Friday, April 28, 2006

United 93: No Heroic Deed Goes Unspoiled by the Left

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I know how to completely eliminate the left. Well, maybe not completely. But at least 75% of them.

Would it be through better education? No, being that wackademia has been hijacked by the left, that wouldn’t help at all. More often than not, the most educated people are simply the most indoctrinated people.

Would it be through the inculcation of religion? No, that wouldn’t necessarily do the trick. After all, the greatest enemy we face is religious, so religion obviously cuts both ways. Not to mention the fact that many Christian believers go in for “social justice” and “liberation theologies” that are simply Marxism with a pseudo-spiritual patina, as is generally true of liberal Judaism, which is often genuine leftism with an imitation Jewveneer.

What if we had better child rearing practices? What if we could try to make sure that children have both a mother and a father and a parent at home to care for them, instead of farming them out to stranger care? Yes, that would produce happier and more emotionally secure and self-reliant proto-conservative children--not to mention fewer criminals--provided that their parents are not crazier than their daycare providers, which is an unrealistic assumption.

And parenting can cut two ways as well, since overindulgence and poor parental boundaries can engender serious narcissism in a child. And there are some difficult cultural issues as well. Cultures, just like people, self-replicate, and some cultures are frankly so pathological that they simply churn out more of the same. To take an extreme case, how would you explain to an Egyptian family that genital mutilation is not such a hot idea? To take a less extreme case, how do you explain to a doctrinaire leftist that boys are very different than girls, and require manly role models in order to become men?

Okay, let’s give liberals what they supposedly really want, their ultimate fantasy: high taxes and income redistribution. Would that work? No it would not. Why not? Because enacting such a policy would simply be treating the symptom, not the cause, because the desire for this kind of heavy-handed “economic justice” is not an economic issue but a thoroughly psychological one. It is simply a smokescreen for the covert operation of that most sinister and destructive of mind parasites, envy.

One of the most important but little known concepts in psychoanalysis is that of envy. It is a term of art, not to be confused with the dictionary definition. Technically, I shouldn’t call it a mind parasite, because it is believed to be innate, not acquired (it probably had to do with evolutionary selective pressures that favored social solidarity in small human groups in the archaic environment.) It is potentially present in all people, but becomes much more problematic when aggravated by primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting and projective identification.

If we could somehow eliminate envy from the human genome, there would be almost no reason for the left to exist. They would instantly lose that which animates them, for example, envy masquerading as justice or economic theory.

In order to be happy, we must all keep our envy in check, because envy is the opposite of gratitude. Envy does not appreciate what one has, only what one doesn’t have. And our capacity to imagine what we do not have--and that someone else is enjoying it--is literally infinite, as is envy.

According to Webster's, envy is defined as "malice," and a "painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage." The psychoanalytic understanding of envy is that it is an unconscious fantasy aimed at attacking, damaging, or destroying what is good, because of the intolerable feeling that one does not possess and control the object of goodness. As such, it is an aspect of what Freud called the death instinct, since it ultimately involves a destructive attack on the sources of life and goodness. Particularly envious individuals cannot tolerate the pain of not possessing and controlling the "good object," so they preemptively spoil it so that they don't have to bear the pain.

What is critical--and so perverse--about envy, is that it is not an attack on "the bad" or frustrating, but a hateful attack on what is good. As a result, the psyche of such individuals confuses what is bad and what is good, and cannot experience a sense of gratitude toward the good, the sine qua non of happiness and mental health. The envious person does not want to have a relationship with the good object, but wants to control or be that object. If it cannot, then it attacks it to eliminate the tension.

By far the best general study of envy is Helmut Schoeck’s classic, Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior (in sidebar). The only other source I know of that discusses the critical importance of envy is in the psychoanalytic literature, which unfortunately is too technical and specialized for the layperson.

I haven’t read Envy in a while, but it contains many arresting ideas that have always stayed with me. One important one is that envy is ubiquitous in primitive groups, and in fact, is the very thing that keeps them primitive and undeveloped. In order to advance into capitalism, human beings had to get past the “envy barrier” and tolerate the idea that some people will have more than others. In primitive groups, envy is so pervasive that no one is allowed to have more than anyone else--they are trapped in a "zero sum" theory of economics, just as are many liberals today. To naive leftists, a primitive culture may look like an egalitarian paradise, but it is actually a paranoid and envious hell, with everyone fearful of the “evil eye” of his envious neighbor should he acquire more than him. For this reason, primitive groups mindlessly destroy surpluses or engage in sacrifices to their “envious” gods.

