Saturday, January 09, 2010

Obama's Secret to Governing: The Burning Bush That Is Never Consumed

Woke up way too late for a new post, but this article from AP, Obama's buck-stopping goes only so far, reminded me of something I wrote after Obama was elected in 2008 -- specifically, that the left's hallucinatory hatred of President Bush had become such a reified organizing fantasy for them, that they would be unable to let go of it and move on to the difficult task of dealing with reality. When even the AP notices something, you know that it can no longer be denied.

As the article says, Obama claims that "the buck stops with me," but "nearly a year into office, President Barack Obama is still blaming a lot of the nation's troubles -- the economy, terrorism, health care -- on George W. Bush. Over and over, Obama keeps reminding Americans of the mess he inherited and all he's doing to fix it."

I didn't pay that much attention to politics in the 1980s, so I could be wrong about this, but I don't recall a single instance of President Reagan blaming Jimmy Carter for the economic troubles he inherited after he was elected (let alone, after he became president), even though those troubles were significantly worse than today's. Remember, Reagan inherited an economy that had been a mess since the late 1960s, and mainstream economists were at a loss to explain how to put an end to the combination of high unemployment, skyrocketing interest rates, and uncontrollable inflation that was destroying wealth and savings, plus taking back any middle class gains as a result of bracket creep.

But instead of blaming Carter, Reagan forged ahead with his new ideas. Yes, they were a shock to the economic system, but look what transpired thereafter: twenty five years of unprecedented economic growth. And no one is proposing (well, maybe Paul Krugman) that we revert to pre-Reagan economic policies, such as a growth-stifling 78% marginal tax rate.

Anyway, here are some excerpts from the previous post:

According to psychohistorian Lloyd deMause, “Most of what is in history books is stark raving mad -- the maddest of all being the historian’s belief that it is sane.” He believes that large groups are almost always driven more by fantasy than reality. Different nations and groups have different “group fantasies” which are designed not primarily to negotiate with reality but to contain fears and anxieties. For example, the further back in history one travels, the more one can identify group fantasies that clearly have no basis in fact and are driven by irrational anxiety and fear -- witch hunts, senseless wars, racial scapegoating. But so long as one can detach from the madness and survey the contemporary psycho-political scene with even-hovering attention, one can see it just as clearly in the present.

For example, our war on Islamic terror is being waged against fantasists who reject what we know as reality. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make it easier to combat them, but more difficult. Israel has been fighting a version of this fantasy since its very inception, but in truth, Jews have been at war with paranoid anti-Semitic fantasists for over two thousand years. Fantasies are obviously quite lethal.

The important point is that the fantasy precedes the reality, and will look for conditions in external reality to support it, identical to the manner in which the paranoid mind operates. According to deMause, the state of the group fantasy is what national opinion polls actually capture. That is, they take a snapshot of the “mood of the country,” which mostly consists of “gut feelings” that have varying degrees of connection to actual conditions, and more to do with the shifting nature of the group fantasy.

Remember, the bulk of the population is not thinking logically, so it doesn’t matter how many cognitively mature individuals there are at the margins of a poll. That the economic downturn was largely caused by Democrat regulation is inconsequential. In contrast, FDR was able to sustain a unifying group fantasy despite economic polices that aggravated and extended the Great Depression for years. Had he not decided to defy precedent and run for a third term, he would have been judged an abject failure, as he would have left office in the midst of his own self-induced, double-dip depression.

Likewise, job one for Obama will be to forge and sustain a unifying fantasy, not to deal with reality. This is one of the reasons the left will be unable to let go of President Bush, because they desperately need him as a "poison container" in order to keep the toxins out of Obama (more on which below). This is a somewhat unique situation, because it means that the Democrats in effect will want us to have two fantasy leaders, which reminds me of how the infant splits the world into a good and bad breast.

A national opinion poll doesn’t necessarily provide objective information about actual circumstances, but certainly tells us how it “feels” to be part of a historical group at a particular time. Furthermore, deMause turns the presidential “approval rating” on its head. He doesn’t believe that it actually measures approval so much as disapproval about how effectively or ineffectively a leader is “containing” the public’s anxiety. Negative passions are much more influential, which is why truly happy people have little impact on politics, since it would never occur to them that a politician is responsible for their personal happiness. But unhappy people find all sorts of illusory reasons to explain their unhappiness, including politics. (And we all know that leftists tend to be unhappy, if only because it is quite difficult to be happy if the reasons for happiness or unhappiness are projected into the all-powerful State; in other words, the locus of control is situated outside the self.)

Just as the large group is mainly driven by fantasy, it is primarily looking for a leader who can reassure it about the world and diminish its anxiety. In this regard, it is a mistake to think of the leader as an oedipal (ages 4 to 6) parent; the process is much more primitive, involving the need for preverbal and pre-oedipal (before the age of three) projection and containment, which is in turn much more "psychotic" and fantasy laden, since it escapes the reach of language. Using this method, one would not say that President Bush has, say, a 25% approval rating, but a 75% “toxicity” rating. Meanwhile, Obama has what, a 12% toxicity rating? As soon as he actually does something, he will begin to accumulate toxins, and this number will rise. [Conveniently, Rasmussen actually takes this approach, measuring "passion" in both directions; thus, today 43% strongly disapprove of the job Obama is doing.]

