Here is a political cartoon that pretty much exemplifies the paranoid mindset that is rampant in this country at the moment:
Why in the world would anyone think that the President and Vice President of the United States of America would be in a conspiracy with Islamofascists who openly state their intention of destroying both our country and our way of life? To what purpose? What could possibly be gained?
Don't expect a rational response to such questions. Questions like that only elicit further complicated conspiracy theories that are constructed around all of the shibboleths of the left (many of which have evolved into dogma since 9/11)--anti-capitalism; multilateralism; multiculturalism; poverty; victims of US imperialism; anti-Americanism etc. etc. If you put all the conspiracy theories together you will find a concatenation of bizarre and often contradictory components that should make any reasonably intelligent person roll on the floor with hoots of laughter.
Not only are such a beliefs perfect examples of the depths of insanity to which the liberal left has sunk; but the various theories of Bush's evil possess all the hallmarks of the intense political paranoia that highlights almost all of the left's behavior since 9/11.
When they aren't outright denying the reality of 9/11; they are downplaying its significance or snidely suggesting that it is not a big deal historically
speaking; and that the war on terror--particularly the Iraqi battlefield-- shouldn't even be on the priority list of things to do.
As the years go by, it is simple human nature to forget the events of that horrific day. Gerard Vanderleun
comments, as he talks about Pope Benedict's blessing of Ground Zero, "I often think, as so many of us do, that that terrible morning in New York City is behind me, far away now and fading ever faster as the years roll by. And then.... it all comes back...."
In the last six and a half years, there has not been a single action by the Bush administration in the war on Islamofascism that has not been deliberately undermined and actively opposed, spun, and exploited for political gain on their part. They seem particularly confused about events in Basra with the Sadr militia. Perhaps as Wretchard points out
, "The NYT wonders why the media-consensus "winner" simply refuses to "win". Maybe it's because he isn't winning at all, but losing."
Talk about being in a Vietnam-type quagmire--the Democrats, the political left, and their media outlets are solidly stuck in that Vietnam era mindset where they can't see anything but defeat and humiliation for the US. They wish, anyway.
The Democrats and their liberal left members maintain that it is Bush and his supporters that are playing fast and loose with politics; and that they are using fear to manipulate America so that they can establish a fascist/theocratic state.
We're still waiting for that imposition of theocracy by the BushHitler. He better hurry since he only has a few months in office left.
Meanwhile, since that tack came to naught, the latest attempts to undermine all things Bush have been moving forward on the economic front
Depressing” is the adjective we’re hearing a lot when it comes to the U.S. economy....
The suggestion behind such talk is that the current situation isn’t merely depressing. It is that the slowdown is like the Great Depression of the 1930s. You almost expect Senators Obama and Clinton to repeat the lines from President Roosevelt’s inaugural address of 75 years ago: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The analogy is absurd. This economy is to the Great Depression what an April drizzle is to Hurricane Katrina. So far, the Dow has declined about 12% from its record high of last fall. In the Depression, it dropped more than 80%. Unemployment is about 5%. In the Depression it was 25%.
Maybe 2% of mortgages are in trouble, and abandoned homes line some parts of Cleveland Heights. During the Depression, more than half of Cleveland was underwater. Today, one big bank has collapsed. In 1931, 1,400 banks collapsed.
Even a comparison with more recent periods is a stretch.
Today, everyone is concerned about the consequences of the Bear Stearns rescue. On the right, critics argue that the Federal Reserve’s decision to make funds available to Bear created moral hazard on a scale that can bring down our markets. These critics forget that in 1984 Washington actually nationalized a big bank. That bank was the nation’s seventh largest, Continental Illinois. Yet the Reagan Revolution didn’t stall.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Dow languished in the 800s for a period longer than it takes to collect a college degree. Unemployment in 1982 was close to 10%. Yet you didn’t hear too much talk about the New Deal or FDR’s speeches.
So why so dark this time?
