Why are Liberals Out of their Minds?
So say the authors of Object Relations, The Self and the Group. Our purpose here is to see if the model described therein helps to account for the otherwise inexplicably irrational millennial beliefs, discourse, and behavior we have been discussing in recent posts.
Although we take it for granted, the human group is a very mysterious thing, since it mostly exists -- and must first exist -- in the mind of the group member, in the subject.
The first group -- the group into which we are all initiated -- is the mother-infant dyad. As we have said before, this is more of a biological category, certainly for all other animals. But for human beings, it takes on an entirely different meaning and significance, based upon what happens later, as we develop (which continues -- or should continue -- for the rest of our lives).
The mother-infant group must be viewed in a complementary fashion, as a kind of oneness-in-twoness and twoness-in-oneness. From the subjective at-one-ment of life in the womb -- warm, dark, silent (except for the mother's voice and beating heart), and free of want, i.e., desire -- the baby is suddenly plunged into a new existence with which it must cope and to which it must adapt.
Thus, the (external) maternal environment necessarily partakes of the existential categories of prenatal existence, and much of the mother's task involves easing the shock of the transition. This is something mothers instinctively know how to do, unless the species wisdom has been maimed by graduate school or feminist ideology.
The point is, from the perspective of the infant -- and this becomes obvious when you think about it -- the existence of Two comes as the shock of a lifetime. Indeed, many of us never recover. Many patients prefer the prior oneness, and therefore shun deep relationships and draw back from intimacy.
Others, for various reasons, are terrified by the devouring maternal oneness in their developmental rear-view mirror, and compulsively seek others to whom they may "adhere" in an immature manner.
For Ashbach and Schermer, "groups, in their evolution, embody and recapitulate the symbiosis/separation-individuation process" outlined by Margaret Mahler. This latter theory "asserts that mentation is established in interaction with significant others, so that to think and to experience is also to participate in a transactional situation."
For example, at this very moment, I am aware of thinking, which is to say, con-versing ("flowing-together") with an Other. There is a dynamic trialectic taking place, between a kind of ground, or deep Subject (Father), I (the subject, Son) and anOther, a sympathetic listener who is trying to understand and to whom I am trying to explain (Holy Spirit). In the end, I am all three of these positions in a mutual indwelling, undivided and unmixed.
Again, it is somewhat difficult for human beings to recognize group dynamics, since there is no human being in the absence of the group. Truly, "groupishness" is the water in which we swim. Yes, in the modern west we emphasize and prize our individuality (roughly half of us, anyway), but this can conceal the extent to which the individual is only made possible by virtue of a specific type of group.
The first distinction we must make is between the "interior" and "exterior" collective, something helpfully outlined in Wilber's Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. An exterior collective is analogous to a group we can draw an external boundary around.
For example, I am a resident of California -- a "Californian" -- although it doesn't mean much to me. It is not something I identify with on any personal, interior level. Frankly. I'd prefer to be in a state that isn't in the process of being destroyed by the left.
This is very much in contrast to, say, the Founders, most of whom had a primary identification with their state, not with the nation they were attempting to forge. Indeed, for them, "nation" was something of a curse word. Most of them wanted an exterior confederation, but thanks to far-sighted visionaries such as Hamilton, we indeed ended up with a nation. Although it took a Civil War to seal the deal.
So, I am a member of a number of exterior collectives that mean little to me. However, one of the intrinsic intellectual pathologies of the left is the ceaseless effort to place us into various group categories with which we do not -- or should not -- identify. For the left, one cannot simply be a member of the human group. Rather, one must be black, or homosexual, or female, or Latina, or wealthy -- these are all exterior categories that cement division and sow disharmony.
Just like individuals, groups clearly exist along a developmental continuum, which is one of the main reasons why the left's forced categories are so useless if not harmful. For example, a person's race or sexual orientation tells us nothing meaningful about a person. What is meaningful are his values.
But for the leftist, to have certain values means that one must be ejected from the group. Therefore, a Clarence Thomas "doesn't think like a black man" and a Sarah Palin has rejected her womanhood. This is a very primitive form of group dynamics, more similar to kinship structures, in which roles are strictly defined and individuality is forbidden.
A key principle is that human beings are open systems. This is obviously the case on the level of biology, for life is impossible in the absence of a continuous exchange of energy and information with the environment.
But it is equally true on the psychological (embodying emotionality and conventional intellect) and spiritual levels. It is specifically because human beings are open systems that such psychological processes as projection are possible.
In other words, projection has become a universally recognized phenomenon, but it can only occur because on a deeper level we are connected to the other into whom we project. This becomes rather transparent when a liberal projects various psychic content into the fantasied "conservative" who only exists only in the liberal's head, but is perceived to be "outside."
Consider the ravings of these selected koslings, and ask yourself: where exactly are the demons who are persecuting them?