Since envy is ubiquitous, we must have a cultural means of expressing and channeling it. This is how I regard the left on a psychological level, as the institutional means through which envy may express itself. For example, this is the role of trial lawyers, who are naturally the greatest contributors to the Democratic party. Most--obviously not all--trial lawyers are free-floating agents of envy, on the prowl for deep pockets that they might empty on behalf of their envious client. The socialist countries of Western Europe are driven by the attempt to placate envy, which only ends up creating more of it. Once you inculcate a sense of entitlement in your people, you have opened the floodgates of envy.

If you have an “ear” for envy, you will detect it everywhere in the liberal world. In psychoanalytic parlance, it is also called “spoiling,” or devaluing. Again, because the envious person cannot tolerate the good, he attacks the good and makes it bad. So even in my crappy little paper, The Los Angeles Daily News, they can’t help themselve. For example, the headline regarding yesterday’s upbeat economic news was “Fed Chief Warns of Stagflation.” This is typical. One could be cynical and say that this is just “spin,” but I don’t think it’s generally conscious. Rather, I think it’s unconscious envy and spoiling.

Even the liberal movie reviewer cannot help himself from getting envious little political digs into almost all of his reviews, including today’s for United 93. Although he liked the movie, in seeing it, “It’s impossible not to think of the image of George W. Bush reading the pet goat story in Michael Moore’s ‘Farenheit 9/11.” This same idiot would never review Farenheit 9/11 and write, “it’s impossible to look at this shrill leftist propaganda without thinking of the image of a stewardess having her throat slashed with a box cutter by a Muslim barbarian that Moore would call a freedom fighter.”

In fact, be on the lookout for envious attacks on United 93, that is, “spoiling.” The envy campaign started early, with the “too soon” meme, but that is simply a case of disguised spoiling.

I’ll be right back. I’m going to go over to Huffingtonpissed right now and prove to you what I mean......

Okay, I’m back. Here are some comments, plucked at random. This first one is not actually about United 93, but it so perfectly demonstrates how envy operates, that I’m including it: “As a nation we urgently need to develop a disdain for people who are transfixed on wealth. We should never allow them to take public office -- never again.” (Leftists constantly project their own greed and envy into the wealthy, so unconsciously she's saying that we should never again allow envious and greedy, wealth-obsessed leftists such as herself into power. Not a bad idea.)

Here’s another good one: “George Bush et al are paying cronies to do fake work in Iraq so that billions of dollars earmarked for humanitarian purposes instead goes to private bank accounts.... here's what we must do.... Tell the story of Bush's crony capitalists using our money to line their pockets in the name of rebuilding Iraq.” Again, the envious person sees envy everywhere, here projected into President Bush and his “cronies.”

With regard to United 93, no one even cares whether or not it is a good film. Rather, the only concern is whether it may somehow benefit the war on terror, and that cannot be tolerated. The movie must be attacked, smeared and devalued. Here are some sample comments:

--“I haven't seen the movie yet, but there's no question in my heart and mind that 9/11 has been grossly exploited for political purposes.”

--“No one should see this propaganda. Maybe there are some patriotic projectionists out there that'll do the public a favor and run one of the myriad 9/11-debunking documentaries instead.”

--“Is it exploitative? Absolutely. Without a doubt this film exploits everyone in the country.... a resounding slap in the face of everyone who was on board that flight and all the families that are/were affected by it.”

--“This film needs to be boycotted, protested, and shunned by the public. To take an event like 9/11 and turn it into a profit center for NBC/Universal (General Electric).... This is just another form of profiteering as far as I'm concerned.”

--“in the movie we see the terrorist in control of the aircraft diving steeply for two minutes or so. Evidently all laws of physics were suspended at that precise moment, since the magic aircraft did not lose a single engine and the passengers were not fatally thrown around the cabin. Oh well, it's Hollywood and it can be as fictitious as it gets, but the 911 Commission wanting to sell us this ridiculous story as what really happened? Not a chance.”

--”Excuse me for not joining in the paeans in honor of a Hollywood film about 9-11. I sincerely doubt that what really happened that day is going to be uncovered by a Hollywood pseudo docudrama or whatever it is. I want to see an independent invastigation on 9-11 and one who will investigate the 9-11 Commission too while they are at it. I'm not buying the bullshit coming from either Washington or Hollywood.”

--“Has anyone checked further into the rumors that flight 93 was shot down by American forces? Apparently that would be more consistent with the wreckage. And it would not necessarily be the wrong thing to do, if we knew that the plane had become a weapon. However a coverup would not only be wrong, but would be entirely consistent with the hatred for freedom that the Bush mob has continually displayed.”

