Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WHACKY AWARDS - Impressive Insanity

The first installment of the Weekly Wednesday Whack Job Awards is now posted at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred's blog. The insanity is impressive!

Check it out. It makes a nice complement to the Carnival of the Insanities posted every Sunday.


Is this study really come as a surprise to anyone?

Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."
The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students' NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.

Narcissism can have benefits, said study co-author W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia, suggesting it could be useful in meeting new people "or auditioning on 'American Idol.'"

"Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others," he said. The study asserts that narcissists "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

Twenge, the author of "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever Before," said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others.

If you want to understand the pros and cons of narcissism, I refer you to this series of posts.

Amazing, isn't it? Thinking you're hot stuff isn't the cure-all promised by the self-esteem gurus. Most psychiatrists could tell you this. Here are some findings from an earlier analysis of multiple studies on self-esteem:
A generation — and many millions of dollars — later, it turns out we may have been mistaken. Five years ago, the American Psychological Society commissioned me and several other experts to wade with an open mind through the enormous amount of published research on the subject and to assess the benefits of high self-esteem.

Here are some of our disappointing findings. High self- esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades. (Actually, kids with high self-esteem do have slightly better grades in most studies, but that's because getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem, not the other way around.) In fact, according to a study by Donald Forsyth at Virginia Commonwealth University, college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder.Self-esteem doesn't make adults perform better at their jobs either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better — even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers — but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of work.

Likewise, people with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don't support their self-flattering views. If anything, people who love themselves too much sometimes annoy other people by their defensive or know-it-all attitudes. Self-esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and some work (including that of psychologist Robert Hogan writing in the Harvard Business Review) has found humility rather than self-esteem to be a key trait of successful leaders.

It was widely believed that low self-esteem could be a cause of violence, but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves. They turn violent toward others who fail to give them the inflated respect they think they deserve. Nor does high self-esteem deter people from becoming bullies, according to most of the studies that have been done; it is simply untrue that beneath the surface of every obnoxious bully is an unhappy, self-hating child in need of sympathy and praise.

High self-esteem doesn't prevent youngsters from cheating or stealing or experimenting with drugs and sex. (If anything, kids with high self-esteem may be more willing to try these things at a young age.)There were a few areas where higher self-esteem seemed to bring some benefits. For instance, people with high self- esteem are generally happier and less depressed than others, though we can't quite prove that high self-esteem prevents depression or causes happiness. Young women with high self- esteem seem less susceptible to eating disorders. In some studies (though not all), people with high self-esteem bounce back from misfortune and trauma faster than others.

High self-esteem also promotes initiative. People who have it are more likely to speak up in a group, persist in the face of failure, resist other people's advice or pressure and strike up conversations with strangers. Of course, initiative can cut both ways: One study on bullying found that self-esteem was high among the bullies and among the people who intervened to resist them. Low self-esteem marked the victims of bullying.

In short, despite the enthusiastic embrace of self-esteem, we found that it conferred only two benefits. It feels good and it supports initiative.

Most people confuse "self-esteem" with what I will refer to as a "sense of self". It is the latter--not the former, that is so often screwed up in the angry, violent, grandiose, and generally narcissistic people in the world. If you have a healthy "Self", you are likely to have a healthy self-esteem--which is not the same at all as a high self-esteem.

The psychological defect that leads to so many problems is a defective or distorted sense of one's SELF. The excessive self-esteem you see in a bully comes from a distortion of reality that person has with regard to their self. It was once widely believed that low self-esteem was a cause of violence--and you see that idea reflected today in the platitudes and rationalizations of terrorism-- but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves.

Do you really suppose that people like Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Bin Laden or Kim suffer from poor self-esteem? On the contrary. Exaggerated self-esteem is one of the hallmarks of a pathological narcissist or psychopath.

The pop-psychology that promulgated the widespread belief that if you nurture kid's self-esteem neglected to mention that if the sense of self was already damaged, all you managed to do was to create a narcissist; and it is simply a waste of time and money--as this article reports.

If the 19th century was the age of hysteria (and basically, Freud was responding to the excessive sexual repression present in that century); then the 20th was the age of narcissism. In this new century, that narcissism seems to be morphing into an even more malignant sociopathy that pervades society and impacts almost all our social, political, and educational institutions.

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

For years now, pop psychology and its gurus have mesmerized the culture at large. All their self-help tenets have percolated through K-12 educational curricula; and been accepted wholeheartedly by the cultural elite of Hollywood and the intellectual elite of academia.

The triumvarate of contradictions that claims to be based on "scientific" psychology includes the hyping of (1) self-esteem (increasing your self-worth without having to achieve anything; (2) hope (achieving your goals without any real effort) and (3) victimhood (it's not your fault that you haven't achieved anything or made any effort). See here for more discussion.

Steve Salerno, writing in the LA Times tackles the third leg of this holy psychological quest --the hyping of hope in the "self-help" movement. It seems the intellectual impoverishment of all these pseudoscientific psychological deceptions are now becoming apparent:
Over a 20-year span beginning in the early 1970s, the average SAT score fell by 35 points. But in that same period, the contingent of college-bound seniors who boasted an A or B average jumped from 28% to an astonishing 83%, as teachers felt increasing pressure to adopt more "supportive" grading policies. Tellingly, in a 1989 study of comparative math skills among students in eight nations, Americans ranked lowest in overall competence, Koreans highest — but when researchers asked the students how good they thought they were at math, the results were exactly opposite: Americans highest, Koreans lowest. Meanwhile, data from 1999's omnibus Third International Mathematics and Science Study, ranking 12th-graders from 23 nations, put U.S. students in 20th place, besting only South Africa, Lithuania and Cyprus.

Still, the U.S. keeps dressing its young in their emperors' new egos, passing them on to the next set of empowering curricula. If you teach at the college level, as I do, at some point you will be confronted with a student seeking redress over the grade you gave him because "I'm pre-med!" Not until such students reach med school do they encounter truly inelastic standards: a comeuppance for them but a reprieve for those who otherwise might find ourselves anesthetized beneath their second-rate scalpel.

The larger point is that society has embraced such concepts as self-esteem and confidence despite scant evidence that they facilitate positive outcomes. The work of psychologists Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligman suggests that often, high self-worth is actually a marker for negative behavior, as found in sociopaths and drug kingpins.

We see the people who have inhaled this "psychology-lite" everywhere around us, and in all levels of society. Particularly we can notice it in the elites of Hollywood and Academia; who alternate between acting out their narcissistically empowered superiority -- demanding to be noticed, admired and loved (by you); and playing the narcissistically empowered victim -- demanding their inalienable rights and priveleges (at your expense).

But the real victims of all this hype are our children, because these foolish notions, without a scintilla of scientific evidence and only becaue it makes some people feel good about themselves, have become the pop psychology dogma of public policy in education.

In Narcissism and Society I wrote:

All over the world, on a daily basis we see the horrible results of Narcissistic behavior. Individuals and groups; religions and nations act out their Narcissistic rage at various insults--real and imagined-- and people suffer and die for the purpose of the grandiosity of the tyrant, or the glory of the religion. It has been said that the 20th century was the “century of the Narcissist”, but the 21st is well on its way to outdoing the horrors of the past as a seeming epidemic of malignant Narcissism caused by a crushing of human nature and the human spirit--all for the purpose of serving the self-aggrandizing vision of the few.

