Sometimes, the order in which ideas present themselves to you is more important than their individual coherence or importance. Occasionally, the most trivial and unrelated things can serve as stepping stones to a entirely new vista, a new perception of an old, unsolved puzzle. I’ve tried for a few months now to complete my Cultural Insanity series on the dangerous evolutionary dead end that is the progressive, secular humanistic, socialist left. I had put up three posts that were quite well received (I, II and III) in July and August. I was on a roll. But as I approached the last post in the series I stalled.
I realized I had never really got beyond finding innovative ways of explaining how wrong and developmentally immature they are. When I started putting that last post together, the one in which I would put the coup-de-grace on the left by uncovering and laying out the underlying flaw in their philosophy and rational, I could not complete the series. The deep underlying flaw kept receding from my grasp. I knew most of the important pieces of the puzzle:
But somehow I couldn’t make it all work together. I felt it right there but I couldn’t lay my hand on it. I felt like a badger trying to dig a rabbit out of is burrow. The more I dug for it the deeper it withdrew until, exhausted, I took a step back and paused. Now, thanks to a series of serendipitously found items in the newspaper, I’ve come to kind of a breakthrough. I have been able to go beyond ridicule to a new level of understanding.
1. Moral relativism (ethical bankruptcy)
2. Omerta code (political correctness) about certain words (Islamofascism, Negro, oriental, black, etc…, and whole subject areas (Muslim intolerance and xenophobia, the moral and ideological bankruptcy of communism as a political system
3. A suicidal inability to see and advocate for one’s own best interest
4. Emotional volatility
5. Victim worship
6. Unwillingness to discuss or even read or listen to ideas with which they disagree
7. Tendency to “go ad hominem” (indulge in personal attacks) on anyone who disagrees with them
6. Refusal to be friends (or even associate) with conservatives “shunning”
9. Cynicism toward traditional values
10. A trenchant dislike, mistrust and lack of respect for our parental culture that bears an uncanny similarity to the resentment and disrespect that most adolescents and young adults in our culture show toward their own parents.
My insight began to come together a week ago Sunday. It was a faily innocuous letter to the editor in The Boston Globe that got me started. The letter was in response to a very good article that Jeff Jacoby had written about “The Islamist War on Women”. The letter, written by Amy Senier bore the title, Women mistreated in the West, Too. I’ll reprint it here:
IN APRIL 2007, a man broke into the apartment of a Columbia University graduate student, tied her up, and taped her mouth shut. He proceeded to rape and sodomize her for 19 hours, stopping only to slit her eyelids and burn her with hot water and bleach. According to the Department of Justice, 115,010 women were raped in the United States in 2005. Americans have even joined the war against women in Iraq: Four US soldiers gang-raped and murdered a 14-year-old girl in June 2006.
None of this is meant to excuse the horrible events relayed by Jeff Jacoby. It does, however, indicate that no single culture holds a monopoly on the "subjugation of women" or that such incidents are "unthinkable by Western standards," as Jacoby suggests.
Okaaaay- so, according to Ms Senier, because she can name two terrible things that happened in unrelated contexts somewhere within western civilization, we are supposed to become demoralized and drop our ethical objection to the way the great majority of Islam treats women. Anyone who wasn't educated in our leftist schools under ungraded pass/fail rules has got to bet revolted by this. But, I’m going to restrain myself here and I ask you to do the same.
We could vent our frustration on this pathetic attempt to distract our attention so that I could Fiske the shear stupidity out of it line by insipid line but why waste the time? I could point out the moral relativism and ethical bankruptcy- there can be no such equivalency between a culture in which government and religious leaders clearly and openly advocate the beating and murder of women, the routine beating of wives, marital rape, flogging and murder of rape victims and near universal female genital mutilation with our culture in which protection of women is a high ideal, rape and violence are prosecuted vigilantly and punished by the government (the U.S. Department of Justice even has an Office for the protection of women) and decried by religious leaders. No I am looking beyond that to the obvious and hitherto unanswerable question. I see a way to go beyond beating up on the Amy Seniers of the world in an effort to understand them and figure out how to open a hailing frequency to the Good Ship Moonbat in which she is so clearly orbiting the planet WTF? I’ll leave it at this: when I read the idea in print that there is some sort of equivalence (or any degree of comparability!) between the condition of women in Islam and that of women in western society, I am forced to assume there is something other than pure logic, moral clarity and clear judgment at work in the mind of the writer. Let’s leave it at that for the time being.
