is, if you don’t mind my saying so, something in that attitude which condemns its adherents even more than the object of the observation.

We are sick, sick to our core and it is not just the Taliban or the Viet Cong or the Libyans or North Koreans who are loco in the coco. There is a madness, indeed, an evil abroad in Western capitals that masquerades as humanitarianism, personates high-mindedness and makes a mockery of any sort of decency. And they have the temerity to call themselves human rights guardians?

I do not think that these people have the moral high ground. Although some people are doubtless well meaning, many individuals in the “human rights industry” are nothing more than spokesmen and apologists for groups that would make the old time Nazis seem like Boy Scouts.

The original post at Belmont Club was about Former CIA counterterrorism chief Jose Rodriguez' claim that Nancy Pelosi lied when she said she had not been briefed about waterboarding.
Have a little sympathy for former Speaker Pelosi. Like every other politician she has to square a circle. On the one hand she has to tell her liberal constituency that violence accomplishes nothing. On the other hand she has to make sure that nobody disturbs the illusion of a safe, gun-free environment by taking over a shopping mall and holding every one in it hostage.

People must never be told that upholding a high moral standard may be costly; that you may have to risk danger by refusing to resort to certain measures. No. The candidate must describe a world in which you can have your own cake and eat it too. It’s a world in which B-17s didn’t have to fly straight into flack to accurately bomb a target and not hit civilian targets. It’s a world in which you don’t have to make a choice between invading Japan and killing 5 million civilians and bombing Hiroshima and killing 70,000 civilians.

That’s the perfect world.

And, isn't that exactly what the left claims it wants? A perfect world? A perfect, socially just, egalatarian, peaceful, "we are all brothers" world?

Unfortunately, the only way to get from this world, the real and imperfect world, is through deceit, delusion, and denial. Take your pick. Any one of the three will blur reality; make it more palatable; and, most importantly, make those who desperately desire utopia feel lots lots better.

The moral decay of the west is the direct consequence of the need to embrace the delusions and fantasies of the political left, both here in this country and around the world. Why? Because to embrace the delusion, one must abandon reality, truth, reason, and logic. Once must blind one's self to the unpleasant sights of the world and place hands over ears to escape the unpleasant sounds. One must pretend that everything is always AOK; and dismiss all evidence to the contrary. One must denounce and demonize the "naysayers" because they tell the truth. In short, one must mentally live in another dimension from the one we actually live in.

And the only way to succeed in believing in this dimension is to abandon the moral system that depends on reality and our perception of it. It goes sort of like this:

REALITY----->HUMAN PERCEPTION OF REALITY -----> HUMAN ACTION BASED ON REALITY

There is a hierarchical relationship implied here. First, there is REALITY, or existence. The study of the nature of existence is called Metaphysics. Next is our knowledge of REALITY through the mind and the senses, which while they may be imperfect sources of information at times, we must strive to optimize their function as if our lives depended on it (which they do). The study of knowlege and how we know about reality is called Epistemology. And finally, the last link in the chain is the actions we choose to take, based on our knowledge of what is real.

This last part is where Ethics, or a moral code, comes into play.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE CHOICES WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE KNOWLEDGE IF YOU CANNOT, OR WILL NOT, FACE REALITY.

The "logic" of the fantasy left (I have always thought if rather fascinating that they insist on calling themselves the "reality-based community"--as if the words make it so) goes like this:

REALITY----> HUMAN EMOTION<---->HUMAN ACTION BASED ON WHIM

Reality is messy. It needs to be eliminated--either through deception, delusion, or denial. The deceivers and liars know exactly what they are doing since they do it consciously and deliberately. The deluded deniers DON'T WANT TO KNOW what they are doing because they feel better that way.

Leszak Kolakowski, a Polish philosopher expelled from the Communist Party in 1968 for his heretical views makes the following keen observation about the morality of socialism (from My Correct Views on Everything, reviewed in The Weekly Standard) :
Socialism as a social or moral philosophy was based on the ideal of human brotherhood, which can never be implemented by institutional means. There has never been, and ther will never be, an institutional means of making people brothers. Fraternity under compulsion is the most malignant idea devised in modern times; it is the perfect path to totaltarian tyranny.