Here’s a commentor who really has the big picture: “The REAL TRUTH would implicate [the White House] in a well conceived plan to create another "Pearl Harbor" event. This event would would scare the s**t out of most Americans, which would allow them to start a "War On Terror" which would lead to invading Iraq where the "enemy" in the "War On Terror" was hiding with "WMD's" and other scary stuff. Then in the name of national security in "wartime", allow an amassing of power in the "unitary executive" which would lead to secret illegal spying on Americans toture, illegal detention and other "suspensions" of the Constitution all in the name of "National Security". Meanwhile fattening all the purses of Administration friends with huge no bid contracts to re-build IRAQ (which we would not have had to destroy in the first place to get rid of Sadaam) .....need I go on?”

No, not at all. I think we got it. Unfortunately he is more paranoid than envious, but I think you can see that the two work together to pack a potent one-two punch of leftist boilerplate.

Envy is such an important but generally ignored concept, probably because people don't want to consider the sinister ways it operates in their own lives. But it is a key that unlocks many mysteries, particularly in politics. So strong and pervasive is envy, that you cannot have a political system that doesn't accommodate or find some way to manage envy. You might say that one party will generally represent the envied, the other the envious. Guess which ones.

More generally, the international left does not attack the United States because they hate us. Rather, they hate the United States because they envy us. Precisely because they cannot tolerate our unparalleled goodness and success, they attack it and turn America into a uniquely bad, greedy and envious object. It is pure projection. In engaging in this projection of their own greed and envy, they damage what is good and conflate good and evil, but at least it helps to temporarily diminish the pain of their own envy. They do the same thing with Israel. But to use one of Freud's most famous phrases, when it comes to the projection of envy and greed, "the one who smelt it, dealt it."

42 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

Don't forget about the horrible problem of Jew-venial!

4/28/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I wish Blogger would stop trying to break up my word Jew-venial. ha ha!

Oh well, I have also noticed that people who always accuse someone of doing the worst (cheating,lying,stealing) are the same people who actually do the worst. It is almost as if they are so worried about their partner's supposed actions because they have either done it before or would do it in a heartbeat! I know there is some quote from Shakespeare on protesting too much!

Great post today, Bob. Speaking of jewvenial and envy, I am off to Disneyland today! Can't wait to check out the new Space Mountain.

4/28/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Walt Disney was just a slick salesman trying sell a phony innocent American dream that never existed."

/envious leftist deconstruction mode off

(As a matter of fact, deconstuction is a mode of envy that attacks meaning itself--especially non-leftist meaning.)

4/28/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

If Lisa means Gagdad at full tilt is better than Juvenal, I agree. :-) This is so good, especially

envy is also called “spoiling,” or devaluing.

There are very few -- certainly not me! -- who can't find at our mental fingertips traces of that tendency to deal with. Really good medicine to clean up various relationship-fatal postures as "Outsider," "Authority," "Competitive Show-off," etc. Along with subtle versions of the ever-popular "Victim," often seen in brash counter-measures even outside the Left.

It reminds me of Byron Katie's paradigmatic call to sanity: "Why would you want to spoil their fun?" One's (ahem) tendency to adopt these postures was also highlighted by Tom Kreitzberg's post(s) on [conversational] poverty, chastity, and obedience -- three important counsels in the Christian life designed to remove impediments to goodness, not just for monastics, and much beloved by Valentin Tomberg of Meditations on the Tarot.

G-dad, your fine-tuned laser-focused integration of state-of-the-art developmental material, divertingly applied to moonbattery but not limited to it, is so good it actually tends, we can all hope, toward making me a better person!

More please!

4/28/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ha! Fabulous, Dylis! I have to admit that I am not quite that clever. I originally intended it to mean juvenile and denial in the Jew! Juvenal works well, too!

Four words to those annoying deconstructionist leftists and their lame Disney downers ,
"Don't harsh my mellow!"

4/28/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

"Who got the rest of the cake?"

Well, Inspector, shall we examine the calico Transitional Object for evidence of whipped cream? My little grey cells say once we clear the butler, the next least-likely suspect is The Stuffed Toy.

Oy there! Dolly! Freeze!

4/28/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous digdug said...

Bob, (and lisa, who provides a case in point:
"I have noticed that people who always accuse...are the same people who actually do the worst." Yeah, me too, Lisa.)