Later on in the same day, when we drove my sister-in-law to the airport, I found an abandoned copy of the New York Times Book Review. I took it home with me because there was a review that caught my eye. The book was MODERNISM The Lure of Heresy From Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond. By Peter Gay. The review was written by Lee Siegel. I’ll be the first to admit that am not in touch with the fine points and minute distinctions of “cultural history” as it is practiced by messieurs Gay and Siegel but I found many of Siegel’s meditations on Gay book to be very evocative and, in fact, directly related to the letter I had read in The Globe that morning.
The Lure of Heresy, indeed! What could motivate the kind of amoral, twisting of logic that would lead a woman to try to excuse the horrors that are pandemic for the women of Islam by slandering the culture in which a major metropolitan newspaper would print her scurrilous letter. What was she even trying to say? Her point as she stated it was that “no culture has a monopoly on the subjugation of women” as if the two heinous instances of violence that she cites damns a whole civilization in the same way that Shari’a law and its subjugation of women darkens life in the Arab world.
A quick Google of Amy Senier yields plenty of evidence that she is no ordinary idiot. Assuming that the Globe letter writer is this well-traveled, highly educated idiot, she is a heretic indeed. She is, a smart young woman, who has had prestigious academic training and some very interesting life experience and has still managed to keep her heretical dislike of her own culture intact. I used to be disheartened by this kind of thing. Here is a young woman who has had all of the advantages of our enlightened culture, a young woman who in most Islamic families would have been (because I am certain she does not have a fraction of the courage or common sense of a Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish or Wafa Sultan) beaten into submission, deprived of her clitoris in a primitive, bloody and violent way, married off to the wealthiest old man her parents could arrange and confined to the back rooms of his house to spend her time hoping that he doesn’t tire of her to the degree that he gets rid of her in any of the devious and cruel ways that include beating to death for some imagined infraction of decorum and summary divorce and expulsion from the house. And I am left wondering why, when she reads an article in the newspaper, the facts of which she takes no issue with, does she take the time and effort to write a letter the sole point of which is to sling muck on her own culture? It is not a point, it is nothing but a sneer. No one asked her to comment. She went out of her way to do this. But it is half-baked heresy- more of a sort of intellectual Alzheimer’s disease where you forget everything except to sneer.
One paragraph in Siegel’s review of Gay’s book stood out for me. It made me realize why I was so attracted to the review- It had always been my impression that it was the modernists who, looking down their noses at everyday life and the struggles of everyday people, elevated the neuroses and phobias of the individual to political issues. It was modernism, with its amused and dismissive air, that found a way to make the half-baked intellectual poseurs, the Amy Seniers of the world, feel that unless they were always “resisting” tradition, convention and ethical values, that they were not “intellectual”. This paragraph seems to encapsulate the hypocrisy of it all.
“As for Gay’s Parisian modernist “outsiders,” if the French provided the most extreme assaults on Western rationality — Rimbaud’s “disorientation of the senses,” André Breton’s celebration of primal instincts stored in the unconscious, André Gide’s enthusiasm for the “motiveless” crime, Antonin Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty,” Maurice Blanchot’s declaration of the death of the author — the reason was simple. It was not that French conditions kept creating figures resembling Baudelaire, about whom Gay histrionically writes that he was “an outcast aware of his loneliness” — though, as Gay admits, Baudelaire lived at the center of Parisian cultural energy. In France, civilization is invincible and eternal. Its immutable stability makes opposition to it all the more cheerfully ferocious. You can hurl the most incredible rhetorical and intellectual violence against French custom and convention and still have time for some conversation in the cafe, un peu de vin, a delicious dinner and, of course, l’amour. And in the morning, you extricate yourself from such sophisticated coddling — the result of centuries of art and artifice — and rush back to the theoretical barricades.”