The social engineers of the left, motivated as they are by their creative utopian aspirations--expressed by the desire to impose (forcibly, if necessary) universal peace, social justice and brotherhood upon humanity--are completely oblivious to the malignant, and extremely immoral, side of their own natures. This is what enables them to masquerade as humanitarians, personify high-mindedness and make a mockery of any sort of decency.

Their anti-individualism, anti-capitalistic, anti-wealth, and fundamentally anti-human and anti-life agenda is made possible only if they are able to disconnect REALITY from the human mind and from human actions.

The postmodern political left is constitutionally unable to appreciate it, but both they and the greedy capitalist entrepreneurs of the right who they sdespise so vehemently, are driven by the same dark human emotions: envy, greed and a need to dominate others.

However, there is an extremely crucial difference.

The do-gooder leftist in all the various ideological incarnations--the antiwar crowd, the environmental crowd, the communists, socialists, and assorted collectivists and utopians--each offer the rationale that he does what he does for the "common good" and for "social justice", "peace" and "brotherhood". His high-minded, self-righteous rhetoric justifies (to him anyway) imposing his will and beliefs on others for their own good; and he will not hesitate to use whatever coercive capablity he has at hand to get others to do what he wants and what he says.

The evil capitalist, on the other hand, is overtly out to pursue his own selfish profi;, and understands he must use persuasion. That is, he must convince people that his ideas and the products of his mind are better than all the rest so that they will be willing to part with their hard-earned money to possess them. His desire for power over others is manifested in an indirect manner because people must wnat what he has to offer and believe that they will benefit from an interaction with him.


There is no parallel social limitations on the behavior of the do-gooder leftist. This tyrant wannabe does not feel the need to convince others of the veracity or even the effectiveness of his ideas; nor does he accept defeat when others are not interested or resist their implementation. He knows in his heart what is best for everyone, and he will use coercion if necessary. He will not allow options; nor will he permit others do do what they think is right for themselves. Their feelings or concerns are a matter of complete indifference to him. Only his own matter.

The leftist's desire for power is direct and absolute; and is an inescapable psychological consequence of his utopian ideology.

And there is no area of your life which will escape his intrusive psychopathology, because he justifies it by saying he is really doing it for your sake.

The clever deceiver on the left always manages to hide these darker motivations--the envy, greed, and desire for power--and pretend they don't even exist--even to himself. He tells himself he does not possess such dark motives; that his motives are pure and uncontaminated by the kind of self-serving goals those on the selfish, money-hungry right pursue. The banal platitudes and silly slogans he chants during his protest marches make him feel oh so good about himself; and experiencing too much knowledge and insight about his inner state would make him extremely uncomfortable; perhaps even causing him to question some of his basic assumptions about himself or his beliefs.

This is the dilemma faced by all utopians. Thus, if they do not consciously decide they are going to do evil; or, if they are not entirely cynical; they must escape into delusion or denial in order to continue to function.

They see themselves as so pure and righteous; so correct and virtuous; how is it possible that their beautiful utopian dreams always turn into such horrible human nightmares? How can they possibly explain all the unpleasantness and evil away, like they do.

Well, speaking as a psychiatrist, I can tell you that there is no limit to how much self-delusion is possible in our species. People who are grossly psychotic, like many that I see every day, at least have a biological short circuit in their hard wiring as an excuse. But even without the biological propensity, human being are quite capable of self delusion, fantasy, and disconnecting themselves from reality.

You can count on the "true believer" to close his eyes not only to his own internal reality, but also to the external reality that proves the uselessness of his beliefs in the real world.

Few on the left have ever acknowledged the nightmare of the Soviet gulag; or Lenin's purges; or China's crackdowns. Few have ever even accepted the incredible human cost their ideologies have taken on humanity; the death the suffering and misery. Even today, they actively support all the future Stalin's (like the thug Chavez) in their grabs for unparalleled power. Chavez, of course, follows the pure utopian aspirations of the typical leftist and is only allowing himself to become "dictator for life" because he wants to help his people--just like Saddam did; just like Qadaffi did; just like Assad is doin; just like the Mullahs are doing.

Uh-huh. Right.

We live in an era where right and wrong, good and evil have been inverted. We kill babies and call it choice. We spare murderers and call it enlightenment. We see how the Taliban corrupt children and admire them for their cleverness. There is, if you don’t mind my saying so, something in that attitude which condemns its adherents even more than the object of the observation.