It is fascinating to note that as the left became so unhinged in their fantasies about President Bush, they came to imagine that he actually did fight back in the most dangerous and extreme ways -- that he didn't tolerate dissent, that he questioned people’s patriotism, that he destroyed our civil rights, that he punished ideological enemies, that he defecated on the Constitution (you can read that projection with braille!).

deMause notes that people who are stripped of important group fantasies will feel like they are going crazy -- just as primitive groups who are suddenly “decultured” of the myths that have served to organize their cognitive/emotional world. This is why the left has not been comforted by Obama's ascension, but is as nutty as ever. The reason for this is that the hard left is ultimately motivated by hatred (and its derivatives, such as envy and contempt), so losing their primary totemic object of hatred is profoundly disorienting.

It is fair to say that the left has been dealing with this sort of primitive anxiety since the 1980’s, as their various political fantasies have been discredited one by one. But just like a religious group that predicts the second coming, the majority of leftists simply dig in their heels when their predictions prove false. This shows the extent to which outward political ideology often rests on a deeper structure of irrational fantasy that is nearly impossible to eradicate. I think it also explains all of the manic and irrational giddiness we are seeing in the media, as their fantasies are restored.

And now we come to the future. deMause outlines a four-part process that the fantasy leader undergoes in relation to the group. At first the group will see him as unrealistically strong, magically able to unify the group and keep enemies at bay. Certainly we saw this in the months after 9-11, when President Bush was so popular. Again, his popularity had little to do with the actual merits of his policies, but with the public’s need to feel safe, and the feeling that Bush would protect them. Obviously, this is where Obama is, except that the omnipotent fantasies of strength surrounding him are unusually grandiose and primitive.

Stage two is the “cracking” stage, when the feelings of magical nurturing begin to deteriorate, so that the public’s mood begins to feel unstable and dangerous. The leader begins to be experienced as weak, unable to control events. Here again, when this happens, look for the left to frantically attempt to re-project all of this into President Bush, in order to perpetuate the fantasy. [I believe that we are now hovering at this phase, which is why Obama sounded more like Dick Cheney during his speech the other day, finally acknowledging that we are a nation at war. In other words, he's trying to project Cheneyesque strength to counter his own transparent weakness. -- GB]

Stage three, “collapse,” occurs when the public begins to feel that the fantasy leader is helpless to prevent catastrophe -- when the group’s anxiety has become unhinged and uncontained. This brings on pure rage and free-floating paranoid fantasies of death and destruction. Thus, in the case of President Bush, he was unrealistically blamed and vilified for all sorts of things outside his control -- hurricane Katrina, rising gas prices, "global warming," the Democrat-fueled housing bubble, etc. At this stage, the fantasy leader is seen as weak and vulnerable, which triggers a wave of near homicidal anxiety that aims to purify the group by ritual slaying of the divine king, identical to what took place in the most primitive tribes.

Obama doesn't seem prone to locate our enemies externally, where they actually exist, i.e., in Islam. But every theology needs a satan. Again, for this reason, I think the fantasists of the left will be unable to "let go" of President Bush, since he has become so vital to their psychic equilibrium.

[Although Sarah Palin also works as a poison container for many on the left, to such an extent that the fate of democracy is in her wicked hands.]

The credo of the left: To Project and Deceive

96 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Byron York, of the Washington Examiner, stated that Obama's seeming non-reaction to the Christmas Day Undiebomber was, in fact, done by design, to demonstrate how the Obama "cool" could soothe a nation and disperse fears d' peeps.

It was only when that "didn't work" that it was quickly decided he needed to appear strong and decisive, like the arch-evil Cheney.

It does seem like Sarah Palin will be the *new* Hate Container -- but in the meantime, there's always the old standby, Christianity. Witness the frothing at the mouth over Brit Hume, of late.

1/09/2010 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, as Jesus himself said, Christians would always be receptacles for the world's projected hatred. Just goes with the territory.

1/09/2010 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

One of the books I received for Christmas this year was The Good Old Days, They Were Terrible. It was an oddly reassuring book, particularly the section on politics. The way we live may be immeasurably better, but human nature is still human nature, and dirty politicians are pretty much eternal.

Re. Human sacrifice, it seems you can put primitives in newer surroundings, but if you don't also give them new, better ways of thinking and understanding the world, they'll still behave the same horrifying old ways.

1/09/2010 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Christians would always be receptacles for the world's projected hatred.

And if not, they are probably doing it wrong...

1/09/2010 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Dingy Harry said...

Hey, at least Obama is light-skinned and doesn't talk like one of them negroes.

1/09/2010 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....the left's hallucinatory hatred of President Bush ...

This is pretty funny coming from someone who just called Obama the antichrist.

I'd also like to point out that the equating of Bush with Hitler came only from a few crazies with signs at rallies, while the attempt to link Obama with Hitler and fascisim comes from major media figures like Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg. There is absoutely nothing on the left that compares to the way the right mainstreams such frothing insanity.

1/09/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

anon 12:17:00

There is absoutely nothing on the left that compares to the way the right mainstreams such frothing insanity.

How about a full-length "docudrama", produced by a major UK network and distributed worldwide, which depicted the assassination of President Bush?

1/09/2010 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous' denial of Bush hatred reminds me that I haven't yet posted on the subject of "negative hallucination." One can hardly understand leftist cognition in its absence.