So it is with Amy, she feels free to hurl her rhetorical and intellectual violence and still get her education at the Fletcher School at the same time. Her churlish hypocrisy costs her nothing. In fact at the Fletcher School she is rewarded for it.
Now I was getting the feeling that there was a handle on the problem that I could grasp. I went to bed pondering that apparent contradiction- It has always been the disaffected but spoiled intellectuals who have led the attack on their own civilization but, as Seigel points out, the phenomenon is in inverse proportion to their perceived ability to actually change or harm that civilization. Like the
Then, the next day, Wretchard at Belmont Club posted a pastiche about open secrets that really got me thinking.
His post asked the question, “Why does common knowledge remain unacknowledged within an organization?”- a question with obvious implications for political correctness. At one point in the article, he introduces the term “undiscussable” as explained in the blog Unfolding Leadership. The term is yet another way to talk about political correctness. Here is the definition of undiscussible from Unfolding Leadership:
“An undiscussable is a work-related problem that people hesitate to address with those who can do something about it. It isn't that people don't talk about undiscussables. They talk about them frequently -- in the hallways and parking lots, bathrooms and across the cubicles. But it isn't with the person or the people most often associated with the issues.”
Wretchard begins his post with some tantalizing information about the past week’s fatal incident at the San Francisco Zoo. It seems to be that three young men were taunting the Tigers from out side their outdoor exhibit area and were attacked by one of the tigers that was somehow able to get across the moat and up the wall. Wretchard cites a San Francisco Chronicle article that tells a disturbing story about zoo officials having known about the inadequacy of the tiger enclosure for over forty years.
The story told by David Rentz in a post on his blog is all too believable. Rentz relates how, as a high school student in 1959, he was invited by Carey Baldwin, the director of the zoo, to help him verify if “we have a problem with a tiger”. Here is a snip:
“I forget the tiger's name but Mr. Baldwin had been told by one of the zookeepers that the tiger might be able to escape by jumping across the moat and onto the flowerbed between the public guard rail and the moat. We got a large piece of meat and tied it to a long bamboo pole and approached the tiger enclosure. We were at the other end of the bamboo pole--about 15 ft away from the meat. Mr. Baldwin held the pole at the edge of our side of the moat. Once the tiger saw it, he literally flew across the moat from his position on the other side, grabbed the meat, and sprung back to the grotto all in one graceful movement. It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen.”
It struck me then and there that there is something compulsive and risky (an analog of gambling, perhaps) in the secretive behavior of the zoo management and staff. Here is what I see happening. Carey Baldwin was (presumably) tipped off by a zoo keeper who “just happened” to know that the tiger “might” be able to jump out of the enclosure. Keep in mind that Baldwin is the guy in charge, the zoo director. He addresses this potentially explosive problem by choosing to involve only David Rentz, a high school student, someone from outside the organization who is impressionable and controllable. He took Rentz, and went to tempt the tiger with meat He was acting on a tantalizing rumor and he was behaving like a man on a secret tryst. When the experiment worked and the tiger, big as life, bounded across the moat and up into the open in all its menacing, predatory majesty and all it did was to snatch the meat and leap back down into its “enclosure” the instantaneous fear and then relief must have given Baldwin (and Rentz) a gigantic “rush”- a kind of “peak experience” of primeval power. Rentz, the eye witness, says, “It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen. It scared the hell out of me. It scared the hell out of both of us.”
But then it was over. Like the “high” a gambler gets from risking his last chip and then winning a huge payoff or the “rush” that a skier gets from challenging a steep slope, the exhilaration of merely surviving the encounter must have been both stimulating and arousing. It suddenly struck me that this is the part that is most hidden, and most tantalizing. That secret thrill, that feeling of being in the grip of fear and emerging into safety, mastery and a kind of omnipotence is one of the most compelling feelings in human experience. There is a whole field of inquiry in Psychological research that studies how risk taking behavior fosters addiction. The desire to take risks dangerous enough to cause that feeling is as personal and private as sexuality. For some it might be a winter ascent of a mountain for others it could be making an obscene gesture as the President of the United States.
