Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Here is a fascinating talk by Bernard Lewis in which he discusses a variety of issues with regard to Islam (hat tip: OBloodyHell). Of particular interest is Lewis' analysis of the Danish Cartoon story:
That is the question of the Danish cartoons. Now, this is a very curious story. The news story, as it broke, was that a Danish newspaper had published a series of cartoons offensive to the Prophet, and that this had led to spontaneous outbursts of indignation all over the Muslim world. Now, there are several problems in this. One of them was that the spontaneous outbursts of indignation didn't occur until slightly more than four months after the publication of the cartoons. It's a little difficult to follow, I think you'll agree. The second problem was that when the spontaneous outbreaks of indignation did occur all over the Muslim world, in the remotest parts of northern Nigeria, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and elsewhere they had an ample supply of Danish flags of suitable size and texture for trampling or burning, as required. Obviously, this was something carefully prepared over a period of time.

What exactly was it about? Well, fortunately we have a little background on this, which makes it easier to understand. About 18 years ago, you may recall, the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a sentence of death against the novelist Salman Rushdie, who was living in London at that time. The crime for which he sentenced him to death was insulting the Prophet. For a Muslim to insult the Prophet is tantamount to apostasy, and that, as we were recently reminded in Afghanistan, is widely seen as a capital offense.

But this is a different matter. And after a time, I got interested in what was happening, and therefore made a study of the literature relating to this offense, which probably I would not otherwise have bothered with. A number of interesting things emerged. By the way, when we talk of Muslim law, I would remind you that we are talking about law. Sharia is a system of law and adjudication, not of lynching and terror. It is a law that lays down rules, rules for evidence, for indictment, for defense and the rest of it, quite a different matter from what has been happening recently.

The first point made was that it is forbidden to portray the Prophet, that making images of the Prophet of any kind is against the Muslim religion. That is true, though not always strictly observed by Muslims. But the point is that they want to avoid any kind of deification of the Prophet. Muslims are shocked when they go into churches and they see pictures and statues being worshipped. This they see as idolatrous. And if you go into the interior of a mosque, it is very austere: no pictures, no statues, only inscriptions. The ban on the portrayal of a prophet is intended to prevent the development of idolatrous worship of the Prophet. I don't think there was any danger of that from the Danish cartoons.

What was much more at issue was another ban, and that is on insulting the Prophet, which is, of course, an offense. This raises a number of interesting questions that I think are of direct relevance to the whole issue at the present time. Insulting the Prophet is an offense in Muslim law. This raises two issues: one of substantive law, the other of jurisdiction. Muslim jurists discuss this at some length, and there is a considerable body of case law concerning it in Muslim states.

The first point of disagreement: What is the range of jurisdiction of Muslim law? And here you have two opinions. According to the Shi'a and a minority among the Sunnis, Muslim law applies to Muslims wherever they may be in the world. A Muslim who commits an offense against Muslim law, wherever he may be in the world, is subject to Muslim law and must therefore be punished in accordance with Muslim law.

The majority Sunni view is that Muslim law only applies in countries under Muslim government. What happens outside is no concern of the Muslim authorities. One distinguished jurist makes his point with an extreme example: A Muslim traveling in the lands of the unbelievers commits robbery and murder. He returns to the lands of Islam with his loot. No action can be taken against him or against his loot because the offense was committed outside the jurisdiction of Islam, and it is therefore up to the juridical and legal authorities of the infidels to take action, if they can and will.

Here you have two different opinions relating to an offense committed by a Muslim. That is not the case for the Danish cartoons. This is an offense committed by a non-Muslim. And here the plot thickens. This is discussed by all of the juridical authorities only in the case of a non-Muslim subject of a Muslim state. If a non-Muslim subject of a Muslim state says or does something offensive to the Prophet, he is to be tried — accused, tried, and if necessary, punished. The jurists on the whole tend to take a rather mild view of this offense. They say, well, he is not a Muslim; he doesn't accept Mohammed as the Prophet; we know that. So saying that Mohammed is no prophet does not constitute this offense. It has to be more specifically insulting than that. And, as I say, there is an elaborate juridical literature and case law on this subject.

What is never discussed at all — it is never considered — is an offense committed by a non-Muslim in a non-Muslim country. That, according to the unanimous opinion of all of the doctors of the holy law is no concern of Islamic law, which brings us back to the case of Denmark. Does this mean that Denmark, along with the rest of Europe is now considered part of the Islamic lands, and that the Danes, like the rest, are therefore dhimmis, non-Muslim subjects of the Muslim state? I think this is an interesting question, which can lead to several possible lines of inquiry.
Insulting the Prophet is something that has been going on in Europe for a very long time. In Dante's Inferno, if you're interested in the 28th Canto, where Dante is being taken on his conducted tour of hell and guided by Virgil, he comes across the Prophet Mohammed in the course of his eternal damnation. He is punished — I quote Dante's words, as a "seminator di scandalo e di scisma," a sower of scandal and of schism. Now, this is very insulting. In the great Cathedral of Bologna there is a wonderful set of pictures painted, if I remember rightly, in the 15th century depicting scenes from Dante's Inferno, including some very graphic pictures of Mohammed being tortured in hell by the devil — very graphic.

Nobody did anything about this. A couple of years ago, the leaders of the Italian-Muslim community sent a polite request to the cathedral saying these are insulting to Muslims; would they mind covering those pictures. The cathedral administration said they would consider it. Nothing happened. The pictures are still in view.

The entire talk is long, but definitely worth reading.

What I take away from this excellent discussion by Lewis is that the entire Danish Cartoon episode was a carefully orchestrated propaganda ploy by our enemies as part of the war on terror.

I keep getting reminded when I read articles like the one above, that we are dealing with an extremely subtle, but capable and sophisticated enemy; who is able to plot, manipulate, and develop a coherent and effective strategy to split and disarm the West. Our enemies know us very, very well--in fact, they appear to perfectly understand the excessively vulnerabile position of the West because of its acceptance and promulgation of multiculturalism and political correctness; and have analyzed how to use the contents of these belief systems against us while furthering their own religious objectives.

Observe how easily Islam has been able to subvert key Western values--such as freedom of speech and expression--with a degree of invincibility and outraged virtue, capitalizing on a tactical opportunity that they have never before had in history. And worse of all, many on the political left--particularly the remnants of utopian socialism-- are aiding and abetting the Islamofascists.

With that in mind, is it at all surprising that Islam is able to take maximum advantage of this Achilles heel within Western culture and use the vulnerability to optimize their own religious, political, psychological, and military objectives?

Multiculturalism and political correctness are two of the fundamental pseudo-intellectual, quasi-religious tenets-- along with a third: radical environmentalism--that have been widely disseminated by intellectuals unable to abandon socialism even after its crushing failures in the 20th century. These tenets have been slowly, but relentlessly absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last decade or so--but primarily since the end of the Cold War.

All three have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula and all other learning environments. They have been at the forefront of attempts by leading academics and academic institutions to rewrite most of history and undo thousands of years of Western cultural advancement. And further, as the culture has been completely saturated with this toxic brew, any attempt to question the tenets' validity or to contest their value is met with hysterical accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or--worse of all --intolerance or insensitivity.

It just so happens, that these tenets represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategy that the socialist remnants in the world have developed and are using to prevent their ideology from entering the dustbin of history.

And, what is most interesting is that, even as they encourage and enable Islam with the first three pillars; the Islamofascists are aiding and abetting them by using the fourth pillar- Terrorism. We can think of the four pillars as the reason for both the socialist revival (particularly in the western hemisphere recently) and the rapid advancement of the Islamic Jihad.

Below is a flow chart that I adapted from Stephen Hick's book, Explaining Postmodernism (p. 173), which summarizes the evolution of these strategies:

UPDATE: Just in case you think that an alliance between socialists/communists and Islamofascists is only theoretical, you might want to check this out. (hat tip: Stefania) Can Hugo and Evo be far behind? I especially liked this perversion of language:
According to a report released by the Foreign Ministry's Public Relations Department, at the meeting Mottaki referred to Iran-Cuba friendly relations as an example of solidarity between the two justice-seeking and freedom-seeking nations.