1/09/2010 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aquila: I haven't seen it, but from the reviews it does not seem like it's based on Bush-hatred.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/death-of-a-president,3732/

GB: you seem to have a reading comprehension problem if you think I was denying that there was hatred of Bush on the left. Hell, I hated the guy, for plenty of good reasons, but I did not equate him to Hitler.

1/09/2010 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, anonymous has a point. You are rather "hallucinatory" about Obama, while negatively judging the same attitude in the other camp.

I don't blame you; "spin" is a valid tactic. Either you recognize your own hypocrisy or you don't. Either way, it does not matter. In the political arena, all is fair game. It is a game of influence. Win any way you can.

The caveat is the spiritual life cannot be mixed with this stuff.

If you go to church, read the bible, avoid sin, and love Jesus, I don't see how it would harm if you were also a politician, spinning like a fiend. Its just a job.

Your objection to the left seems to me moot since the world will be destroyed and remade when Jesus comes, so what exactly are on about with the unbelievers for?

You know the Master will settle all this, don't you?

1/09/2010 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Jake Was Here said...

Re. Human sacrifice, it seems you can put primitives in newer surroundings, but if you don't also give them new, better ways of thinking and understanding the world, they'll still behave the same horrifying old ways.

Which explains why about half the college students I know still act like fifth-graders.

1/09/2010 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Anon 12:17

"I'd also like to point out that the equating of Bush with Hitler came only from a few crazies with signs at rallies"

I think you may reconsider your position on the matter as a simple google search of "bush hitler" will show. Living as I do in a liberal college town it was a comparison fairly frequently made by the lefty middle class homeowners set.

A sampling of certain Air America hosts at the time would have yielded such terms as "Christo-facism" to describe the administration and that we were then entering a new holocaust and/or that Bush would not step down. Any thoughts on how these predictions turned out?

Personally, I tend to prefer to stay away from Hitler allusions. Such comparisons are not only an unnecessary and inflammatory rhetorical flourish but generally historically inaccurate. It just doesn't usually help the cause of clear thinking and discourse.

But don't try to pretend that the use of Hitler/Nazi analogies weren't a staple of the left during a large portion of the Bush Administration and not just by "a few crazies".

Might I suggest your memory is quite selective in this instance.

1/09/2010 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous spanky said...

"The caveat is the spiritual life cannot be mixed with this stuff.'

That's why you show up here everyday?

"Either you recognize your own hypocrisy or you don't."

Oh, okay.

1/09/2010 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Billy Jeff said...

It's a shame, Harry. A few years ago, this negro would have been fetching our coffee.

1/09/2010 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

You know, Bob, I think the Anonymi have a good point. You seem a bit hung up on the deliberate attempt to destroy the greatest cultural and political achievement in mankind's history.

Can't you find something a little more compelling to discuss?

1/09/2010 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Unfortunately for our nation, the left's crazies occupy seats of power and influence.

1/09/2010 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ya know, I almost missed today due to the earlier 'no post today' comment... it'd have been a shame to miss out on aninnies

"I'd also like to point out that the equating of Bush with Hitler came only from a few crazies with signs at rallies, while the attempt to link Obama with Hitler and fascisim comes from major media figures like Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg.",

comment, I mean, what with laughter being the best medicine and all.

Did you really mean to consign to the 'few crazies' bin MoveOn.org's prize winning Bush-Hitler gem? Or
Judge Guido Calabresi, former dean of the Yale Law School comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler, or the more moderate, like
Senator Robert Byrd saying George Bush reminds him of Hermann Goering, or when Georgetown University law professor Rosa Brooks said I think we do live in 1930s Germany... or nObama's close bud George Soros's
"America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," adding, "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans."', or Al Gore's speech at Media Conference, Oct. 4, 2004 "And every day they [the Bush Administration] unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President." or his more level headed "George Bush betrayed this country!"... doesn't algore qualify as a cut above the 'crazies' level?

Where's the love for the former vp?

I won't bother with leftie Prof. Ward Churchill's slew fun comments... one google search is enough, but maybe you should just take some Victor Davis Hanson and call us in the morning... or heck, maybe just relive the thrills with the folks.

Still laughing.

1/09/2010 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Van -

That may be so, but it's just a side issue.

1/09/2010 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Julie:

You asked the other day about my wife -- thanks, she is doing fine. How about you? Our doc is great. A Jewish guy with about 6 kids of his own. He tends to assuage any nervous questions about what to expect with a quick "Ah, God looks after that stuff pretty much. It "just works". We pretty much just stand back and monitor things." He's delivered something like 600 babies in his career as a GP. We're getting another Obgyn next week as well so we'll see how that goes. Puppy is doing well too. One thing that really helps is to get them involved with a stable, older dog. The mature dog will correct bad behavior like boisterous play, nipping and biting in a "language" that the pup understands directly and innately. Far more effective than human training at this stage IMO, although of course we're doing that too.

1/09/2010 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The embarrasingly illiterate Van confuses a submission to a MoveOn contest (which they disavowed and took down) with a prize-winner. Which sort of proves my point.

His other examples aren't much better. None of them rise to the level of major media figures who explicitly and repeatedly attempt to smear their opponents with the crimes of genocide. I watch Glenn Beck's rants every so often. To repeat: there is nothing even remotely close to his level of mainstreamed insanity on the left.

1/09/2010 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way.
Harry Reid obviously never heard Obama make a speech in front of a NAACP convention. Or Hillary Clinton for that matter!

