Saturday, January 27, 2007


A frequent lefty commenter on this blog had the following to say on this thread:

No, she clearly doesn't...she will take anything some random blogger says and run with it...I assure you Jim Webb knows his history...and I also assure you I respect his son as I do anyone in the military...but with all this "Democrats want troops to be killed!" nonsense please understand you are saying that the senator wants to put his own son at risk...that's nonsense...especially since no one wants more troops to die...we want them HOME...or somewhere where they would do good...not fuel anti-terrorism and set up an Iraq that will immediately stab us in the me, I am not blaming our troops, they are the finest in the world...their commanders are all wet though... (emphasis mine)

Her response--stating that I'm saying Democrats want the troops killed--put me in mind of a patient--I'll call her Petunia.

Petunia was a young woman with many problems, but she was particularly upset one day because this boyfriend that she had broken up with just wouldn't leave her alone. On closer inquiry, I discovered that in the past week she had phoned him 4 times; picked him up from work every evening; and let him spend the night at her apartment twice.

"I thought you said you were upset because he's not acting like the two of you are broken up?" I asked in some surprise.

She looked at me in astonishment. "He isn't! He seems to think we are going to get back together."

"But aren't you giving him that impression by initiating phone calls to him and picking him up and especially by letting him spend the night at your house," I countered?

Petunia did not understand my confusion. "So? That doesn't mean I want to get back together with him. I'm just being kind." She smiled then--contemplating, I suppose, what a nice person she was.

She truly couldn't understand how her behavior might lead him to think she really didn't mean exactly what she said.

Like Petunia, the commenter above--as well as most of the Democrats (e.g. like Nancy Pelosi in Baghdad proclaiming she "supports the troops") and the clueless antiwar crowd (who never seem to protest against the warmongers in Tehran, Damascus, Gaza, Beirut... or Somalia or Sudan or--well, you get the point; they only protest against America and Israel) seem to have a serious problem in understanding why a person's actions speak louder than their words.

And, from a psychiatric perspective, even if the actions are not louder, then they are far more honest.

This is why, though I listen carefully to the words people say, I also carefully observe how they behave if I really want to understand what is going on inside their heads. The discrepancies that lie between actions and words are most revealing.

After 30 years of doing this professionally, I am never surprised at the degree to which people are able to delude themselves.

The term "self-delusion" is used quite a bit these days, but what does it really mean? Let's focus on that for a bit.

Engaging in "self-delusion" is simply the act of deceiving one's self about some aspect of reality.

Since this is exactly what I think Petunia, this commenter; and most on the political left and in the Democratic Party are doing, it would be worthwhile to review some of the psychological strategies with which we humans are able to deceive ourselves about the external world.

Here are a few examples:

- by using projection some very violent and angry people are able to convince themselves that they are working for peace and love.

- by using delusional projection some religious fanatics who behead innocent people are able to convince themselves that they are pure and holy and following the will of God; while" infidels" like Jews are monsters who "eat babies" and are decended from "pigs and monkeys".

- by using displacement, some people are able to convince themselves that there is a devious plan to imminently replace our secular government with a Christian theocracy; while they are singularly unconcerned about religious fanatics actively waging war on the U.S. and the rest of the world trying to institute an Islamic theoracy.

- by using fantasy some people are able to convince themselves that these particular religious fanatics are reasonable and sensible people, amenable to negotiation and willing to abide by treaties and agreements.

- by using denial some people are able to convince themselves that there is no such thing as Islamofascism and that the war on terror is just a political ployto accumulate power conceived by an administration they don't like.

- by using repression some people would like to eliminate all unpleasant thoughts about 9/11 and would ban it from everyone's collective consciousness if they could.

- by acting out a person directly can express or act on an unconscious wish or impulse so as to avoid being aware of the uncomfortable emotion that accompanies it

- by using reaction formation, a person is able behaves in exactly the opposite manner from what he or she says or really wants.

