Barack Obama will probably win the 2008 presidential election. If he does, we conservatives will greet the news with our usual resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism. Being conservative means never being too surprised by disappointment.
But what if John McCain pulls off an upset?
I’m worried about my compatriots on the left. Michael Powell reports in Saturday’s New York Times that even the possibility of an Obama defeat has driven many liberals into in a state of high anxiety. And then there’s a young woman from Denver who “told her boyfriend that their love life was on hold while she sweated out Mr. Obama’s performance in Colorado.” Well, what if Obama loses Colorado? Or the presidency? As a compassionate conservative, I’m concerned about the well-being of that boyfriend — and of others who might be similarly situated. I feel an obligation to help.
Kristol then goes on to give the left some consolation; and even why they would be cheerful.
Of course, they would not agree with any of his points.
In fact, I don't believe that side of the political spectrum--particularly the leadership of the Democrats and the leftist bloggers are capable of seeing outside their usual paranoia and projection. See Erica Jong for a typical example of the sort of widespread hysteria and insanity we can expect if the wishes and fantasies of these emotion worshippers are not immediately gratified.
The beginning of the 21st century will surely be looked back on as a golden age of paranoia. The headlines of today fairly ooze with the delusions and vast conspiracies dreamed of in the mind of the paranoid left.
If we go back a little we can find reams of material to document this process, but let's look at a few.
There has been a series of bizarre conspiracy theories emanating from anxious leftists in the last 8 years as they attempt to keep the holes in their ideology plugged; thus preventing any reality from washing over them or flooding their cognitive processes.
Every time a leak in that ideological dike appears, the paranoid brand chewing gum is brought out to stop it up. The TNG memos were a clever plot by Karl Rove. The Bush Administration was behind 9/11; Katrina was allowed to destroy New Orleans because Bush hates blacks. George Bush is about to impose a theocracy on the unsuspecting U.S. Pat Tillman was murdered because he wanted to meet with anti-war activist Norm Chomsky. The list of the paranoid delusions goes on and on and on.
Taken as a whole, they are evidence of an ongoing and determined refusal to face reality--because it is a reality that threatens the belief systm of a whole section of the American population. Without the delusions and conspiracies concocted by the always creative political left, their whole house of Marxist cards will come crumblin down.
Some have said that Unwillingness To Face Reality And Its Consequences is the most serious mental illness of our time; and that is most certainly true.
Erica Jong and her equally paranoid frieds are perfect examples of how the bacteria of paranoid stupidity is spread. The infecting agent is usually a true believer who cannot face some unpleasant aspect of reality (i.e. that always "unpleasant truth") that is starting to trickle out into the open. It must dammed up immediately. The paranoid gum is handy and easy to use--just chew it up and plaster it over the hole.
For the political left, the gum has created a full blown conspiracy theory that links the Bush Administration to anything bad in the world--in this case to discredit a celebrity military hero who died under tragic circumstances, but who died fighting for his country. Such a bizarre distortion of the cirucumstances of his death serves to undermine his bona fides as a real patriot while demonizing the entire Bush Administration and the war on terror. It is simply another manifestation of BDS.
Just as the Jews serve as the handy scapegoat on which the dysfunctional Arab/Islamic culture in the Middle East can blame all their own societal failures; Conservatives and the political right serve the function of being the source of all evil in American society to the dysfunctional political left. If they did not have a George Bush on which to blame all societies ills, they would have to invent him--or, in recent weeks, we have seen how they have forced Sarah Palin into the same scapegoat mold, prepared to transfer all their rage and hostility toward her. Not to have such a scapegoat on which to project their own inadequacies would mean they would have to question some very basic assumptions about their fantasized superiority.
In making paranoid pronouncements, the paranoid person always takes himself or herself extremely seriously. Rarely do people like Jong--or Islamic paranoid for that matter--present themselves to a mental health professionals seeking help; or even complaining about their psychological projections, no matter how bizarre or dysfunctional they may be. That is because for them, the paranoia and the accompanying projections explain away and rationalize so much about their failures as individuals and cultures.
The insane asylum we refer to as the Middle East and all its affiliates in Africa and Indonesia where Islamic delusion runs rampant, have a fully formed paranod fantasy that explains their lack of progress and their dysfunction in the real world. Likewise, the lunatic left also subscribes to their own special convoluted explantions of dysfunction and lack of power. In both cases, if the object of their projections did not exist, they would have to invent them because their world view cannot be held together without the gummy glue of the paranoid fantasies that connect all their dots. To them, the fact that Blackwaters and Halliburtons--or any successful capitalist business exists--is enough to explain their own dysfunction and lack of progress.
Funny, isn't it, how this characteristic and prevalent delusion of the political left perfectly parallels the paranoid delusions of the backward Islamic oountries of the Middle East and their attitude toward the "evil Jews."
If only Israel and the Jews could be "wiped off the map"; or, if only those evil capitalist companies could be "torn up into a thousand pieces and scatter[ed] to the wind" then Islam/Progressivism would be more successful.
Everything can be explained by this kind of paranoid logic. In fact, paranoia is really nothing more than the use of reason and logic in the service of the irrational and bizarre.
- Are you poor? Someone must have robbed you of what you are entitled to!