While societies that operate under the rule of law have all the necessary checks and balances that prevent the capitalist from cheating or robbing his clients and hold him to account if he does; civilization has been fooled repeatedly throughout history by the virtuous, self-righteous, anti-capitalist robbers and cheaters of the left who simply disguise their robbery and fraud behind the stated purity of their motives.

The stink of the left's piety is nauseating. Just ask Cory Booker, who accidentally told the truth and now must pretend that he didn't--or perhaps he simply slipped back into Democratic denial.

Today's new and improved political left promises the redistribution of wealth, "fairness", social justice, peace and brotherhood. What they deliver will be what they have always delivered: stagnation, poverty and misery; injustice, decline and death.

That is what happens when reality is not part of your moral equation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"A LEASH IS ONLY A ROPE WITH A NOOSE AT BOTH ENDS"

Obama's connection to Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright, his religious mentor for more than 20 years, is completely off-limits; old news; and likely motivated by pure, unadulterated racism.

But the the Washington Post's story about an incident in Arkansas in 1857 linking it to "Mitt Romney's religion" is obviously critical and relevant to understanding the candidate's roots...or something bizarre like that. Their title tells you all they want to accomplish with this particular hit piece: "Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith tangles with a quirk of Arkansas history."

I understand that organizations like the Washington Post are unrepentant whores for the Obama and DEmocratic brand, but each time I see something like this I feel outraged at the double standard and the pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.

In Rand's The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand, who stood for nothing during his long journalistic career, except to give voice to the worst aspects of human nature, has a devastating epiphany when he finally takes a stands up for the Good. Wynand had always deceived himself into believing that he controlled the narrative and shaped public opinion; that he was the ultimate power who controlled things and events. But he was just a pawn all along; a pawn of forces that represented the worst aspects of human nature. He was not the master; he was the slave.

The leash he wielded to control others turned out to be his own noose.

I want to be around when the proud, progressive editors of rags like the NY Times and the Washington Post finally realize what complete tools they are.

Oh, wait. I forgot. Being a postmodern progressive tool means never having to say you're sorry.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

OBAMA, WE NEVER KNEW YA

Maybe he is 1/32 Kenyan and just wanted to make friends?

From Breitbart.com:

Obama's Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'

Check it out.

Makes you wonder what else is out there about old tabula rasa Obama that the media never bothered to check out, doesn't it?

UPDATE: "A simple mistake."

This is obviously some definition of the word "simple" that I haven't encountered before.

And, no one bothered to correct it until 2007, 16 years after the fact and prior to Obama's run for President.

DID MOHAMMED ACTUALLY EXIST?

Several scholarly and provocative books are coming out that question the conventional history of Mohammed and Islam. Daniel Pipes reviews:
Now, however, two scholars have separately ended this secrecy: Tom Holland with In the Shadow of the Sword, and Robert Spencer with Did Muhammad Exist? As their titles suggest, Spencer is the bolder author, and so is my focus here.

In a well-written, sober, and clear account, he begins by demonstrating the inconsistencies and mysteries in the conventional account concerning Mohammed’s life, the Koran, and early Islam. For example, whereas the Koran insists that Mohammed did not perform miracles, the hadith ascribes him thaumaturgic powers — multiplying food, healing the injured, drawing water from the ground and sky, and even sending lightning from his pickax. Which is it? Hadith claim Mecca was a great trading city but, strangely, the historical record reveals it as no such thing.

The Christian quality of early Islam is no less strange, specifically “traces of a Christian text underlying the [Koran].” Properly understood, these traces elucidate otherwise incomprehensible passages. Conventionally read, verse 19:24 has Mary nonsensically hearing, as she gives birth to Jesus, “Do not be sad, your Lord has placed a rivulet beneath you.” Revisionists transform this into the sensible (and piously Christian) “Do not be sad, your Lord has made your delivery legitimate.” Puzzling verses about the “Night of Power” commemorating Mohammed’s first revelation make sense when understood as describing Christmas. Chapter 96 of the Koran, astonishingly, invites readers to a Eucharist.

You can almost hear the imams screaming, "How dare these infidels question the teachings of Islam???" as the death fatwas are rolled out.... Don't expect reasoned debate from that quarter--or any soul searching insight.