Most of what you posted today seems clear to me, and I would imagine, clear to most Bobbleheads. What does not, and never seems clear to me is why you spend so much time bashing that which we all know you don't agree with...because of reasons we all comprehend on some level, or we wouldn't keep tuning in.

Your subject today, envy, begs this observation:

Why, if not because of envy, do you find it necessary to dissect each leftist misstep as if it is in fact not a misstep, but a calculated, Bob-ish act of shrewd and unsparing self-analysis, designed to further some carefully designed political agenda? If not envy, Is it hatred of ignorance? Those who would be made wiser are not listening here. Is it fear? Not a good basis on which to build a following of spiritually-bent seekers. Is it the desire to instruct further? Who exactly are you still trying to convice? Let them speak up today if they are in your audience.


I believe most regular readers here either already agree with your stance on the folly of action before reflection or will never be convinced no matter what you write.

And my further observation this morning is that you create a bottleneck of smug self-satisfaction among many of your regulars each time you put forth this negativity. That might be ok for a blog of lesser intent, but I have come to expect something diffferent from you. It makes me wonder if you believe your own mantras. And I don't like that. I like this idea that you, at least in your own cosmos, are bulletproof.

Move us on along. You have solid, positive lessons to teach, and the mudslinging doesn't leave us a shred wiser. Just more agitated, and if we are not yet wise enough, more envious.

I'm sure I'll get blasted if not deleted for this, but I am repeatedly flummoxed by the food for thought served up with abundant helpings of ad nauseum. To paraphrase Mr. Natural, Onward, through the blog.

4/28/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

And as I type, Lileks, Hewitt,and Powerline are down, and even LGF is having trouble because Hosting Matters is experiencing a DNS attack. Could it be the work of some well-meaning leftoids trying to save the world from the evils of neocon blogging?

JWM

4/28/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Update via LGF: cyber attack coming from Saudi Arabia.

JWM

4/28/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Digdug--

Please, I'm not going to delete you. As for the substance of your complaint, I don't know what to say. I just wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 AM and start typing. I'm as surprised or disappointed as anyone else by what comes out. I'm not trying to convert anyone to my point of view. Just take what you need and leave the rest. If you don't find the concept of envy helpful, then just leave it alone.

As I mentioned in the post, I believe that the vast majority of people do not understand envy, either in general or how it manifests in their own lives, and how it specifically interferes with spiritual growth.

>>Why, if not because of envy, do you find it necessary to dissect each leftist misstep as if it is in fact not a misstep

I said I don't think it's calculated. I think it's unconscious. That's the whole point.

>> Is it fear? Not a good basis on which to build a following of spiritually-bent seekers. Is it the desire to instruct further? Who exactly are you still trying to convice? Let them speak up today if they are in your audience.

As I said, I'm just putting stuff out there. You're free to ignore it. I'm not trying to build any kind of following. If I wanted to ber popular, I wouldn't write about the things I do.

>>And my further observation this morning is that you create a bottleneck of smug self-satisfaction among many of your regulars each time you put forth this negativity.

I thought I was commenting on the smug self-satisfaction and negativity of the anti-United 93 people.

>>That might be ok for a blog of lesser intent, but I have come to expect something diffferent from you.

I don't know why. Fundamental to my philosophy is a critique of those factors that impede spiritual progress, both personally and collectively. If you regard it as mere "mudslinging" that causes you more agitation and envy, there's nothing I can do about that. There is no higher spiritual principle than truth. I'm presenting what I see as the truth in as calm and dispassionate a way as I know how. Perhpas you're reading all the emotionality into it.

4/28/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous digdug. said...

Bob~

Perhaps. Thanks for the reply. Let me chew on it.

4/28/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Hoarhey said...

Not trying to pick on you today (or gang up) but......

digdug said:
"Why, if not because of envy, do you find it necessary to dissect each leftist misstep as if it is in fact not a misstep, but a calculated, Bob-ish act of shrewd and unsparing self-analysis, designed to further some carefully designed political agenda? If not envy, Is it hatred of ignorance? Those who would be made wiser are not listening here. Is it fear? Not a good basis on which to build a following of spiritually-bent seekers. Is it the desire to instruct further? Who exactly are you still trying to convice? Let them speak up today if they are in your audience."

You have spoken.



Why do you have such a hard time with Bob pointing out the psychological truth? He's just trying to do his part to halt the U.S. from turning into Cuba.
If you were truly a spiritual seeker you would look into yourself to find where the motive projection is coming from. Inside is the best place to begin a spiritual path.

4/28/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I, for one, appreciate Bob's unique perspective of politics, spirituality, and psychology. I don't think I can ever get enough of it. A reorgnosisation of current events helps me stay sane and not want to constantly lash out at leftards in the media!