For many on the left side of the political spectrum, it is axiomatic that narcissism is inextricably linked to business, capitalism, individualism, and the pursuit of profit. The political left has idealized certain social and political systems because they suppressed the individual and elevated the state, insisting that individuals had no right to exist for their own selves, but only to serve others.

Executives, such as The Rigases of Adelphia Corp; Samuel D. Waksal, the socialite founder of ImClone Systems; Dennis Kozlowski, of Tyco International; Scott D. Sullivan of WorldCom; and Ken Lay of Enron, typify the ugly narcissist of the business world with his or her extreme grandiosity; selfishness of unbelievable proportions; and complete lack of empathy towards the people they cheated. While the majority of businessmen are ethical and honest individuals, only a few “bad apples” are needed to demonstrate the havoc that malignant narcissism in the business sector can wreak.

But what is not generally or readily seen (either on the left or right) is the flip side of "selfish" or "grandiose" narcissism-- and that is what I will call narcissism rooted in idealism, rather than selfishness, or "idealistic" narcissism (discussed at some length here if you are interested). This second kind of narcissism (the flip side of the coin, if you will) is less obvious to an observer, since it is disguised with a veneer of concern for others. But it is equally—if not more—destructive and causative of human suffering, death and misery. Both kinds of narcissism are a plague on the world; and both are well-traveled avenues for limiting freedom and imposing tyranny. The "grandiose" narcissism is the stimulus for individual tyrants, while the "idealistic" Narcissism leads to groups imposing their will on others.

One such group happens to be the "Self-Esteem Gurus" in education, whose nonsense continues to reinforce the inappropriate grandiosity of young children; just as the radical environmentalists and kumbayah types (among other groups) continue to reinforce the malignant selflessness.

Between the two influences unleashed on the vulnerable minds of our children, is it any surprise that by the time they get to college, kids are either dysfunctional self-absorbed narcissists, naively malignant do-gooders, or completely and irrevocably cynical about the pervasive indoctrination and anti-intellectualism they have been subjected to in their educational careers?

As a writer in the LA Times say somewhat understatedly, "Gen Y's ego trip is likely to take a nasty turn". Yes, it is --along with the society they will inherit.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sorry, Siggy. I may someday forgive them for deciding it was time to get out of Iraq...but this time the Brits have gone too far!
Prince Charles today said banning McDonald's fast food was the key to a healthy lifestyle.

His comments came as he attended the launch of a public health awareness campaign.

Charles, a strong advocate of organic food, was touring the Imperial College London

I may give up fish n' chips in protest for this outrage.


"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." - attributed to Mark Twain

Is anyone surprised at this news?

One of the dissonant rhymes of history is at this moment taking place in Venezuela. If you listen closely, you will be able to hear the repugnant sounds of a familiar oppression in Hugo Chavez' "socialist paradise."

He is clamping down on the press; he is nationalizing all the industry; he is threatening jail to anyone who opposes him. Things are beginning to fall apart, so the solution for thugs like Chavez is to just get more control. As once was pointed out to Darth Vader in a similar context, I believe, "The more you tighten your grip, the more people will slip through your fingers."

Faced with an accelerating inflation rate and shortages of basic foods like beef, chicken and milk, President Hugo Chávez has threatened to jail grocery store owners and nationalize their businesses if they violate the country’s expanding price controls.

Food producers and economists say the measures announced late Thursday night, which include removing three zeroes from the denomination of Venezuela’s currency, are likely to backfire and generate even more acute shortages and higher prices for consumers. Inflation climbed to an annual rate of 18.4 percent a year in January, the highest in Latin America and far above the official target of 10 to 12 percent.

Like the 20th century's experiment with socialism/communism, the 21st's will only lead to even more poverty and misery. The smart ones escape while they still can (soon it will be forbidden, I'm sure).

And, listen to the clang associations of the communist apologists:

Chávez victory paves the way for fresh progress. The revolutionary nationalist masses in Venezuela continue to take great strides forward, in the teeth of imperialist and comprador bourgeois opposition ....

It continues ad nauseum, and you'll have to read it all, because you just can't make up this kind of unbelievable rhetoric. It hasn't changed in the slightest since the time of Stalin, and any normal person--but definitely not a totally brainwashed dupe like the nitwit who wrote it-- would fall on the floor howling with laughter. What such nitwits and their handlers did in the last century is far from funny, however; being directly responsible for the deaths and misery of millions. Communist robots like "dido" should be embarassed to even show their faces even briefly in the civilized world, but his type are incapable of taking responsibility for the consequences of their ideology; nor do they feel any shame or remorse. They are too busy basking in the glow of their sociopathic selflessness.

Like all varieties of tyrantosaurus rex throughout history, Chavez will lay the blame for the failure of his "reforms" externally, and plunge his countrymen and women into a paranoid hysteria. Undoubtedly, it will be America's and Bush's fault when the "successes" he flaunts today magically disappear and people find that they are worse off under his socialist "paradise". Meanwhile, the usual useful idiots encourage and enable Hugo's insanity.

The Chavez / Venezuela story is just the most recent edition of Animal Farm ; Awash in collectivist fervor, it won't be long before the Venezuelan people will begin to realize they have been conned by an expert. They will have to be diverted from this realization, and Chavez, like all the pigs who have gone before (an I am grossly insulting pigs, I realize), has the appropriate enemy all picked out and is preparing the diversion, even as he sucks up to his fellow four-legged tyrants (see here and here).

Yes, history is rhyming again--ideologically speaking, Hugo Chavez is starting to rhyme very well with Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro and all the other dictators of the 20th century who imposed their ideology on a population and dragged them down into poverty,misery, and eternal servitude to the state.

The only "fresh progress" that is ever made is the accelerating cognitive decline of the true believers like "dido", who never acknowledge the destructive, envious and over-riding desire for power and control that drive them to enslave others to their ideology.

UPDATE: Today's news: Chavez now to nationalize all private oil fields by May 1. As Captain Ed notes:
Interestingly and not surprisingly, the Venezuelan strongman didn't mention how he planned to compensate these companies for 60% shares of their projects. Instead, he told them that he didn't want them to leave, and take all of their expertise and technology with them. Chavez wants them to accept the fact that they would do all the work while he gets most of the profits.

These projects were the only privately-financed oil production facilities in Venezuela, and their worth is estimated at $17 billion. Will Chavez send them a check for the $10.5 billion he owes for his share of their operations? Don't bet on it. Chavez has offered compensation for other business assets that he has nationalized, but he has tried nothing on this scale so far.

Chavez's diktat will take legal effect in four months, although Chavez says he'll seize the projects by May 1. The companies have that long to negotiate terms with Chavez, who has an army to occupy the oil fields, making negotiations somewhat one-sided. The oil producers will likely try to strike a bargain with Chavez, but it makes little sense to do so. They will only be delaying the inevitable; Chavez will eventually steal it all from them. They should dismantle their operations and leave forthwith, taking the losses now and leaving Chavez to explain why the workers have lost their jobs as well as the expertise necessary to produce their primary export.

Venezuela's descent into further poverty and dysfunction is assured.

Monday, February 26, 2007


In fact, if you look at the underlying two ideologies, it makes perfect metaphysical, epistemological and ethical sense:

LONDON--The other day Ken Livingstone, the mayor of my hometown of London, organized a conference on Islam and the West. It was a carefully rigged affair in which handpicked speaker after handpicked speaker stood up and announced that the democracies were to blame for the tidal wave of murder sweeping the world. To provide a spurious air of balance, the organizers invited a few people who dissented from the line of the Muslim Brotherhood and its British allies. Agnès Poirier, a French feminist, was one of them, but she pulled out because although there were no special facilities for Christians, Hindus and Jews, Mr. Livingstone had provided separate prayer rooms for Muslim men and Muslim women.