Apparently, the paranoid among us have had it all wrong!
Conspiracy theorists, beware: That aluminum foil beanie—headwear believed, since at least the 1950s, to stop brain-control rays—may make it easier for The Man to read your mind, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad students. Inspired by fringe beliefs that invasive radio signals can probe citizens’ thoughts and that wearing foil on your head may fend them off, an experiment by four Ph.D. candidates found that certain key frequencies—owned by the Feds, naturally—are actually enhanced by such “protection.”

Isn't science wonderful?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


More support for the above pronounciation, as the Iranian President expresses disbelief in the Holocaust yet again--this time while visiting Germany.

JUST SAY NO... yet another class of victims. That's Heather Mac Donald's advice, anyway; and I think it very sound:
The moment is close at hand when the United States will be composed entirely of victim groups.
The news media have been sounding the alarm about a new gender crisis in education: Boys reportedly make up a declining portion of college students. And so the future is clear. Boys are poised to become the newest victim class.
To be sure, there is a clear culprit in the boy shortage: feminized progressive education. Teacher education programs preach contempt for competition and fact-based learning; K-12 classrooms follow suit. When schools place more importance on group collaboration than on achievement of mastery in a subject, many boys are going to tune out.

But the costs of creating wall-to-wall victim groups outweigh the benefits of using boys' new victim status to overthrow progressive pedagogy. Let's get rid of the knowledge-crushing banalities of progressive education because it drags down all students' learning, not because it hurts boys.

I especially like her idea of overthrowing the progressive pedagogy which is at the root of the attempt to feminize boys and eliminate any masculine "taint" to learning (e.g. competition).

Nevertheless, Mac Donald underestimates the extent of the problem. A generation of educators has ingested the progressive poison and it saturates the k-12 curriculum. Diversity and multicultural nonsense abound even in kindergarden and any attempt to eliminate the indoctrination into perpetual victimhood status--which begins at that age--is doomed to fail.

Why? Because victimhood is still "in", having replaced personal responsibility and hard work as the means of getting ahead in the world. Try to change that and you will be accused by the progressive lot (see here) as being either Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Imperialist, Bigoted, or--worse of all --Intolerant or Insensitive.

That's what it has come down to. Either you do it the "progressive" way; or they will label you as vermin and attack you with all the firepower of their rhetorical armament. "Progressives" aren't really interested in what works to achieve the desired result in the real world; they are more interested in what makes them feel virtuous.

Now, I ask you; how can they feel virtuous if any members of their preferred victim groups learn to take responsibility for their own lives?

How can they feel virtuous if they don't keep creating and maintaining new victim groups which they can then virtuously champion?

Just saying no is not enough. I say we destroy the victimhood cult once and for all by using their own rules so logically and consistently against them, that the utter ridiculousness and complete insanity of their PC and diversity talk is so exposed that even a little boy can see how morally and intellectually bankrupt they are.

Some time ago, Gates of Vienna helpfully listed the 10 Commandments of Multiculturalism (the holy ideological tenets of the victimhood cult) :
1. America is uniquely evil.
2. America is never justified in defending itself.
3. Illiterate people from poor societies are superior to Americans.
4. The Earth would be better off without human beings.
5. Making a profit is always immoral.
6. Differences between individuals or groups are unfair.
7. For Designated Victim Groups, strong feelings excuse all behavior.
8. Policies informed by Judæo-Christian principles are inherently suspect.
9. Conservatives are hypocrites; liberals are sincere.
10. There are no acts of God; there are only acts of Government.

The only way we can rid ourselves of these toxic commandments; and free the millions held hostage in our own country by the virulent victimhood cult of the left; is to expose progressive pedagogy for what it is--totalitarian propaganda that disables free will; individuality and personal responsibiity; replacing them with "an oppressive tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its perpetual victims." (C.S. Lewis, again)

And never forget that even the most sincerely exercised tyranny is still...tyranny.

And just say NO.


This time it wasn't Blogger--it was our own internet connection that did me in. Things seem to be back up and I'll be blogging in a bit. Stay tuned (just in case you were waiting breathlessly for me to post!)

Monday, May 29, 2006


This rant is pure, unadulterated psychological denial, which uses displacement as a tool to avoid dealing with reality.

Let me just address a few of the rather insane points the author brings up.

1. "The Bush administration has exploited the fear and shock of a nation in the wake of a surprising and dramatic act of violence to whip national fear and paranoia into a constant boil." (Emphasis mine)

This is said (presumably without any sense of irony) by a person who has at the top of his post a copy of the US Constitution with the hand written note across its front saying " George, we can blow this off big time. Dick"

In so saying, don't you think the author of this hysterical nonsense is whipping up his own fear and paranoia just a wee bit? Most psychiatrists would refer to this technique as projection. Further evidence of this psychological projection comes in the next accusation:

2. "The evidence suggests the whole point has been to seize power and steal money."

This too, is said with presumably a straight face, as the links made are to Bechtel and Halliburton, the great boogeymen companies of the paranoid left (when they aren't bashing every other major American capitalist company that suits their latest psychotic delusion. You know , all the usual suspects behind the conspiracies: like big (read:Evil) Oil and of course, the profiteering pharmaceutical companies that are trying to kill everyone with their drugs).

The left has yet to notice that despite all their exhortations about the evil of American capitalism and all the misery it brings; that the economy of this country keeps on chugging along while most of the rest of the world is cheerfully going down the economic toilet as they pursue the leftist's economic agenda?

No, the whole point of the left's insane rantings about Bush and company since the election of 2000 has been a desperate attempt to gain back their own power. To this day, they cannot accept something that is clearly written in the Constitution--that a president can actually be elected without winning the popular vote. Horrors! It has even happened in American history prior to 2000!

Talk about a war on the Constitution. That darn Constitution essentially deprived them of their power, and they don't like it one bit. The Supreme Court (not a part of the Executive Branch, I would like to point out) was involved in this issue, too. And they don't like that either.

But when lower courts subvert the Constitution in a manner that conforms to their leftist agenda, well, to hell with the Constitution. Apparently the only danger of an unchecked Judicial Branch--or Executive Branch (since it has been pointed out repeatedly that Clinton did most of the same things that Bush is doing) is when you don't happen to agree with their decisions or the focus of the policy.

And how about unchecked Legislative power? Apparently, the Executive Branch is never above the law, but the Legislative Branch is right to assume that they are. It isn't a is a "power grab". Well, such "power grabs" have gone on back and forth between the three branches for the entire history of our Republic.

The three branches have always had serious disagreements about the extent of each other's powers. The difference now is that during a war--a real war in which this country was attacked and is under threat of being attacked again--the people can usually count on the the three branches of the government to do what is necessary to protect them. Not to act like complete morons and increase the risks by fighting and arguing constantly.

No, the issue is not that the war is being prosecuted for power and money--it is quite the opposite. Those who violently and aggressively oppose the war desire to get their power back and are happy as clams to get the money, no matter how much blood from our courageous military personnel is lost because of their betrayal. Oh, don't you dare say they aren't patriots! They are patriotic, it is just that their country is being stolen from them by the evil Bushitler McChimpy Haliburton etc. etc. etc.

Well, I have news for them. Their "country" doesn't exist except in their fevered brains. I am most thankful for that fact. It is people like the author who have deliberately set out to destroy the US Constitution--a document written by mere mortals--for the sake of some utopian dream country run by perfect people like them.

3. "Take your "terror" and shove it."

My response to this is for the left and all their "patriotic" ilk to "take your utopia and shove it instead. I'm sick of patriotism that only knows how to attack America; patriotism that is truly paranoid that a duly elected president is about to establish a theocracy; create a totalitarian society; eliminate the constitution and the rule of law; and all the other paranoid bullshit that emanates from the mouths of this hysterical lot. This, my friends, is the New McCarthyism promulgated in our generation by --not the political right, but the left. The new John Bullshit Society, whose goal--conscious or unconscious--is nothing less than the destruction of this country and the establishment of a socialist utopia. Even an Islamic socialist utopia is preferable for them.

