Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why Can't a Democrat be More Like a Man?

And why am I reposting this soiled bobservation from over two years ago? Two reasons I can think of. First, I awoke at the usual time -- before the rest of the family -- and it's just so damn peaceful that I hate to waste the slack. Second, I was attracted by the title. I have no idea what it's about. I shall lightly -- or heavily, if needed -- edit as we proceed:

As I have said before -- and this is undoubtedly true of most of you -- I am a conservative because I am a liberal. In many ways, I am the same liberal today that I was when I was younger, except that today it's called "conservative." Likewise, what we mistakenly call "liberalism" is pure leftism, which is a different animal entirely. There is nothing liberal about the left except perhaps its freedom from objective truth and morality, which is the shortcut to tyranny.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in discussions of race or ethnicity. Taranto posted an excerpt of a typical All in the Family episode, which ironically demonstrates the reversal that has taken place in the past 35 years. Back then, Archie was the bigot and Meathead was the liberal. But today the roles are reversed: Archie expresses the race-obsessed leftist view, while Meathead expresses the view of the typical bewildered conservative who doesn't understand the left's obsession with race and ethnicity:

Archie: What's the matter with this? I call this representative government. You've got Salvatori, Feldman, O'Reilly, Nelson -- that's an Italian, a Jew, an Irishman and a regular American there. That's what I call a balanced ticket.

Meathead: Why do you always have to label people by nationality?

Archie: 'Cause, how else are you going to get the right man for the right job? For instance, take Feldman there. He's up for treasurer. Well, that's perfect. All them people know how to handle money. Know what I mean?

Meathead: No, I don't.

Archie: Well, then you got Salvatori running for D.A. He can keep an eye on Feldman. You know, I want to tell you something about the Italians. When you do get an honest one, you really got something there.

Meathead: Aw, c'mon, Arch.

Archie: Well, then here you got O'Reilly, the mick. He can see that the graft is equally spread around, you know. You got Nelson, the American guy. He's good for TV appearances, to make the rest of them look respectable.

As Archie might say today, with a Wise Latina on the bench, that's what I call a reasonably balanced court: including various overlapping categories, there are two broads, a castrati, a spic, a mick, two waps, a darkie, two kikes, and four or five regular American guys, depending upon the day.

However, there are now six mackeral snappers. Now, that's a problem. Just yesterday I heard Christopher Hitchens on Hugh Hewitt's program, saying that we needed to do something about that and appoint a pagan, I mean atheist, to the court. (Somehow, I think he's overlooking the obvious.)

*****

One of the more provocative works of anthropology I’ve ever read is The Human Animal, by Weston LaBarre. LaBarre was both an anthropologist and a psychoanalyst, and this book deals with exactly what I attempted to outline in Chapter Three of the my bʘʘk, that is, how primates and proto-humans eventually evolved into full-fledged human beings. Being that it was published in 1954, many of the details in his book have undoubtedly been superseded by more recent findings. And yet, he captured the big picture in a way that few people even attempt to do these days.

Few among the tenured would cite LaBarre as an influence, but if nothing else, he’s a very entertaining writer, full of pithy and astringent comments, asnides, and fine insultainment.

Interestingly, he was a devout atheist, but that doesn’t necessarily bother me. So long as someone has a piece of the truth, their overarching philosophy is of no consequence to me, no matter how shallow or ignorant. For example, I have no difficulty accepting whatever parts of Darwinism comport with reality. I only reject those parts of of it that are not true and cannot possibly be true.

Chapter 6 of The Human Animal deals with sexual differences and the evolutionary circumstances that supposedly allowed humanness to emerge. In an evolutionary tradeoff, human brains grew so rapidly that women had to give birth earlier and earlier, to the point that the brain's incomplete neurology could only be wired together in the extra-uterine environment. (For those of you in Rio Linda, that means after you're born.)

The resulting infantile helplessness (and maternal preoccupation) meant that the family unit switched from the mother-infant dyad to the mother-father-infant triad. These symbiotic relationships further modified all of their members, as they adapted to -- and became intersubjective members of -- one another, thereby creating the "interior unity" of the family (which, in important ways, mirrors the dynamic interior unity of the Creator; not coincidentally, the Christian God and human animal are principially intersubjective, a momentous pointer to ponder).