Bob is always throwing in little gems to increase spirituality. It is up to the reader to identify and apply those in their lives. He cannot just write an essay on instructions of spiritual enlightenment as if baking a cake. It should only be so easy!

I promise to ride all the cool rides in Gagbaby's, oops, guess he's more of a Gagboy now, honor. It's a Small World, after all!

4/28/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Finding Fair Hope said...

Who coined the term "limousine Liberals" that I hear all the time on Fox News? Was it someone who was a mite envious?

4/28/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Digdug--

While I'm thinking of it, I find it a little backward to say that it is I who am going after the left with hammer and tongs. After, all, mine is a tiny blog. On a good day, I might get only 500 or 600 hits. I can't see ever breaking out of this lttle niche, nor would I want to.

But on Dailykos, the most popular Democratic website, they supposedly get a million hits a week. To them, I am not only the most Obnoxious Man in America, but a pompous, sophomoric, and egregiously bad writer, a nonsense-spewing twit who only fools dumb people and is likely a "spokesturd" who is being paid by wealthy Republicans, that is, if I'm not just a plain sick "piece of dogshit" fascist who is into porno, hookers and wearing women's lingerie.

Do you detect a slight lack of proportionality, both in terms of the power wielded and in our very different means of expression?

Do you really see any comparison between me and them? But, at the same time, do you not expect me to draw certain conclusions about them? They make me curious, not angry. I'm simply following my curiosity where it leads.

4/28/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

No, FFH, it was someone who thought it a tad hypocritical that the ones in the limos supported income re-distribution for everyone else, but not for themselves.

4/28/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Helene said...

"I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I know how to completely eliminate the left. Well, maybe not completely. But at least 75% of them." More instructions please Bob.
Great post!

4/28/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Dilys - thanks for the link. HEWGE Byron Katie fan. Sure has saved me enormous expeditures of energy and angst...

Bob - does this have anything to do with the disdain of, say, serious drug users for straights?

More later - going to lunch with the spouse. Not Disneyland, but hey!
Have fun, Lisa!

4/28/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous digdug said...

Bob~

"Do you really see any comparison between me and them?"

None. Nor between you and Rush, or any other of the left/right references alluded to by the B'heads. I read you for your ability to tunnel inward, and for your ability to narrate as you dig. Like Steve Irwin talking about the rattlesnake's fang length as he's dodging the bite. Very present tense. Vivid examples.

"I find it a little backward to say that it is I who am going after the left with hammer and tong."


But here's my main point: they don't, in the next paragraph, cleanse the air with a tendril'd scent of lotus blossom. And if I found a site that mixed spiritual pursuit with leftist venom, I'd read that also to see what I could discern. I don't exempt you from my perceptions just because your blog might not reach as many as some other site. That's not your fault. Blog surfing is a proactive medium, hence its power. I personally have never logged onto that site. It's you who are wielding the power just now in my own cosmos, not them, and I accord your words as much power as I feel they warrant. No matter if a million people read "them" and it's only me reading you.

I wrote the following, after reading your post on the dailykos papparazzi finding you on their radar (but decided not to post it then) :

I am hoping that you, and at least some of the Bobbleheads, will know immediately that aligning yourself in opposition to that dreck is akin to fishing out of your bulldozer: you're just getting your work clothes wet. Stay dry, stick to the heavy work, and realize that the "right" you often align with is no more representative of the "right" that those folks are opposed to than is the left as represented by "br'er stinkycrack" and his ilk...

And finally,
"But, at the same time, do you not expect me to draw certain conclusions about them? "

Yes. In chewing on it, I do understand your reasons for posting about "them". I retract a good portion of my dis-understanding. But call it "residual lotus inhalation disorientation", or something more grokable: I am always able to breath easier once the criticism stops and the praise begins.

Carry on. I've indulged plenty of smokers in my time. I know how to hold my breath.

4/28/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Bob/heads -

I've had a head full of bees all week so I have no choice but to keep this simple: the root of envy is, I think, *fear*. So I'm not sure sure that envy is not a mind parasite of the first demonic rank, an elemental mind parasite, so to speak.

And by *fear* I mean of the variety that constitutes 99% of most of the fear we experience, fear of what others will think of us, fear of looking bad, of lowered social status, etc.

4/28/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

digdug--

I can only reemphasize that one of my central beliefs is that the spiritual evolution of the world hinges on the outcome of the battle between Islamism, contemporary liberalism (which is actually leftism, not liberalism), and American conservatism (or classical liberalism).