Undisscussables in organizations (or politically incorrect ideas and words in public discourse) it is probably safe to assume, are indicators that there is some sort of addictive behavior on the part of members of that group that deems these secrets ideas and words “dangerous” to the very core. They are often not just avoided and denied but are stigmatized and execrated. There is often a kind of pseudo-sexual arousal associated with them, a dark, forbidden, omerta.
Rentz’s statement, “It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen.” is very evocative. It was a recognition that they had indulged in a kind of insanity in which, knowing that there was at least a real possibility that they were going to come face to face with a tiger, they took no measures to protect themselves against that eventuality. They had arranged no backup with firearms, tranquilizer darts or nets nearby, made no provision for their own safety. They were, in short, indulging in a game of exceedingly high stakes.
The fact that that particular tiger jumped up so quickly and effortlessly was proof that it could repeat the feat at anytime. Moreover it was an indication that more than one of the tigers might be capable of doing it. The fact that the vulnerability had already existed for years and would continue to do so only enhanced the random nature of the threat. This is the very definition of a random reinforcement situation. We know that the combination of random reinforcement, with thrill seeking and risk taking is the perfect scenario for creating a Compulsive Gambling problem.
Amy Senier’s behavior now had new substance for me. Political correctness is risky behavior too- a real kind of gambling. It is a two-fold gamble. First, like the snotty adolescent, who tries to push her parents to the absolute limit of their tolerance and patience, she is daring us to do a justified and detailed refutation (with punishment?) of her ideas and purpose. At another level though, the more powerful stimulant must be that she (and those like her) realize that the “outsiders that they so blithely and blindly ally themselves with are a real and present danger.
Like the tiger in the enclosure, the Islamists would kill or subjugate the likes of Amy Senier first should the west ever become weakened to the point that they could take over. She must understand, even if its only subconsciously, that the Islamist Shari’a regiemes she is so anxious to equate with us find her an affront and a heresy of the most basic kind. So her spiciest thrill must be from taunting the tiger of Shari’a law with her support from the safety of America. It is gambling in the sense that she can do her best to help the progressive movement to demoralize and degrade the spirit of the west, all the while betting that her protections and security will remain intact.
Just as taunting the tiger was an arousing sport for those three young men in San Francisco, Amy must get a smutty little thrill from hurling her insults at our culture and running back to the Fletcher school where she sucks at the teat of Pell Grants and all the other benefits of this culture- the culture which she that she accuses of subjugating women. I think of this and I recall the many times I have observed the sickly, mischevious smiles and disconnected gaze of leftists and progressives as they made their prevaricating and hurtful arguments against the moral basis of our society and I finally understand how they can behave that way. It is not really about ideas and culture for them, it is about their own feelings of boredom, ennui and anomie.
These common knowledge undiscussables remain unacknowledged because as in all addictions truth is always the first casualty of addictive behavior. The thrill of being able to “express” rhetorical and intellectual violence without punishment or consequences relieves the dullness of everyday life and makes a life of study without passion to learn, meaningless jobs and empty, post-modern, politically correct personal relationships bearable. Nothing can be allowed to interfere with it. This is an addictive state; if you look back at the ten “pieces of the puzzle listed above, they have a great deal in common with the lists of “warning signs” of alchoholism and drug addiction published by different advocacy groups. Maybe we should stop wondering why so many otherwise intelligent people in the west cannot seem to recognize the threat posed by Caliphate Islam and begin working on ways to break the cycle of random reinforcement and lethal threat that keeps them in that addictive state and renders them incapable of breaking it themselves.
We must make them see that political correctness and moral relativism are bad gambles. They keep us from thinking clearly about the real dangers with which we are faced. They are, in the long term, Unilateral Cultural Disarmament. There is a fine line between legitimate and constructive self-criticism and Cultural Suicide by addiction to it. Seeming non-sequitors like “no culture has a monopoly on subjugation of women” undermines the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. It is one more attempt to cripple our defense against the evil that is Caliphate Islam.
Yaacov, what an amazing post. A true watershed moment my friend. The left cannot helpthemselves as they sink into the abyss that is self deprecation.
Well done friend, well done!