LaBarre notes that “a society’s attitudes toward women and toward maternity will deeply influence its psychological health and all other institutional attitudes.” He wrote in 1954 -- well before the degradation to womanhood brought about by the feminist movement -- that “It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women.” Sadly, today countless women only know how important they are as men. This is a human tragedy of epic proportions, in part because it also results in men not understanding their own role in terms of being men. If women aren't women, then men won't be men.

One of the keys to understanding male-female differences lies in examining the different ways in which we are permitted to love. As a child we must love in one way, but in order to become an adult we must love in others.

The process is significantly more complicated for males, because our first love object is the mother with whom we are merged. Male identity must first be wrested and won from this primordial union, otherwise there will be no spiritual manhood, only biological maleness. In other words, a man's love must transition from male-female, to male-male, then back to male-female. Many things can go wrong along the way, as you might well imagine.

On the other hand, female identity is coextensive with their union with the Great Mother, both literally and archetypally. They only have to transition from female-female love to female-male. As a result, their identity is much more secure -- literally "grounded" -- because they never have to renounce the primitive identification with the Great Mother, at least totally. For example, I would guess that at least 90% of sexual perverts are men. Still, things obviously can and do go wrong in female psychosexual development, for any number of reasons we don't have time to discuss here.

All men know that women can miraculously produce children out of their bodies. This is another reason that women are generally more “grounded” and secure in their identity than men are. It would also explain the essential restlessness (and sometimes rootlessness) of men, along with the psychological adaptiveness of (non-violent, of course) male homophobia. (A couple of days ago we were discussing the hobo archetype, the man with no roots, or whose "roots" are in motion; there is a reason why they are almost always male, whereas the female usually has a much stronger nesting instinct.)

Femaleness as a category is secure: its undeniable signs are menstruation, maternity, and an obsession with shoes. But manhood -- as opposed to mere biological maleness -- has no such obvious markers. Rather, it is something that must be constructed and achieved. The adaptive mechanism that allows males to become men is culture. For a male to become a man, he generally must conquer something in a show of strength, whether physical, spiritual, economic, political, whatever.

What connects mother to infant is very concrete: the breast and all it symbolizes and implies ("breast" is a psychoanalytic term of art that is more analogous to "cosmic source of all goodness," if viewed from the infant's omnipotent and boundary-less perspective.) Likewise, what originally connected male to female was the evolutionary change that made females sexually available year-round.

But what connects man to man? “What connects father and son, male and male, is the mystery of logos and logos alone...” It is through this shared pattern of cosmic meaning that “father can identify with son and permit his infancy, within which son can identify with father and become a man, and within which a male can perceive and forgive the equal manhood of his fellow man.”

(In rereading this passage, it has a couple of very powerful ideas: permit the infant to live [both literally and symbolically, and both internal and external], and forgive the manhood of fellow men; few cultures have fully succeeded in doing this, certainly not in much of the Islamic world, where they blow up their children in order to blow up other men.)

At the foundation of the State, writes LaBarre, “is our struggle to find both paternal power [an aspect of the vertical] and brotherly justice [the vertical prolonged into the horizontal] in the governing of men.” This is why something psychologically noxious happens when government becomes mother.

A similar thing happens when God becomes mother or mother becomes God. It interferes with the primordial basis of culture qua culture, which is to convert boys to men. If that fails to happen -- as with the left -- then civilization either cannot form or will not be able to sustain and defend itself, since there will be no men or manhood, only Democrats -- or women and children.

This would explain the (until recently) universal practice of various male initiation rituals, in which boys are sometimes brutally wrenched away from their mothers in order to facilitate male “rebirth” and full membership in the fellowship of men. Again, femaleness is given by biology, but maleness must be proven, not just to oneself, but to the group. If appropriate models are not given for this drive, we will simply have pathological versions of it, such as the urban youth gang or the NBA, which are all about proving one’s manhood, only to other female-centered boys.