It's about time the utter insanity passing itself off as a religion of peace begins to be researched and a few of its tenets questioned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BARACK OBAMA'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION

Obama's personal endorsement of Gay marriage was embraced by the political left as evidence of his "evolution" on the matter (I saw it more as "gay for pay", but then, I'm rather cynical); but there is no reason to suppose that his position on this or any other issue is not continuing to morph into anything he needs it or himself to be.

We get some idea of President Obama's theory of "evolving" from this:
In that conversation with Wright is compressed the whole of Barack Obama’s problematic process of evolution. Things that are to most people fixed points of life are garments to be thrown on and off with him. He changes his name. Adopts a definite racial identity when he might have claimed a more mixed ethnicity. He changes religions — though Wright is ambiguous on the point — shedding one persona only to adopt another like a shape-shifter assuming a new form. He does all this with alacrity of a man changing his shoes.

All of us change over the course of our lives, but for most of us it is gradual and nothing like the frenetic transformations that the President of the United States puts himself through. Barack Obama’s latest evolution on gay marriage shows that he is not done shape-shifting yet. He is still a work in progress.

But the conversation with Wright illustrates the perils of too rapid a change. Someone gets left behind holding the empty clothes. In this case it was Jeremiah Wright who found himself on the floor like a piece of used Kleenex. For the trajectory of Obama’s personality changes do not describe a Random Walk. The paradigm shifts he undergoes are directed. They never go from a position of greater power to lesser. The changes may alter all else, but in the respect of power the progress goes only one way.

And whatever blocks the way had better yield.

Isn't it interesting that the more information we find out about this tabula rasa that was elected POTUS in 2008, the more frightening is the thought of him serving a second term....?

I say the word frightening because Obama is definitely not the kind of person to whom I would entrust either my country or my personal well-being.

I could (almost) understand 2008 when he was a bright, shiny new thing with no past (worth looking into anyway) and a supposedly glorious future (as described by the gullible media and other adoring fans). But anyone who votes for this incredibly egomaniacal man in 2012 is asking deliberately asking for big big trouble on the economic and international front--and who knows what other surprises he may have in store as he further "evolves."

I encourage any and all efforts to mock the overweening and undeserved self-regard that sadly drives this peculiar faux messiah.

History will certainly make mincemeat of his evolving omni-incompetence.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

COUNTERING THE POSTMODERN POLITICAL NARRATIVE

Wretchard writes in a comment to one of his recent posts:
A friend once told me “there is no better way of ruining a noble cause than by getting rogues to represent it”. That describes the process which has overtaken peacekeeping, environmentalism and even the campaign for racial equality. These causes, which are otherwise noble, will take decades to recover from the grifters who have made a fortune in their name. How on earth did peacekeeping get put in the care of Kofi Annan? Why was a guy like Al Sharpton allowed to assume the role of the racial conscience of America? How come Al Gore gets to pronounce on science?

The Narrative, probably. Always the Narrative.

NARRATIVE is defined by Mirriam Webster in the following way:

1: something that is narrated : story, account
2: the art or practice of narration
3: the representation in art of an event or story; also : an example of such a representation

Narrative is an essential element of the postmodern political rhetorical strategy to try to control or distort reality in order to gain power over others.

Here is an example of competing narratives as discussed by a political scientist:
Consider two accounts, the first of which resonates for most of the American public and the second of which baffles many Americans:

Two huge commercial jetliners smash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Soon after, the buildings collapse. Fires rage for days; eyewitnesses tell of the horrors they saw or experienced. Thousands die as the public learns that terrorists willing to commit suicide hijacked four planes and turned them into weapons of mass destruction in the name of their political/religious beliefs. This is an evil act and an act of war—a sneak attack like Pearl Harbor. It is perhaps a new kind of war, but a war nonetheless and the only response to being attacked is to attack back both to punish those responsible for the carnage and to prevent future attacks. Defending civilization against terrorism requires hunting down the supporters and perpetrators of terror and the regimes that support them.
For many the truth of this narrative is self-evident. Anyone denying or even questioning it is either an enemy or delusional (or both). The link between the events themselves and the conclusions is seamless to those who accept it. But a different narrative also exists:

