Friday, September 07, 2012

Obama is a Dream Come True. HELLLLLP!

It is a kind of harmonic convergence that we're discussing Voegelin -- that great diagnostician and pathologist of political disorders -- at the same time the DNC -- that roiling asylum of political pathology -- is convening. So many principles exemplified in living and breathing instances!

I mean, imagine misogynistic generals such as Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton waging war against an imaginary war on women. No, you can't make this stuff up. Might as well have Jimmy Carter or Louis Farrakahn as your standard-bearer against anti-semitism, or have Joe Biden sing the praises of a public education.

It would be inaccurate and uncharitable to say that liberalism involves a collective hallucination. Nor is it a mere fairy tale.

Rather, what we are dealing with here is a collective delusion. It is a "dream of escape" that "intends to overcome the existential tension of imperfection-perfection" (Voegelin).

Consider, for example, how the DNC delegates respond to the suggestion that all corporate profits be banned by the state (in the PowerLine video linked above). This is not like, say, banning unicorns, because unicorns don't exist. So the liberal is dealing with reality, just in an unreal way.

Two elements are required in order for the liberal narrative to gain traction in the psyche and appear plausible. First, as mentioned above, it cannot be pure hallucination, but must at least have the appearance of being "debatable."

However, at the same time -- like an unfalsifiable scientific theory -- "it must be analytically obscure enough not to reveal its character of a dream image at the first glance" (Voegelin).

The elites at the top are aware of this, which is why they don't just "come right out and say it," so to speak. When they do reveal the full liberal monty, it's called a gaffe, because the actual principles of liberalism must always be hidden from view. You didn't build that is a prime example of the genre, or "government is the one thing we all belong to." Oops!

As Voegelin explains, "the dream story must intelligibly and persuasively refer to the real world as the medium of action." Because reality is frustrating, life isn't fair, and envy can always imagine something better, there never is, nor will there ever be, a shortage of existential complaints that may be pathologically converted to politics.

I mean, when even free birth control is elevated to a political issue, you know you've entered a fantasy world. Why not free anything? What's so special about condoms?

In short, there are always enough "grievances from which a revolt can start" (Voegelin). Once the sense of entitlement is stoked and grievances abound, the real fun can begin. The political savior will then suggest or intimate that "history as we know it is coming to an end," and that "the true history of perfection... is now about to begin." Yes, nothing prior to 2008 matters, because we are going to fundamentally transform reality.

But, just as when the dog catches the car, "conflict with reality is practically a matter of self-declaration." In other words, liberals imagine they have a beef with conservatives, which is true as far as it goes. But their real beef is with the structure of reality, perhaps the most important aspect being the reality of human nature.

For example, liberals complain of "corporate greed." They also insist that corporations somehow aren't people, but they're really talking about human greed. They seem to have the naive belief that human greed is somehow eliminated if the person works for the state instead of in the private sector. As if public employee unions aren't sufficient to disabuse anyone of such a naive belief about human nature.

Besides, if greed is all it takes to get rich, what are you waiting for? Go for it!

Thus, it is always critical to bear in mind that the best possible human order will still have a great deal of disorder in it, for the simple reason that there is no secular or state-managed cure for man. Plus, this is the world, not heaven.

Even if you believe there is such a thing as "free healthcare," that healthcare will do nothing for the person who is pneumapathologically crippled inside, at least not intentionally. Ironically, it may eventually cure the liberal, once the quality of healthcare sufficiently declines. But by then it will be too late.

Hence the sufficient reason for conservatism, which attempts to conserve the real order of things, which is again always imperfect (although the archetype it attempts to measure up to is perfect). Conversely, the leftist instinct is to conclude that this order is imperfect -- which it obviously is -- and therefore "fundamentally transform" it.

The problem is, even though these revolutionary dreamers are detached from reality, they are nevertheless a big part of our reality. We can't just choose to have Obama leave us alone, or tell him to go and inhabit his own private fantasy world if that is how he wishes to live his life. No, we are all stuck in his fantasy. We are all affected by people who refuse "to distinguish between dream and reality" -- to see that the chair is empty.