She wanted to know: Does Ken Livingstone's idea of multiculturalism acknowledge and condone segregation? It clearly does, but what made this vignette of ethnic politics in a European city worth noting is that commentators for the BBC and nearly every newspaper here describe Mr. Livingstone as one of the most left-wing politicians in British public life. Hardly any of them notice the weirdness of an apparent socialist pandering to a reactionary strain of Islam, pushing its arguments and accepting its dictates. (emphasis mine)

I have noted repeatedly on this blog that the political left has made common cause with, and routinely enables the Islamofascists and their religious totalitarian agenda. This reality is far from weird; it is the political strategy that has been adopted by the socialist and communist remnants of the 20th century.

Maybe you haven't noticed Hugo Chavez, the darling of the political left, and dictator extraordinaire sucking up to radical Islamic terror regimes as he establishes his socialist paradise in Venezuela? Or, perhaps you haven't noticed how China and Russia frequently come to the defense of the new totalitarians of Islam quite regularly in the U.N.? Partly this is because they want to thwart the interests of the U.S.; but primarily it is because philosophically they feel at home with the totalitarian ideology promulgated under of the Islamic religion.

Observe how easily Islam has been able to subvert key Western values--such as freedom of speech and expression (e.g., the Danish cartoons as just one example)--with a degree of invincibility and outraged virtue, capitalizing on a tactical opportunity that was not present prior to the latter part of the last century. Since then many on the political left, particularly the remnants of utopian socialist ideology, can be counted on to aid and abet Islam's claims to victimhood by the West and the sense of entitlement they exhibit for the West's money.

Everywhere the leftists march and strut their stuff, you will see the tacit support given, either consciously or unconsciously, to all the thugs of the Middle East (and elsewhere) who engage in jihad, murder, and the most vile anti-semitism, sexism and homophobia.

Yes, on the surface it certainly does seem weird, if you only listen to what they are saying. But when you consider the underlying philosophical principles of the left and those of radical Islam and then observe their behaviors, you will discover the philosophical harmony that exists between them.

Islam--particularly the extreme elements-has easily been able to take maximum advantage of the Achilles heel of the West; a vulnerability that has come into existence as a result of the rarely articulated philosophical and political strategies adopted by the political left when they abandoned classical liberalism. In the table below are the philosophical elements of Classical Liberalism versus Postmodernism. Over the last 50 years or so, the values of the West , the beacon of classical liberal ideas, have incrementally been eroded and undermined as Western intellectuals in the academic world have embraced postmodern ideas.

The two world views are not compatible.

Fundamentally threatened by classical liberal values, the world view of radical Islam happens to be entirely compatible with the new postmodern philosophy.

The essential anti-reality, anti-reason, anti-human collectivism that underlies radical Islam is practically indistinguishable from today's leftist thought processes. Of course, the particular content and the ultimate destination are unique for each; but only to the extent of the differing utopias they each desire to impose on the world.

That they each desire to impose their own version of utopia on the rest of us is the metaphysical and epistemological glue that binds them together. Either we submit willingly, or they will use any and all coercive strategies--including violence and terrorism--to bring us around to their way of worship. The left does it for our own "good"; Islam does it for the sake of Allah.

Despite the rhetoric of "peace" and "love" and "brotherhood" and "justice" that emanates from the left and from Islam (the "religion of peace"), both subscribe to their own unique brand of "jihad" (the political left prefers to call it "revolution"). Both are quite comfortable with initiating and using force up to and including terrorism to achieve their ends. Of course, they generally couch it in terms of self-defense--and that is why identity politics and the quest for ultimate victimization from the imperialist/ capitalistist West (Marx's "oppressed" vs "oppressor" dialectic applied via multiculturalism) come into play.

The vulnerability created within Western culture has been effectively used to optimize Islam's own religious, political, psychological, and military objectives. And they have been successful precisely because they are in philosophical and ethical step with the political left of Europe and America.

The identity politics of today's left is based on two quasi-religious and pseudo-intellectual tenets that conveniently enable and promote the Islamist agenda. They are multiculturalism and political correctness. Multiculturalism exists to undermine Western culture at the expense of other cultures (the basic mantra of the multiculturalist is "All cultures are equally good, except for Western culture, which is uniquely bad); and political correctness "engenders evil because of the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” [Theodore Dalrymple]

Both intellectual strategies have been widely used by leftist intellectuals unable to abandon the socialist ideology, even after its catastrophic failures in the 20th century. In fact these two doctrines have been slowly and relentlessly absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last several decades, clearing the way for a constant and steady undermining of Western values; including freedom, democracy, and trade. The process has accelerated since the end of the Cold War, and it is so insidious that most people don't even realize that objective reality and truth, as well as reason and logic have been replaced with the subjectivism and relativism of postmodern rhetoric.

A third strategy is also effectively being used specifically to undermine capitalism and modernism and progress (interesting that those who use it call themselves "progressives", isn't it?) is radical environmentalism (whose totalitarian/fascist agenda I talk about in this post). Radical environmentalism is just another extreme religion that has its holy icons and priesthood/imams with their various apocalypic visions. Is it surprising that jokingly Al Gore is referred to as the "Goracle"? Humor has a way of cutting through the BS.

Radical Environmentalism, multiculturalism and political correctness have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula and all college 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.

In all these areas, debate has been "closed" and anyone questioning the premises are identified as heretics and apostates.

In a previous post I described how these these three political strategies represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategies that the world's socialist remnants are using to revive their defunct and destructive ideology, and that they seamlessly entwine with a fourth strategy adopted by the Islamofascists--terrorism.

Below is a flow chart that I adapted from Stephen Hick's book, Explaining Postmodernism (p. 173), which summarizes the evolution of these strategies and which was in the Dr. Sanity post linked to above. I refer you to this excellent book (see my sidebar) for a more in-depth analysis than is possible in a blog post. The summarizing chart is worth posting again because in order to combat terrorism, and avoid succumbing to the ideological assault from socialism and communism's advocates in the 21st centruy, Western Civilization must rouse itself from its self-induced subjectivist fog and reassert its fundamental values.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


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. And you might read this before submitting an entry.

Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. Life in Ann Arbor is so interesting. A lot like this actually.

2. Shhhhhh...a turnaround is confirmed by the near-deafening silence of the media....An excellent exit strategy and a not so hot entry strategy. Should we really telegraph our intent? Of course, it could be a bit of leaking the way to credibility?. Oh well, Kumbayah and all that.

3. It's only to be expected that France urges diplomacy for this threat. Don't forget, nuanced marital communication , like diplomacy, is always important. There are several ways to surmount marriage.

4. The real enemies of human civilization just got into the WMD game! It was just a matter of time...remember this scene? Now, This is big news?.

5. A world without America? I don't think so, though some would like to see it.

6. And now, a few words on sex so you'll keep clicking.

7. Eureka! The real reason for global warming is revealed! OK, here's the real reason for global warning....Prevent global genital warming!

8. We create global warming. India and China offset it with global cooling. The penguins don’t care and it all evens out in the end. We could just adapt.... Extreme adaptation, however, may be necessary! Or, you can hope that superhero Carry guy rescues you...