Why? Because the war is going well. What better way to further undermine it--in an election year, too!--than to suggest that it is behind every major and minor economic woe any group anywhere in the country may be experiencing. But it's not
Let's look for a moment at what the Democrats and the left have been doing. Referring to NSA programs that target international terrorists
communications into the U.S. as "domestic spying"; comparisons of Bush to Hitler; that he is a terrorist himself, even worse than Bin Laden; the attitude that Guantanamo exemplifies the evil of the US; that US tortures innocents; that Iraq is another Vietnam; that modern Christianity is as much a threat to the West as the fanaticism of Islam; exploiting military deaths and suggesting that Iraq is the "worst" mistake in US history; insisting that Americans' civil rights have been shredded by this administration; etc. etc. ad infinitum
--all of these examples of the fundamental hysteria that drives the left and its use of fear to manipulate the public
Common sense is completely lost in all the histrionics of doom and defeat. After creating the atmospher of gloom and hopelessness; they then push a candidate who promises to bring about "hope and change" through defeat and surrender. As Wretchard says,
It seems inconceivable that any new President would throw everything away as worthless and start from scratch. And yet that is essentially what two out of three Presidential candidates plan to do in Iraq. This makes sense within the context of their accepted narrative. But as Sadr's loss of Basra should suggest, it may be worth considering whether that narrative is no longer operative.
It may be worth considering, but it isn't something that the political left and the Democrats are in the least interested in doing. They are in it for power
(something they routinely accuse the Bush/Cheney Administration of...can you say "projection"?).
It is impossible for them to believe that anyone in politics would not play the game to maximize their hold on power (since that is what they would do if they were in power); and might actually take action because it is the right thing to do; or that it might be important for national security or in the national interest of America.
What a concept!
All their rationalizations and rhetoric represent a classic case of projection
, pure and simple. It has consistently been the antiwar lunatics of the left and their Democratic voices in Congress, who have --both consciously and unconsciously--aided and abetted the murderous activities of the Islamofascists; and not Bush or Cheney, contrary to the depiction in the cartoon at the beginning of this post.
In order to justify in their own minds the contempt they have toward their own country, they must constantly accuse the Republican in the White House--who is the recipient of the left's unadulterated hatred-- of behavior for which they themselves are guilty.
That is how perfect paranoia develops.
Here are some ways that paranoia and projection work in the real world:You consider yourself a "peaceful" and non-violent person. Yet you feel violently angry at someone or some situation. This does not fit in with your image of yourself. With projection, you deny your own rage and insist that it is the other person who is going to attack you or has angry feelings towards you. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to acknowledge your own angry feelings which are unacceptable to you; and instead can attribute them to someone else.You are a successful person. But deep down you feel unworthy of your success or guilty of your talent or wealth. Instead of acknowledging this and trying to understand and deal with the origins of such painful self-recrimination (did you cheat others to obtain your wealth? Are you faking talent? Have poor self-esteem?); you begin to think that others are criticizing you and trying to impede your success. Or, alternately you engage in self-defeating or self-destructive behavior that you blame on someone else. Or, you take the position that wealth is evil or all talent is undeserved and extol mediocrity or poverty as morally superior in order to compensate for your guilt. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to deal with the reason behind your guilt and unworthiness; and can attribute such critical attacks on you to someone else or denouncing others with talent and wealth makes you feel worthy. For examples of this you can pretty much pick all of the Hollywood elite or many successful businessmen (George Soros comes to mind).You are an unsuccessful person or feel a failure in life. You have some shame and/or humiliation about your situation. Instead of dealing with what you are doing that makes you unsuccessful, you attribute your lack of success to the actions of some individual or group who is acting against you. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESULT: you don't have to take responsibility for your situation or acknowledge that your own actions brought you to it. It is not your fault, but someone else's. This is the mechanism behind most racist, sexist, homophobic and/or antisemitic behavior the world over. Islam, in particular, seems to specialize in this type of thinking about the Jews onto whom they project all their own inadequacies.
Of course, fear can be a healthy human emotion. There is a reason that human beings experience suspicion, distrust and hyper- vigilance. That reason is because there is REAL danger in the world. Our ancestors in the caves knew this to be true. They lived with continual danger just to survive every minute of every day. Being able to logically "connect the dots" and extract meaning from the evidence of one's senses is a necessity for survival. Those who did not have this psychological capacity surely died out long ago.
But the tools of the truly paranoid
individual who uses a fundamentally paranoid style that one can see dramatised in much political discourse these days are denial
, and projection
--all of which I write about frequently on this blog.