I happen to disagree with the Republicans on many issues. I don't even agree with Bush on a lot of domestic policy. But there is one thing that I know is true; and it is that we are in a war where our enemies are brutal and methodical; and where they can count on support and encouragement from the clueless political left who prefer to ignore reality and focus on the "threat" that can't hurt them. I'm sure all those brave and patriotic folks on the left believe they will soon be incarcerated and tortured like poor Stephen Colbert was not too long ago, when he spoke truth to power so bravely.

WHAT! You mean Colbert is still free? He has not been imprisoned for saying all those true things? How can that be? The evil Bushitler was sitting right there when Colbert made his courageous remarks? How can that be when we all know we live in a Bush/Cheney police state????

When the author at Firedoglake is courageous enough to tell Mohammed and those who practice terror for Allah's sake to go to hell; or to tell Ahmadinejad, or the Taliban or Al-Quaeda; or Bin Laden or Zarqawi; or Zawahiri or Hamas or all the other violent, fascist fanatics to go to hell; when he will stand where it counts in the real world-- with the men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan-- and deliver his "give me liberty or give me death" speech; when he takes a stand against Islamofascism and its thought control (disguised as political correctness); and stand for human freedom and individuality--in other words, when he stops knocking down the strawmen he has set up in his mind and confronts the real evil in the world; then perhaps then I might have something other than contempt for the big brave talk that covers up his cowardly denial and displacement.

I've listened to such rants for the last 3 years and I'm heartily sick of them and the people who stand for nothing, but have convinced themselves how patriotic they are. They are only the most recent batch of useful leftist idiots, who can't get over the fact that their ideology lost the Cold War

BTW, wasn't that a badly named war, too? "Cold" is only a temperature, after all....? In all honesty, I must admit that the only point of the rant that I agree with is that "war on terror" is very very badly named. Indeed, If it were up to me, I would definitely call it World War IV.

But this war--no matter what name you choose to call it; or how loudly you deny that it even exists--is unfortunately very real.


I was struck by this post from Michael Ledeen at The Corner, where he first quotes Pope Benedict on Auschwitz:
"In a place like this, words fail. In the end, there can only be a dread silence, a silence which is a heartfelt cry to God — Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?"

"Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?"
Ledeen says,
But I think the question is more properly directed at man rather than the Almighty, who gave us the ability to distinguish between good and evil and the obligation to make our own choices. It is the question we should ask ourselves, and our leaders, every day. Why is the West once again silent, in the face of a monstrous evil? Why do even the few leaders who recognize our menace, content themselves with words rather than the decisive deeds required to rid this world of the threat of a new Shoah?
On this Memorial Day when we honor our fallen soldiers, who died in the service of human freedom and dignity, we must never forget what they died for and why they died.

Some say that the monstrous evil afflicting the world is the United States and western values. I have heard these arguments over and over again in the last few years from my peers; endlessly repeating the talking points that daily appear in the news. They have banners and slogans about Abu Ghraib and now the moral outrage is escalating about Haditha (before even all the facts are known, I might add). It is so easy and satisfying to condemn individual acts of atrocity, knowing full well that such acts are not part of official policy; nor do they reflect in any way the values of the West, particularly America. In fact, all those who place the highest premium on the sanctity of human life must be saddened to learn that human life is so cheap for some in our midst.

The triumph of the good lies in the West's relentless pursuit of justice and our demand that those in our midst who violate the fundamental values we stand for be held to account for their behavior.

This we will do. This we have always done, though not always as perfectly or with the necessary vigor in some cases. Since we are human, we make mistakes; but we are also capable of learning from them.

Only the morally bankrupt and relativistic political left are unable to appreciate this. They would like nothing better than to say that the actions of a few individuals reflect the values of the whole society. Yet, when it comes to condemning real, observable and institutionally-sanctioned brutality, murder, torture, oppression and crushing of the human spirit; when it comes to denouncing the hatred and vitriol that is stoked and manipulated against certain groups and countries; when it comes to confronting the mindset of the suicide bomber; the hatred of the religious fanatic; the societal humiliation and oppression of women as a matter of formal and "virtuous" policy--well, the silence of the left is so deafening, it shatters the eardrums.

And worse, it enables the real monsters who once again threaten to engulf the world in the flames of their madness. How those monsters must laugh at the idiots who obsess about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo; and who give the real threat to civilization their blessing to advance its objectives. The monsters understand full well that the moral relativists and cheapshot artists of the left will never willingingly call real evil to account--because they lack the fundamental courage to confront it.

To confront evil in the world, one must first have the courage to confront it within one's self; to be able to see the dark side of one's own nature and accept one's own imperfections. If you are able to do this, then you will easily recognize the pathetic behavior at Abu Ghraib--and other places-- for what it is: a manifestation of human imperfection--which each one of us are capable of under the right circumstances.

But this is something the left will not do--they dare not do--and so they will continue to encourage and enable that dark side of themselves; even as they tell themselves how virtuous and superior they are. They know they are not capable of such evil. Their motives are always pure; their actions are always perfect and have no negative consequences. They are the only truly morally superior beings on earth.

Hence they are blind and unable to recognize those who--like themselves--are capable of incredible atrocities on a scale beyond imagining, simply because they do it in the name of some"virtue" or "good". This blindness to their own nature renders them morally paralyzed and incapable of confronting the threat of evil.

I have quoted C.S. Lewis previously, but his words seem particularly applicable today:
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
The cruelty and inhumanity of this or that particular person is manageable--during war and during peace. The perpetrators of Abu Ghraib have been held to account, as will all others who allow their dark side to prevail.

But the real monsters who again threaten the world with their fantasies of a "pure race" or a "pure religion" or a "perfect" society are loose and once again we imperfect humans must confront the evil as best we can.

This Memorial Day, thank God that there are men and women in the world who are not morally paralyzed by the rabid nonsense currently being propagated by the left; and will not remain silent, but are willing to do what needs to be done to deal with the threat.

UPDATE: A good article by Owen West in the NY Times:
Somehow Operation Iraqi Freedom, not a large war by America's historical standards, has blossomed into a crisis of expectations that threatens our ability to react to future threats with a fist instead of five fingers. Instead of rallying we are squabbling, even as the slow fuse burns.

One party is overly sanguine, unwilling to acknowledge its errors. The other is overly maudlin, unable to forgive the same. The Bush administration seeks to insulate the public from the reality of war, placing its burden on the few. The press has tried to fill that gap by exposing the raw brutality of the insurgency; but it has often done so without context, leaving a clear implication that we can never win.

In the past, the American public could turn to its sons for martial perspective. Soldiers have historically been perhaps the country's truest reflection, a socio-economic cross-section borne from common ideals. The problem is, this war is not being fought by World War II's citizen-soldiers. Nor is it fought by Vietnam's draftees. Its wages are paid by a small cadre of volunteers that composes about one-tenth of 1 percent of the population — America's warrior class.

The insular nature of this group — and a war that has spiraled into politicization — has left the Americans disconnected and confused. It's as if they have been invited into the owner's box to settle a first-quarter disagreement on the coach's play-calling. Not only are they unprepared to talk play selection, most have never even seen a football game.

This confusion, in turn, affects our warriors, who are frustrated by the country's lack of cohesion and the depiction of their war. Iraq hasn't been easy on the military, either. But the strength of our warriors is their ability to adapt.

First, in battle you move forward from where you are, not where you want to be. No one was more surprised that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction than the soldiers who rolled into Iraq in full chemical protective gear. But it is time for the rest of the country to do what the military was forced to: get over it.

If we can put 2003's debates behind us, there is a swath of common ground on which to focus. Both Republicans and Democrats agree we cannot lose Iraq. The general insurgency in Iraq imperils our national interest and the hardcore insurgents are our mortal enemies. Talking of troop reductions is to lose sight of the goal.

Second, America's conscience is one of its greatest strengths. But self-flagellation, especially in the early stages of a war against an enemy whose worldview is uncompromising, is absolutely hazardous. Three years gone and Iraq's most famous soldiers are Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England, a victim and a criminal, respectively. Abu Ghraib remains the most famous battle of the war.

I agree. Let's move on and win this battle in the WOT and get on with winning the war.


The good part is that the Boo's team finished in 2nd Place and there was even a nice awards ceremony presenting the trophies! The bad part is that we drove home last night and arrived here at about 2:30 am.