1/09/2010 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by maintream insanity, I mean, outing the commies so that Obama has to disavow them.

1/09/2010 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Keith Olbermann such a weak sister in contrast?

1/09/2010 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Obama just hates Beck because he publicized the fact that Obama was a community agitator for a child prostitution ring.

1/09/2010 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous spanky said...

Anon said,

"To repeat: there is nothing even remotely close to his level of mainstreamed insanity on the left."

Question to anon;
Would an insane leftist be able to recognize said insanity?





....didn't think so.

1/09/2010 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and why didn't the liberal media try to use forged documents to bring down a wartime president on the eve of the 2004 election?

1/09/2010 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama just hates Beck because he publicized the fact that Obama was a community agitator for a child prostitution ring.

The ACORN non-scandal has been repeatedly debunked.

And Obama's ties to that organization have been vastly overblown, not that it matters.

Now, you may not like what ACORN does (such as get poor black people to register to vote). But calling it a "child prostitution ring" is simply a lie. Even if the infamous videos recorded by right-wing operatives had not been doctored, it would still be a lie. What they did is basically what Borat does -- trap some hapless person into going along with something ridiculous. Do you seriously believe that that makes ACORN into a "child prostitution ring"? No, of course you don't, you are merely lying and slandering because that is what you do. It's what people do when the truth is not on their side.

1/09/2010 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Al Sharpton said...

Yeah, who you gonna believe, an unhinged leftist or your own lyin' eyes?!

1/09/2010 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous LaFayette said...

"An investigation and report issued in December 2009 by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and his law firm, Proskauer Rose, who were hired by ACORN to conduct the investigation, purported to clear ACORN of any illegal activity."

That's a relief! If I'm ever accused of running a child prostitution ring, I'll just investigate myself and clear myself of all wrongdoing.

Liberals. Impossible to parody.

1/09/2010 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "The embarrasingly illiterate Van confuses a submission to a MoveOn contest (which they disavowed and took down) with a prize-winner. Which sort of proves my point."

There's the love!

SWAK

1/09/2010 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

"Now, you may not like what ACORN does (such as get poor black people to register to vote)."

Bob, I beleive you were just called a racist.
Plus, you were right. They're crazier!
And way to go, anon!

1/09/2010 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

NB - I'm glad to hear all is going well. We're doing good, too - had the 2nd trimester detailed ultrasound this week. My mom says he already has my nose :)

1/09/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rick:

I have thoroughly investigated myself and found myself to be free of racism. Not that it matters, since my ties to myself have been wildly overblown.

1/09/2010 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Julie,
That's an amazing ultrasound photo!
You must be so excited!
Leslie

1/09/2010 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> the attempt to link Obama with Hitler and fascisim comes from major media figures like Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg

Well, yes - because fascism was (and is) a Leftist phenomenon, you historically illiterate dumbass. That's the whole point.

You don't have any idea what fascism actually is, do you? Beyond just being a Lefty scare-word meaning "anything I think is bad"?

Also, I'm sure that an obscure writer for an obscure magazine like Jonah Goldberg would be absolutely thrilled (but mostly amused) to learn that he is regarded as a "major media figure" by the whacko Left.

1/09/2010 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Leslie - yes, we're are! I'm just about where I can feel him bouncing around in there. Judging by the live-action images, I'm guessing FL may have some competition when it comes to being active...
:D

1/09/2010 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous lordy lordy said...

Another coon-goon chiming in on the overly emotional (read "left") tone of still another tiresome anti-Obi post, this one asstutely justified by "but Mama, he said it first!"

These steamin piles aren't merely your private wrestling arenas, but stand as counterpoint to all your spiritual theorizing no matter how much you try to convince that they are "of a piece".
Reality check: Punching the GB fanboy ticket (Gagdad, Glenn, or God as you can glean it) is still merely stumbling toward Bethlehem, not some divine wormhole to the Absolute.

What is "of a piece" is the American political process, currently hard at work. A neocon, unable to pry her closed mind from the Rush channel, said to me last week, "There's going to be a revolt!" To that I replied, "There just was a revolt."

Calm your shrill asses down, fair-weather Americans and fellow hypocrites. Work for the change you believe in. Let the man do what the man can do. We put up with eight years of a dictator and a dick; I'm betting we can survive 4 years of a pussy.

Coming from a mind so capable of relaying Grace, your steady stream of opinionated rhetoric is no more appropriate for the situation than is book burning as holocaust.

1/10/2010 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

Harry Truman put the sign on his desk:

"The Buck Stops Here."

Notice where the buck stopped. "Here" At the desk (office) of the presidency. Now, it seems, the buck stops with "me." (the obamamama) Can anything eclipse the insufferable narcissism of this malignant little creep?
(yeah, I tossed out that straight line on purpose. Watch the aninytroll snap it up :P

JWM

1/10/2010 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

By the way- is that your Hog? You didn't go biker on us did you, Bob?

JWM

1/10/2010 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

FYI--

There will be no post today. I'm preparing to colonize a rather vast area starting tomorrow, and I need to clear my pneumacognitive deck in order to be equal to the task.

1/10/2010 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, belongs to a cop who lives a few streets over. But he has several bikes, and collects cars as well....

1/10/2010 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Warren--

Re the left's insane denial that fascism is of the left, an appropriate comment by Theodore Dalrymnple, reminding us that that they're not so much ignorant as devious:

"Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to."