Yaacov, could it be that the success of Western culture allows children to remain sneering children. Consider the ability of Ms. Senier to get paid for work that does not contribute to the economic foundation of the culture in which she lives. Sneering is her job. She gets paid to do so. Imagine her thoughts on businesses that actually contribute to the betterment of our existence. Why they are the modern day pinnacle of all that is evil!
What do our religious texts say about those that call evil "good" and good, "evil"? Or those that despise knowledge?
If our culture did not provide support for those operating outside of the law of economic freedom - i.e. paying professional sneerers -the culture might be the better for it.
A very interesting post. I would suggest that those addicted to sneering at the culture fall into three general categories:
1)The nihilists. As a now-defunct Italian blog put it several years ago:
"Cupio dissolvi...These words have been going through my mind for quite a long time now. It's Latin. They mean "I (deeply) wish to be annihilated/to annihilate myself", the passive form signifying that the action can be carried out both by an external agent or by the subject himself...Cupio dissolvi... Through all the screaming and the shouting and the wailing and the waving of the rainbow cloth by those who invoke peace but want appeasement, I hear these terrible words ringing in my ears. These people have had this precious gift, this civilization, and they have got bored with it. They take all the advantages it offers them for granted, and despise the ideals that have powered it. They wish for annihilation, the next new thing, as if it was a wonderful party. Won't it be great, dancing on the ruins?"
2)The professional sneerers, as Nancy calls them--those who are paid to sneer. It is much easier for an academic or a writer to make a reputation by sneering than to do it by actually doing good creative work. If they burn up the world's supply of diamonds in order to feed the furnace of their ambitions, that's someone else's problem.
3) The fearful. There seem to be quite a few members of the intelligentsia (broadly defined) who view their fellow Americans as brutish animals, and who feel far more threatened by the church lady in Alabama than by the terrorist enemy.
Excellent essay, Yaacov.
You reminded me of an old childhood friend who graduated from Harvard, then UC Berkley grad school, and finally became a professor of Germanic Studies.
His father is Jewish, and his mother Irish Catholic, although he was raised a secular communist. He proudly proclaims his ideological support of the "underdog" Hamas and the Palestinian "resistance." He refers to Jewish settlers as "jack booted thugs." He compares Israel to apartheid South Africa. He believes in challenging all social norms. He preaches non-violence and is violently opposed to anything military.
He wouldn't set off a bomb, but he believes anarchists are an important part of society. He defends militant Islam because they are always fighting "oppressive occupiers."
He is opposed to organized religion, but he regularly attends candle-light vigils where speakers recite Walt Whitman's "Blades of Grass."
In other words, he is a confused, lost soul who has to invent his own belief system from scratch. His impromptu value system is full of inconsistencies and contradictions.
He started life as a very bright student, but he took a few too many acid trips. His parents never gave him any positive moral guidance, only cynical disdain for all the "corruption" of corporate America and Western civilization. He is a child of Chomsky, full of hate and indignation. He is an arrested adolescent, who only recently became a father himself. Will fatherhood change him? I doubt it. He named his daughter after the founder of the American Communist Party.
So when you send your children off to college, just remember my friend the college professor.
First time here -great website!
I'm adding you to my links section ASAP!
Very good article!
To me it all boils down to the fact that modern Western society is puropseless. There is no goal or aim in existence. Man has clear duty. For the average man, this is not such a great contradiction: bee good & honest, live your life and try do do what's right.
But the intellectuals' psyche runs deeper; if the world exists for a purpose, we are unswearable to a higher power. Discovering and obeying Him, in that case, would be one's duty in life - but that's too hard. If, on the other hand, there is no absolute [moral] authority from above, who's to say what's good and bad? Hence existance boils down to "achol veshato ki machar namus". That's IMHO the long and the short of left-wing ideology (albeit not admitted yb them) - which, ironically enough, makes right-wing more oxymoronic, as they can't really base their ideology solely on fulfilling G-d's will.
In the wake of 9/11 I wrote a long and tedious article about this. It's not too clear or coherent, but an intelligent person could make sense of it. Here it is, if you're interested.
All the best,
Excellent insights. Civilizations can die through boredom, exhaustion and hopelessness, as Kenneth Clark noticed in his book "Civilization": "there is a poem by the modern Greek poet Cavafy, in which he imagines the people of an antique town like Alexandria waiting every day for the barbarians to come and sack the city. Finally the barbarians move off somewhere else and the city is saved; but the people are disappointed - it would have been better than nothing."
