Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Best of Times, Worst of Times

Thomas Sowell, one of my favorites, has an interesting article on describing the "best of times" and "worst" and who is responsible for them:

When we look at which people and institutions have produced the best of times and which have produced the worst, we can see the irony that many of those who have created economic, technological, and medical advances are less likely to be lionized and more likely to be sued.

Meanwhile, many of the signs of social degeneration can be traced to the courts that are supposed to be upholding law and order but which have too often become places for judges to indulge their egos and impose fashionable theories as the law of the land.

Some judges and Supreme Court justices may flatter themselves that they are helping the poor and the disadvantaged but their arbitrary notions often hurt the less fortunate most of all.

Whose homes are going to be bulldozed to make way for a new shopping mall or hotel complex under the Supreme Court's expanded notion of eminent domain? Mansions in Beverly Hills? Condos on Park Avenue? Or working class homes and apartment buildings?

The fact that the NAACP and the AARP filed briefs on the side of the homeowners should be a clue.

When a handful of hoodlums can prevent a whole class from learning, as a result of judicial rulings that make it more dangerous to the school to crack down on classroom disrupters than to tolerate their destroying all the other children's education, whose children are most likely to see their whole future lost this way?

Discussion has become so polarized over the years, I wonder if anyone remembers that the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans has to do with how they approach the same problems. Democrats believe that the Federal Government can and should be the source of all solutions to problems. There is no problem which cannot be solved by simply allocating more money; passing new laws, or making sure that no one has an "unfair" advantage over anyone else.

The Republicans, generally think that the solutions to the very same problems, are dealt with more at local levels; that laws and taxes should be used very infrequently, and while agreeing to equality of opportunity; that there are very real differences between the capabilities of individuals. In order to assist those with fewer capabilities, they do not think that those with more should be handicapped.

These fundamental differences in the way certain problems are approached has devolved into a shouting match, with one side in particular getting shriller and shriller, as their hyperbole extends into surrealistic realms.

Which brings me to this post on the "hatred gap" (hat tip: LGF). You absolutely must read the entire thing, but let me excerpt:
Do I hate the people in comment threads like this, at Daily Kos and Democratic Underground? That would be a stretch. I might be said to despise them, but that's not the same thing—I abhor the things they say, and I find it repugnant that they tend to celebrate a lot of sentiments and ideals that I disagree with firmly. But primarily my reaction upon reading the stuff I see there, like what's quoted above, is sadness and futility. How can I even talk to people who say these things so blithely, so earnestly, like they're desperately working out some kind of deeply held passion? How much mileage lies between their opinions of, say, George W. Bush and a discussion that would involve statements like "Well, I disagree with his policy on such-and-such issue, for the following reasons"? I'm not even asking for consensus on issues like the war—just a common ground of rational discourse, something that doesn't involve conspiracies of power-drunk idiot madmen in thrall to Satanic oil companies (yet, for some reason, stumping for nuclear power). How do you weigh the pros and cons of an issue in a calm manner with someone who thinks he's being a brave representative of the "reality-based community" by saying I AM a Bush hater, I hate that man and everything he stands for, just as I hate Saddam and Stalin, and yes, Jefferson Davis and all the slave traders and owners he represented. It is good to hate evil? What kind of forum is it where—far from pointing out that even a politician from the far opposite side of the aisle from where you stand has human constituents and is trying to support them as best he can—merely expressing the idea that Iowahawk's original parody was funny gets you banned?

It is with a great deal of wonder that I have read emails and the like from people who clearly disagree with my postitions, but all they can summon up to say is that I am so "hate-filled." Wonder, because that is not what I feel at all, but seems to be so obviously what they are feeling.

It is with a great deal of amazement that I watch the warriors of Truth and Free Speech throw pies and utilize other violent methods to disrupt and terminate the free speech of anyone they disagree with, all the while calling themselves "non-violent".

It is with a great deal of amusement that I listen to the rants against the Christian Right (who, as far as I have been able to ascertain have not yet gained control over the planet), berating them for their rigid ideology; all while the masters of political correctness weed out the non-believers wherever they find them.

As a psychiatrist it is interesting to note that this increasingly shrill response by the Left and the Democrats to the fact that their social programs DON'T WORK, and more often than not make the problem worse; that their wonderful, feel-good concerts DON'T END WORLD HUNGER; that their self-satisfied feeling of intellectual and moral superiority are a complete joke; and that their political correct fantasies are the core of a new totalitarianism--that their shrill response and intense hatred comes about because of a simple psychological mechanism that I have written about over and over. PROJECTION.

They simply cannot deal with the hatred they feel toward the Republicans and the Right for exposing their failures and threatening their socialist/totalitarian ideology. So, to keep themselves "pure" and unsullied they simply project those feeling they cannot possibly be having, onto the object of their hatred. A simple and elegantly psychotic solution to facts that they don't happen to like.

To put it bluntly: they have had their chance and their policies haven't worked. As a foreign policy unconditional love has left us vulnerable and caused us to be attacked; as a social philosophy, rob from the rich to give to the poor just makes everyone poor; as a political strategy, painting everything your opposition does as motivated by greed and pure evil only manages to announce to the world your own motivational inner workings.

In my younger days, I gave the Left the benefit of the doubt and even though I despised their programs and their philosophy, I never used to question that their stated motives that they wanted the best for this country and truly wanted to erase poverty and injustice.

Sadly, I can no longer give them the benefit of the doubt. The 20th Century was as good a testing ground for their theories as any in history, and all it wielded was millions of deaths and the glorification of human misery. They'd like to blame capitalism and the policies of the Republicans, but the facts are there for anyone with enough of a brain to see.

Sigh. But they won't. They stopped using their brains and have only their emotions now. They will go on blindly hating Bush--a flawed, but genuinely good person; demonizing him and Cheney and Rove and inventing conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory; while flirting more and more with true paranoia; which is the inevitable result of the psychological projection that animates them.

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