I'm up (sort of) and about, but feel like I just made a trip to Europe and am jetlagged. I have so many email messages (and I was already a few hundred behind). Not sure when I will catch up, so let me apologize up front for not getting back to anyone.

Things should be back to normal by later today, I hope.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

WhoooooHoooooo !

The Boo's soccer team has made it into the tournament finals! So, instead of leaving for home today, we will have to stick around for the match this evening.

Probably won't be blogging anything new, but I have put up an old post (both Parts I and II) just below this one for you to contemplate if you have nothing better to do. And, the Carnival of the Insanities is here.

Meanwhile, we will be out celebrating then driving back late tonite.

Have a wonderful day!


***NOTE*** The following two posts were originally published in January, 2006. I should be back posting tomorrow morning.


Richard Hofstadter, in his well-known essay on the paranoid style in American politics--first delivered as a lecture at Oxford in November, 1963-- presented numerous examples which clearly demonstrated that the conservative right wing of the political spectrum were the dominant users of the paranoid style. From the John Birch Society; to Joseph McCarthy; to the conspiracy theories related to fluoridation of water and other irrationally held beliefs of the time; the conservative right engaged in frankly paranoid thinking.

But Hofstadter noted even then, that conservatives and the right could not claim exclusive title to the paranoid style. In fact, American history was littered with examples of both sides utilizing the paranoid style in order to cope with painful truths about errors in ideology; and the consequent loss of political power and influence.

I submit that at this point in history it is now the liberal left that has willingly passed through the world of reality and entered the twilight realm of paranoia. They made this transition in order to hold onto some cherished beliefs that they were convinced had become unchangeable historical "facts"; "facts" that had been and still are essential to their very identity as a political party; but which hide essential flaws in their thinking.

In the 60's the liberal left and the Democratic Party became the champions of civil rights --a cause with which they were NOT historically associated, actually; but events of the time conspired to make them the standard-bearers of racial equality--an unaddressed social issue in this country that plagued and highlighted some of the hypocrisy in its high-minded and lofty values from the very beginning. It was definitely time to make the American promise that so clearly burned in the minds of the Founding Fathers real for all Americans.

Championing this cause was so successful for the Democrats as a political party, that they quite naturally took up the causes of other identified "victim" groups (women, the disabled; homosexuals, etc.); successfully leveraging their heroic stand on civil rights as proof of their concern for the oppressed and "the little guy".

Along the way, the Democrats picked up a few holy mantras ("Roe v Wade" and the whole abortion rights movement ; "Make Love Not War" and the entire antiwar crowd; etc.) and, about this time, they became very seriously infected with the Marxist virus that had already spread throughout Europe, despite being the cause of human misery as well as millions of deaths around the world.

Hence, the liberal left failed to notice that the American people rose to the challenge of equal rights and that society changed under the irrefutable logic of human freedom and equal opportunity for all. The promise of liberty was, after all, the founding principle of our nation.

But Democrats and the liberal left could only be threatened by the succes of their attempt to change American society. Blacks; women; and even Gays were making incredible progress in assimilation into society -- and could now move on to say and think what they pleased. They might even choose to become Republican; or disagree with some entitlement program; or challenge directly the ideology beneath the Democratic Party and the left ! Horrors!

Thus it is not so hard to understand that those who once championed the oppressed and encouraged them to be free and partake of all aspects of American society; now have become the most potent enablers of the victimhood cults that sprang up in each of these groups.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, those whose identity is tied-up inextricably with being the champions the oppressed, must be sure to maintain an oppressed class--constantly seeking new victims to heroically stand for; otherwise what or who will they champion?

Most Americans who are not indoctrinated into the Marxist worldview and obsessed with victimhood can clearly see the real progress of Blacks and women--indeed all minority groups-- in all aspects of society. They can appreciate individuals from those groups who forged into previously restricted areas and broke barrier after barrier, even if they are not Democrats or subscribers to leftist theories.

Not only did the liberal left exhibit almost complete blindness and fail to celebrate its greatest success , but they became more and more strident in their demands and denunciations of American society as a whole. This entire process coincided with their increasing irrelevance and loss of political power. In response, the left is trying to change the playing field to insure that they remain relevant by switching from demands for "equal opportunity" to an insistance on "equal outcome". Since it is impossible to achieve the latter--except in a totalitarian society, where everyone is made equally miserable; or in death itself--the left hopes to achieve new power and influence over a neverending victim class that they will have created through their policies. The paranoid style conveniently defends those policies and effortlessly maintains their defective worldview.

Of course, calling someone "paranoid", or insinuating that they have a "paranoid style" is definitely pejorative. Being paranoid has, as Hofstadter notes, "a greater affinity for bad causes than good ones." This is primaril because the paranoid--even when their cause has some merit--is actually trying to delude himself about some inner reality at the expense of, or detriment to, the cause. Their motivation is no longer about the cause anymore; it is about protecting themselves from an unpleasant reality that is making them question their foundations.

Any who oppose the "equality of outcome" logic are descibed as "racist". Those who disagree with them are "trying to shut down free speech" (watch and see whose behavior actually physically attempts to silence others). Those who point out the errors in their thinking are "evil". American society--arguably the freest and most tolerant in the world--becomes the source of all oppression and evil. This growing attitude condensed itself into an insane and irrational hatred for one man who came to symbolize their worst fear -- that their image of themselves was no longer true, but had become a well-loved and cultivated delusion. I mean, if GW Bush could be elected President (not once, but TWICE); and be considered the liberator of literally millions of people--what were they? Chopped liver?

Let me use an example that Hofstadter uses in his essay:
Again it is common knowledge that the movement against the fluoridation of municipal water supplies has been catnip for cranks of all kinds, especially for those who have obsessive fear of poisoning. It is conceivable that at some time scientists may turn up conclusive evidence that this practice is, on balance, harmful; and such a discovery would prove the antifluoridationists quite right on the substance of their position. But it could hardly, at the same time, validate the contentions of those among them who, in characteristic paranoid fashion have charged that fluoridation was an attempt to advance socialism under the guise of public health or to rot out the brains of the community by introducing chemicals in the water supply in order to make people more vulnerable to socialist or communist schemes.

A distorted style is, then, a possible signal that may alert us to a distorted judgment, just as in art an ugly style is a cue to fundamental defects of taste. What interests me here is the possibility of using political rhetoric to get a political pathology. One of the most impressive facts about the paranoid style, in this connection, is that it represents an old and recurrent mode of expression in our public life which has frequently been linked with movements of suspicious discontent and whose content remains much the same even when it is adopted by men of distinctly different purposes.

In the example of fluoridation, which was a major focus of paranoia in the 50's and 60's; science never confirmed that it was harmful and it is still used today all over the country. Nevertheless, it was not unreasonable to bring up concerns about the long-term safety of a public program that would impact almost every citizen in the country.

What was inappropriate and irrational, as well as an extreme example of "connecting the dots" to regain political power, was the use of the relevant scientific question as a basis for developing a rather bizarre conspiracy theory that connected it with another realistic concern at the time--the rise of communism and its easy acceptance and penetration into American culture.

In this case, "connecting the dots" was not the product of a rational thought process, but of a paranoia on the right; who in their political impotence came to emotionally conflate two important concerns with some degree of merit into one conspiracy theory that was totally off the wall. In the end, it completely discredited them in the minds of reasonable people.

The bizarre conspiracy theories that condensed around fluoridation are not dissimilar to the ones we hear over and over again concerning President Bush and his rationale for the war in Iraq and the war on terror in general.

Even if, hypothetically, every single justification for the war would be eventually proven not to have any basis ( and this is already demonstrably impossible); it would still not validate the absurd claims on the part of the left who, in characteristic paranoid fashion, have come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies that connect dots in a much more irrational and delusional manner than what they accuse the President of doing.

The President simply acted on facts that were accepted at the time (even by the people now accusing him of lying); and responded appropriately to a real threat that had materialized on his watch and resulted in the murder of 3000 American citizens. The paranoia of the left can be seen in their attempts to undermine his actions by resorting to ridiculous connections that simply don't compute-- just as fluoridation being a plot of the communists didn't resonate with reality; neither does Michael Moore's fictional documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, make the paranoid case for some underlying conspiracy.