1/10/2010 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

At least some leftists are intellectually honest: 'Oliver Stone's New Showtime Miniseries Will Put Hitler "In Context" Because "He Was an Easy Scapegoat".'

1/10/2010 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Adolf said...

I have thoroughly investigated myself and concluded that I am free of the taint of leftist thought. Besides, I hardly know myself.

1/10/2010 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonah Goldberg is a buffoon, but he has a column in a major newspaper, appears regularly on national TV, and has a bestselling book. That makes him a major media figure. It makes me weep for our culture, but it can't be denied.

The notion that the Nazis somehow belong to the left and thus implicate everyone from Noam Chomsky to Hillary Clinton in Nazi crimes is one of those right-wing talking points that gets repeated so often that it seems like inescapable truth to the cultists, but of course it's bullshit like so much else.

In reality the left-wing Social Democratic Party was the largest source of opposition to Hitler during his rise. This is something everybody with a high-school education should already know, but if you were sleeping during class here's some material, also see here.

1/10/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous LaFayette said...

Duh. Since when have leftists not been at war with one another over the most effective road to tyranny, and more importantly, which group of thugs will rule over us?

1/10/2010 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics is about influence and power.

The left has more of both, so what are you going to do about it?

You can jab at their ideologies, but that's not going to get you anywhere.

Always go where the money is. Now, you've talked about the leftists higher taxes and so forth, but that isn't working because people fantisize that money will somehow come to them.

If you can demonstrate directly how your ideology will put more money in my pocket, then you have something.

Otherwise, you got bupkis.

1/10/2010 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In the comments at Vanderleun's today is this quote from Eric Hoffer:

You take a conventional man of action, and he's satisfied if you obey, eh? But not the intellectual. He doesn't want you just to obey. He wants you to get down on your knees and praise the one who makes you love what you hate and hate what you love. In other words, whenever the intellectuals are in power, there's soul-raping going on.

As a follow up, I came across this article:

In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”

After reading this I printed it off and ran out into the snow to show it to my wife, who for some minutes had been unavailingly pounding up and down on our animals’ trough to break the ice. She seemed a bit miserable and, I thought, needed cheering up. “Darling,” I said, “the Met Office still insists that we are enjoying an unseasonably warm winter.”

“Well, why don’t you tell the animals, too?” she said. “Because that would mean they are drinking water instead of staring at a block of ice and I am not jumping up and down on it in front of them like an idiot.”

1/10/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I haven't yet had the chance to read Sowell's new book on intellectuals, but I'm quite sure it is excellent. As he points out, a businessman and an intellectual can be equally brilliant, but the intellectual has no real-world feedback to tell him his ideas are incorrect. Or, as in the case of the left in general, ideology is a substitute for religion, so that feedback is ignored or attacked.

1/10/2010 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnypotty said "Jonah Goldberg is a buffoon"

What fine analysis and intellectual rigor your arguments are presenting today! Would it be impolite to ask what facts his presentation ignores or represents?

"In reality the left-wing Social Democratic Party was the largest source of opposition to Hitler during his rise. "

My, it is fun watching the children playing 'grown up'... especially when they bring out the blocks & graphs as in the first link. Notice, however, how they are unable to extend their 'thoughts' beyond the perceptual, into the conceptual realm. In the leftist mind, the left is seemingly defined by their scope of interest being the 'world' for the left, and the right by 'nation' and authoritarianism with shiny paramilitary uniforms(don't bring up Castro or Stalin to them... it's unsightly to watch... besides, they'll note their uniforms weren't shinny)... nowhere in those graphic blocks do the lefties notice that all the subjects of their graphs and abbreviations, believed in the states right to the property and choices of the people, believed that the 'Law' was what the State defined it as 'for the good of the people (or Volk, as the case may be), and that pesky notions of natural law and individual rights were anathema to all concerned... if they did, they might notice that there was no 'Right' there in their graphs at all.

They will go to great lengths to ignore the fact that Hitler founded his economic model on socialism, 'tweaked' away from marxism, towards Himism... or faux-principles to no principles(pragmatism)... that in fact all the social democrats, socialists, communists, nationalists, Nazi's, etc, were competitors for the same targets, the germans who believed that the State should command and order the economy and community, that it should decree how people should live and be supported... it was only the finer details of those "how's", and who ordered them, which was the stuff of their internecine warfare, not whether or not such things should be done at all, which is where the Right (Classical Liberal) position would have been, if they existed in any real strength at the time at all.

And btw, when you hear Hitler railing against Liberals, it has nothing to do with today's left (now calling themselves progressives again, having 'politicized' the word Liberal), but with the Classical Liberals, the Right (at it's best).

But in the leftist mind, it only matters that one rallied under 'workers of the world unite' and the other 'workers of the Volk unite' with paramilitary trappings, is the sole distinction worth making in identifying Left and Right.

Nowhere will the leftist allow themselves to see the distinction which actually matters, and which truly defines, and separates, the left from the right - Rights, and specifically their political foundation, Property Rights.

