There Is No Such Thing as a Liberal
Right now, I just want to say -- and let me be perfectly clear about this -- that I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when the oceans began to rise and our freezing planet began to warm up again… That this was the moment when we dodged a bullet with a ballot and prevented a tyrannical federal government from permanently extending its grasping tentacles into the most intimate reaches of our bodies. We love Uncle Sam, but he doesn't have a license to practice medicine, and he has no right to examine our prostate. Only the IRS can do that.
My friends, this is the moment when we said NO! to the dork farces who insist that you can fill the economic swimming pool by taking water from the deep end and pouring it into the shallow end. This was the moment -- yes, the delicious moment -- when we came together as a nation and made Tingles Matthews cry on national TV. And folks, it doesn't get any better than that.
Actually, I can't relate to all the hoopla surrounding last night's election. First of all, a conservative doesn't locate his salvation in politics. But even then, it's literally a matter of avoiding a catastrophe as opposed to imagining that suddenly the world has been transformed. True, the sense of relief is real, but relief is very different from joy. It's much more temperate and sober, like finding out that that spot on the CT scan is just a fatty cyst, not an inoperable tumor.
Plus, we realize that the same atavistic and entropic powers and principalities who are the wind beneath Obama's bag are still here, and that these powers will always have the upper hand in this world. They never rest, they never take the day off, and they never quit. They do not know slack. They politicize everything and everyone, because that is their religion. Theirs is a manichaean world, minus the nuance.
And just as a practical matter, the Department of Irony (which presides over history) forecasts that this could actually benefit the Democrats, since it will prevent them from enacting their most kooky and destructive legislation, so that they may actually be in a stronger position next November. We never forget the orthoparadox that more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.
No time for an all new post, but this one from a few years back seems relevant:
I’m trying to imagine what it must feel like for Horizontal Man to win -- or even hope to win -- an election. I know that for me and other verticaloids of my acquaintance, there is no great joy upon winning an election, usually just relief that we have managed to temporarily pull the cultural plane out of its death spiral.
But for Horizontal Man, politics is his religion, which is the whole problem with his politics. The Obama phenemonon is the quintessential example of this. He is almost wholly the product of vertical wishes and dreams inappropriately (because unconsciously) displaced onto the horizontal plane. Obama most certainly realizes this, which is why he is running one of the most cynical and manipulative campaigns in living memory.
One way or another, vertical man is born again “from above.” Therefore, he draws his energies from the vertical center and radiates them to the horizontal periphery. But since Horizontal Man is trapped in the bewilderness of his contingent being (i.e., maya), he unconsciously projects the above into the future, and thereby constructs a faux spiritual life that attempts to draw on the psychic energies of his self-created (and self-enclosing) illusion.
In other words, horizontal man (if he isn't just an honest nihilist or self-consistent hedonist) practices the religion of progressivism, in which belief in a transcendent order is immamentized and "nourishes" the vacuum where his soul ought to be.
In so doing, the leftist receives a kind of existential consolation which may be compared to a form of counterfeit grace, in particular, when he imagines that he is in proximity to his imaginary heaven and therefore closer to being “saved” from the existential situation that afflicts all humans. Obviously, the Obamaniacs are feeling very "close" to this heaven, which ratchets up their creepy fervor. (The depth of spiritual hopelessness and primitive hatred defended against by this false hope is frightening to consider; cf. here.)
You can clearly recognize this mechanism of hoped-for horizontal salvation in action. For if reality were actually as awful as what the fantasists of the left have been saying for the past seven years, we would not see this manic exaltation among their rank and foul. Rather, we would see great sobriety and moral seriousness, as they brood on the monumental work of undoing the theo-fascist takeover of America, of saving the biosphere from immanent demise from the Bush-caused planetary inferno, of repairing our "permanently damaged" standing in the world. After all, if all it takes to undo these problems is to elect a smiling cipher, then the problems couldn't have been that serious to begin with.
The great psychoanalyst Melanie Klein divided childhood psychological development into two main stages, which she termed the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive positions. (I will try to avoid pedantry at risk of over-simplification.)
For Klein, the primary goal of development was to move from the former to the latter, although in reality, the relationship between the two is more dialectical than linear, similar to the relationship that exists between the conscious and unconscious minds, or between what might be called mental metabolism (building up) and catabolism (breaking down).
In other words, we no longer think of an unconscious mind per se, but a dialectical relationship between the conscious and unconscious. This dialectic can be fruitful and generative, or stultifying and self-defeating, but you can no more rid yourself of unconscious processes than you could speak without the implicit deep structure of grammar, or understand religious symbolism without the archetypal clueprint implanted into us by God.
Human beings are subject to the nuisance of intrusive thoughts long before they are capable of thinking them. The problem for development is to build a robust psychic structure in which one may think thoughts instead of merely being thought by, or subject to, them.
Naturally, our earliest psychological reality is almost wholly fantastic, and it is actually the primary job of the parent to prolong this fantasy until the baby becomes capable of discovering and bearing reality. In the absence of unconscious buffers, reality truly would be unbearable -- something like looking straight into the sun, or trying to live on the surface of mars, or being trapped in a SigAlert with only Air America on the radio.
This is why you cannot “spoil” an infant. Rather, you must indulge them until they are resilient enough to tolerate the painful and disappointing discovery of reality. Ironically, this can only be achieved if they have a firm foundation of entitlement and generative fantasy -- for example, the fantasy that one’s painful hunger causes a generous and bountiful breast to magically appear out of nowhere.
The baby must imagine that this loving breast is his own creation before he makes the disappointing discovery that it actually belongs to mother (let alone a third interloper!), otherwise reality will have to be rejected or even attacked in some form or fashion. We must be provided with, and then gradually disillusioned of, our infantile omnipotence, on pain of trying to hold on to it or resurrect it for the rest of our lives.
The paranoid-schizoid position predominates during the first year of life. Naturally there is no clear sense of psychological boundaries at this time, which is why the psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott made the famously wise crack that “there is no such thing as an infant.” Rather, there is primarily a harmonious (or inharmonious), mixed-up fusion of mother and baby. The baby’s sense of individual selfhood will only gradually emerge from this primordial matrix.
Klein called this the “paranoid-schizoid position” because it is the source of our most primitive psychological defenses -- e.g., denial, splitting, and projection. These defenses are normative for a baby, but only become problematic to the extent that we fail to evolve into the depressive position.
At this early age, we shouldn’t even think of them as defenses, but more as primitive modes of "thinking," i.e., of organizing our otherwise chaotic mental experience, almost like primitive neurological "categories" or preconceptions. (And research by Allen Schore indicates that these are very much neuro-biological signposts that order our world.)
For example, splitting early experience into a “good” and “bad” breast is analogous to God’s separation of the primordial waters. It is an attempt to achieve safety by placing a distance between what are in reality different aspects of oneself. Projection obviously works the same way, in that it allows the person to evacuate the "bad" or to place the good outside the self for "safekeeping."
End of part one.