In fact, any or all of the primitive and immature psychological defenses may be effectively used to disguise, distort or ignore reality and make the act of self-delusion a comfortable process. That is the function of psychological defenses, after all; and every single person alive uses them, though some more regularly than others.

When dealing with the well-defended person in the grip of self-delusion, one of the retorts commonly heard after you point out their defense to them, is that it is not they who are in denial about reality--it is you! It is not they who are projecting, acting out etc, it is you! It is not they who are avoiding their own anger, rage, hate etc. it is you!

You think you are living in a democracy but you are wrong! You are deluded! All our freedoms have been usurped by the BushHitler! The clever members of this "reality-based" community see fascism and oppression everywhere--except, of course, where it actually resides: in the actions of the Islamic Jihadis and in themselves.

For them it is simply a matter of "opinion" whether or not a person is out of touch with reality; and their opinion is just as good as yours, thank you very much. When truth and reality are felt to be subjective constructs, they know they have philosophically been given a free pass and don't have to make any sense whatsoever. Truth is relative--but what they proclaim as truth has more "truthiness" than you. Reality is subjective--but only their reality counts.

The first prerequisite necessary to be able to observe that someone is engaging in self-delusion is the acceptance there is an objective reality, external and independent to one's self; one's beliefs or one's emotions/feelings. Without this fundamental epistomological foundation, it is meaningless and completely laughable to accuse anyone of self-delusion, althought our courageous postmodern intellectual elites do it all the time.

As they wallow in their preferred form of social subjectivism, it is perfectly "reasonable" (if that is the word) from their perspective to impute delusion to others--even if every time they do so, they effectively demonstrate the invalidity of their own philosophy. That is why it is so amusing to observe their appropriation of the term "reality-based community".

It gets excessively wearisome to constantly point out to them that there is a world that exists outside their heads and outside their emotions; and that the entire purpose of reason --which they reject in favor of feelings --is about understanding that world.

Their social subjectivism posits that our minds are disconnected from reality to begin with. How then is it possible for them to accuse anyone of "self-delusion"? One simply has a differing POV that is by their definition as real and true as anyone else's.

That is the basis of the multiculturalism and the "politically correct" relativism that they persistantly espouse.

That is why a disgruntled commenter on my blog (who always wears such a "happy face" no matter what she is saying) can insist that it is "nonsense" for me to observe the reckless behavior of the Democrats and the political left as they do everything possible to encourage, protect, and enable the enemies that are killing our troops; even as they proclaim-- without the slightest awareness of irony--that they support those troops.

No, they don't want our troops to be killed, but their behavior facilitates and encourages it. Our peace demonstrators say they stand for peace and are against war; but their mindless, unthinking, feel-good-about-themselves-and-what-wonderful-human-being-they-are behavior only makes the real warmongers and barbarians happy in the knowledge that they have many battalions of useful idiots ready and willing to excuse, rationalize and appease for them.

And, don't forget Petunia who says repeatedly that she doesn't want to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, but is oblivious to the fact that her own behavior facilitates exactly that idea in him.

When both sides are convinced that the other side is deluding themselves, it becomes extremely important that SOME ADULT SOMEWHERE examine the external reality and follow a process of reason to assess the truth.

Much as the left (who as a group are heavily invested in the whole postmodernistic touchy feely thingy) would like to believe that they have exclusive rights to the truth, they have actually dealt themselves out of any contest for discovering truth by insisting that truth is relative. If it IS relative, they they must agree that I am as correct in what I think as they are.

OTOH, if truth is NOT relative, but exists outside of whatever one side or the other feels is true, then by all means, let's get down to examining ALL the evidence; not just the rhetoric and histrionics, but the actual behavior being engaged in and the real-world context and consequences of that behavior.

Let's see who is engaging in self-delusion and whose behavior is in reality emboldening the enemy who just happens to be killing the troops we both say we support.

I'm game.

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