It might have something to do with their persistent inability, especially pronounced in our OC trols, to define a Right, or its source. But with that in mind, here's some more indigestible food for the trolls... careful Raccoons, they're going to spit up... but that's to be expected with such young children. Gas you know.
(insensitive, anti-longwinded blogger break #1)

1/10/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)
Their mantra, fixated in their 'no uniform' and 'has uniform' level understanding of left/right, is to declare that somehow fascism is opposed to socialism (I suppose that'd be the Haute couture argument). Problem is that there are mucho many examples of things, like this quote from a German fascist, Adolf Hitler, from his Mein Kampf, where he praises other socialists for recognizing that his National Socialist party (Nazi's) would be better able to carry out the aims of socialism, than those socialist parties they were affiliated with:

"This is specially true in regard to Julius Streicher, who was at that time the protagonist of the German Socialist party in Nürnberg. The National Socialist German Labour Party had been founded with similar aims in view, but quite independently of the other. I have already said that Streicher, then a teacher in Nürnberg, was the chief protagonist of the German Socialist Party. He had a sacred conviction of the mission and future of his own movement. As soon, however, as the superior strength and stronger growth of the National Socialist Party became clear and unquestionable to his mind, he gave up his work in the German Socialist Party and called upon his followers to fall into line with the National Socialist German Labour Party, which had come out victorious from the mutual contest, and carry on the fight within its ranks for the common cause. The decision was personally a difficult one for him, but it showed a profound sense of honesty. "

But awareness of such 'quotes' would require our oh so literate potty mouths to actually read outside their litter boxes... which sadly is not gonna happen. So we'll just have to force feed them the necessary factual and conceptual nourishment (stand back and grab the spitup cloth).

Ok aninnypotty, Open wide...Hitler saw his socialist movement as a better form of Socialism, one that substituted the marxist focus on international class interests, for a nationalistic racial interest, and he saw the marxists as competitors for the same ideological base of socialism friendly supporters, which they actively sought to swing over to the nazi's,

"...The fact that we had chosen red as the colour for our posters sufficed to attract them to our meetings. The ordinary bourgeoisie were very shocked to see that, we had also chosen the symbolic red of Bolshevism and they regarded this as something ambiguously significant. The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists. The actual difference between Socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people up to this day. The charge of Marxism was conclusively proved when it was discovered that at our meetings we deliberately substituted the words 'Fellow-countrymen and Women' for 'Ladies and Gentlemen' and addressed each other as 'Party Comrade'. We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims."
(insensitive, anti-longwinded blogger break #2)

1/10/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)
For the leftie impaired who haven't read Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" (pretty much all inclusive), you should... even more so, if you haven't read Mein Kampf, you should, you may be surprised at the amount of 'hope' and 'change' and 'transformational ideals' you'll find within it.
Even more worthwhile than that, would be to begin with Irving Babbitt's (who taught French and Comparative Literature at Harvard from 1894 to 1933) "The Choice We Must Face Democracy and Imperialism, Or Democracy and Standards?",
"...Now the distinction of Rousseau is, as we have seen, to have been the most uncompromising of all modern theorists of direct democracy. How far have the actual results of Rousseauism justified Aristotle rather than those who have anticipated from the diffusion of the Rousseauistic evangel, a paradise of liberty, equality, and fraternity? The commanding position of Rousseau in the democratic movement is at all events beyond question, though even here it is possible to exaggerate. "Democracy," says M. de Vogüé, "has only one father—Rousseau. . . . The great muddy stream which is submerging us flows from the writings and the life of Rousseau like the Rhine and the Po from the Alpine reservoirs which feed them perpetually."1 It is interesting to place alongside of this and similar passages which might be multiplied indefinitely, passages2 from German authorities, likewise very numerous, to the effect that Rousseau is more than any other person the father of their Kultur. Here, too, one must allow for an element of exaggeration. Much in Germany that is often ascribed to Rousseau may be traced to English influences, the same influences that acted on Rousseau himself. ... "

But... that'd require reading beyond his article and into the formative philosophical works of left and Right, and that might bring them dangerously close to the truth of their own 'lying eyes'... and that just ain't gonna happen.

Is it?

1/10/2010 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Also apropos - this at Classical Values, and since you mention the difference between intellectuals and businessmen, here's a good description from House of Erastosthenes yesterday on Hard Hat Logic:

You do not go on a construction site without putting on your hard hat (and other safety gear). You cannot build a real building without going on the construction site. And a building designed by someone who doesn’t know anything about real materials or real forces is going to fall down. Plus, it evokes “hardheaded practicality” and formal precision in “logic”; it’s a hat, so it evokes the “thinking cap” image; it sticks to a two-syllable word at its longest, no polysyllabic euphony; and doesn’t have the faintest breath of “-ism” in it.

So in future, whenever anybody says, “But the intellectuals say X,” you can always say, “Yeah — but what does Hard-Hat Logic say?”

1/10/2010 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Steyn gives the nail a solid thwack, as well:

...this "war" is about the intersection of Islam and the West, and its warriors are recruited in the large pool of young Muslim manpower, not in Yemen and Afghanistan so much as in Copenhagen and London.

But the president of the United States cannot say that because he is overinvested in a fantasy – that, if only that Texan moron Bush had read Khalid Sheikh Mohammed his Miranda rights and bowed as low as Obama did to the Saudi king, we wouldn't have all these problems. So now Obama says, "We are at war." But he cannot articulate any war aims or strategy because they would conflict with his illusions. And so we will stagger on, playing defense, pulling more and more items out of our luggage – tweezers, shoes, shampoo, snow globes, suppositories – and reacting to every new provocation with greater impositions upon the citizenry.