I disagree with only one thing - that the Senier's of the world would be quickly put to the sword - they are so fundamentally cowardly, selfish and prevaricating, that their tongues would be first to lick the boots of their conquerors, and they would feel themselves justified in doing so.
Beyond the ennui and thrill, lies the question of how such people fell out of love with the ways of their God and their people and civilization; whither their ancestral pride. Restless from prosperity, cursed by gnawing unworthiness, unable to build to surpass the grand works of their forebears. the only accomplishment remaining is destruction of that which has gone before.
Our only hope is that reality mugs them good and hard - but the rain falleth on the just and the unjust.
Thank you for sharing so much so well.
Well thought out analysis, though I don't agree that your end result is the end of the story. While partly true that, as you say, "It is not really about ideas and culture for them, it is about their own feelings of boredom, ennui and anomie," there is more to it.
I think you were right to place Moral Relativism first among your points, but you also have to ask, "why moral relativism?"
I think Evan Sayet's has some thoughts that go to the heart of "why moral relativism?" and piggy back on your conclusions.
Some of his points from a presentation he gave at the Heritage Foundation can be summarized as: (Note - you really should watch the video, as he say's it much more clearly than I can summarize)
How do liberals think?
We can pretty much agree that Democrats are wrong on just about every issue. Give a modern liberal a choice between Saddam and the United States he will not only take Saddam, but will side with him. The question becomes why? They're not evil. They don't mean to side with evil, and always doing wrong. So perhaps its stupidity? But they're not stupid.
The modern liberal looks back at the history of the last 50,000 years and finds that none of the policies have eliminated war, poverty & injustice. And the thing that creates all of those is the attempt to be right. So we must do away with the "thought of being right." And the best way to eliminate the attempt to think one is right is to work always to show that right isn't right.
'Imagine no country, (not great countries, not good countries, but no countries at all), imagine no religion... Lennon.'
Tear down what is right and elevate what is wrong, until there's nothing left to believe in. Nothing must be better than something else. There can be no good. And no bad. Then there would be no reason to go to war, because no one is right, and no one is wrong.
Undermine the U.S. to show that its not worth fighting for. Elevate the Islamofacists - in fact, never refer to them as Islamofacists, or even terrorists. They are insurgents. Or like Michael Moore said, they're no different than our Minute Men. America caused 9/11, not 9 Muslims.
As I said, watch the video - - its a few minutes well spent.
I don't know about that one. With the Left, the 'vicitim' is usually the Aggressor, as with islamofascists and South American dictators. It is never the women raped by muslim males, the beheaded teacher, the Cuban who has no access to 'socialised medicine,' the legal immigrant who wants to see illegal aliens stopped at the border, the... well, you get my drift.
However I am not sure what a good alternative word would be in this case.
I agree with many of your excellent observations, but I am afraid you attribute far too much intellectual input on the side of a Liberal in such circumstances.
I cannot recommend Jonah Goldberg's new book "Liberal Fascism" enough to any other readers of this blog. His observations I believe cut closer to the quick.
The lure of fascism and its seeds in history run deep, even through our country. People like Amy Seiner, as flabbergasted as she would be at the suggestion, are lured by fascism, pure and simple.
I would add to your post the need for people to feel important.
Intellectuals like to hold the conceit that they are above common humanity. Since common humanity is inherent in the capitalist system, they are against it.
They can advocate it's destruction for a few reasons. One is that they perceive themselves to be insulated from it. They don't see that their own existence is tied to the system. Since the money doesn't come from the capitalist directly, they don't see the link to the source of their privilege. Most intellectuals are entirely ignorant in most areas and economics most of all.
The second is that because of their (classic) narcissism, they believe that if their civilization comes to harm, they will be the ones to lead the new order. They will not be the victims but will remain the elite. This also follows from their disconnect from their own society (at least in their own minds.) Since they believe that they will remain aloof and outside the consequences of societal destruction, their juvenile need for excitement drives them to revel in the idea of societal upheaval. They get off on the idea of the adventure of change. In the same way that some people's adrenaline spike when disaster strikes and leaves them unaffected, they crave destruction as a drug.