While there is merit in debating how best to go about achieving our objectives in the war in Iraq and the GWOT; believing that terrorism is a conspiracy cooked up by Bush and Co. to consolidate power and institute (take your pick) a fascist state; a theocracy; or both; is simply a paranoid fantasy that consoles those of the liberal left who cannot cope with their loss of power and influence.

The hallmark of the paranoid individual and the paranoid style is constant anticipation or expectation of either attack or personal betrayal. Paranoia finds causal connections everywhere and in everything; for them, nothing is coincidental. They can develop complicated conspiracies about innocuous behaviors and seemingly irrelevant events. Their paranoia makes them constantly on guard, searching for hidden motives and meanings in everyone else's behavior. (Just go check out the Democratic Underground, where these fantasies on every action or inaction on the part of the Bush administration are immediately converted into conspiracies and plots). The tragic death of a reporter -- Bush et al had him killed because he knew too much. Osama's most recent tape -- a Rovian plot to show how frightened we should be. And so on.

Paranoia can be conceptualized as "rationality in the service of the irrational." Once fixed on a particular idea or explanation -- no matter how bizarre or irrational; the paranoid person looks for evidence to validate their prejudices. It is almost impossible to change their minds. Their entire concept of themselves is tied up with the paranoid idea or conspiracy. If it did not exist, or was proven to be untrue or false-- then they would need to question their underlying assumptions and ideas--and those are what usually form the foundation of who they believe themselves to be.

For example, a belief that one is important enough to be the subject of a determined (and often vague) FBI or CIA plot may be frightening, but is likely to be vastly superior to accepting that you have a severe and lifelong psychiatric disorder.

It is far easier to disregard reality; and/or to simply incorporate the person who tries to disabuse you of your idea or conspiracy into the complex paranoid fantasy itself, rather than deal with the trauma of a disintegrating self.

When setbacks occur, or when something goes wrong in the life of the paranoid, they will prefer to believe that another person or group is to blame, rather than accept any personal responsibility.

In Part II, I will discuss how paranoia can originate from both biological and psychological causes; and how the current political paranoia and rhetoric of the left have profound implications for our society. It has led to severe breaks in the social fabric that bind us together as a nation. I hope that these can, with time, be mended. But the worse effect of this paranoid style is that it seriously impedes those who express it from being able to appropriately face and respond to reality.

Thus, those who adopt the paranoid style in their rhetoric and their behavior not only are unable to help the rest of us deal with the very real threats we face in the 21st century; they actively undermine our efforts and enable our enemies.



I will begin this second part of the discussion by quoting Richard Hofstadter again, from his essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics":
What distinguishes the paranoid style is not, then, the absence of verifiable facts (though it is occasionally true that in his extravagaant passion for facts the paranoid occasionally manufactures them), but rather the curious leap in imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events....

The plausability the paranoid style for those who find it plausible lies, in good measure, in this appearance of the more careful, conscientious and seemingly coherent application to detail, the laborious accumulation of what can be taken as convincing evidence for the most fantastic conclusions, the careful preparation for the big lep from the undeniable to the unbelievable.

The singular thing about all this laborious work is that the passion for factual evidence does not, as in most intellectual exchanges have the effect of putting the paranoid spokesman into effective two-way communication with the world outside his group--least of all with those who doubt his views. He has little real hope that his evidence will convince a hostile world. His effort to amass it has rather the quality of a defensive act which shuts off his receptive apparatus and protects him from haavaing to attend to disturbing considerations that do not fortify his ideas. He has all the evidence he needs; he is not a receiver, he is a transmitter.

What is missing from the paranoid style is not facts, but sensible judgment. And how can judgments be made--let alone be sensible--when the postmodern constraints on thinking (discussed here and here) demand moral relativity and decree that all truth is subjective anyway. Postmodernism practically celebrates paranoia, projection, denial and distortion as undeniable and fundamental truth.

Paranoid symptoms and the paranoid style may arise from biological or emotional (psychological) causes.

In my line of work I see many people who have an underlying physiological abnormality in the brain that predisposes them to develop psychotic symptoms, including paranoia. Some of the psychiatric disorders where paranoia can be seen include from schizophrenia, psychotic depression, mania and substance abuse. Paranoia may also be a symptom of medical disorders, and the list of them is quite long, but includes almost all medical problems that may affect the brain (e.g. infectious, neoplastic endocrine, nutritional etc.).

One patient I remember vividly was a young man in his 30's who came to the emergency room with careful documentation (literally hundreds of pages) of his fluid intake and urine output; (with careful descriptions of the color and consistency of the urine as well as several recent samples) for the last 3 years. This compilation of data was offered to me as the "proof" that someone had been slowly poisoning him. Recently, he had begun to realize, he told me, that the persons behind this were likely from some planet astronomers had not yet discovered.

Most of the medical and psychiatric disorders that lead to paranoia involve a disruption of normal brain physiology, which then leads to misperceptions and distorted thinking processes. In such cases, paranoia develops as the broken brain tries to make sense of a world that one's senses are saying has gone mad. In other words, the brain tries to use its rational faculty to develop a coherent explanation of the false or distorted perceptions that are brought about by the abnormal physiology.

I am not suggesting that all people who use projection or paranoia have a medical or psychiatric illness. Most non-clinical instances of paranoia stop abruptly at the point where the totally bizarre begins. The patient above had wandered into the bizarre with his inclusion of aliens into the paranoid mix and he suffered from a pathological disorder. The particular content of the paranoia--even in clinical disorders--may take on some of the psychological issues with which the individual is dealing at the time. For example, one high-functioning PhD level microbiologist that I treated in the past believed that there were "sub"microscopic organisms on his skin that jumped from him to other people and where the reason why he could not get andy dates with women.

One of the daunting aspects of political paranoia is that it is not entirely out of the realm of the possible; it is just unbelievable in its breathtaking scope to most reasonable people. In order to believe it, a person would have to accept some pretty far-fetched underlying assumptions - many of them fairly contradictory.

It simply boggles the mind to contemplate all the conspiracy theories constructed about George W. Bush and/or Karl Rove's evil genius. They are blamed even for the sad foolishness of some Democrats' behaviors. Recall, as just one example, the proposed theory that Karl Rove was the originator of the "fake but accurate" Dan Rather/Mary Mapes memo. The idea of this theory was that Rove did it to make Democrats look foolish since it was so obviously a forgery; and that they were "entrapped" into believing it to be real. Except, of course, that the same people who say that piece of nonsense are also unwilling to admit that the forgery is fake and believe there is some "underlying truth" to its contents. Go figure. But as Hofstadter has said, this is the hallmark of the paranoid style.

Science has shown that many purely psychological factors can also have a dramatic effect on brain physiology and alter perceptions.

Many conversion disorders (such as this classic case of hysteria I discussed in an earlier post) have no objective medical pathology, but are brought about by a traumatic psychological event in a person's life. Sometimes non-psychiatric physicians speak of of such symptoms in a belittling manner, calling them "all in your head" or "supratentorial" (suggesting that the person is making them up). But the truth is that psychological factors and how we react to the world have an enormous impact on our brain.

That is, after all, on of the main functions of the brain -- to perceive and respond to the external environment. When that environment or the real world overwhelms us psychologically, sometimes even a normal brain can malfunction. And sometime an otherwise normal brain may be used to filter out the unacceptable or the reality that overloads it.

All of the psychological defenses--including paranoia, denial, distortion and projection -- undoubtedly have a biological basis. We are only now just coming to understand some of the physiology that may be involved; and it is hardly surprising that it is the same physiology that underlies the analogous medical conditions. (See here, for example).

Clearly some people are more prone to develop extreme paranoid ideas that are completely out of the realm of possibility than others, but the only difference between paranoia from a medical or psychiatric etiology and paranoia from a psychological (or political) etiology is how one treats it.

In the former case, the underlying medical or psychiatric problem is diagnosed and treated. Most often, the paranoia will diminish, though not always as it is a very difficult symptom to entirely remove.

In the latter case, one must also treat the underlying problem, but in this case, it is not medication or other physical treatments that will do the job. The treatment for political paranoia is insight and self-awareness.