You can't win by putting octogenarian nuns through full-body scanners.

1/10/2010 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"the Haute couture argument." Ha!

1/10/2010 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Hey Julie, so glad to hear the news that you've been blessed. I know you've been hoping for this for some time.

May this be the beginning of the time of your life.

1/10/2010 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Julie, what a cutie! Looks like you've got a livewire, there. So happy for you!

1/10/2010 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've thoroughly investigated myself, and found myself to be free of intellect.

1/10/2010 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Steyn's column brings up a point... It's no real surprise that unprincipled leftists defend and lionize their guy even when he engages in the very same behaviors they got all lathered up about under the Bush administration. It's all okay with them, because they know he's a radical Marxist at heart who will take from the "rich" and give to the "poor," and that's never going to change, even if he channels Dick Cheney or out-spends Bush.

1/10/2010 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Have you heard Kitty Werthmann's eyewitness account of the Nazi takeover of Austria? ThinkProgress calls names, yet fails to marshal an argument, so you know it's common sense they're up against. To paraphrase one of their commenters, "The truth, it burns."

1/10/2010 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

Thanks Van,

I started to post many things you were saying, but decided it would take all of what you wrote. You said it much better than I could. I don't think the left wants to know the truth. It's either willful ignorance or blind faith in their ideology.
Besides, I was interrupted by a loss of power from a 6.5 earthquake yesterday and didn't get back in the groove.

1/10/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm afraid that the thought that this willfully obtuse anonymous could be swayed by fact or logic is vanity on stilts. True, he's hanging on by a thread, but it's an extraordinarily thick thread.

1/10/2010 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Yes. He's telling his little buddies, lookee what I can do.
Stirring us up.

1/10/2010 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Having just completed The Theological Origins of Modernity, i hope tomorrow to get more deeply into the genealogy of the horror of leftist secular fundamentalism, and more importantly, what we can do about it (virus permitting). Truly, we are still living with the consequences of the breakdown of the medieval synthesis, and it's as if all the different factions picked up one fragment and ran with it. But only Toots Mondello has the secret recipe for putting it all back together again, even better than before!

1/10/2010 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

BTW, in the column I read by Werthmann, there was *no* comparison of Obama to Hitler. It was pure description of the totalitarian sweep of Nazism, and showed very clearly by example where socialism and fascism align. Here is the version I read. Funny, how many of the goals are similar to those of today's "progressives." I myself have never believed it would stop at a "nanny state" (which is injurious enough to human liberty). The "nanny state" itself paves the way for something worse.

1/10/2010 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

2010 Resolution:

Yea, in Days of Olde, I dutifully read the words of Bob's former student, the scientistic jester Ramon. But finally, whatever point he was purporting to promote escaped me entirely, and I stopped reading him.

And in the Dark Daze that the MSM called 2009, I dutifully read the strange and wonderful musings of the various Theofilias and tried (TRIED!) to extract her themes. I coonfess that, after a time, I became confused, and read no more.

And for what seems to be years now, I have noted the varied strategies of the Anonymii, especially the one who now cajoles Bob, now nudges him toward some vague notion of true, uh, spiritual "something," now scolds him, all the while encouraging others to discuss their bodily urges -- or, alternatively, depending on ... well, who knows what? --goes off on the Raccoon Gang for violating this or that of his many opinions, always presented, of course, in the spirit of "I know and you don't know."

This is only a pouring from the Empty into the Void; and for this kit, no mas.

No.

Like Roberto Duran years ago, I say, "¡No mas!" I'm gonna avert my eyes in 2K10, placing my bets just on OC, investing my time in the comments that pay dividends, and all in a greedy attempt to gain personal profit. The Masked Ones, who have the strength to return daily and deride The B'ob and his minions, but not the oomph to be a person, shall sup no more from my brain-pan, such as it is.

I shall enjoy my slack, and pull up a recliner on Bob's pneumacognitive deck, relishing the view, savoring the good food and snacks. Spitwads from (ahem) *the rear* shall not divert my attention!

1/10/2010 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "I'm afraid that the thought that this willfully obtuse anonymous could be swayed by fact or logic is vanity on stilts."

Oh I know, took me a while (well... couple years anyway), but I finally got it through my thick head... especially if this is the orthoginapotty.

Every once in a while though, I figure it might be useful for lurkers to see the counter arguments.

Besides, I was in a playful mood... and too much snow on the ground to play 'kick the can'... so... just substituted a troll.

1/10/2010 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Btw, only a couple chapters into Sowell's new book... his typical homerun swing is in full form.

1/10/2010 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Walt.

And dang you, B'ob, and your countless book recommendations. You'll bankrupt me! This latest one looks really good, too. A quick glance reminds me somewhat of another one I read a couple of months back called "What is Secular Humanism?" Anyway, just started into "The Soul After Death" yesterday. Quite good so far. Thanks for the recommendation.

1/10/2010 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To avoid confusion, I just saw another "What is Secular Humanism?" on Amazon. I didn't mean the one by Paul Kurtz, but by James Hitchcock.

1/10/2010 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van:

Just to be clear, I meant "vanity" in terms of fruitlessness, not self-absorption. Part of man's nobility is in fighting for lost causes!

1/10/2010 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I'll have what Walt's having.

1/10/2010 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Yeah, Van. Same here.

