Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I have often wondered if Wretchard at the Belmont Club is actually a closet psychologist or psychiatrist (and, I don't mean to insult him by saying that), precisely because he so often grasps the underlying psychodynamics of a situation; as in this post, where he first quotes Nicolas Sarkhozy:
Question: What do you think of polygamy?
Answer: I respect all cultures throughout the world, but so that it is quite clear: if I am elected President of the Republic, I will not accept women being treated as inferior to men. The French Republic holds these values: respect for women, equality between men and women. Nobody has the right to hold a prisoner, even within his own family. I say it clearly, that polygamy is prohibited in the territory of the French Republic. I will fight against female genital mutilation and those who do not wish to understand that the values of the French Republic include freedom for women, the dignity of women, respect for women -- they do not have any reason to be in France. If our laws are not respected and if one does not wish to understand our values, if one does not wish to learn French, then one does not have any reason to be on French territory.
And then goes on to make an extremely perceptive psychological analysis:

Maybe the reason why the Left hates Sarkozy and that renegade "woman of color" Hirsi Ali so much is not because of what they stand for as much as because both remind them of the principles they have betrayed. This secret guilt may stand at the center of the inexplicable hysteria with which the Left regard the neocons and President Bush in particular (emphasis mine).

In a post about the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of today's left, I wrote about this betrayal by the left:

At this very moment, every issue supported by the Left, and almost all of the behavior exhibited by the Left is completely antithetical to classical liberal philosophies. There is no longer a commitment to personal liberty or to freedom. The Left is far too busy to promote freedom for the common man or woman, because their time is taken up advocating freedom for tyrants who oppress the common man; terrorists who kill the common man; and religious fanatics who subjugate the common woman.

The intellectuals who once promoted the IDEA of freedom, now are ensnared in an IDEOLOGY that depends for its very existence on the silencing of speech; the suppression of ideas; and the persecution of those who dare to refute its tenets.

Patriotism and love of one’s country is mocked by those who once fought to bring the American Dream to all American citizens; and who once championed those who were prevented from sharing in that Dream. Slowly and inexorably those idealists who once shouted, “we shall overcome,” morphed into a toxic culture promoting a never-ending victimhood that cannot possibly be overcome. Love of American ideals and values was transformed into the most perverse and vile anti-Americanism –where all things originating or “tainted” as American are uniquely bad; and where America became the source of all evil in the world.

The classical liberal tradition is now almost exclusively upheld by what are called “conservatives”. Once “liberal” was synonymous with the “left”. No longer.

What we have witnessed over the 30- 45 years since the Left ascended to dominate political thought in the mid 20th century, is its rapid and unprecedented decline into wholesale intellectual and moral bankruptcy. The noble values and ideals they once stood for have been abandoned; and almost as if a surreal cosmic joke was being played on them, they have—without even noticing!-- embraced the exact opposite of what they once stood for.

Where once they stood for freedom; they now enable dictatorships and apologize for tyrants. Where once they sought to bring justice to the world; they now defend horrific acts of mass murder and enslavement. Where once they rightly demanded equal opportunity, they have embraced all kinds of racial quotas and discriminatory practices and demand equality of outcome. Where once they sought to empower the weak; they are now instrumental in maintaining and expanding their victimhood.

And, just yesterday, I quoted both Wretchard and Varifrank, who separately made the point that, just because you say you want "peace" and march in solidarity for "peace" and get nude and speak rudely for "peace"; doesn't mean you are actually doing anything relevant to make peace break out.

Just the opposite, in fact.

Let us go back for a moment to the days when the left and the Democrats actually stood for something. John Kennedy in his Inaugural Address in 1961 summed up the essence of liberal philosophy rather eloquently when he said:
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

The politically incorrect John Kennedy of yesterday (did he mention God??) has much more in common today with George W. Bush and the neo-cons, than he has with any of the leading Democrats ( particularly his youngest brother, I might add).

Wretchard rightly perceives that the degree of the left's moral and intellectual bankruptcy is so great; the betrayal so profound, that it is simply impossible they are not aware on some level of the nihilistic traitors they have become to all that is good and worth fighting for in the world.

Like a deer caught in the headlights of reality, they are paralyzed because there is no way to escape their fate; instead they try to make their paralysis a moral virtue; their betrayal an heroic stance. And the rage they feel toward all who remind them of what they have betrayed distracts them from the rush of reality that will overwhelm and destroy them eventually.

The final psychological touch to all this is the projection--where they take the rage they feel and imagine that the object of their rage actually feels it toward them--is that it breeds the paranoia and the utterly nonsensical and histrionic conspiracy theories.

But no matter how carefully they construct their fantasies; no matter how much information they choose to ignore; how tightly they close their eyes; the headlights of the reality train--and not the peace train, I fear--as it rockets toward them only highlights the bankruptcy of the ideology they now profess.

Eventually they must face reality, because if they do not break free of the state of self-induced psychological, intellectual and moral paralysis, then it will hit them will full force.

Norman Podhoretz has a far better grasp of reality than anyone on the left today, and he has this to say in a recent Commentary Magazine (hat tip: ShrinkWrapped):

In spite of what the polls supposedly tell us, I strongly suspect that the Democrats may already have blown the 2008 election. Unlike the late Senator Aiken of Vermont, who proposed that we declare victory and get out of Vietnam, the Democrats want us to declare defeat and get out of Iraq. This, they imagine, is what the American people were demanding in the congressional election of 2006.

But it seems far more likely that the message of that election was not “Get out,” but rather “Win, or get out.” In any case, the position the Democrats are now taking can only have the effect of revivifying and reinforcing the sense of them as weak on national security. And this was the very factor that led to the ignominious defeat of their presidential candidate, George McGovern, in 1972, when they also misread the public temper by paying too much attention to the left wing of their party.

For the left, there is some serious psychological pathology at work here. They have been unable to recover from losing Paradise. There is an almost overwhelming envy toward those who supplanted them as rulers; as well as an almost incohernt rage that the moral high ground they once claimed as their own (see the Kennedy quote above) is now firmly held by the hated neocons and the political right. Paradise was stolen from them, and if they cannot rule, then they will defiantly embrace the opposite of everything they once said they believed and make Hell their new Heaven. Like Milton's Satan, they would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. So they choose now to make war on the values and principles they once enunciated so clearly; to leave the real world and live in the narrow confines of their own minds, engaging in all the necessary self-deception, denial and paranoia that permits them to maintain their dysfunctional world view and never question their own motives and behavior.

The horrors they have encouraged, enabled and ultimately embraced; the principles and morality they now proudly stand for; are defined only by being the opposite of whatever their hated rivals for paradise believe. In this way they can remain untouched by reality and avoid any unpleasant insight and self-awareness-- all the way to the very end.

Hail, horrors! hail,
Infernal World! and thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor–one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
The associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?”

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