They are a sick people, poisoned in their hearts, sad and angry, wanting to blame the people who gave them their comfortable existence for their boredom and lack of purpose. Not for no reason was Marx, Che and other lefties the product of comfortable elite upbringing.
Please, don't ever stop talking/blogging. The rest of us haven't had to lift a finger in the last while to discredit the neoconservatives, so great is the momentum of your political and cultural train wreck.
The fact that the vulnerability had already existed for years and would continue to do so only enhanced the random nature of the threat.
To me this illuminates and explains the Left's fascination and adulation of terrorists (Che), and the simultaneous disdain and contempt for security. It's gets in the way of their random reinforcement titillation.
This last anonymous comment is a wonderful example of leftoid passive-aggressivity. Here it is point by point:
Point 1: Please, don't ever stop talking/blogging. –(Smarmy politeness disguising hostile intent)
Point 2: “The rest of us” (collectivists all, he pretends to speak for a multitude)
Point 3: “haven't had to lift a finger in the last while” (they do nothing useful, never define terms like “last while”- he expends only enough energy to sneer- see title of this article)
Point 4: “to discredit the neoconservatives,” (he does not even pay enough attention to know that I am not a Neo Conservative- in my latest post I even find a little fault with them)
Point 5: “so great is the momentum of your political and cultural train wreck.” (More undefined terms, more dire, emotional language without any detectable substance or reference)
It’s not ordinarily worth noting except that it jus5t shows how blind and imbecilic the emotional, leftist, passive aggressive world view makes one appear.
Yacov, I think you would be interested in the exchange at this Canuck blog Forward and Onward
So You Think You're Honest:
It serves as a real life example of your post. Various lefty commenters feign an attitude of civility in an attempt to obfuscate the real issues. It's good fun.
I agree that these people show that they are addicted to something.
My thought is that what they are addicted to is the sense of entitlement and moral superiority that they tend to incubate and nourish amongst their group. Just observe the reinforcing behaviours, the enablers and the self delusion that is rampant amongst the liberal left.
How did this get started?
I'd say going back to the early 19th century and the privileged elites who enjoyed both economic security and open access to the halls of academe. The "heretics" as you describe them were able to fill their lives with the rush of leading the movement to the new age.
Socialism and secular modernism became the equivalent and synonymous pairing of the intellectual. As time wore on the need for intellectual ability or even effort went away as the hangers on got all the benefits of being "In The Club" without ever having to do the work to actually get there.
In the intervening 20th century every last supposed benefits and results, all of the cause and effect predictions of the left were clearly demonstrated to be to the complete detriment of the human race.
Consider that when a gambling addict goes broke he does not seek to change his ways (without some other influencer being involved) but rather puts extra effort into finding a way to continue the destructive behaviour. Efforts to intervene will be met with every kind of resistance. The behaviour is irrational.
So it is with the liberal mind that has become addicted to the self gratification of being in the club.
All of the herd mentality and hive behaviour gets reinforced by the group peers as well as those who have taken it to the next level by establishing themselves as prime enablers (like liberal academics).
At this point all that is needed to be In The Club is to learn the behaviours and along comes the instant gratification and so the cycle goes on.
Yaacov Ben Moshe, I'm a Canadian who's spent all morning reading, via Small Dead Animals, your wonderful posts. Blessings and thank you so much for your thoughtful insights! I've now bookmarked Breath of the Beast.
If anyone reading this thinks Canada is in better shape than the U.S., think again. Canada behaves like a European nation and we have more citizens who would vote Democrat than Republican. Me? I say ‘God bless America!
Your thoughts on this subject are truly outstanding. Like you and many others I've thought long and hard about what makes the modern day Liberal tick. If I may, allow me to join your discussion.