9. I bet Jon Carry doesn't have this on his utility belt (nah...he's got cute flowers instead).

10. Sudden Jihadi Rage Syndrome? What happens when people stand up and won't take it anymore! Resistance is Futile! (Is this paranoid, or what?)

11. The best laid plans....And this must be truly discouraging for those who believe in conspiracy theories. Take the "Warmonger Test" .

12. When you think "Hot single guys", "North Korea!" immediately comes to mind, doesn't it? How about "used car ideology salesmen"?

13. A wackypedia? It's a wacky Wikiworld out there.

14. And, speaking of wacky-- SC&A announce the "Wednesday Wack Job Awards"! Nominations are open.

15. I nominate the frugally insane and those involved in this gender fender bender.

16. Gollum and Smeagol channel Barry White. You won't believe this!

17. She improved herself into another plane of existence.

18. Fiddling while Israel burns?

19. Cuba bans Marx. About time. Churchill's last stand. Let's hope so.

20. An open letter to spammers. Good luck with that.

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, February 24, 2007


These days all you need to do is spend a few minutes scanning the internet and news headlines and you will soon begin to notice that there is an ongoing struggle being waged against the oppressive chains of reality.

Probably never in history have so many been so oppressed by so much awful reality. In response to the unpleasantness, people use a variety of coping mechanisms.

Today, paranoia and delusion , encapsulated by the always useful anti-Semitism is the mechanism of choice for the UN, as it once again pimps for the Palestinians, the greatest victims the world has ever known:
A newly released United Nations report epitomizes the foul anti-Semitism which has overtaken the U.N. human-rights machinery. In language reminiscent of Nazi Germany, John Dugard, the U.N.’s “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” has announced that Jews seek racial domination.

In Dugard’s words: “The IDF inflicts serious bodily and mental harm on Palestinians...Palestinians throughout the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] are denied freedom of movement. Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them?”

...What Dugard fears most is not hate and the terrorism it fuels, but “Judaization” —the idea of a Jew living in claimed Arab land. Deliberately mirroring Nazi imagery, his report refers to Israel’s security fence this way: “The Wall being built in East Jerusalem is an instrument of social engineering designed to achieve the Judaization of Jerusalem…”

The “Judaization” problem stands side-by-side with this U.N. champion of the Hamas government. According to Dugard, Israel has no right to refuse to transfer funds to the Hamas government. Why? “Predictably, Israel justifies its action on security grounds, but the real reason seems to be a determination to effect a regime change.” A look at the Hamas Charter might help determine the wisdom of regime change: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it...There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad...” But according to this U.N. expert the problem is not a government dedicated to killing Jews, but the Jews themselves.

Adolf Hitler said in 1939:
"Only when this Jewish bacillus infecting the life of peoples has been removed can one hope to establish a co-operation amongst the nations which shall be built up on a lasting understanding."

Or, was it the UN's Duggard saying it today? Hard to tell.

Only those who would dearly love to erase all Jewish history (and the associated Christian history) of that part of the world would accuse Israel of "Judaizing" Jerusalem.

Conveniently, such charges happen to ignore the reality that the Jews are only reclaiming what was historically theirs:
Just how depraved, dysfunctional and morally bankrupt do many in Palestinian/Arab world have to be, to deny real history? Just how depraved, dysfunctional and morally bankrupt do many in Palestinian/Arab world have to be deny the realities of Jewish and Christian history, so as to create a surreal and false identity out of thin air that might give credibility and meaning to centuries of failure and nothingness?

To deny Jewish/Christian history in Jerusalem and Israel is to deny the beliefs of Jews and Christians and to deny both the Old and New Testaments (both of which precede the birth of Mohammed and the Quran).

Are both Judaism and Christianity lies, simply because there are those in the Palestinian and Arab communities need to dismiss those faiths to bolster a concocted, Dali-esque, dream world self image that serves no other purpose than to camouflage a history of failure, disgrace and political dysfunction? Are there that many in the Arab world that are willing to be a party to the deceit that serves no other purpose than to perpetuate the failed ideologies and regimes that have destroyed the once proud ummah?

Much has been made of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, so let's examine that. When the Israelis entered Jerusalem, they found the few Christian schools forced to teach the Quran. The found unreliable electricity, schooling (girls were forbidden to go to school), virtually no health care and a non existant economy. While we do not wish to get into lists, the Israelis provided to the Palestinians- the very ones who tried to destroy their ancient and proud history with deliberate malice- schools and universities, health care, sanitation, electricty, an economy and an infrastructure they had never known.

The Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East are almost always aided in their struggle against reality by the ever-helpful dupes of history like the UN's Duggard.

If we now turn to domestic politics, we find that the eternal Marxist struggle continues even in our own land. In a completely different, yet metaphysically related example, let's consider what the always unfair and unbalanced "reality-based" and "progressive" warriors for truth, justice, and the American Way are up to.

Does anyone notice the eerie parallels between The four-year jail sentence of student blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman in Egypt for the crimes of “contempt for religion” and “insulting the president”; and the hysteria about the outrageous "crimes" of Fox News which has the unmitigated gall to editorially display "contempt toward the political left" and dares to "insult the icons of the left" by not sucking up to them and not being reverent enough toward their ideas?

The free speech parallels are powerful enough; but who could have imagined that Fox News would evolve into a sort of threatening "media Israel" for the political left, as they seek to prevent the spread of the contamination of "Foxification" in America.

The oppressive success of Fox News (they are far more successful and more watched than their media neighbors like CNN, MSNBC and all the other TV news outlets) to maintain and even increase their market share of broadcast news must be stopped! Why should the left have to put up with a news organization that questions their authority! Or speaks truth to their power fantasies? Screw reality!

Just as the UN's Dugard fears , not hate and the terrorism it fuels, but “Judaization”; so too does the left fear popularity and diversity of ideas and the thinking it fuels--in a media they believe they own lock, stock, and barrel.

If they had their way, Brit Hume would receive the same sentence and possibly even a harsher one, as the Egyptian blogger did--for daring to insult John Murtha the other day.
“Think” Progress claims Hume smeared Murtha and pulled out quotes Republicans have used in the past to “smear” him too. In 2005, John McCain dared to say Murtha has “never been a big thinker.” Oh. My. God. He did not just say that awful, awful smear. Do I even need to repeat the words Democrats have used to smear President Bush?

Smear President Bush? Nooooooo way, dude! They were simply courageously "speaking truth to power" and confronting the BushHitler's evil omnipresent fascist fantasy of their dreams. And now that they are in power, they'll make sure no one dares question their authority and their fantasies ever again.

It's all just a part of their symbolic and tireless struggle against oppression.

Or, to paraphrase John Cleese in Monty Python's Life of Brian whose character, totally disgusted with all the ridiculous revolutionary plotting and absurd rhetoric of his fellow revolutionaries, retorts that it is actually more "symbolic of their struggle against reality."

Someday--if they aren't careful--they shall overcome. And then there will be hell to pay.

Friday, February 23, 2007


From Amir Taheri in his editorial "Ahmadinejad and Russian Roulette":
"In the old times, gunboat diplomacy worked because the man who sent the flotilla could use it without being second-guessed at every step. The gunboat was a symbol of power that was real because those who possessed it had the will and the courage to use it. In most cases, it was not actually used because those targeted knew that it could be used.