Two huge commercial jetliners smash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Soon after, the buildings collapse. Fires rage for days; eyewitnesses tell of the horrors they saw or experienced. Thousands die as the public learns that terrorists willing to commit suicide hijacked four planes and turned them into weapons of mass destruction in the name of their political/religious beliefs. This may have been an evil act, but now the suffering Americans know what it is like to live in physical terror. It is an experience Palestinians and Iraqis and others in the Middle East have known for years. This will lead, once again, to attacks on Muslims, this time in Afghanistan, and perhaps in other countries. Once again, innocent civilians will bear the brunt of the suffering from the attacks from the western powers while corrupt regimes give tacit support to the US. As bombs fall from 30,000 feet and civilians die, new refugees will be created in a land that has already suffered from more than 20 years of on-going war.
The two narratives start in the same place, but then head in different directions which evoke far different images. Where the first emphasizes the reassurance a strong, military response can offer, the second expresses fears that this strong response will quickly become a vengeful attack on a vulnerable religious community. Whereas the first invokes images of justice, the second predicts uncontrolled revenge and more of the injustice that has long characterized the relationship between the west and Islam. It asks, if Americans claim that justice is so important, why have Palestinians been neglected for so long and subjected to frequent attacks using American-made sophisticated weapons? Why are Iraqi children unable to meet their basic nutritional needs while its leaders literally live in palaces? In short, the second narrative expresses the deepest vulnerabilities, humiliation, rage at both the west and the leaders of Muslim countries, and fears of annihilation.

The second narrative is connected to the anger and resentment against the US in many parts of the Islamic world, but it doesn't mean that all Muslims agree with it or hate the US. The power of the narrative is its plausibility, meaning that it resonates with how many Muslims understand historical conflicts with the Christian world as well as more recent events in their own lifetimes. At least four events are especially relevant here: (1) American support for the Shah of Iran and complete opposition to the Iranian revolution; (2) unconditional support for Israel despite their refusal to take significant steps towards the achievement of a Palestinian state; (3) the Gulf War, which was justified in the west in terms of turning back Iraqi aggression but which was widely understood by Muslims as propping up autocratic, unpopular and corrupt regimes upon whom American oil supplies depended; and (4) threats to Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem resulting from not only American presence in the region but the more diffuse forces of modernization and globalization which threaten Muslim cultures. A psychocultural analysis points towards the deep fears and humiliations these events have unleashed and links them to parallel past experiences.

It is a fundamental truth of the postmodern political left that the difference between truth and fiction is not what it used to be--in fact (can't use facts when describing anything postmodern!) it never was what it used to be.

"Who controls the past", ran the Party slogan in 1984, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."


As Winston from that novel wrote: Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. What he meant was that Freedom can exist only when reality exists. Once you accept that there is an external reality, then the confusion generated by the postmodern narrative dissolves away; and Freedom is possible.

Let me again quote from a post at Belmont Club. In this one, Wretchard is writing about how the "reality based” community of liberals can’t believe what is happening all around them and how they attempt to NARRATIZE it all away. He quotes one noted HuffPo liberal:
>“Many of us already knew it, but Sen. Richard Lugar’s defeat in the Indiana Republican primary puts things into stark relief: In 2012 any vote for a Republican is a vote for crazy. Any vote. Any Republican. No matter how sane the Republican, it’s a vote for crazy.”

But Wretchard counters,
...it is his incredulity at what should have been obvious and rising discontents that is itself interesting. How could Casey have missed the rising gas prices, string of foreign humiliations, climbing unemployment, the stagnating incomes? How? How? As Naseem Taleb put it, most “unpredictable” events are really White Swans which are obvious in retrospect and were a long time coming. The only reason nobody saw it coming was that they didn’t want to. As Saul Bellow once wrote “a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

To counter the Narrative that "REPUBLICANS ARE CRAZY" you do not immediately offer evicence that a psychiatrist has documented you are sane. Once you do something like that, it is too late: you have already accepted the left's faulty premise and are battling on their postmodern turf. You will not be able to score. As I pointed out in a previous post STOP ALLOWING THE LEFT'S RHETORICAL STRATEGIES TO DEFINE THE DEBATE on why the Democrats always seem to win the name-calling contests:
Not because they are actually correct or have truth on their side; not simply because they have the media referrees on their side, but because they always set the ground rules and they always insist on playing in their home court.

The "war on women" meme is not real, that is, it has no reality. Neither is the charge of Republicans being "anti-Black" or racist; or anti-poor. These memes are just a few of the ongoing, politically correct rhetorical strategies adopted by Democrats and the progressive postmodern left in general, to achieve their ends.