In my view, what motivates the Ms. Seniers of the world can be boiled down to two ideas:
The first is a deep seated guilt. Guilt about themselves, position in life, their country, their race, economic status; the perceived wrongs (whether legitimate, such as slavery, or not legitimate, such as the oft-repeated canard 'blood for oil' ) they feel taint their very nature, and by extension, their world. If you think about it, it's an easy hop from their deep seated guilt to a host of motivations, opinions, and attitudes commonly seen amongst the modern day Leftist movement, such as a desire to "help the helpless". By what must seem to be a strange coincidence, with them cast into the role of guilty party to most of the world's ills, now as well as historically, is constantly reinforced by the echo-chamber they live in. This must rip and tear at their very fabric, having been stained by some cosmic abberation; some mysterious game that casts some as powerful and most as victim. The victim mentality is so deeply engrained in our popular culture that it's the rare avenue of life, in this day and age, that deviates from this path, and it's therefore easy to never leave the box the Liberal exists in. As for those modern day Liberals who are not white males, most are hopelessly mired in their victimhood and cannot see beyond its rim. They are rewarded by the echo-chamber for their victim status with great admiration. For them, stepping back and taking an honest assessment of how the world really operates, and the true beliefs of our world, threatens this status and requires a leap of faith that very few can attain, short of a full-fledged break from the chamber.
The second driver is a true cognitive dissonance that overwhelms them whenever the truth seeps into their commonly held beliefs concerning those they see as "the enemy", also known as conservatives or "Right-wingers". This explains why, as you've pointed out, modern-day Liberals shun those they disagree with, or even hold a conversation from an honest point of view where both sides are vulnerable to having their mind changed, or belief challenged. Once again it's the echo chamber that constantly serves to reinforce this idea. An honest Liberal will very quickly have the experience of saying, "gee, I never knew the people at the church I attended could be so friendly", or, "I always thought that guy was mean, but after spending time with him, I guess i was wrong". It simply does not compute in their worldview that conservatives can be sincere, or pleasant, or reasonable. Therefore, they become very adept at inventing all sorts of boogeymen to validate what they are sure is real. Besides, they tell themselves, I'm smart, educated, sophisticated, contemporary.. surely I'm not stupid.. surely the people around me, with their fancy degrees and confident (at least on the surface) attitudes can't be deceived. That's simply not possible. This break from what is real, along with their deep seated guilt by association with a country, race, economic status, or gender provide a truly insidious, and nearly impregnable wall that gobbles the Liberal up, often for their whole lifetime.
I have shown elsewhere that there can be many causes of Leftism. I have also shown in the same place, however, that although all sorts of different people can be Leftist in one way or another, there would seem to remain a core Leftist type -- seen at its clearest among Leftist academics and intellectuals. Although such people form only a small fraction of the total population, their influence and their grasp on the levers of power in the media, in the bureaucracy, in the universities and, at times, in politics, make what they think, say and do very important indeed. And it is my contention that this type is eerily reminiscent of a well-known psychiatric category: The psychopath. So the ULTIMATE explanation for all the core characteristics of Leftism that have been described so far lies in many Leftists being sub-clinical psychopaths.
The characteristics of the clinical psychopath can be summed up as follows: He is not obviously "mad"; he is often highly intelligent; he is unmoved by brutality (except to enjoy perpetrating it); he has no moral or ethical anchors or standards; he secretly despises others and thinks they are fit only to be dominated and exploited by him and those like him; he is a great manipulator who loves getting others to do his bidding by deception or otherwise; he is the master of the lie and the false pretence but sees no reason to be consistent from occasion to occasion; he will say anything to gain momentary praise or admiration; his only really strongly felt emotions seem to be hate and contempt and he is particularly enraged by those who have what he wants and will be totally unscrupulous in trying to seize what others have for himself. But above all, the psychopath does not seem to be able to tell right from wrong and, as a result, does sometimes commit or connive at murders and other heinous crimes with what seems to be a clear conscience.
WASHINGTON – Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder.
"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."
While political activists on the other side of the spectrum have made similar observations, Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to "the vast right-wing conspiracy."
Thank you, Sir, for the analyses you make into the meta-psyches of Liberals.
I would (very roughly) describe myself as a liberal (small-L) neo-Stalinist. So, you have given me quite an opportunity to reasess my own pieties!
I feel sure we are both glad we live & blog in a societal parity which values freedom of conscience!#
I shall certainly share your blog with some of my more freethinking friends.
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