4/28/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Just a belated weigh-in on the Bob/digdug dialogues before returning to chores first procrastinated around when linear time began:

Bob sees Leftism as I and other B'heads do, that is, as the primary manifestation of perverse metaphysic. Politics is the veneer; at root it's a meta issue. So, that's where the front lines are. If anyone reads it merely as a political issue, then, I suppose, there would be a tendency to see Bob's postings as a daily piling on, the continued beating of a dead horse. (or donkey, I guess)

However, as Leftism reflects the myriad ways in which meta-perversity can play out in the human spirit, then naturally Bob would attend to and underscore them in his postings. In a perverse way, Leftism is the gift that keeps on giving.

It all depends on what mode of consciousness one approaches the issue.

4/28/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Exactly, Deputy. It has nothing to do with this or that issue or person. I consider the philosophical basis of leftism to be a genuine pneumapathology.

And it's not even leftism per se that I object to--it's something deep within the human heart that is currently manifesting as leftism, that's all.

4/28/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

--it's something deep within the human heart that is currently manifesting as leftism, that's all.

I'll start with the obvious. We here in America represent a tiny percentage of the people who have lived on this planet since the dawn of Mankind.

We are Atlantis. We are Camelot. We are the Promised Land. We are blessed with a level of prosperity, technology, ease, comfort and safety that would be utterly beyond the comprehension of the vast majority of people who have walked the earth. The correct response to this is gratitude. As in fall on your knees and thank God you are here gratitude.

Yet so many among us seem oblivious to the blessings that surround them. They see this country as a bastion of greed, bigotry, and ignorance. They are blind to the good that surrounds them and find evil where none exists. They are blind to the evil that threatens us and would make common cause with those who wish to destroy them. They think nothing of starting up their PC's in the morning, and posting screeds about the evils of the corporations that make those PC's and the internet available to them. They throw common sense out the window, and adhere to crapthink ideas that would have passed for heavy handed satire not long ago.
This isn't the classic liberal/conservative tug of war that should make up American politics. It's a battle against a mindset that seems hell bent on undoing civilization.

I'm no shrink, but I know crazy when I see it.

HMMM- there goes the stuff about envy I was thinking about. Short version- those who see greed everywhere are looking at the world through a green-eyed lens of envy.

JWM

4/28/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Excellent clarity, Bob.

Envy was one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and you might find some of the medieval writings on that specific sin to be remarkably consonant with your thoughts today.

Also, the commandment about not coveting is also applicable here. From earliest times, God has tried to point out to us how damaging this attitude of mind is to us personally and to the society we inhabit.

4/28/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of Left vs. Right really isn't an imaginary illusion. It is, in fact, a very real problem in America today. I am calling it a problem, while others might site the idea that "dissent is patriotic", because those on the left seem to have a pathological hatred for the United States. Maybe this is a residual effect of the sanguine 1950's when it became hip for young people to actively campaign for Adlai Stevenson, maybe it is left over from the tumultuluous 1960's when American youth were instructed not to "trust anyone over thirty" , or perhaps it is the effect of the dissappointments of the 1970's and the loss of faith precipitated by the disgraced presidency of Richard Nixon and the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter. Whatever the cause, there is an active and present leftist movement seemingly motivated by hatred of all things American and hell- bent on destroying what remains of our culture.I believe this hatred is pathological because it is self-destructive, those who use thier freedom of speech, as an example, to continually speak out against our government would usher in regimes that would abolish freedom and crush dissenters. A good example is the feminists who are ardent critics of the war on terror, these very same individuals who burned thier bras in the past are aiding and abetting regimes who force thier women to wear burkas to cover thier bodies from head to toe.The only expalnation I can imagine is that they some how believe( wrongly) that thier politics will exempt them from the wrath of our enemies.Leftism seems bereft of logic, there is nothing in its philosophy that even resembles freedom; although the left exhausts the freedoms America provides in order to stiffle the freedoms we all enjoy. Leftism is not about freedom, it is all about control.

Regarding today's blog I am a bit confused about the idea of the left being motivated by envy since, it seems to me , many of America's most prominent leftist are among our wealthiest citizens.
What is it that these individuals, who have such great wealth, envy?

Regarding the movie, I have heard that it is a powerful and life changing experience. On the way to work the other day I heard Glenn Beck, a syndicated talk show host, sobbing as he discussed the movie with another commentator- it is amazing how soon the American pysche pushes emotion into the subconcious, how can so many of our citizens have forgotten the emotion of 9-11?

