Just One Thing I'd Like to Know, How You Stay High, and Live So Low*
As a preface, I’ve been saying for the last year that we are in a great global struggle between three major ideologies, only one of which will emerge victorious, 1) radical Islam, 2) European style leftist socialism, and 3) American style classical liberalism. In the opinion of many observers such as Mark Steyn, Western Europe has already lost due to the dysfunctional nature of its socialist paradigm, which produces a spiritually bereft, warped version of mankind that can not even rise to defend itself.
Just yesterday, for example, I heard that England announced that it will no longer employ the term “war on terror” for fear of insulting Muslims! Can you even imagine the absurdity of such a thing in World War II? “We can’t call it a war on nazism, because Germans might be offended.” This is a fine example of how the auto-castrated EUnuchs will simply lie down and show their throats to the Islamo-fascists. More worrisome is the fact that approximately fifty percent of the U.S. is more European than American, and in that fragile balance hangs the future of the world. If the left prevails and we go the way of Europe, then we are headed for a caliphate worse than death.
If Wilber’s paradigm were to ever become a massive movement, then I suppose we would have to add a fourth ideology to the other three. But since “greens” are at the top of the heap in his model, it would seem that, in the final analysis, we are simply dealing with another version of leftism -- even the “elites” of the left. In fact, this is exactly what the character Charles tells us in the book:
“[I]f liberalism stated its own stance more accurately, it would say that liberalism is an elite developmental stance, often reached by a relative minority of people, but whose values insist on treating not just that elite but everybody equally -- an unheard of fairness and generosity. It is an egalitarianism held by an elite. But the typical liberal, not understanding both of those clauses, often arrives at the disaster of a conclusion that it is an egalitarianism held by everybody, or easily could be. Whereas, at this time in history, very few people share that value, and it’s losing ground, by the way -- more about that later.”
Let’s break down this paragraph. First, liberalism (by which he means leftism, not classical liberalism) is an “elite developmental stance.”
Sorry about that. I was temporarily stunned. I don’t quite know the best way to respond to this. Since Charles is talking about psycho-spiritual development, let’s get very personal. If what Charles is saying is true, then a place like dailykos, the biggest left-wing website, should be a beacon of psychological maturity that towers above the rest of us. They should be so wise over there, that we can barely even understand them. They should be so spiritually lofty, that a blinding noetic light should shine from the computer screen when you enter the site. They should be so articulate that they don’t have to use profanity with every other word....
I guess this explains why Al Sharpton is so much more classy than Bill Buckley, or why Ted Kennedy walking around Hyannisport with his pants off is like one of those naked wandering sadhus of India....
Charles continues: “I guess I’d summarize this by saying that liberalism is an elitism that is open to everybody, but to actually get there and share liberal worldcentric values requires interior hierarchical development from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric.”
And I guess this means that a worldcentric psychopath like, say, Kofi Annan, is morally and spiritually superior to an amber degenerate such as myself who believes that the United States is infinitely more decent than the U.N., and that it has a special divine mission in the world because of its obvious moral superiority.
The irony is that, deep down, the world realizes this. If there is real trouble in the world, who does the world turn to? China? Russia? France? Germany? No, of course not. There are only two parts of Europe: the part whose ass we kicked; and the part whose ass we saved. Repeatedly. The “world community” has never accomplished any good in the world. The world community is amoral at best. It doesn’t care a fig about Israel’s existence being threatened by Muslim barbarians for the past 58 years. It welcomes it. It doesn’t care about Tibet, nor will it care when Taiwan is eventually swallowed up by the Chinese hordes.
Annan gave his farewell speech at, of all places, the Truman Library yesterday. Claudia Rosett at NRO notes that he squandered “yet another opportunity to apologize for his failures and come clean about the U.N. Instead, he used the occasion to exalt the U.N., especially his own role there, while berating the Bush administration and insulting the people of the United States.” Among other idiocies, he said that “Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world’s peoples can face global challenges together. And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition.”