As recently as yesterday, some new studies were reported on that demonstrated how political bias affects brain activity. The key word is "bias". Or, to put it another way, deeply held political beliefs effect brain activity and can interfere with both judgment and perception. Most certainly, this is not unique to either Democratic or Republican brains.

All human brains have the potential to be biased, prejudiced, irrational, and, with reference to our topic--paranoid. The only psychological prerequisite to slip into this kind of deluded thinking is a perceived threat to one's sense of self; or any of the ideas or relationships one's sense of self is based on.

When faced with some extremely unpleasant aspect of reality, the individual mind immediately take steps to preserve its integrity. A common example of this is the situation where someone is told of a loved one's unexpected death. Such traumatic information cannot be processed instantaneously as it puts a person's whole world out of frame. It is too sudden to be fully digested.

So, the first and most normal response is the reflexive response to such news: "NO! That can't be true!" (denial) ; or even the more paranoid response: "No! You're lying to me! Why would you lie to me!"

Again, we are all capable of having paranoid ideas at times because paranoia is the extreme of the human mind's attempts to find connections; assign meanings; and develop rational explanations for events, thoughts and/or feelings.

In other words, the tendency to mistake coincidences for causes; or to blame other people rather than one's self for one's circumstances is a universal trait; but it is hardly a psychologically healthy one.

Here is the way that paranoia and projection work:

-You consider yourself a "peaceful" and non-violent person. Yet you feel violently angry at someone or some situation. This does not fit in with your image of yourself. With projection, you deny your own rage and insist that it is the other person who is going to attack you or has angry feelings towards you. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to acknowledge your own angry feelings which are unacceptable to you; and instead can attribute them to someone else.

-You are a successful person. But deep down you feel unworthy of your success or guilty of your talent or wealth. Instead of acknowledging this and trying to understand and deal with the origins of such painful self-recrimination (did you cheat others to obtain your wealth? Are you faking talent? Have poor self-esteem?); you begin to think that others are criticizing you and trying to impede your success. Or, alternately you engage in self-defeating or self-destructive behavior that you blame on someone else. Or, you take the position that wealth is evil or all talent is undeserved and extol mediocrity or poverty as morally superior in order to compensate for your guilt. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to deal with the reason behind your guilt and unworthiness; and can attribute such critical attacks on you to someone else or denouncing others with talent and wealth makes you feel worthy. For examples of this you can pretty much pick all of the Hollywood elite or many successful businessmen (George Soros comes to mind).

-You are an unsuccessful person or feel a failure in life. You have some shame and/or humiliation about your situation. Instead of dealing with what you are doing that makes you unsuccessful, you attribute your lack of success to the actions of some individual or group who is acting against you. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to take responsibility for your situation or acknowledge that your own actions brought you to it. It is not your fault, but someone else's. This is the mechanism behind most racist, sexist, homophobic and/or antisemitic behavior the world over. Islam, in particular, seems to specialize in this type of thinking about the Jews onto whom they project all their own inadequacies.

There is a reason that human beings experience suspicion, distrust and hyper- vigilance. That reason is because there is REAL danger in the world. Our ancestors in the caves knew this to be true. They lived with continual danger just to survive every minute of every day. Being able to logically "connect the dots" and extract meaning from the evidence of one's senses is a necessity for survival. Those who did not have this psychological capacity surely died out long ago.

The tools of the paranoid individual and the paranoid style that one can see dramatised in much political discourse these days are denial, distortion, and projection. These psychological defenses are almost always pathological when used by an adult to cope with the real world.

Those individuals who use these three primitive psychological defenses rearrange external reality (so that actual reality may be avoided); for an observer, the users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane. These are known as the "psychotic" defenses, common in overt psychosis, in dreams, and throughout childhood.

Denial is a refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. There are examples of denial being adaptive (for example, it might be adaptive for a person who has a terminal illness to use some degree of denial). But for the most part, denial is only useful as a short-term strategy, to permit a person to come to terms with reality. As a long-term strategy to protect self-identity, it is potentially lethal--since the person or group that uses it extensively is blinded to the real danger that might be out there.

Distortion is a gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs. The ongoing and bizarre accusations against the evil genius Karl Rove are typical of the distortion of the paranoid style. The most recent example is the accusation by the denizens of the Democratic Underground that the Osama tape was masterminded by Rove to justify the President's authorization of the NSA to intercept terrorist communications.

In a free society, it is reasonable to raise concerns about the trade-offs during a war of increased security and decreased freedom in some areas; and how far is it appropriate or necessary to go--balancing risks and benefits. But the paranoid left will not allow a rational discussion of this issue and insist that free speech is being taken away and that the President is mad with power. It is more to the point to say that they are mad with impotence.

It is my observation that most of the liberal left are so obsessed with controlling the speech of those who disagree with them (they refer to such speech as "hate" speech and generally accuse you of being "hate-filled"); that they are unable to recognize, let alone take responsibility for the hatred and anger that they are experiencing. Attributing their own feeling to others is much more acceptable since it allows them to continue to believe that they are champions of free speech; calm and rational ("reality-based"); when the greatest threats to free speech originate in their own policies which they demand be forced onto others; and the greatest threat to peace is in their own unacknowledged rage.

Granted that the conservative right--especially sometimes the religious right--suffer from the same paranoid style at times and can be equally obnoxious with wanting to force their policies and beliefs onto others. That this is so, does not take the liberal left off the hook for their unbelievably childish and incredibly foolish paranoid attempts to manipulate political rhetoric in a time of war; in a manner that enables our enemies to exploit exposed faultlines in American politics--and to do it solely for their own personal political gain.

When you try to engage them in discussion, the paranoid person will simply emote and vent his rage because he feels dispossessed, impotent and irrelevant. Two-way communication is impossible, as Hofstadter notes. Eventually, the paranoid will develop a conspiracy theory to explain away their feelings of rage and impotence and seek to punish the person or group they blame for their situation. You can see this in almost every thread at the Democratic Underground if you are so inclined to read them. You can see it in the inflammatory and over-the-top rhetoric about Judge Alito, an able and mainstream conservative jurist; whose detractors paint "end-of-the-world" scenarios if he were to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. "Women will die" and children will be sexually abused; you will lose all your personal liberties; and we will return to the days of the caveman; and so on.

It is easy to see how all these psychological manipulations work together to keep a person or a group insulated from reality. We witness such behavior all around us these days. It has a mindless quality that is indifferent to the societal damage that it wreaks.

The actual numbers of those on the liberal left who have fully embraced the paranoid style is actually relatively low. The damage they do; the deaths they must certainly take responsibility for are totally out of proportion to the actual size. Yet they have leveraged their power in the media and academic institutions well, and have come to dominate almost all of the programs of the liberal left.

So, what is the solution to this dilemma posed by the liberal left's paranoid style? They behave the way they do because they believe (falsely, I think) that it will gain them back their position of power and influence.

When--and if--the paranoid style fails to bring them back to the hall of political power in Washington and elsewhere, the left will have a motivation to change--just as the conservative right managed to look at itself in the 70's and 80's and curtail the paranoia that threatened to keep them powerless and keep the valuable ideas they had to contribute to American society out of the mainstream.

If the conservative right were able to develop a sense of insight and terminate the paranoid streak that ran through all its thinking in the 50's and 60's; then so too can the liberal left.

What is so dangerous at this particular time in history, is that the left seems to be escalating their paranoia instead of containing it. The entire world is in th midst of a potentially deadly crisis, brought on by a dangerous and lethal strain of Islamism that the paranoid liberal left refuses to acknowledge. They are only able to see the conservative right as the enemies they have to deal with, and are blind to the real danger.

This is worse than delusional. This is potentially life-threatening for American society. It must stop.

To regain health--both political and psychological--the liberal left must begin to take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, rhetoric and behaviors that are enabling and appeasing Islamofascist murderers. Even if this is a painful process for the left (or a financially painful process), they must change their mindless opposition to everything that the conservative right proposes --especially in the area of national security. They must exert control over inappropriate behaviors that derives from their anger and resentment at having lost the last two elections to someone they despise. They do not have to love George Bush or Republicans, but they have to grow up and work with them for the sake of America. If they have alternatives that are consistent with national security and national interests, let them propose them instead of simply saying NO to everything that is proposed. Even if they hate the direction things are going, it was only a little over a year ago that the American people--the one's they say they serve--voted to go in Bush's direction. There is a job to get done, and they must do it together with their political opponents for the good of us all.