Today, however, the US has all the power in the world but lacks the will and courage to use it. …

Ahmadinejad, reported to watch a lot of CNN, has seen the gunboats sail in. But he has also seen Nancy Pelosi, Jack Murtha, Barrack Obama, and other American luminaries such as Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Jane Fonda who would rather see Bush destroyed than the mullahs restrained."


ShrinkWrapped has a must-read series of posts on the psychological consequences of abortion on demand. In Part I, he discusses some of the historical developments that made the legalization of abortion on demand compelling. He also notes a strange fact:
A cursory search of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association via the Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing site (available by subscription only) which covers the premier Journal of American Psychoanalysis from 1953 -2003, revealed only 48 citations for "Psychoanalysis AND Abortion". In contrast, there were ~450 citations for "Pregnancy OR Pregnant AND Psychoanalysis" and a search for "Children AND Psychoanalysis" led to too many citations to list. It is no surprise that Psychoanalysis would be so concerned with Childhood and with Pregnancy, after all these are critical developmental milestones in people's lives, but the relative dearth of articles exploring the meaning of Abortion, despite the very high percentage of patients who have been touched by abortion in one way or another, is quite striking. I believe that, among other reasons, this reflects a probably unconscious decision among Psychoanalysts to avoid the topic for reasons that I will suggest as this series develops. Prominent among the reasons would be a sense that discussing Abortion has always been extremely likely to evoke and provoke extreme reactions. Abortion is such a charged issue that reason is rarely a part of the discussion. In some ways this would make it an ideal subject for Psychoanalytic exploration, but in reality, for political reasons, most Psychoanalysts have avoided the issue.

Shrink does not avoid the issue, and he goes on to dissect some of the unintended psychological consequences that have come into play in a society that endorses "abortion on demand." In Part II he says:
For a couple who desire a child, life begins before conception. A couple trying to become pregnant find that each month, if the woman has her menses, there is a small feeling of loss; the hoped for and already loved child has not appeared. When, finally, the woman determines she is pregnant, often responding to barely conscious and unconscious bodily signals that herald the changes taking place within, the child begins to take on a reality, a life of its own. By the time of "quickening", typically in the fourth month or thereabouts, the child is already a baby in the minds of the parents. There is no question that wanted children are psychologically already babies from very early in the sequence. Furthermore, a wanted child is the repository of all that is best in the couple. They imbue the soon-to-be infant with all sorts of possibilities and qualities. Most first time parents have significant anxiety over their ability to parent and raise a child, but there is no question that from the moment of the positive EPT, reinforced each step of the way (heartbeat, sonograms, movement), the woman is carrying a person, not a fetus, and not a clump of cells.

Contrast this with an unwanted pregnancy. The language and the psychological processes couldn’t be more different. The future abortion is dehumanized from the start. It is a clump of cells or a fetus. It is the repository of all that is rejected and ambivalent in the parents.

Our society’s response to abortion is an almost direct reflection of the psychological process of splitting....

Our splitting is played out in the contrasting responses and psychological work involved in a planned, termination, abortion by choice, versus an unwanted termination, ie a miscarriage. When a wanted pregnancy is lost, the intensity of mourning is, to a certain extent, proportional to the reality of the infant. There are women who lose a pregnancy in the first trimester who experience profound mourning, but this is much more typical of later miscarriages and miscarriage on delivery, ie a still-born child. Because the infant has been primary experienced as an idealized and idealizable person, the mourning is painful but necessary to allow for a later healthy pregnancy. Psychologically, all of the unconscious ambivalence toward the pregnancy which caused such pain, can be resolved through the process of mourning, letting go of the lost proto-object.

Abortion by choice is a very different proposition. From an early point the pregnancy is psychologically attacked. By assaulting the humanity of the future child, both the good and bad aspects of the fetus are repressed. The parent disowns and disavows the clump of cells and repudiates it in the strictest terms. In such cases, mourning is either discouraged or overtly denied.

Part III can be found here; and Part IV should be up later today. As an accompanying piece you might also want to read these two posts from Siggy, which detail his own personal experience with abortion and the effect it has had on him.

He represents one of the many invisible consequences of abortion on demand that are rarely addressed--the effect that abortion has on the father.

It is important to note, that ShrinkWrapped takes neither a pro nor a con position with regard to abortion; rather he sets those questions aside to concentrate on what abortion psychologically means to those who have been affected by it.

Whether you are "pro-choice" or "pro-life", you will want to read this series because it raises some profound issues that basically have been taken off the table of discussion ever since the Roe v Wade decision. It is a hallmark of the insanity that characterizes the abortion debate that, if you dare to even bring up some of these concerns, you are branded as "hating/raping women"--or worse--on one side of the political aisle; or as a "murderer" on the other.

Let me be perfectly clear. I happen to be pro-choice. When I was a very young woman--a girl really and still in my teens, I made a choice that today, some four decades later, still reverberates in my life. In retrospect, it was a careless, thoughtless and extremely selfish choice; but it was my choice to make; just as the consequences are mine to deal with.

I have come to appreciate that what we have lost in all the hysteria that surrounds the issue of abortion--and both sides are guilty of hysterical behavior--is the ability to discuss in any rational manner some of the important personal and societal issues that Shrink raises in his posts.

And, like most conflicted issues that are forced into the dark realm of the unconscious, abortion on demand has brought forth a slew of unintended and serious consequences for our society, and has altered in very fundamental ways how we think about ourselves and our children.

It seems to me that in many ways, the irrational, uncompromising and unequivocally histrionic behaviors that accompany any discussion about a woman's "right" to an abortion are nothing more than the leftover narcissistic rantings of the self-absorbed and rather adolescent 60's "Me" decade.

Surely as a society we are capable of some growth and maturity in revisiting this subject? Otherwise, we will will remain forever in that genderless pre-pubescent Peter Pan state of self-indulgent crowing. We were clever enough to insist that women ought to have control over their own bodies--are we mature enough to discuss some of the personal and societal repercussions of that decision?

For the narcissist, growing up--taking responsibility and facing consequences of one's choices--is awfuller than all the awful things that ever were.

I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me,
Not I,
Not me!
So there!
Never gonna be a man ( Dr. S note: or woman for that matter),
I won't!
Like to see somebody try
And make me.
Anyone who wants to try
And make me turn into a man,
Catch me if you can.
I won't grow up.
Not a penny will I pinch.
I will never grow a mustache,
Or a fraction of an inch.
'Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,
No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You know, you really have to hand it to the political left. If they were any more clueless than they are, their brain would probably arrange to have itself strangled by their tongues.

Think about this latest maneuver of theirs: an attempt to prevent Fox News from participating in election debates. They have petitions, banners and pins! Soon they will have marches and parades in D.C. and NYC. All the usual tools for the ritual leftwing self-righteous masturbatory activities (the ones that make them feel oh so good about what great progressive and reality-based and nice people they are).

And get this- they even are gearing up for a "media assault against Fox News’ status as a news agency". WOW! INCREDIBLE! Usually only the many dictators, tyrants, and murderers they actively support around the world try to get away with such explicitly totalitarian maneuvers! They are soooooo brave and courageous.

And they truly understand the concepts of free speech and a free press, too....AMAZING!

I mean, even the evil BushHitler has not tried to shut down major news agencies!

Hooray for Denial, with just the right amount of unbelievable stupidity for dramatic flair.