In fact, this is why so much contemporary rap and hip hop is so perversely male. In a matriarchal culture so lacking in male role models, these clueless boys are constantly trying to prove that they are what they imagine a man -- and themselves -- to be. This is why they are such pathetic, brooding, aggressive, and hyper-sexualized caricatures of manhood. (And ultimately this results from female sexuality reverting back to the mother-infant dyad, with no real role for men except George Gilder's "naked nomad.")

Other males -- we call them liberals -- often take women as their role models, with predictable results. They regard auto-castration as the quintessence of civilization and sophistication. They aren't really assertive in a male way, but a catty or bitchy way, like the New York Times or their perfectly manless man, Obama.

Again, male psychosexual development is inherently more complex and hazardous, for men must first love and identify with the female, only to make a clean break of it and then return to the same object as an adult. Many things can go wrong with this process at each step along the way, as the road is filled with conflict and ambivalence. It explains why men often have the harder time growing up, and remain ambiguous adolescents. Still, that's no excuse to elect one president.

In the triangulated war between liberals, Islamists, and the left, only one side can win. Our side will lose if we run out of real men because our feminized culture no longer creates enough of them. We will lose if we allow the new cultural ideal of the feminized adultolescent male to become the ideal. We will lose if we forget that an upright and noble man with the capacity for righteous violence is at the very foundation of civilization.

Liberals sneer at such men, which is to say, men. I found a typical example by a college professor at dailykos, called A Pacifist’s Agony. S/h/it writes that “I've always hated the term ‘war crime,’ since it's an insidious tautology. It implies that some wars are not crimes, and some of the atrocities committed during war are excusable by virtue of their context. I believe that if there can be any single concept by which a civilization ought to be defined it's this: there is no context that can justify the intentional killing of a sentient being who does not wish it. Period.” (Somehow, I'm sure there is a loophole for abortion.)

The professor's job is not to educate students but to make them “politically aware,” which in practice means to arrest their developmental journey toward adulthood, and especially manhood. It is a form of spiritual and intellectual body-snatching; for the boys, it means a fantasized acquisition of manhood, for the girls, contempt for it.

Before being undicktrinated, students are “not particularly politically aware,” but by semester’s end, if all goes well, they will be “different people. They now understand the direct relationship between their own deliberately inculcated ignorance and the crimes that are committed in their name.” They will have inverted reality, so that they imagine themselves to be Morally Superior to the primitive and murderous men who protect and defend them.

This is why the left must constantly attack and undermine America, for that is what allows their sense of moral superiority to flourish. But the attack brings with it the unconscious fear of father's retaliation, hence the hysterical fears of murderous retribution for "speaking truth" to Father -- fear of spying, of theocratic takeovers, of Al Gore's world melting. When leftists say that George Bush is the world's greatest terrorist, they mean it, although it goes without saying that they have no insight into the unconscious basis of this hysterical projection of their own fear converted to anger and persecution.

Oddly enough, the professor agrees with me that our civilization is threatened: “Chomsky's right. It's over for America. Not just this war, but the American idea. And right now, the peace I'm enjoying in my living room, every selfish mile I drive to and from my home, the electricity that's powering my computer, and the privilege of education that allows me to articulate these thoughts is bought with the blood and dust of all the Hadithas that have made a moment like this and a person like me possible. And it's more than I can bear.”

It’s a fascinating thing about truth. One of the things that makes a fellow believe in a deity, really. As every psychoanalytically informed psychologist knows, there is the patient, there is the truth, and there is the truth they would like to deny, which is why they are in your office. Truth has a life of its own, and has a way of insisting its way into the patient’s discourse, try as they might to prevent it from doing so.

The truth is true, and doesn’t actually require anyone to think it. But this is not so of the lie. The lie is entirely parasitic on a thinker. Furthermore, the liar implicitly knows the truth, otherwise it couldn't lie about it. Pacifism is just such a lie, for it contains the truth to which it is a reaction:

...the blood of men who are far better than I, men who stand ready to do violence against the forces of evil that have made a moment like this and a person like me possible. And it's more than I can bear.

Yes, that would require growing up and facing the unpleasant Truth.