Some of you may have detected something similar vis-a-vis family life. You will have noticed that it is always the burden of the sane one to adapt to the less-than-sane, because the latter cannot adapt to the former. Or, at least one must do this if one wishes to maintain harmony and avoid conflict.


Irene said...

Really stellar, Bob. Just stellar. The best analysis I've seen yet on this topic.

And of course, the problem isn't merely that "revolutionary dreamers...are nevertheless a big part of our reality," but that these revolutionaries have taken control of so many substantial parts of reality - education, culture - and totally perverted them.

Conservatives are always fighting after the fact. There's something seriously amiss when we ourselves can't see the hostile takeover of our social institutions and just allow the takeover to happen. It takes two to tango.

This is the reality part that I get into arguments over with conservatives. You just can't assume that the other side is only going to use civil tactics against you. If they bring a gun to a knife fight, you have to counter with equal force. For too long conservatives have just been rolled or totally silenced.

In short, we've ignored the reality of our adversary. Some serious soul searching to do here.

mushroom said...

Very true. A lot of us, as conservatives, complain that we never really reverse what the leftists do. We might mitigate the problems created, roll back a few laws or let them sunset, but we never really move back to originality.

The reason is that you can't, short of some catastrophic, world-changing event (why apocalyptic resets have so much fantasy appeal, perhaps?). The delusional members of the family have become accustomed to their privileges which they now see as rights.

We're doing good just to "conserve" the mess we've gotten ourselves into so far.

I'm reminded of my late sister-in-law. She had some developmental problems as a child and was spoiled and overprotected by her grandmother to the point that she became pathologically manipulative and deceiving, ruining her own life and ending it in an institution. The one thing I could thwart her on, I always did. I would hand her a cup of coffee, and she would start telling me how she wanted me to put "a little cold water in the cup then pour the coffee into it". I would go dump the coffee down the drain and hand her the empty cup. It wasn't much, but it was all I could do.

EbonyRaptor said...

Collective ideology has always been a facade to reality. It's a manefesto wide and one inch deep. The corporate greed / individual greed example is a case in point. It's why leftists can't and never try to defend their positions with logic and reason. Their posisions fall apart as soon as the facade is removed. It's why they never allow a conversation of connecting thoughts, it's always dodge, weave and change the subject.

And yet, so many of these leftists are well educated, perhaps over educated, if you will, that it seems likely they would be able to follow a logical progression of thought.

Can they have a very large collective scotoma? Or is it more likely that most leftist with the intellectual capacity to put 2 and 2 together are simply, to be as kind as possible, disingenuous?

julie said...

"And yet, so many of these leftists are well educated, perhaps over educated, if you will, that it seems likely they would be able to follow a logical progression of thought."

Not necessarily. Leftist intellectuals are, in general, educated and over-educated in the fine art of bullshitting above all else. Study it long enough and deeply enough and one loses the ability to distinguish lies from truth. Leftist positions must, as noted in the post, be stated with as much obscurantism and prevarication as possible; stated simply and honestly, virtually everything they stand for is revealed to be profoundly anti-human and inhumane. To practice the necessary doublespeak for any length of time is to fall in love with the appearance of language while discarding any actual meaning, and thus we find college dissertations filled with indecipherable passages of multisyllabic words that vrefuse to be parsed into meaningful sentences, no matter how dedicated the reader may be. Unsurprisingly, few readers (perhaps especially the intended audience for such papers, other intellectuals) are so dedicated.

EbonyRaptor said...

Julie, so your vote is for the collective scotoma? You're a kinder soul than I. I think most, if not all, of the leftist leadership cabal are just bald face liars who know very well that their ideaolgy is nothing more than a means the end they desire, that being their personal power, wealth and aggrandizement.

mushroom said...

I think the speeches and screeches and scribblings of the left are kind of like magic formulas, spells, or incantations. Recall Bob was talking about the post-modern view that the text is only reality.

Speaking of screeches, they really need to keep Jennifer Granholm away from the liquor cabinet. I'm guessing Clinton gave her the keys.

NoMo said...

At least a dog only catches a car once.

NoMo said...

Might there be such a thing as collective borderline personality disorder?