Jules Crittendon has more on the petulant Dems who just can't seem to fathom the depths of their cognitive dissonance. He writes of Pelosi phoning the President, demanding that he keep Cheney in line:
Apparently the president wasn’t home when she called. Or didn’t pick up. Or maybe he was making funny chimp faces at Josh Bolten when Josh Bolten was on the line trying to have a serious conversation with Madame Speaker:

Pelosi said she had tried to reach the president but was only able to get through to White House chief of staff Josh Bolten.

Bolten said he was certain no one was questioning her patriotism or commitment to national security, she told reporters.

“I said to him perhaps when he saw what the vice president said he might have another comment,” Pelosi said.

But this is a very important issue. Pelosi is trying to have a responsible grown-up debate. And here Cheney has the gall to talk about the enemy’s goals. Good Lord, what is this man thinking? What place does the enemy have in any discussion of strategy and tactics.

Josh Bolten is far too polite and PC. As I've mentioned before I DO question their's either that or their intelligence.

THE SANITY SQUAD: Presidents Past, Present, and Future

The latest podcast of The Sanity Squad is now posted at Pajamas Media ; and since this week we celebrated President's Day, the Squad discusses US Presidents, past and present.

Can you guess which President the London Examiner was referring to when it wrote that the man had “murdered the Constitution of the United States” and “overthrown all for which Washington fought and Patrick Henry spoke?” Hint: it wasn’t George Bush.

America has always been more than just another country--it is the physical representation of an idea; and not just any idea, but the greatest idea in the history of the world: HUMAN FREEDOM.

If there is one characteristic that all great President's have shared, it is a profound love and instinctive appreciation of this great idea and its fundamental role in the life and history of America.

George Washington understood this when he surrendered control of the military to civilian authority; Lincoln exhibited it when he abolished slavery and the country had to live up to the values and ideals enumerated by its founders; FDR expressed it when he stood up to the National Socialists and the Empire of Japan in WWII; Reagan was one of its champions when he demanded that the USSR tear down the walls of tyrany it erected around the globe; and George W. Bush extended the idea and vision of freedom to its logical global conclusion, when he said in his 2005 State of the Union Speech (you can tell that I like this speech, since I quote from it a lot--especially the following):
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.
Join Siggy , unplugged; Shrinkwrapped , unwrapped, Neo-neocon, unabashed , and me, unashamed-- as we talk about what makes a good president; who our favorites are, and what is unique about the American Presidency. As usual, we can't resist throwing out some red meat out for the barking lunatics of the left to gnaw on, (especially me, I'm afraid--but I do so love to bait them).

All podcasts of The Sanity Squad can be found here; and you can also download them from iTunes. (search for Pajamas Media)

(The Sanity Squad cartoon at the right is drawn by Eric Allie, whose collection of political cartoons can be found here and here).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FASCISTS FASCISTS EVERYWHERE: The Rime of the Ancient Socialists

John at Power Line does some research on the albatross red herring that the left would like to sling around the necks of pundits like Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt and others. He concludes:
In short, Campos' attack on Reynolds and Hewitt betrays his ignorance of the subject matter at hand and his failure to do even the most elementary research before denouncing others as "accessor[ies] to murder." As happens so often on the left, "murderer" and "fascist" are the common coin of a polemic that bears no relation to reality. And, needless to say, Campos offers no constructive thoughts as to how we should deal with the threat Iran poses to our troops in Iraq, or the threat a nuclear Iran will pose to us and our allies. (emphasis mine)

Of couse he doesn't.

Today's batch of useful idiots who carry the torch for 21st century neomarxist fascism are too busy running around hysterically pointing the finger of fascism at everyone else to have time to recognize (or even understand) their own totalitarian origins.

Indeed, fascists are everywhere! And I feel a parody coming on....


(Part The Second)

"The Sun now rose upon the right:
A hateful thing to see,
There was much anguish on the left
For fear they'd cease to be.

And marxist winds did bloviate,
But all their words were hallow,
They gave all power to the state,
And none with sense would follow!

For they had done an hellish thing,
And now they stooped to beg:
For all averred, they'd killed the bird
That laid the golden egg
'How dumb!' said we, "set that bird free,
That laid the golden egg!'

Yet dim and red, like Stalin's head,
They blur reality
Then all averred, they'd killed the bird
That brought prosperity.
'Twas right, said they, 'such birds to slay,
That bring prosperity.'

For social justice does demand,
That everyone be poor;
Our dialectical extremes
Will keep some from having more.

Down dropt income, and sales dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And in the end their plans did send
All into poverty!

And in this hot utopian sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Did shine upon their brilliant lie,
And brought us to their doom.

Day after day, day after day,
All heard their slogans chanted;
Proved worthless as their promises--
Or news that's always slanted.

Fascists,fascists everywhere,
Please send their brains to shrinks;
Fascists,fascists everywhere,
Gee, paranoia stinks.

The rot goes deep, praise be to Allah,
It's called malignant pride
And slimy things that crawl with legs
Within such hearts abide.

Around, around they spin and spin
Round death-fires in the night;
They see cruel demons everywhere,
Especially on the right.

And some in dreams assured were
By Lenin's ghost and Che's;
The revolution soon would come
Twas just a score of days

When proletariat would rise,
Against the bourgeoisie;
But former more oppressed by socialist
Than capitalist would be!

Ideological infidels are slain
So they cannot blaspheme;
The left inflicts exquisite pain
In the nightmare of their dream

Ah! well-a-day! what evil lurks
Within the hearts of men!
For power tempts all sorts of jerks
Toward tyrany again."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The consequences of psychological denial can be seen every day in today's world; and particularly of late in the Democratically controlled United States Congress. Ed Koch writes:

Over the last few years I have written of my fears that we Americans, as a people, have lost our will to fight for our freedom.

We have come to expect that wars can be fought without casualties, even the relatively modest casualties we have suffered in Iraq. During World War Two, more Americans were killed or wounded on Iwo Jima in one month than have fallen in Iraq in almost four years. Of course, every military death and severe injury is a tragedy. Nevertheless, former Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that our army in Iraq is "about broken," which appalled and frightened me. Added to those two disturbing dangers to our national security is a new and third factor: denial of a military threat to our armed forces. Such a denial allows us to avoid addressing the threat with an appropriate military response.

We are not at war with Iran, but Iran seems to be at war with us. In the last year we have suffered at least 170 American military deaths in Iraq and 640 American soldiers have been injured as a result of Iranian manufactured and supplied explosives supplied to Iraqi insurgents and terrorists. These explosives are planted at the side of the road and are activated when U.S. military vehicles pass by. They are especially dangerous because their high technology design allows them to penetrate armored vehicles and kill and maim the occupants....

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are seeking to humble, embarrass and, if they can, destroy the President and the prestige of his position as the Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for the safety of our military forces and the nation's defenses. By doing so, they are adding to the dangers that face our nation. And so I ask again them again: do you think that leaving a power vacuum in Iraq will make us safer? If, as a result of the power vacuum, the terrorists are emboldened and God forbid we sustain here in the U.S. civilian casualties comparable to those caused in Iraq by car bombs, will you publicly accept responsibility?

Of course they won't.

That is one of the incredibly wonderful aspects of psychological denial. In the vacuous recesses of their own minds, those who deny reality have managed to convince themselves that they are "reality-based". One might justifiably ask them why they have an almost obsessive need to so aggressively tout their connection to reality, like some sort of celebrity name-dropper expecting to increase his stature in the eyes of the world: "Oh, btw, did you know that I'm reality-based?"