12 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

All these Henry Higgins references make me want to watch My Fair Lady again. Guess for now I'll settle for reading the post, instead...

7/10/2011 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Hm. Actually, My Fair Lady is a good case in point, since it's the story of a father figure taking the rough clay of an immature female (whose real father was clearly not up to the task) and helping to transform her into a Woman proper, a force to be reckoned with. Of course, on the other hand the male (Freddy) whose attention she grabbed was decidedly kind of a pansy, so clearly something went a tad wrong there as well...

7/10/2011 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In the end, Higgins falls in love with that which could only come into being via his loving attention -- in other words, he perceived an implicit -- and truer -- ideal in Eliza that she could never have known about or developed without the interior gaze of the "other" (Higgins). Importantly, Eliza is not Higgins' creation - that would make him God -- but discovery. I've just been reading of how this all works this morning, in Balthasar's Theo-Logic, and about how truth and love are inseparable.

7/10/2011 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Underneath it all is the mother-infant dyad, through which the mother's loving gaze allows the baby to discover itself and come into being, hopefully in a "real" way.

7/10/2011 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Good points; I admit I'm at quite the disadvantage, still, in understanding the complexities (and yet, strangely, simplicities) of how these things work. I always loved that movie, though - we had it on video disk when I was a kid. I must have seen it a million times, growing up, and the story is compelling enough that it never gets old to me.

Funny that you're back to the Theo-Logic; I was just thinking of HvB the other day. It's been a long while since I've read him.

7/10/2011 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

To the post, it brings me back to an argument that I see made over and over, usually by materialists and (I suspect) usually by people who are looking for an excuse for their lack of self-control, which is that men are "not naturally monogamous."

From a purely Darwinian perspective, I suspect that it's probably even true, or at least mostly true, given that all it takes for a male to pass on his genes is a couple of minutes with a fertile female he can pin down.

But from an evolutionary perspective, properly so-called, it seems like a losing argument, given that the best way to form a human person (and not just a beastling) is within an intact family. Promiscuous men are very unlikely to stick around long enough to be fathers in any real sense. Maybe it could be said that monogamy is supernatural, as opposed to being merely natural.

(Sorry if I'm hogging the comments again...)

7/10/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Way off topic. Just a note to say Of Gods and Men is now on Netflix. The link takes you to the Part I of V review at Decent Films.

7/10/2011 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's also available for streaming at Amazon; I watched it yesterday. Great movie.

7/10/2011 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

a 'born again' pop musician's intriguing interview
&
site

7/10/2011 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"In fact, this is why so much contemporary rap and hip hop is so perversely male. In a matriarchal culture so lacking in male role models, these clueless boys are constantly trying to prove that they are what they imagine a man -- and themselves -- to be. This is why they are such pathetic, brooding, aggressive, and hyper-sexualized caricatures of manhood. (And ultimately this results from female sexuality reverting back to the mother-infant dyad, with no real role for men except George Gilder's "naked nomad.")

Other males -- we call them liberals -- often take women as their role models, with predictable results. They regard auto-castration as the quintessence of civilization and sophistication. They aren't really assertive in a male way, but a catty or bitchy way, like the New York Times or their perfectly manless man, Obama. "

Seriously revealing and illuminating cultural criticism and pointedly correct political observation together within one post... where could I be but at the O.C.?

Ahhh... the post lawn mowing heat stroke beer o'clock bell is rung.

7/10/2011 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said " Promiscuous men are very unlikely to stick around long enough to be fathers in any real sense."

... or to become Men.

"... Maybe it could be said that monogamy is supernatural, as opposed to being merely natural."

It wouldn't surprise me a bit to find that the first spark of recognition of... not just a fertile object, but Beauty, was what led the first males to rise above the beast and become Man... truly, as Carl Denham said, 'It was beauty that killed the beast'.

7/10/2011 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

In other words, a man's love must transition from male-female, to male-male, then back to male-female. Many things can go wrong along the way, as you might well imagine.

It just occurred to me, this is as good an argument as any for having separate schools for boys and girls.

7/10/2011 07:25:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home