The Metaphysics of Envy and the Revenge of the Left
Lewis notes how, for the left, Obama "is entitled to the presidency." You see, for them "It's only justice. Think about that word 'justice' and try filling in 'revenge.' 'Social justice' means the revenge of the poor against the rich, of the radical women against the men who've stood them up and hurt their feelings all their lives, and the revenge of black people finally doin' down the whites -- as Jeremiah Wright makes so abundantly clear."
What the left calls "social justice" is actually "the revenge of the psychologically oppressed against people who look happier and more satisfied with their lives." As such, it is intimately related to the psychoanalytic understanding of envy, which is an unconscious mechanism that goes about destroying what one does not have, in order to eliminate the emotional pain of not having it.
Frankly, that was such an important point that I didn't get any further in the piece: when the left talks about "social justice," what they unconsciously mean is social revenge. Ah ha! Suddenly their nonsensical economic proposals make sense! They're not supposed to make sense to the conscious mind, which demands logic and reason, but to the unconscious mind, which demands passion, instinctual release, and emotional satisfaction. Guffaw ha! It's like the keynes to their whole economic kingdumb!
As with the Islamists, the emotional thrill of hacking off someone's head is the sufficient reason for doing so. The rest is commentary and pretext. Likewise, the emotional satisfaction of "sticking it to the rich" is the sufficient reason for sticking it to them. Who cares if the economy will shrink? It feels good. The intellectual justification is just a thin veneer on the surface of the emotional drive, which is destructive, not creative. The same with such self-defeating policies as rent control, anti-free trade, a "living wage," socialized medicine, and "windfall profits taxes" (let's hope that Sarah Palin is not actually in favor of them, or that she will be quickly disabused once someone explains their folly to her).
Then it suddenly made sense to me why the Democrat base is composed of the under- and overeducated. Many if not most intellectual mediocrities with too much education -- New York Times idiotorialists and the like -- live in a kind of detached and abstract world. As such, they long for "authenticity," or some such replacement for actual being, the latter of which results from the higher unification of truth and action, or will and beauty, or virtue and truth.
This is why left-wing intellectuals identify on the one hand with the impulsive underclass (not so much the poor, but the depraved poor), but also why they patronize and defend the worst kinds of so-called art, which are really more about a flight from being, into a kind of human-animal mockery of it. This downward flight of intellectuals has been going on ever since the Romantic movement began its counter-revolution a couple hundred years ago. No matter how much they flap their lips it's a fall, not a flight, but it feels like one until you hit bottom. Unless you keep digging. Which is the job of liberal arts departments.
There is intellectual truth and emotional truth. Again, in a healthy -- which is to say, whole person -- these will converge and harmonize, but in the unhealthy person there will be a radical disjunction, which will cause one side of the union to atrophy. Thus, one can obviously be an emotional thinker with no real intellect. But one can also be an intellectual with no emotional (let alone, spiritual) intelligence.
An Al Gore comes immediately to mind, someone so caught up in his abstractions about the weather, that he has no idea how emotionally motivated they are. As such, he mainly communicates hysteria, but without even being aware of it. In other words, you can be sure that he imagines himself to be an "intellectual," when he is really more of a frightened child. If it weren't global warming, it would be something else -- something to organize and contain his emotions.
This is why communicating this hysteria to others is Gore's urgent "life's mission," and why it is so impervious to reason and evidence that contradicts his alarmism. He doesn't want to calm down, as the emotions make him feel alive. He needs everyone to feel as alarmed as he is, in order to "normalize" it. A large part of craziness involves the unconscious need to create a congenial environment wherein it will feel like normality. Think of college campuses, which have literally become a kind of psycho-emotional environment for the worst kinds of soul pathology hiding under the cloak of "education."
Lewis writes that the Left feels "entitled to power, because in their own eyes they have Truth and Morality on their side. They are Mahatma Gandhi, they are Dr. King, they are the vanguard of the marching proletariat. It's not just Big O who has the incomprehensible egomania. His inner circle and vast numbers of his supporters do, too. Entitlement, grandiosity, narcissism: In psychiatric thinking they all suffer from secret feelings of inferiority, narcissistic wounds to their self-esteem. Every time they lose, those nagging feelings come up again. So they are always overcompensating, trying to bully reality into the shape they need."
As a friend was reminding me the other day, the left cannot argue in good faith, since they do not see the political spectrum as a "polarity," so to speak, between left and right. Rather, they see it as a continuum, with the right as a kind of atavistic holdover from an earlier age. They are more sophisticated than we are, so they needn't bother even seriously contending with our arguments. Again, it is a breathtakingly transparent projection.
This is why the left is so hysterical about Sarah Palin. On the one hand, they flatter themselves with the notion that they represent the province of "strong women," but obviously the opposite is true. The left is the province of weak and victimized women who cannot get through life without Father Government protecting them. It is the same with blacks. They are the party of weak, dependent, and victimized blacks who cannot get by without the assistance of white liberals who can assuage their unconscious guilt by pandering to blacks. It's just an unconscious dance of mutual projective identification. Who said white folks can't dance?
It reminds me of a joke Louis Armstrong once made. Here was someone who had to deal with the worst kinds of actual racism, but was never a bitter or angry man. When asked about his secret, he said words to the effect that it was easy: just get some powerful white man to put his arm around you and menacingly say, this is my nigger. Armstrong was only half-joking. The racists of the contemporary left are dead serious.
Therefore, hell hath no fury like a leftist who encounters a female or African-American who doesn't need him. Thus, the high-tech lowbrow lynching of Clarence Thomas and the current unseemly attacks on Sarah Palin. How else to account for the shroud of discreet silence over the John Edwards affair vs. the airing of every possible rumor and smear about Palin and her children?
Now, what does this all have to do with the tenth commandment, “thou shalt not covet?” I'm tempted to just post it later in the week, since this has already gone on longer than anticipated. Yes, that's what I'll do. Class dismissed.
Related: Yearning for the Mud, @ American Digest. Reminds me of how the malignant narcissist confuses his feces with milk. So think twice before you rely upon the MSM to keep you abreast of the news, because that's no breast.