Sadly for them, just because one repeatedly claims a close connection to the Big R, does not prove anything one way or the other; nor does it absolve the boaster of providing the requisite evidence to back up their claim. Feelings won't do, I'm afraid; though it is often to those arguments of emotion that the denier will ultimately resort when impeded in his quest to avoid reality.

As a psychiatrist, I would be the last person to suggest that even a primitive and immature psychological defense mechanism like denial didn't have some positive results for the individuals who use it. Obviously, if it resulted in the outright death or dismemberment of the person using it, denial would probably not last long as a viable strategy in the real world; nor would it be particularly helpful for the species as a whole.

The truth is that frequently denial works--at least for a short while--and that is why it is so often resorted to in extremis.

Some of the positive consequences of psychological denial include:

In the short-term, psychological denial can help a person maintain their sanity--which would be threatened by awareness of a painful truth or reality
In the short-term, denial can help a person function day to day
In the short-term, denial can prevent a person from having to acknowledge painful thoughts, feelings or behavior and help them maintain a world view threatened by an unacceptable reality or truth

The operative word in all of the above is "in the short-term." In the short-term, even the unhealthiest of defenses--such as denial, projection, paranoia-- may be creative, healthy, comforting, and coping. And, while their use may strike observers as downright peculiar at times, in the short-term, they may be transiently adaptative.

In fact, psychological denial is a way to integrate one's experience by providing a variety of filters for pain and mechanisms for self-deception. It creatively rearranges the sources of conflict the individual faces so that the conflict becomes manageable.

To some extent, all psychological defenses ultimately function to deny reality. Just the other day, I discussed psychological displacement, for example--the mechanism that underlies BDS--as a way of avoiding dealing with a really threatening and/or painful truth by focusing on a less threatening object:

As we finish the last two years of Bush's Presidency, we are witnessing "end stage" Bush Derangement Syndrome, which manifests itself by the histrionic and blind hatred of anything the President does or does not do.

This "end stage" BDS--like terminal syphilis--has culminated in blindness combined with an insanity so profound, the consequences to those who suffer it--as well as to our country--will likely be quite profound, if not lethal, since they hinder and undermine this country's ability to deal with real threats. (read it all for the full context of this type of denial)

Let's consider some of the negative consequences of psychological denial:

• In the longer-term, denial requires a continued compromises with reality to maintain the pretense that "Everything is fine!" or "If only X would happen, everything would be fine!" Eventually, delusional thinking, along with paranoia and its inevitable conspiracy theories begin to take the place of rational thought in those who deny reality for long periods of time. (see all the 9/11 conspiracy theorists for examples in our own country; or the more recent comments of former President Clinton--once considered a "moderate" democrat, who now fully adheres to the model that the Republicans have manufactured a culture of fear in order to fool the American public into thinking we are at war (read the transcript linked below). See here and here for common examples in the muslim world which is rife with conspiracies and which could not exist as a cohesive society without them).

• The denier must then place the blame for the unacceptable reality on someone else and that leads to increased conflict between deniers and non-deniers. Efforts to maintain their denial consumes them and will lead them to escalate their anger and rage as their denial becomes untenable and ever more obvious.

• The denier will begin distort language and logic to rationalize and justify their behavior(examples of this are too numerous to mention, but I have discussed it here , here and here) . Eventually, cognitive strategies and rational argument will be abandoned altogether by the denier, because those strategies are not sustainable and are unable to convince others; at which point the person in denial will simply refer to his feelings or emotions as the sole justification.

• The denier will feel justified in acting out against those who threaten the peacefulness of their fantasy (check out the "peacefulness" and "reasonable" slogans chanted at most antiwar rallies these days). Check out, for example, the kind of vitriol that is being directed at people like Glenn Reynolds and Mark Steyn because they have had the audacity to either suggest (Reynolds) that it might save lives to covertly target Iranian scientists (personally, I prefer that we target the delusional mullahs) instead of having to use massive air strikes where surely more people would be killed; or (Steyn) who discusses in his book the genocidal trajectory that Europe appears to be on because they refusing to acknowledge or deal with the reality of immigrant muslim demographics today. Considering the fact that Europe has taken this track before in recent memory, Steyn is more of a Delphic oracle, rather than the genocidal maniac he is being portrayed as by those who would also deny reality.

• Problem solving and decision-making will deteriorate as the entire focus of energy becomes the maintenance of the denial. In place of rational alternatives, excessive emotionality in general; and specifically anger and rage escalate toward those who are "blamed" for the reality that does not conform to the denier's worldview. (consider the lack of any specific ideas in the Democratic party's agenda; or it's reflex negativity toward any substantive position or any compromise offered to them.

• In the end, interactions with those in denial are characterized by the denier's frequent smugness; sense of superiority; arrogance; belittlement of alternative views; and undiluted hatred toward anyone or any idea that questions their worldview (see the links related to the attacks on Reynolds and Steyn above).

• Finally, in the long-term, denial will always bring great harm to the individual using it and all who happen to be in his sphere of influence. It may lead to his death or many deaths when practiced by groups or larger societies. It will certainly leads to all sorts of dysfunction and destructiveness; even if--for a brief time--the denial gave the individual or group a sense of calm or control over their world because it blocked out the forces that threatened to upend that world.

The left's current consensus view on terrorism and Iraq ("Victory is not an option") is just plain wrong and cannot be justified or supported by the facts that are available. While victory is not guaranteed, this type of wishful thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy because those who make it are actively working to ensure that defeat is the only option.

By doing so, they risk exposing for all to see their hidden agenda--which is nothing less than the defeat and humiliation of George W. Bush, the Republicans, and America.

Their rhetoric is designed to obfuscate and deny objective reality --which interestingly they don't even believe in to begin with (or, they believe in it until it become threatening then they seek refuge behind postmodern political rhetoric). The motivation for their continual Bush/Republican bashing is simple: Bush is the current symbol of the left's ideological demise as it is tossed into the trashbin of history. He is the fly in their utopian ointment; the light shining in their darkness.

In spite of the 2006 midterm elections which saw Democrats obtain a small majority in Congress, life has actually been going very badly for the left .

As the real world presses in on them, their voices have become more shrill and hysterical; their rage is escalating out of control. No longer do most of them even bother to argue their points logically; they simply loudly denounce any idea or person who threatens their ideology; or deliberately and with the ruthless finesse of all tyrants and thugs, simply attempt to suppress all dissenting opinions. (See the style of one of their heroes for an example of this)

9/11 did not wake them up; rather it forced them to openly move toward what they have supported surreptitiously all along--the elimination of free speech in the name of political correctness and multiculturalism; a dictatorship where the pseudo-intellectual, politically correct priesthood rule; and complete control over the lives of others (for their own good, of course!).

Since their objectives dovetail nicely with those of the Islamic terrorists, they have made common cause with them and have not lost many opportunities to enable and encourage them, even as they denounce America and the principles of freedom and democracy out of one side of their mouth, while remaining convinced that their actions are patriotic and are representative of "true" American values.

A while back, I listened in disbelief as Democrat after Democrat denounced the compromise bill that defines for detainees what torture is and isn't. To a person, they paid lip-service to being against torture (whatever it might be); and to a person it was obvious that the detainees "rights" were paramount. How strange that they don't give individual's in our own society the same "rights" to express their religion as they would like in public; or that they denounce opinions with which they differ with such passion. How nice it would be to see them behave consistently for a change....but it isn't going to happen because they just don't see it.