4/28/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

digdug,

First, thank you for your contribution here. It's refreshing to have someone around to keep us so called bobble-heads on our toes.

I see your perspective, and I sympathize with it. I'll sometimes check myself and explore whether my attitudes towards the left are self indulgent.

Here's the difference. First, in a post like today Bob is merely offering his perspective on a segment of our population who have been, quite frankly, exhibiting some very strange behavior. Not only that, some of them are or have influence over our government and public opinion. For someone, like myself, who believes these to be very dangerous times, I find it interesting to examine this phenomenon.

Also, Bob was discussing a very specific group of people. I find it frustrating that many respectable people I know who hold left of center views feel compelled to defend even the most extreme fringes of their spectrum. There is no reason why the liberalism of civil rights, a social safety net, freedom of speech, social security, public education, etc. should be incompatible with recognition of and a serious attitude towards Islamic terror. There is no more reason for a Truman/Kennedy type liberal to align himself with DailyKos-type nutjobs than for a conservative to defend David Duke or Timothy McVeigh.

Anyway, back to self-indulgence. The answer I give myself is that, as with most things, proportion and context is key. Yes, gain a level of self satisfaction from observing, talking about and even mocking moonbats. Yes, in a way I am projecting my own shadow onto moonbats, and also Islamists. Its just as we laugh at a comedian falling down the stairs. I see an element of my personality exaggerated when I see a raving leftist. But here's the difference: I'm aware of this, I can control it, I'm capable of restraint. I can laugh at the comments on little green footballs and then go off and do something productive. Much like drinking in moderation; it's not a problem, so long as it doesn't take over your life. Now, to be fair, this would also apply to a conservative who wakes up consumed with a seething hatred for Nancy Pelosi; like Mama Moonbat in the famous Wash. Post article, that person has a serious problem. The only difference is that he would be the exception among active, visible members of his party.

Also, by directing anger towards Islamists and those who, unknowingly, enable them, I'm not projecting onto a fantasy, it's something real. I don't have to bend reality and twist my psyche in knots to conform with the object in question. I can direct anger towards evil madmen who want me dead, rather than create a fantasy of George Bush as an evil madman to avoid confronting real evil. We all have the same emotional needs, its a matter of finding productive outlets grounded in reality. Its the difference between feeling genuine love for your wife and feeling imagined love for a celebrity you don't even know.

4/28/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps, all the left really wants to do is wreck havoc and usher in anarchy...

4/28/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Peewee said...

Well this is very interesting to me. Just the other day I was thinking about the left-right divide and trying to reduce them to their absolute core principals, and I concluded that the right's (classical liberalism) core principal is responsibility, and the left's (volk Marxism)is...that's right, envy.

Envy is of course one of greed's children, and I think it telling that the left is constantly harping on the imagined greed of Republicans in general and this administration in particular.

Anecdotally I've noticed that my lefty aquaintances show the most covetousness whenever we're in the environs of the very wealthy.

I also believe they derive more satisfaction from seeing the rich punished or suffering misfortune than they do from seeing the poor become more prosperous.

Obviously there is a deep pathology here and the burning question is how did we get to this place? This post provides the answer.

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=260

4/28/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob-- Thank you for the discussion of envy. I can testify to the destructiveness of it in families as well as nations; I'm still trying to sort out the wreckage left behind by an envious and vindictive aunt. Apropos of books on the subject-- have you ever read Cinderella and Her Sisters by Ann Belford Ulanov? It's a discussion of envy from a Jungian perspective. I can do without the Jungian baggage, but I would still recommend the book to anyone interested in envy as a spiritual issue. Dr. Ulanov is still on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York and teaches courses in pastoral counseling. I think the revised and expanded edition of the book came out in 1998.

PS. I'm a bit confused about the "Choose an identity" function on Blogger. Is it necessary to start one's own blog in order to leave comments as anyone other than Anonymous? Thanks in advance for any advice.

4/28/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Excellent post, Bob.
Envy is insidious and divisive.
When I was younger I envied wealthy people, until I discovered the cure:
Gratitude, like Bob said.
Humbleness also helps.
I'm not materially wealthy today, but I'm wealthy spiritually, and I'm thankful and content with what I have.
I have and will defend a persons right to pursue
happiness and prosperity, and I'm happy for those who achieve "obscene profits", as lefty politicians are ranting about.
Class warfare destroys society, because envy, lust, and greed are about hate and power.
When we succumb to envy we destroy the good within us.
Virtue is what we should cling to, the cup of sacrifice filled with salvation is what we should drink
from, and the bread of life is what we should eat, filled with gratitude, overflowing with love, by grace and mercy, not by our own power.
This leads to humility, which makes contemplation clear, meditation peaceful, and prayer, a two-way communication, thus we connect with the Most High.
Envy destroys all that, horizontal and vertical.
Envy is an evil child of pride (rebellion).
We must wash away envy, every time it rears its ugly head.