- Are you angry and experiencing hatred, but like to think of yourself as a loving, compassionate sort of person? Then the object of your hatred magically becomes the one who hates...you!
- Is your genius not universally recognized? You must have powerful enemies that prevent you from achieving the success you know should be yours.
- Have you made mistakes in your life? Someone has clearly tricked you into acting a certain way otherwise you wouldn't have.
The above mental gymnastics allow the paranoid person to externalize blame and avoid responsibility for his situation in life, as well as his own feelings. It is always someone else's fault and not his. It is always someone else who is experiencing the objectionable feelings, and he is always the victim of it.
In addition to externalizing blame for one's own pitiful situation in life, there is yet another advantage to paranoia and projection: very often, a creative distortion of reality can reliably pump up one's own self-esteem! You are the righteous; persecuting the true racists thus proving you, yourself, are incapable of any racist thoughts or emotions! Aren't you wonderful?
Sometimes, it pumps it that self-esteem up at the expense of a great deal of fear; but nevertheless, it is comforting to know that someone appreciates your genius or the threat you represent. Clearly if the CIA, FBI, aliens, Jews , POTUS, Republicans, Business/capitalism, Big Oil [--fill in your favorite bogeyman here--] are out to get you, you must be very special and unique indeed.
In short, paranoia and its baby brother projection organize and distort reality in a way that makes it palatable; and, at the same time help the user to avoid recognizing some unpleasant truths about himself. When practiced on a societal or cultural level, it accomplishes the same thing on a larger scale. All you have to do is eliminate the external problem and everything will be all right and you'll never have to question your beliefs--or say you are sorry-- again.
The con artist does this consciously and deliberately and understands the effectiveness of the psychological maneuver. Con artists come in all sorts of political stripes, of course, but in our day the great examples are pretty much exclusive to the political left, because the vast majority of the left's minions have such an intense need to appear virtuous. In fact, the appearance of virtue in themselves is much more important than any other reality.
Reality is always redrawn in order to pump up their own righteousness and virtue. Anyone who opposes their policies is automatically branded as racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic-- take your pick, depending on the circumstances.
Hell, anyone who offers ANY new ideas in these areas are automatically branded with one of the "isms".
It is useless to point out the truth to people in the grip of these kind of paranoid delusions. It is just so easy to attribute one's own cynical motives and unacceptable feelings to others, particularly when such attribution is culturally sanctioned.
It is inconceivable to paranoid persons that people actually exist who view the situation differently from them. It is inconceivable that they could be wrong about their perception of reality. Con men always think others are out to con them. In fact, most paranoids consider themselves the ONLY reality-based community, because they get to define what reality is and it is always what they happen to feel. And it is always about making sure they feel good and virtuous and self-righteous.
Paranoia and projection also provide a rationale and justification (to the paranoid, at least) for acting out against those who--from their perspective-- stand in the way of implementing their social programs; or will not submit to the will of their god (whoever and whatever it may be).
Oh, and by the way: DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that only psychiatric patients who have a serious mental illness utilize these defense mechanisms. Paranoia is a symptom of many mental illnesses; but both paranoia and projection are also physiological states of the brain that can be achieved by otherwise "normal" people under the proper circumstances. The distortion of reality that occurs with the use of these defenses is always done to serve inner psychological needs.
Paranoia and projection as psychological defenses used by otherwise normal people are not mental illnesses that can be "cured" by mass quantities of antipsychotic medication in the water supply. Instead, they represent a distortion of reality that occurs in order to meet the inner needs of a crumbling self (or a crumbling ideology, culture, or society) that cannot otherwise be psychologically sustained.
To those who are using such a defense, their behavior and rhetoric seem perfectly logical and internally consistent. It is, in fact, as impeccable as any reasoning can be--considering that it originates from distorted premises. Paranoia has been referred to as "the rational in the service of the irrational" for good reasons.
And, by that kind of "logic" it makes perfect sense to use the maximum force possible to destroy those who the paranoid believes are responsible for the evil: e.g., all those absurd conspiracies that are wholeheartedly supported by the left that claim Bush and Cheney downed the twin towers; and have those who oppose them murdered. All those absurd theories that the Israelis created a disease that is specific to Arab genes or that the fictional Protocols are behind the lack of Nobel Prizes for Muslims; or even that the genocide in Darfur is just another Jewish conspiracy. These kind of paranoid fantasies all comes from the same psychological source.
As long as they maintain those delusions, they do not have to deal with the sad state of their own culture; their own sick religion; or their pathetic ideological inadequacies.
Bill Kristol makes some good--even therapeutic--suggestions to help the left deal with their pathology come election day if things don't go their way (and I fervently hope that things don't go much in their direction). But I think that Erica Jong's mental gyrations are closer to characterizing the deep level of pathology that exists today in both the Democratic Party and their leftist base. If they lose, there probably will be "blood on the streets"--they are certainly capable of such destruction and sociopathic behavior. But I don't expect that an Obama win will "heal" the fundamental psychopathological and paranoid defect that drives them currently. On the contrary, winning will only further harden the projection and paranoia and extend the delusions and conspiracies.
After all, they will now have to explain why their policies make things worse, instead of better.
What I am more worried about is the destructive and sociopathic behaviors; the anti-freedom, anti-capitalist and anti-American behaviors we can expect to witness if they win.