I'm sure that the recent court decision about all this will stimulate even more histrionic moral outrage--particularly since the outrage conveniently obscures the reality that we are at war with an implacable enemy that wants to kill us all.

That's what denial is all about. It allows--nay, it encourages-- the most blatant contradictions in thinking; and the individual does not ever have to account for those contradictions or take responsibility for them because they don't even perceive them! Facts, schmacts.

The left pretends their behavior is motivated from" love" or "peace" or "patriotism"; but these are only words they use to rationalize to themselves their actions, which demonstrate exactly the opposite. Their self-deception and denial is simply stunning in its sweeping grandiosity and self-righteousness betrayal of the good.

Careful observation and analysis of behavior is what I do for a living. I am very good at it. My patients tend to get well for the most part. I am not always correct and I have a great tolerance for ambiguity and doubt. I can be convinced that I am incorrect because I accept my own humanity and the limitations that come with that acceptance. But if you want to convince me, you will have to give me a compelling argument that is rational and which conforms to what I observe in the real world. Calling me names and threatening me (try reading my email for a week) just will not do it; and, quite frankly, often only confirms the existence of the pathology I observe.

If you can look in the mirror and truly know yourself, including all those hidden motives and agendas and unresolved issues in life which we all must grapple with; you can gain some control over your own life; make choices and attack problems based on a clear view of reality. People may still make the wrong choices, or screw up in dealing with the problems even when they are aware of their own unconscious conflicts. Human beings are not perfect.

But when psychological denial distorts or obscures reality, people are far more likely to make the wrong choices and ignore the serious problems; they are more likely to avoid the difficult decisions then blame others when things don't come out perfectly

Reality and truth matter--terribly.


Well I can't be brilliant every single day, so I'll highlight the brilliance of some of my fellow bloggers--especially since I will be busy all morning. I'll try to get some blogging done later in the day, so check back later.

In the meantime, GM has put up another great tour of the psychsphere over at GM's Corner. This go around he has links to Dr. Helen, Shrinkwrapped, neo-neocon, Assistant Village Idiot, One Cosmos (Gagdad Bob), Sigmund, Carl and Alfred as well as OK, So I'm Not Really A Cowboy , Iron Shrink and me.

The Baron at the Gates of Vienna has an exclusive post, Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Georgia- From the Air, and it is a must read.

The Anchoress shares a few funny and creative drawings from students who are unable to solve their assigned math problems. Instead, they have come up with unique and elegant solutions! As The Anchoress says, "...sometimes I wish our political leadership had enough honesty, creativity and humor to admit that they are as stumped as these students."

That's all I have time for this morning..back later! Consider this an open thread.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Go ahead and celebrate; take your best shot:

As for me, I will trust my own judgement and stand by the President.

Sometime back I wrote a piece about why I like George Bush--in spite of his flaws; and in spite of all the unrelenting criticism, hysteria and hatred that is thrown his way on a regular basis.

As we finish the last two years of Bush's Presidency, we are witnessing "end stage" Bush Derangement Syndrome, which manifests itself by the histrionic and blind hatred of anything the President does or does not do.

This "end stage" BDS--like terminal syphilis--has culminated in blindness combined with an insanity so profound, the consequences to those who suffer it--as well as to our country--will likely be quite profound, if not lethal, since they hinder and undermine this country's ability to deal with real threats . (cartoon by Eric Allie )

Consider for a moment the unbelievable stupidity in the argument that we shoud automatically distrust intelligent regarding Iran's less than helpful activities in Iraq (which I discuss in these two posts).

Today, Michael Barone who is probably one of the most sensible persons you will find has this to say about the misuses of intelligence (both the military and the IQ kind)--and, please read it all:

Last week, we had a couple of object lessons in how to use -- or misuse -- foreign intelligence....

The New York Times laments that America is "bullying" Iran. Actually, the mullah regime has been bullying the United States for 28 years.

So why the suspicion? The answer seems to be that because intelligence erred in its judgment that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction it could be erring here, too: All intelligence that could be used to justify military action is inherently dubious....

Again we encounter the idea that intelligence agencies' conclusions should be regarded as Holy Writ, not to be questioned or analyzed critically by high government officials -- that there can be an intelligence product that is 100 percent accurate, and that every intelligence community conclusion must be treated as if it is.
The Bush critics' position is that we must believe without reservation or criticism any intelligence that can be used to argue against military action and that we should never believe any intelligence, however plausible, that can be used to argue for it. That's not very intelligent.

Indeed it is not. But what can you do when every word and action is driven by an unrelenting hatred that consumes the soul, corrodes common sense and severely impairs judgement and behavior?

On this President's Day, I think about the very ordinary, honest, and human qualities that I find compelling about George W. Bush. He continues to strike me as a very REAL person--and not a slick "persona" created by an ad agency; or a "celebrity" onto whom we project our own fantasies (unlike Obama the Magnificent).

With all his coaching, Bush still manages to misspeak and mispronounce even in his most important speeches; and, even more to the point, like all of us ordinary mortals, he makes mistakes. Yet he continues to work to find solutions to impossibly difficult problems and has always been impeccably kind and gentlemanly (as well as forgiving) of all the rage and bad behavior directed his way.

He is even able to make fun of himself and his personality as this video testifies. What this bit of humor shows more than anything else, is a mature individual who is comfortable with who he is and capable of insight and self-awareness. That he can joke about it displays a lack of any excessive or malignant narcissism, which is actually quite remarkable in today's politics.

Of course, no politician/celebrity these days can exist without cultivating that carefully crafted persona, but nevertheless, all my instincts about people tell me that Bush is real; that he is honest; and that he always tries to do what he thinks is the right thing to do, no matter how popular it may or may not be.

This post at The Corner about sums it up:
[...]recall the presidents this country has known (and will know) who were obsessed with their own popularity. Think of the many times Bill Clinton allowed polling data and political advisers to shape military strategy. Imagine how horrifying it would be right now to have a John Kerry or Al Gore as president — no clear statements of policy, military decisions transparently shaped by "how it's going to look", a White House that smells to high heaven of vacillation, weakness, and even corruption. Imagine all of this for a second — and then consider the President's response:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Look, Presidents care about whether people support their policies. I don't mean to say, I don't care. Of course, I care.... On the other hand, Ken, I don't think you've ever heard me say — and you've now been covering me for quite a while, 12 years — I don't think I've — 12 years? Yes. I don't think you've ever heard me say, gosh, I'd better change positions because the polls say this or that. I've been here long enough to understand you cannot make good decisions if you're trying to chase a poll. And so the second part of your question is, look, I'm going to do what I think is right, and if people don't like me for it, that's just the way it is.

Bush has virtually never in his political career made a decision that he didn't think was the right thing to do and the right way to do it. Conservatives who are piling on the anti-Bush bandwagon should consider that this trait—which makes the Bush family historically great—is a historical rarity to be treasured....

But it was not so long ago that Americans could only wish for a president who was obviously trustworthy, upstanding, and principled. And the day is not far off when we will think ourselves lucky to have seen this President defend the honor and integrity of his office—and the American people—for eight years. The times are difficult, and nobody could have gotten through the last five years without making mistakes. But in that station to which God called him, George W. Bush has been himself honestly, and thank God for that.

Yes, thank God that we have a president that will not chase the polls; nor does he desire popularity above all else. Bush is a rarity in politics, and one that I sincerely treasure for all his faults.

Happy President's Day, Mr. President.