4/28/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Anonymous 11:44-
You can select "Other", and then insert your username, then insert the "word verification" letters you see below.
That should work for you.

4/28/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger R. Sherman said...

I've always thought the 10th commandment was the most underrated.

Cheers.

4/29/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes--like all of the Commandments, it has an exoteric and esoteric meaning. Strictly speaking, being free of envy is a reward, not an injunction.

4/29/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Forging onward with the self-dissection, I've been shocked to discover how subtle the roots and manifestations of envy are in this Rocky Road of a psyche. My tentative conclusions are that it involves fear, but mostly because of the denial-distortions in which envy flourishes. The deeper sources have to to with bedrock self-pity, hopelessness, and grief.

These are the world-view maladies that demand the remedy of gratitude, a conscious cultivation of gratitude, as an exercise if necessary at first. Self-pity (there should be a better term, "pity" is too favorable) is absolutely corrosive, and no benefit or concession to the sufferer can help until it is ruthlessly, uh, extirpated. [BTW, anyone remember 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary? Can't git that thang outta ma hed!]

So yes, envy is buried deep in much of the political to-and-fro Bob's talking about. And envy is like smoke in a dry meadow. Envy, for those who care, is just the clue, to dig and water and weed and plant good seeds in ourselves, and not buy the dreck the envious are selling, "the voice of a stranger leads to despair."

I grant our visitors that there is a certain rhetorical delight in laying out the positions -- reading as we do Our Daily Bobbolalia -- But the enterprise, in Mind-Virus Epidemiology terms, could not be more important. And not just for Lefties. They are good enough to be painting with big ugly brushes, right now in hideous graffiti, the Human Condition. Maybe the 10th Commandment caps the list because, if envy is truly understood, dealt with, and turned away from, none of the others would arise.

Which opens up 'waaaaay too much backdraft toward Rene Girard, and the two sides of how we learn (imitation > mimesis [> envy&violence]). REcognizing and neutralizing envy (not by forced "equality") may be the key for awareness of the Dark Vertical.

Also related to the blessedness of prioritizing authentic giving -- at least as a focus -- rather than capitulating to ad-speak consuming, all-taking all the time. There, that's the Progressive tidbit I'm willing to embrace today.

4/29/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous vanderleun said...

I am so green with envy about that analysis of envy that I have copied it over to my page so I can have something on envy without the heavy lifting of trying to think about it.

Like so many on the left afflicted with envy, my mental mantra is now, "I'm trying to think but nothing happens. Fortunately, there's always cut and paste."

4/29/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rather, they hate the United States because they envy us."

More dap would be:

"Rather, they hate the United States because we've got the groove."

4/29/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you inculcate a sense of entitlement in your people, you have opened the floodgates of envy.

This is so true.

Witness the tantrums in France due to the govt asking kids to actually work for a living, and the immigration protests of people who broke the law and are in the USA illegally, yet somehow think they are entitled to all the benefits of citizenry.

4/29/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Black Jack said...

FFH asked...Who coined the term "limousine Liberals" that I hear all the time on Fox News?

I first heard the term used by Nixon's VP Spiro Agnew. He was talking about the NY and Hollywood elite and their affection for Lefty politics. It's the same "do as I say, not as I do" crowd so clearly personified in the likes of Barbara Strisand and Alec Baldwin. The same folks Tom Wolf wrote about in "Radical Chic."

4/30/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous GM Roper said...

What an awesome post Bob. You have, I think, hit the proverbial nail on the head. The left cannot see the reality that is protreyed in United 93 for to do so would expose their BDS to the world.

Again, I stand in awe. Well Done

4/30/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

In literature, none have treated envy more powerfully than Dante (see Canto XIV, Purgatorio). In theology, see Aquinas. Like wrath and pride, envy is love perverted. People often confuse jealousy and envy. The latter is not the desire to have something someone else has. It is the desire to deprive someone of something they have.

5/01/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Greg said...

Yes, Robert, so true. A friend had his car stolen. They found it wrecked, of course. He had left a new pair of shoes in the trunk. One of the shoes was still there. "Wrong size . . . but you're not going to wear them either."

Isn't envy great?

5/01/2006 06:34:00 PM  

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