Is Annan suggesting that we nuke Mecca and Teheran? Hmmm....
Rosett has penned what might have been a more appropriate speech for this worldcentric elite egalitarian green kleptocrat and tyrant coddler:
“During my decade as secretary-general.... I have shuffled paperwork while ignoring genocides, I have rushed to shake hands with tyrants while deriding democrats.... I have praised a ‘reformed’ Human Rights Council that functions as a complete farce. I have demanded ‘peace’ deals and pushed for a brand of morally blind diplomacy that has paved the way for a terrorist takeover of Lebanon, worsening turmoil in the Middle East, and a nuclear-armed Iran.... At the same time... I have shirked all responsibility for my own failures, shifting blame especially to the United States.”
Back to Integral Politics. At the press conference, the character Charles actually does a decent job of nailing the spiritual pathology of the left, noting that “Instead of pioneering a new wave of interior talk -- higher values talk, higher spiritual talk, higher character talk, higher meaning talk -- it talks only of tepid egalitarianism, a supposed plurality of equal values, tractionless multiculturalism, and an endless yada yada yada of whateverland.... Whereupon every interior, no matter how vulgar and narcissistic and self-serving, is accorded not just equal respect but equal value, period -- and the regressive nightmare is about to begin.”
Exactly. Why then elevate these vulgar and regressive nightmarians of whateverland to such a lofty place in the developmental color scheme? Where’s the upside of this dubious ideology?
Charles then lays out a bit of historical background: “By the 1960s, a new level of consciousness started emerging in the culture at large, and the Revolution of the ’60s began. If you were young and progressive, you were no longer orange, you were green.... A new wave of revolutionaries swept through the streets of Paris, France, in May, 1968, and they were carrying the banner of green, not the banner of orange.”
Is it true that a new level of consciousness emerged in the 1960’s? If so, I see no evidence at all that it was a “higher” level. Rather, as a psychoanalytically informed psychologist, it seems self-evident to me that what actually occurred was a previously unforeseen level of character pathology, specifically, narcissism. ShrinkWrapped has written eloquently of this on a number of occasions, and if I could find the exact link, I would provide it. But in hindsight, I think it’s uncontroversial to say that most of what passed for “progressivism” was merely a mask for unalloyed narcissism, cowardice, historical myopia, self-indulgence, ingratitude, hedonism, pseudo-spirituality, knee-jerk antiauthoritarianism, and an understandable desire to extend adolescence for as long as possible.
We will all be dealing with the damage inflicted during that deeply shallow decade for the rest of our lives. Had it not been for Ronald Reagan, who temporarily put a halt to the skid in the 1980’s, who knows where we’d be today? Here again, the primitive amber man saved us from the economic and spiritual depredations of his spiritual betters, those egalitarian greens. For if Reagan had not been elected, who knows if Milton Friedman’s classical liberal economic ideas would have been put into action?
At the time, the world was entrenched in the “fantasy economics” of the socialist left. By the the mid-1970s, a “combination of inflation and unemployment -- dubbed ‘stagflation’ -- spread throughout the industrial world.... An American ‘misery index’ of 21 percent and Britain’s similar ‘winter of discontent’ ensured that they were replaced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Both were admirers and friends of Friedman. And these two leaders embarked on economic policies, broadly inspired by his theories, that have given their countries a quarter century of fast economic growth interrupted only by two short and shallow recessions in the U.S. and one deeper recession in the U.K.” (National Review 12-18-06).
But leftism, because it is a product of fantasy, is a beast that you cannot kill. Just as in the 1960’s, it seems that affluence actually only creates more of them. Why? Perhaps because it simply allows more people than ever before to indulge their narcissistic pathology. Just don’t confuse it with something higher.
*Lyric from Morning, Noon and Night, by the great Big Joe Turner, whose wise and witty musical observations often give the One Cosmos slackatoreum a festive atmosphere.
Woke up this mornin' 'bout a-half past four,
Beer cans and bottles all over the floor
Jes' a-one thing I'd like to know,
How you stay high, and live so low