When used by an adult to cope with the real world, all of these psychological defenses are almost always pathological and very dysfunctional.
Those individuals who use these three primitive psychological defenses rearrange external reality (so that actual reality may be avoided); for an observer, the users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane. These are known as the "psychotic" defenses, common in overt psychosis, in dreams, and throughout childhood.Denial
is a refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. There are examples of denial being adaptive (for example, it might be adaptive for a person who has a terminal illness to use some degree of denial). But for the most part, denial is only useful as a short-term strategy, to permit a person to come to terms with reality. As a long-term strategy to protect self-identity, it is potentially lethal--since the person or group that uses it extensively is blinded to the real danger that might be out there.Distortion
is a gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs. The ongoing and bizarre accusations against the evil genius Karl Rove are typical of the distortion of the paranoid style. The most recent example is the accusation by the denizens of the Democratic Underground that the Osama tape was masterminded by Rove to justify the President's authorization of the NSA to intercept terrorist communications.
In a free society, it is reasonable to raise concerns about the trade-offs during a war of increased security and decreased freedom in some areas; and how far is it appropriate or necessary to go--balancing risks and benefits. But the paranoid left will not allow a rational discussion of this issue and insist that free speech is being taken away and that the President is mad with power. It is more to the point to say that they are mad with impotence.
You might notice that the left today are so obsessed with controlling the speech of those who disagree with them (they refer to such speech as "hate" speech and generally accuse you of being "hate-filled"); that they are unable to recognize, let alone take responsibility for the hatred and anger that they are experiencing. Attributing their own feelings to others is much more acceptable since it allows them to continue to believe that they are champions of free speech; calm and rational ("reality-based"); when the greatest threats to free speech originate in their own policies which they demand be forced onto others; and the greatest threat to peace is in their own unacknowledged rage.
Granted that the conservative right--especially sometimes the religious right--suffer from the same paranoid style at times and can be equally obnoxious with wanting to force their policies and beliefs onto others. That this is so, does not take the liberal left off the hook for their unbelievably childish and incredibly foolish paranoid attempts to manipulate political rhetoric in a time of war; in a manner that enables our enemies to exploit exposed faultlines in American politics--and to do it solely for their own personal political gain.
When you try to engage them in discussion, the paranoid person will simply emote and vent his rage because he feels dispossessed, impotent and irrelevant--and bitter.
Two-way communication is next to impossible. Eventually, the paranoid will develop a conspiracy theory to explain away their feelings of rage and impotence and seek to punish the person or group they blame for their situation. You can see this in almost every thread at the Democratic Underground if you are so inclined to read them. You can see it in the inflammatory and over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized the presidential primaries.
It is easy to see how all these psychological manipulations work together to keep a person or a group insulated from reality. We witness such behavior all around us these days. It has a mindless quality that is indifferent to the societal damage that it wreaks.
If the conservative right were able to develop a sense of insight and terminate the paranoid streak that ran through all its thinking in the 50's and 60's; then so too can the political left.
What is so dangerous at this particular time in history, is that the left seems to be escalating their paranoia instead of containing it. The entire world is in the midst of a potentially deadly crisis, brought on by a dangerous and lethal strain of Islamism that the paranoid left refuses to acknowledge. They are only able to see the conservative right as the enemies they have to deal with, and are blind to the real danger.
This is worse than delusional. This is potentially life-threatening for American society.
Paranoia, projection, denial and distortion can be banished though the development of insight and self awareness. When these defense mechanisms are being used, some inner reality is distorting outer reality. It is the inner reality that has to be understood before a person can have control over their bias, prejudices and histrionic and rageful tendencies; which are the major stumbling blocks to a full grasp of reality. Only be taking down such impediments will this country optimally deal with dangerous world of the 21st century.
The conservative right wing of American politics may once have been the predominant users of the paranoid style in the 60's. But today it is the left and all its ridiculous conspiracy theories that are the hallmark of paranoia and projection. This keeps them hopelessly mired in the past and deeply afraid of the future.
Just because you call yourself "progressive" and "reality-based" is hardly a guarantee of either; particularly when your political rhetoric and behavior reflects a perfect paranoia.