Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Victor Davis Hanson can't help but notice the unhinged rantings of Naomi Wolf:
"Do Not Let Her!" — Life in the Palin-Rove-Cheney Police State
When this election is all over, it will be hard to remember which Obama partisan proved the most unhinged (Rev. Wright doesn't count):

The "comedian" who called for the rape of Sarah Palin; the discredited Atlantic Magazine blogger who snowballed rumors that the Palin Down syndrome child was not her own; the Atlantic Monthly hired photographer who disseminated photo-shopped outtakes of McCain; the son of the Democratic legislator who hacked into the Palin email account; or one of the many in Hollywood/New York who gave us a moronic rant in the style of Woody Allen, Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Chevy Chase et al.

My vote, however, would go to Naomi Wolf (most infamous for charging Al Gore several thousands a month for advice on matters involving Alpha males, and Harold Bloom with sexual harassment years later). Now she warns about the "horror" that she was "seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal." And indeed the reach of Sarah Palin's police state is already proving to be long indeed:
Almost everyone I work with on projects related to this campaign for liberty has been experiencing computer harassment: emails are stripped, messages disappear. That's not all: people's bank accounts are being tampered with: wire transfers to banks vanish in midair. I personally keep opening bank accounts that are quickly corrupted by fraud. Money vanishes. Coworkers of mine have to keep opening new email accounts as old ones become infected. And most disturbingly to me personally is the mail tampering I have both heard of and experienced firsthand. My tax returns vanished from my mailbox. All my larger envelopes arrive ripped straight open apparently by hand. When I show the postman, he says "That's impossible." Horrifyingly to me is the impact on my family. My childrens' report cards are returned again and again though perfectly addressed; their invitations are turned back; and my daughters many letters from camp? Vanished. All of them. Not one arrived. Try explaining that to a smart thirteen year old. Try explaining it in a way that still makes her feel secure and comfortable.

I am not telling you this because it's about my life. I am telling you this because it is about your life — whoever you are, Conservative or Liberal, independent or evangelical. Your politics will not protect you in a police state. History shows that nothing portects (sic) you in a police state.
...Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.

LGF also links to the histrionic Wolf rant, and then highlights it with one of the typical comments from a reader:
One trillion dollars to bail out the financial institutions? I don’t think so. I think they will use this money to set up their fascist police state, suspend the constitution and declare martial law.

These insane paranoid rantings (which I maintain are projections of their own dark selves--i.e., this is what Wolf and her admiring readers would actually like to do to those who oppose their holy ideology) is nothing new in American politics. Richard Hofstadter wrote a classic essay on "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" which presented numerous examples of the paranoid style in the 50's. At that time, the political right was out of power and they were the dominant source of paranoia and projection in the political arena. From the John Birch Society; to Joseph McCarthy; to the conspiracy theories related to fluoridation of water and other irrationally held beliefs of the time; the political right engaged in frankly paranoid thinking as a way of coping with their decline in power and influence.

Hofstadter noted even then, that the right could not claim exclusive title to the paranoid style. In fact, American history has been littered with examples of both sides decending into paranoid thinking to deal with painful truth and unacceptable reality about their ideology.

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

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

Any who oppose the "equality of outcome" logic are descibed as "racist". Those who disagree with them are "trying to shut down free speech" (watch and see whose behavior actually physically attempts to silence others--or here). Those who point out the errors in their thinking are "evil". American society--arguably the freest and most tolerant in the world--becomes the source of all oppression and evil. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been the focus of their insane and irrational for the last eight years, symbolizing everything that makes the loser left realize their own inadequacies and failures.

Now, the left has found another focus for their insanity and hysteria--one that is even worse than Bush (from their perspective) because she is a woman. A woman! All women are supposed to be helpless victims of white male heterosexual oppression; who need to turn to the leftist elites--like Naomi Wolf-- for succor and guidance. How dare Sarah Palin succeed WITHOUT Naomi Wolf and leftist feminist approval? Palin simply must be--MUST BE-- a fascist!