Paranoia, projection, denial and distortion are banished though the development of insight and self awareness. When these defense mechanisms are being used, some inner reality is distorting outer reality. It is the inner reality that has to be understood before a person can have control over their bias, prejudices and histrionic and rageful tendencies; which are the major stumbling blocks to a full grasp of reality. Only be taking down such impediments will the liberal left and the conservative right--working together-- optimally deal with dangerous world of the 21st century.

The conservative right wing of American politics may once have been the predominant users of the paranoid style in the 60's. But what we see today clearly demonstrates the severe paranoia of the liberal left wing as they try to come to grips with their own growing irrelevancy and confining worldview that keeps them anchored in the past and deeply afraid of the future.

Today, conservatives are actually more representative of true "progressive" thought; and will continue to be as long as the rhetoric and behavior of the liberal left is mired in the paranoid style.


Image hosted by Time for the weekly insanity update, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). So, if you want to remain sane, the best thing is to poke some fun at the more egregious absurdities.

Send all entries for next week's carnival to Dr. Sanity by 8 pm ET on Saturday for Sunday's Carnival. Only one post entry weekly per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. Dear Adorable Little Boy Who Makes Noise and Needs Attention! (hat tip: SC&A)

2. Dear Fellow Muslims, Please stone me, I'm an adulteress--I think.

3. Dear National Security Agency...

4. "Zionest George Bush tells Iran to go eat pork" (loose translation)

5. All we are saying is give surrender a chance !

6. Standing up to the bullies in the press (does that count as "speaking truth to power?")

7. I don't care either.

8. Favorite bumper sticker of the congressional elite. Speaking of Congress--any possibility that this pill could help them?

9. Culture of corruption on videotape. Is drunk legislating a crime?

10. Witness for the defense. Perhaps a bit unreliable?

11. Disappointment...but, guess who's racist by his own definition? Apparently this issue brings out the insane in everyone.

12. Nimrod of the week award. I'd call it political Munchausen's Syndrome.

13. I'm waiting for one of my delusional patients to tell me he isn't delusional--he's just "too far in front of the news cycle."

14. Musical taste is inexplicable? De gustabus non est disputandum...

15. Amnesty vs Bananas ; and Pondering vs Musing

16. A modest suggestion for Vincente Fox and Vladimir Putin... that will solve both their problems.

17. Crime in West Virginia is interesting.

Carnival of the Insanities can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear's ÜberCarnival and at the BlogCarnival.


If you would like to Join the insanity, and add the Carnival of the Insanities button to your sidebar (clicking on it will always take you to the latest update of the Carnival), click on "Word of Blog" below the button to obtain the html code:

Heard the Word of Blog?

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Iraq the Model asks if CNN is having some problems translating Arabic to English in this story, which claims in its opening statement that:
Iran has a right to develop nuclear technology and the international community should drop its demands that Tehran prove it's not trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iraq's foreign minister said Friday.

Omar's translation is the following:
We respect Iran's and every other nation's right to pursue nuclear technology for research purposes and peaceful use given they accept [giving] the internationally required guarantees that this will not lead to an armament race in the region…

It would seem that the CNN version is somewhat different from what a native speaker of the language heard in the original broadcast.

And then there's this, from John at PowerLine, quoting
a CBS news story:
Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation. (emphasis John's and mine)

Anyone following the story knows full well that the congressman in question is a Democrat whose antics have (for now anyway) put a halt to the "culture of corruption" talking points that the Democrats have unwisely been using against the Republicans.

John suggests that this is "wishful thinking" on CBS's part. I would call both of these instances of "Freudian Slips" on the part of the MSM.

A Freudian Slip is is an error in speech or emotion that reveals an unconscious motive. The two examples above just happened to occur in the latest 24 hour news cycle.

At any rate, I prefer to think of the errors as Freudian slips; and revealing basically the unconscious bias of some of our major news outlets (or at the least their complete unconsciousness)--because the alternative explanation is that the MSM is deliberately and maliciously trying to distort the news and mislead the American public to further its own political agenda.

And that would be simply unthinkable...wouldn't it?


Victor Davis Hanson: has some thoughts this Memorial Day weekend about the Iraq War:
There may be a lot to regret about the past policy of the United States in the Middle East, but the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to birth democracy in his place is surely not one of them. And we should remember that this Memorial Day.

Whatever our righteous anger at Khomeinist Iran, it was wrong, well aside from the arms-for-hostages scandal, to provide even a modicum of aid to Saddam Hussein, the great butcher of his own, during the Iran-Iraq war.

Inviting the fascist Baathist government of Syria into the allied coalition of the first Gulf War meant that we more or less legitimized the Assad regime’s take-over of Lebanon, with disastrous results for its people.

It may have been strategically in error not to have taken out Saddam in 1991, but it was morally wrong to have then encouraged Shiites and Kurds to rise up — while watching idly as Saddam’s reprieved planes and helicopters slaughtered them in the thousands.

A decade of appeasement of Islamic terrorism, with retaliations after the serial attacks — from the first World Trade Center bombing to Khobar Towers and the USS Cole — never exceeding the occasional cruise missile or stern televised lecture, made September 11 inevitable.

A decade was wasted in subsidizing Yasser Arafat on the pretense that he was something other than a mendacious thug.

I cite these few examples of the now nostalgic past, because it is common to see Iraq written off by the architects of these past failures as the “worst” policy decision in our history, a “quagmire” and a “disaster.”

Just the other day at work, people were discussing WWII and the battles their fathers had fought in during that time, when of my colleagues casually commented about what a "waste" Iraq was compared to WWII. On the contrary, I replied. Not only was Iraq for as great--if not greater--a cause as WWII, but it was a key battle in WWIII.

Absolute silence engulfed the room.

And then the usual began. "But what about all Bush's "lies"? What about all the soldiers dead?" "What about all those Iraqi civilians killed?" As usual, I tried to respond one by one. Most were astonished that Iraq had so few casualties and deaths compared to WWII. Somehow they imagined that Germany and Japan had been stopped without any effort or sacrifice on the part of our soldiers. Some were simply astonished that I would even say such a thing and defend the current administration.

Especially this weekend, though, we should be remembering the achievement our military has had in crushing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. That we have stayed on to offer a new alternative other than autocracy and theocracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and kept a targeted United States safe from attack for over four years is an incredible accomplishment.

No matter what the naysayers insist.


This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher of Weasels . Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts.


First Place

Let Us Make Them All Welcome Gates of Vienna

Second Place

Assessing the Threat At Our Southern Border The Glittering Eye


First Place

The Essential President Bush The Anchoress

Second Place

SC&A Ven t Sigmund, Carl & Alfred

Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher's Site! Great weekend reading.


We just spent the last 5 hours driving down interstate highway 69 to beautiful Indianapolis, where the Boo will be playing in a big soccer tournament over the weekend.

This happens to also be the weekend for the Indianapolis 500, so things are sort of crowded in this neck of the woods! The team was darn lucky to get hotel rooms (that's the good part); the bad part is that the rooms are 20+ miles from the fields.

Blogging will be lighter than usual, but I have a good internet connection and should be able to post each day!

Friday, May 26, 2006


Cathy Siepp takes down Cindy Sheehan rather nicely in an aptly titled piece, "Dear Useful Idiot":
My teenage daughter, who is a more sympathetic person than I am, thinks baldly calling Cindy Sheehan an idiot is a bit harsh, so I'll amend: Cindy Sheehan is a useful idiot, a rattle-headed tool of everyone from Not In Our Name, who even as the Twin Towers were still smoldering worried more about retaliation against the poor Taliban than about women oppressed by the Taliban; to pro-Palestinian terrorist apologists; to your friendly neighborhood Stalinists at various branches of International ANSWER, whose objectives range from freeing Mumia to putting a bright and happy spin on daily life in North Korea.

And yet the most idiotic statement in Sheehan’s new book, Dear President Bush, comes not from Sheehan herself but from Howard Zinn, who writes in the introduction: “A box-cutter can bring down a tower. A poem can build up a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution.”