There is no desire for rational argument on the Democrats' part because Truth is not the objective of their rhetoric. Stephen Hicks in his book quotes Frank Lentricchia, a noted Duke University literary critic. Postmodernism, says Lentricchia, "seeks not to find the foundation or conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change [emphasis mine]."

Postmodern rhetoric explicitly rejects truth, and because of this those who use it are completely indifferent to consistency and dismissive of reason.Hence they tend to loathe rational debate and make sure that any discussion of issues plays out with their rules.

The only way to counter these postmodern political narratives is to destroy the premise on which it is founded. I would say something like: "How DARE you sir/madam insinuate that I am crazy/racist/homophobic/sexist/stupid, when your own behavior [insert behavior here] is evidence to the fact that YOU are the one obsessed with [insert insult here]. You are engaging in psychological projection as a way of denying a painful reality about your own policies. The real issue that needs to be discussed is the failure of the Democrats on the economy/international relations/etc etc [and lay out your argument]."

In other words, refuse to play on their soggy postmodern turf and get back to reality.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

THE OPIUM OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

From The Corner comes this sad tale of multiculti poison infecting western culture:
Nine British Muslim men were jailed for a total of 77 years for rape and trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation. The whole case made for disturbing reading, but somehow it was the tiny, paralysing details that made it real. Like the fact that one of the convicted men, father-of-five Abdul Rauf, was a religious studies teacher at a local mosque. Rauf asked his 15-year-old victim if she had any younger friends, and drove some of the girls to meet other men, who had sex with them despite knowing they were under-age.

You will already have noticed a lot of embarrassed evasiveness about this disgusting case, particularly on the BBC. Turning a blind eye to appalling, illegal practices because “it’s their culture” is what has brought our country to this obscene pass. I have watched it unfolding since I did my teaching practice in 1982 in Southall, west London. I remember being encouraged to “teach the children their own culture” even as I found myself wondering why British Muslim girls couldn’t be taught the enlightened beliefs of the egalitarian land in which they lived.

When it comes to women’s rights, not all cultures are created equal, particularly those whose attitudes are frozen some time in the mid‑14th century. But we weren’t allowed to say that. Actually, we weren’t even allowed to think that. If you inhaled enough toleration of the intolerable, then you were well on your way to the opium of political correctness. . . .

The number of adolescents “passed around” like a congenial hookah pipe by the gang is believed to be more than 50. There were 631 documented cases of abuse over a five-year period, and many will have been too afraid to tell their story. Some may not even be alive to tell it. We will never know the full extent of their pain.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, who at least had the guts to bring the case to court after social workers and the police turned away for fear of being seen as racist, admitted that “imported cultural baggage” played a role in the crimes. That’s the same baggage that brought quaint customs like forced marriages, honour killing and female genital mutilation to these isles.

Read it all to understand where the front lines for the "War on Women" are really located. I have written extensively on the viscious misogyny Islam perpetrates on women:
Islamist terror can be thought of in part, at least, as a response to sexual rage, frustration, and the humiliation of being connected to a "degraded mother." Thus the men in the 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 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 and constantly. /baby20bomber202.jpg" align="right" border="0" />

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, and now which we see in those societies who have embraced the multicultural PC dogma of the political left --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.

War on women? Or just the equally "enlightened" attitude of a culture just as advanced as the west who demonstrate their beautiful, caring and compassionate attitude toward women in a different--perhaps superior--manner than the degenerate west?

You decide.

Oh, and while you're deciding, don't forget the Islamic culture's tolerant acceptance of homosexuality. I'm certain the progressive left could have a very satisfying discussion of gay rights with the various leaders of Islam around the world.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

UPDATE ON BLOG MAINTENANCE

I've updated the blog a bit to make it more simple and easy to use. DR SANITY has been around since 2004 and I just thought it was time.  The haloscan comments are history (they were dropping them later this year), so I'm back to regular blogger comments.  Additionally, at this time I've decided not to add any blog links on the sidebar--perhaps later.

Consider this a work in progress!  Suggestions would be welcome.  I hope to start blogging again in June.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

THE MALIGNANT NARCISSISM OF BARACK OBAMA



And, even more evidence of this kind of "It's all about MEEEEEEEE!" Narcissism is the Obama campaign's own video, where Bill Clinton says: "Suppose they [the Navy Seals] had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him [Obama]."

I suspect the downside for the Seals might have been just a wee bit more horrible....