Naomi Wolf, who hates her own country so much, she publishes an article in Turkey asking the [Islamic] world to confront its evil. Who loves women so much, she rationalizes away their oppression and humiliation in Islamic culture--even celebrates that oppression as a "thriving sexuality." And this lunatic, hysterical bitch (and believe me, I am actually insulting the mentally ill as well as female dogs everywhere) has the temerity to criticize Sarah Palin? How out of touch with reality do you have to be to believe that Islamic/Arab culture is good because being under the veil nurtures and empowers women while western--particularly American--culture oppresses and demeans them?

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

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

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

What was inappropriate and irrational, as well as an extreme example of "connecting the dots" (which is what paranoids do to the extreme--even connecting dots that don't exist) to regain political power, was the use of the relevant scientific question as a basis for developing a rather bizarre conspiracy theory that connected it with another realistic concern at the time--the rise of communism and its easy acceptance and penetration into American culture.

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

The bizarre conspiracy theories that condensed around fluoridation are not dissimilar to the ones we have heard over and over again concerning President Bush and his administration. Repeatedly we have heard the shreiks of the paranoid left wailing that an imminent theocracy was to be imposed by the fascist BusHitler. We have watched them make fools of themselves over and over again as their predictions escalated into absurdity.

Now with the Bush Presidency near an end, they need to transfer their insanity to a new object and Sarah Palin encapsulates all they they desperately fear the most--a liberated woman who doesn't need them or their ideology and exposes it for the intellectual and moral con it truly is.

Watch and learn--because this is just the beginning of a new and improved delusional psycho-path the left is taking on the way to implementing their grand plan to regain political power. The absurd claims, the swooning irrationality, the hysterical and sweeping accusations of evil on the part of the left will only escalate in the coming days as the McCain/Palin ticket continues to have traction with the general public. They will have to come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories and paranoid fantasies to explain away their own failures and dysfunction--as well as that of their holy Saviour. When they lose the election, these new and improved delusions will become fixed and immutable. They simply will not be able to believe that their opponents won and we will hear once again how it was "stolen" from them.

The paranoia of the left can be seen in their increasingly desperate attempts to discredit Sarah Palin; but, just as fluoridation being a plot of the communists didn't resonate with reality; neither do Naomi Wolf's ridiculous assertions.

The hallmark of the paranoid individual and the paranoid style is constant anticipation or expectation of either attack or personal betrayal. Paranoia finds causal connections everywhere and in everything; for them, nothing is coincidental. Sinister tanning booths take on special meaning, and they can develop complicated conspiracies about innocuous behaviors and irrelevant events. Their paranoia makes them constantly on guard, searching for hidden motives and meanings in everyone else's behavior.

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

Bush was Hitler; now that he is going away, they must find a new Hitler to replace him so that they can feel good and virtuous about themselves by hating him/her again.

I'm sure that for the Naomi Wolf's of the world, it is far more comforting to predict an imminent fascist takeover of America by a Sarah Palin, rather than accept the notion that you have a severe mental impairment brought about by a dysfunctional ideology.

It's much easier to disregard or distort reality; and/or to simply incorporate the person who threatens your view of yourself into a complex paranoid fantasy; rather than deal with the trauma of a disintegrating self.

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

Hofstadter again:
What distinguishes the paranoid style is not, then, the absence of verifiable facts (though it is occasionally true that in his extravagaant passion for facts the paranoid occasionally manufactures them), but rather the curious leap in imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events....

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

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

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

One of the daunting aspects of political paranoia exhibited by the likes of Wolf, is that it stops just short of being bizarre (if she claimed that Sarah Palin was an alien...then I'd have to reconsider); it is just unbelievable in its breathtaking scope and histrionic intensity to most reasonable people. In order to believe it, a person would have to accept some pretty far-fetched underlying assumptions - many of them completely contradictory.

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

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

There is little hope that the left will change its paranoid style or that they will develop any real insight or take any responsibility for their psychotic rhetoric. Instead, it will only escalate and become more and more out of touch with reality as their power fades away.

Voices like Naomi Wolf's, screaming out the left's collective delusions for all rational persons to hear, make it clearer and clearer each day that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for insanity.

Meanwhile, the competition for the most unhinged person of the left continues to be fierce--with Wolf leading the pack.

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