"[T]he Republican Party [is an] awful group of neo-facist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, plutocratic, theocratic, sexist, oligarchic, neo-liberal, Orwellians that deserve all the bad things that come/are coming/ and have come previously to them in the world.
"[T]he [C]onstitution... is that peace [sic] of paper Conservative fascists wave at you when they are taking your Democracy away from you...
"Words like tyranny, spending, taxes, regulation, socialism and many others have been rendered meaningless over decades of conservative fascist propaganda in an effort to make the basic use and methods of democracy seem evil...
"The idea of small government and limited government is an attack on Democracy...
"[T]he crowd at the the Reagan Library -- a library dedicated to legacy of yet another American tyrant -- [stood] in applause when Rick Perry’s murderous toll was brought into question. From the Reagan era at least, the GOP has garnered voters by being the 'strong' party -- of course, its strength comes from attacking the most vulnerable among us. Blacks, gays, women, Muslims -- anyone that a typical GOP voter can rise above by squashing their humanity, they’ll do it... In fact, you could say it’s their only real draw as a party -- that someone, somewhere, isn’t worth as much as you...
"The current crop of Republican congressmen seem to look to the McCarthy era as the high point of government, and seem to spend every waking moment deciding how best to use their congressional positions to propagandize against, and demonize, any group or individual that crosses his path. Gay people, brown people, liberals, scary invisible communists that hide under your bed and come out at night to rearrange the eggs in your refrigerator...
"Richard Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew pioneered the tactic of teaching people to fear and hate 'Others.' Reagan refined and vastly improved it...
"Many learned to close their eyes to hard facts and to cast blame for problems on scapegoats... Reagan and Republican strategists knew that low-information voters are famous for their mental compartmentalization. They are unable to get at the root of their economic woes and prefer to center their anger on groups that do no harm at all: gays, immigrants, African-Americans, liberals, Muslims, environmentalists, and advocates of biological evolution..."
Now, just what is going on here? Since I am a member of the group they are describing, I can assure them that their perceptions are not just inaccurate but probably delusional (that is, if they cannot be easily corrected by more accurate information). Indeed, why don't they just ask a conservative what he believes? Wouldn't that be easier?
This is what I do with liberals. I hope I never mischaracterize them in the florid manner they do us (unless for comedic purposes). If I am not mistaken -- and please correct me if I am wrong -- liberals are in favor of bigger government and more spending, more regulation, higher taxes, public employee unions, multiculturalism, reducing the defense budget, illegal immigration, a banishment of religion to the margins of society, and any number of additional positions with which I disagree. I feel no need to project primitive mental content into them, in the manner of the liberals quoted above. It's enough for me that their ideas are wrong. There is no need to go beyond that, and shoot up a corpse on the pretext that it is attacking me.
Again: what is going on in the head of the liberal who lives with these elaborate fantasies of persecution and oppression? Although it can't be pleasant to have one's mind colonized by such malevolent entities, on another level, it must provide a kind of self-soothing.
In other words, let us stipulate that these liberals are not lying about their experience and their perceptions. Let us imagine two subjects; or, better yet, a subject -- the liberal -- and a group-container, i.e., conservatives, with a "space" in between (what is called the "transitional space").
All of the real action takes place in this transitional space. It is analogous to the space referenced above, between I and the Other with whom I wish to have an encounter of Truth. Or, imagine a love relationship. Is the love only in the lover? Or the beloved? No, it takes place in between, in a thousand little ways that externalize and actualize the love. This space is actually co-created by the two lovers.
But in the case of the liberals referenced above, there is no co-creation going on. There is quite literally no input from my end. Importantly, this goes back to what I said about open systems: while the liberal no doubt believes he is an open system in contact with reality, he is in fact only in contact with his own projected violence, hatred, oppression, and tyranny.
The next step -- assuming the liberal in question is capable of introspection and self-criticism -- is to ask why? Why am I doing this, and what does it mean, both in general and with regard to my particular fantasies?
Please note that some conservatives engage in this process, but not many mainstream ones. I am aware that there exists a "right wing fever swamp." Suffice it to say, I do not relate to these people, and as far as I know, they wield little influence over the movement.
For example, one of these sad cases has suggested that bin Laden was already dead before the SEALS found him, and that the later helicopter crash was actually a hit job by the Obama administration. This is a mirror image of leftists who suggested that Pat Tillman had been murdered by BushCheney. (I remember another one who thought tofu was a leftist plot to create more homosexuals.)
As with the liberals quoted above, the "leading edge" or motive-force of this kind of paranoia is uncontainable hatred and fear. It certainly isn't "thought," if by thought we mean the metabolism of experience. It is the failure to think, whereby unmetabolized thoughts are located and misperceived outside the head.
Hey, maybe Obama's hit squad minions can take out the dominionist hit squads, then we'd all be safe.
To be continued....