A box-cutter can bring down a tower. By now, I suppose, we should be used to the hard Left’s extending underdog status to the worst of mass murderers; still, the sheer gall of beginning a series of David-and-Goliath metaphors with that one is breathtaking.

So a spunky little box-cutter took on those big old capitalistic towers, the same way that a brave little pamphlet like Dear President Bush takes on Bush and his evil policies. (The publisher is City Lights’s Open Media Series; City Lights is the San Francisco bookstore famously dedicated to free speech, although it won’t carry anything by Oriana Fallaci because she’s “fascist.”)

Go ahead, read it all.

Meanwhile another useful idiot of the left, whose compassion and concern know no bounds has this to say:

"Yes, it [the assasination of Tony Blair by a suicide bomber] would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

It is a real love fest among these guys. Cindy adoringly hugging Hugo; Geoge looking deeply into the eyes of Fidel...

Neither Cindy nor George have any problem admiring--or even embracing --dictators and thugs enthusiastically. Welcome to the new, improved Useful Idiot Brigade of the 21st century! Joining the Brigade is easy. Simply set your moral thermostat to zero; your psychological state to denial; and your intellectual state to bankrupt.

UPDATE: The Belmont Club seems to notice the same eerie similarity between Sheehan and Galloway, as they are manipulated by their respective puppet-masters and cheerfully enable and encourage the deaths of innocents all over the world.


Maybe you've noticed this, too? Charles Krauthammer this morning notes the following:
All of a sudden, revolutionary Iran has offered direct talks with the United States. All of a sudden, the usual suspects -- European commentators, American liberals, dissident CIA analysts, Madeleine Albright -- are urging the administration to take the bait.

It is not rare to see a regime like Iran's -- despotic, internally weak, feeling the world closing in -- attempt so transparent a ploy to relieve pressure on itself. What is rare is to see the craven alacrity with which such a ploy is taken up by others.

Mark my words. The momentum for U.S.-Iran negotiations has only begun. The focus of the entire Iranian crisis will begin to shift from the question of whether Tehran will stop its nuclear program to whether Washington will sit down alone at the table with Tehran.

To this cynical bait-and-switch, there can be no American response other than No. Absolutely not.

Just yesterday the world was excoriating the Bush administration for its unilateralism -- on Kyoto, the ABM Treaty and most especially Iraq -- and demanding that Washington act in concert with the "international community.'' Just yesterday, the Democratic candidate for president attacked Bush's foreign policy precisely for refusing to consult with, listen to and work with "the allies.''

Another day, another principle. Bush is now being pressured to abandon multilateralism and go it alone with Iran.

Krauthammers suggests that we not fall into this obvious trap--unless one condition applies. We should look the international community if the eye and state that sure, we'll go into negotiations with Iran--but only if you publically pledge beforehand, that the failure of any unilateral talks with this lying and deceitful regime will immediately lead to united military action by the international community.

Barring that kind of pledge, what possible advantaage would there be in our sitting down with Iran? Ahmadinejad will simply use such negotiations as a platform for showing off his pseudo-macho contempt for anything the U.S. does. Haven't we heard enough scornful responses from the fruitcake in charge? A brief sampling:
“They say we want to give Iranians incentives but they think they are dealing with a four-year-old, telling him they will give him candies or walnuts and take gold from him in return”

“Iran will not accept any suspension or freeze of nuclear its work”

"We are asking them to step down from their ivory towers and act with a little logic"

"The Islamic Republic, based on its principles, without being scared of the fuss created, will continue on its path of scientific developments and the world cannot influence the Iranian nation's will"

"The International Atomic Energy Agency has accepted that we are now part of the atomic club"

"I am telling those fake superpowers that the Iranian nation became independent 27 years ago and ... on the nuclear case, it will resist until fully achieving its rights"

This is the kind of rhetoric we have been hearing on a daily basis for several years now from Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. Why in the world would anyone believe that they have any real intention of negotiating in good faith?

It is mere fantasy and wishful thinking on the part of the international community.

By now, even the slowest learners should have figured out that Iran has no intention of stopping its nuclear ambitions; has no intention of doing anything except trying to buy itself yet more time -- something they continually get from the dhim bulbs and enablers of the world, who still believe that if they say "pretty please" enough times, it will make everything better.

On the contrary, that kind of appeasing behavior is correctly perceived by bullies as a fundamental weakness that can be exploited. The practical result is positive reinforcement of the behavior, that continues to escalate because it feeds the ego of the bully.

There is only one principle that can stop Iran's pathological behavior and it is as Krauthammer explains so clearly: You set the limits; clearly state the consequences of unacceptable behavior; and then follow through.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I guess things aren't all rosy and holy in the Iranian paradise... Gateway Pundit has the roundup and pictures of Iranian student rioting in Tehran and elsewhere.

Which reminded me of this hit song from the hit musical "The Looters", the sequel to Mel Brooks' "The Producers"):

Iran was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a brave leader to restore
Islam's former glory
Where, oh, where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me

And now it's...
Springtime for Mahmoud and the 12th Imam
Tehran is happy and gay! (well, not the way you think)
We're praying at a faster pace
We know that we are Allah's master race!
Springtime for Mahmoud and the 12th Imam
Noone can ignore Iran any more
Springtime for Mahmoud and the 12th Imam
Watch out, Europe
We're going on tour!
Springtime for Mahmoud and the 12th Imam...

Look, it's springtime

Winter for America and the Jew!

Springtime for Mahmoud and the 12th Imam!
Now that Islam's
gone nuclear too!


IndianCowboy at Not Really A Cowboy has decided to host a "Psychblogger's Carnival"!
If it has to do with psych, it’s well-written, and it’s an actual commentary from your point of view rather than simply a link and a quote with a quick “I like this”, then send it in. Should Fun times will be had by all.

I’ll be hosting the first one on Thursday, June 1st, so get your links in to me by about 6pm the Wednesday before. Feel free to send multiple submissions, since I have no idea how popular this will be these first few carnivals. That may change if we get to be anything like the size of Tangled Bank, Skeptics’ Circle, or Grand Rounds. We’ll start out bi-weekly and if it looks like it’ll work we might move up to once a week. Once it’s off the ground I’ll open up hosting opportunities to those who are stupid enough to take on the work.

You can either submit by sending me an email at:

Or by using the Blog Carnival Submit Form. I like this idea and hope that everyone in the psychosphere will submit something!


Today is Towel Day (hat tip: Rand Simberg)
You sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? Now there's a frood who knew where his towel was. You are invited to join your fellow hitchhikers in mourning the loss of the late great one. Join in on towel day to show your appreciation for the humor and insight that Douglas Adams brought to all our lives.

Go and find out why a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. And then mourn the great Douglas Adams, whose work I quoted just yesterday.

Adams was about the funniest writer I have ever had the pleasure to read. I still remember reading the first few pages of The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy back in the early 1980's. I was on board a plane, flying to New York and I suspect that my fellow passengers thought I was having a psychotic fit, I was laughing so hard.

The memory of the first time stays with you forever.

Towel Day :: A tribute to Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Light Blogging But Stay Tuned...

Duty calls, and today is going to be extraordinarily busy at work. I may get a post up by this afternoon, but more likely by this evening. Stay tuned and feel free to visit some of the blogs on my blogroll!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006



If I ignore the gratuitous Bush/Cheney bashing in the article above, I have to admit that I am simply consumed with admiration at the way the ACLU has hidden its socialist/totalitarian agenda under the guise of protecting "civil liberties".

It is mind-boggling to think that any rational person could take this organization seriously anymore, as it goes around trying to destroy America's cultural heritage and suppress free speech in a manner reminiscent of certain oppressive religions. Once it may have embraced classical liberal ideals; but then it took a very wrong turn and is now just another quasi-religious cult that owes allegience to the multiculti left.

The ACLU's position brings to mind this passage from Douglas Adams, who was writing about Vogon and other bad poetry:
Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worse is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internall hemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-Gaactic ARts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favoite Bathtime Girgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leaped straight up and through his neck and throttled his brain. (Emphasis mine)

I suspect that the sad fate of Grunthos of Kria has already been shared by the leadership of the ACLU.

And that can only be a good thing for all freedom-loving human life and civilization.

Stop the ACLU has more.