1/10/2010 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I mean, what Bob said.
To tell the truth, we could use your help at Gil Balie's place. He doesn't have time to reply and he seems outnumbered. And you want to talk about humorless stalkers..

1/10/2010 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Walt:

Congratulations you are the only one besides hoarhey who recognizes me.

Your comment hurt me; it was not complimentary and of course your decision to ignore me this year saddens me.

In all honesty, I guess I can be described as obnoxious. I am really a very unstable, unquiet individual with multiple emotional issues. You have decided well not to read my comments. I wouldn't read my own comments if I could help it.

Walt, you seem decent; a rarity, a really nice raccoon. I like your comments.

This lady troll is sad this year. I should stop coming here but I can't seem to.

Pray for me? Even after all I've done its a lot to ask but there it is.

1/10/2010 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Walt, amen and do you mind if I pull up a chair beside you? I started reading the convoluted anony rantings once or twice, but my eyes just won't focus on the darkness therein. Not that I tried very hard.

1/10/2010 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie--

Hope you're not watching this game. Might be too much excitement for the young 'un....

1/10/2010 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Amazing how many years you can watch sports and still see things you've never seen before....

1/10/2010 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous LD Jackson said...

I have never witnessed such hatred towards one individual as we have seen by the Democrats towards George W. Bush. They simply refuse to let go of him and what he has done.

Did he make mistakes? Yes, of course he did, but one thing that can not be denied is that he kept this country safe after 9/11.

Sooner or later, Obama and the rest of the Democrats are going to have to take some responsibility for what they are doing to our country.

1/10/2010 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Baby steps. Let's see them start by taking responsibility for the length of the Great Depression.

1/10/2010 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

... then maybe the collapse of California...

1/10/2010 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The only way that the Nazis are not on the left is that they 'are not in the club'. That is to say, the Left would never have counted him among there own. In that sense the Leftists can pull this canard and feel they are correct. However, as regards policy and intellectual pedigree - straight up from the Left.

It depends on how you define the Right and Left. If they are 'parties' - the usual definition goes as follows: The left are who the left counts as intellectual fellow-travelers (which has as much to do with politics as with anything else) and anyone who is not on the reservation is 'on the right'.

An outsider's perspective is that in terms of actual policy and thought, someone like Hitler is a leftist. It does no good to say this in terms of epiphany: nobody can be on the left unless the left approves 'em. Hitler is the proverbial black sheep of the family.

1/10/2010 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

That is so true, River.
Great way to put it.

WV: alumpi

1/10/2010 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Which is why feminists "can" not care about Palin.

1/10/2010 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob - as DH was saying at the start of overtime, it's good we weren't there this time. Waaaay too much excitement!

1/10/2010 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The left are who the left counts as intellectual fellow-travelers (which has as much to do with politics as with anything else)...

Apparently it's quite a shock to you that politics should have anything to do with a system of classifying political parties and ideologies.

An outsider's perspective is that in terms of actual policy and thought, someone like Hitler is a leftist.

If by "outsider" you mean "idiot", then this statement is correct.

1/10/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Adolph said...

Couldn't have said it better myself!

1/10/2010 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hardly. Intellectual fellow travelers are those who tolerate each other's company. Those who are excluded are either those who think differently or those who think the same but divided over personal - or political differences. Rivals are often those who think the same way but want each other's piece of the pie.

Idiot of course derives from the greek 'idios' meaning 'one's own' - referring to a person who does not borrow from others - a derogatory form of 'autodidact'. Clearly an outsider would seem to an insider to be an idiot - but only because they are not using what is regarded as 'common knowledge'.

It should be obvious that I do not share your common knowledge. But what is frustrating - again understandable - is that I do not wish to. Really, what kind of philistine can I be!

1/10/2010 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
This is just a suggestion, but perhaps you could add a little something to the comment warning up there such as, "do not interpret a nonresponse as an admission of victory over the nonresponsers by the nonresponsers. They are more than capable and you may not be worthy.."
Obviously in your own (better) words..
Could save time and handy for cut and paste..

1/10/2010 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

"Memo to trolls: our posts are not addressed to the primitive part of you that does not understand, and therefore reflexively disagrees with us."

1/10/2010 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

How's this one:
"Dear Trolls, a good comment will look like this to you:

"

1/10/2010 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

I for one am enjoying the footnoted/linked posts that Van is giving if for no other reason than it shows what weak shit the 'can't seem to ever learn, can't seem to ever leave' trolls are spewing and may lead some other readers to reasoned sanity.
The 'going straight to hell after death' leftist trolls like hee haw boy, the perpetual (phoney) apologiser (see above) et. al. are lost causes.
I mean, who wants to pray for Satan? A four year old knows better and even J.C. never asked for that.
I'll pray for an ugly emotional bottom and then maybe we can talk, mkay?
You'll thank me later.

1/10/2010 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." --Adolf Hitler

(Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by Toland, 1976, p. 306)


Van, I too appreciate your rants.

1/11/2010 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

hoarhey: The legend is that some of the saints have become so broadhearted in their love and compassion that they even sincerely prayed for the repentence and salvation of Satan. In the story, he appears to them and angrily spits, "It is not I who need to repent, it is God."

1/11/2010 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

River,

Like I said, it's a waste of time.

1/11/2010 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks Hoarhey and all, I'm glad the replies are useful.

1/12/2010 06:33:00 AM  

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