Thanks, Bob. You just provided me with a new bumper sticker:

Conserve Reality!

julie said...


Mainly I'm thinking of the years I spent in college earning a liberal arts degree. Students of any intelligence openly acknowledged (at least in the first couple of years) that to earn a good grade in any class, it was necessary to learn what to say to please the instructor - in other words, to bullshit effectively. Students of lesser intelligence tended to actually believe the bullshit.

For the most part, I do agree that there's a collective scotoma. However, for anyone to rise through the ranks to become somebody of importance in Leftist politics, I think for the most part they must, of necessity, be deeply cynical, and yes, bald-faced liars.

It takes both kinds to keep the machine going; also, in all likelihood the two are not mutually exclusive.

EbonyRaptor said...

Julie, I hope I didn't come across as confrontational. Let me tell you a little secret, if you haven't guessed it by now, I can be more opinionated than my breadth of knowledge should allow me. As my kismet cousin Forrest once said "I'm not a smart man".

I think you're correct - there are some of both.

julie said...

No worries, ER - I didn't think you were being confrontational at all. For my part, I'm usually trying to figure out what I think as I'm commenting here :)

Leslie said...

I just had this conversation with a friend. I was despairing. Using logic with a liberal, only brings out blank stares and personal attacks. The ease with which they lie boggles my mind...

ge said...

That Abyss runs deep! Seems some topics are now verboten w/ [former?]
friends and family who can each see the other as completely
brainwashed---stupid---&/or evil
w/ no hope of agreement or empathy.

Gagdad Bob said...

From The Mystery of Individuality, about which I am ambivalent, but I like this:

"... we are presented in Zen with the image of the master having the disciple dab a point with the paint brush, representing his individual possibility, then of painting a circle around this..."

This "indicates that the point can radiate out to include the whole universe for, in essence, we are not just an individual dot, but, through the perfection of our circle, a compassionate part of the whole circle of creation."

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, the ease with which liberals lie is breathtaking. Here's a typical example from the LA Times, which suggests that the problem at the DNC over inclusion of God in the platform was that some observers weren't "certain they heard two-thirds of the delegates present say 'aye,'" as opposed to being quite certain that at least half the auditorium booed lustily.

julie said...

Bob @ 2:55, I had been meaning to ask how the new Perry book was. That's a lovely visualization.

ge- true; at the same time, with regard to family it is sometimes the very presence of empathy which causes such topics - and the rifts they create - to be verboten.

Gagdad Bob said...

Same problem as his previous book: spiritual gems in a an extreme paleo-conservative framework devoid of practicality, humor, or appreciation for the blessings of modernity. Also his prose has some of the words of Schuon but none of the music. Even so, the good outweighs the bad...

Jack said...

I live in an area that is something like 70% Democrat (the other 30% are staunch, rock-ribbed anarcho-syndicalists). Which means that any direct conversation based explicitly in logic, evidence and conservative first principles, is largely impossible.

The moment a leftist thinks you are a conservative they shut down and get into defensive mode. By "defensive mode" I mean they go completely on the offensive. They will pretty much say anything at that point in order to "defeat" you. Under the assumption, I suppose, that irrationality is the best way to defend their obviously superior views.

I am sure this is not an uncommon experience to the readers of this blog when dealing with our kind, rainbow brothers and sisters on the left.

Instead I attempt to discuss the very same conservative ideas in a more indirect manner. My attempt--to the best of my limited ability--is to take a more or less "Socratic" approach i.e. by asking questions; creating agreement where I can; gently pointing out logical conundrums; lulling them into overconfidence, etc.

I can remain largely undetected by taking a general stance of bemused skepticism--think Columbo here-- towards their more typically inane leftist views. Ideally, my intention is help the leftist to tie *themselves* up in knots.

Above all else, I know I always must remain calm. Not always easy in the face of their frequently incoherent statements and bewildering distortions of fact. Yet, the rule of thumb is that a defensive leftist is a crazed leftist. Or, um, well...a MORE crazed leftist.

If I can achieve some small crack in their seemingly impenetrable wall of unthinking orthodoxy--some measure of doubt in their own progressive litany of indubitable falsehoods, then I will consider the conversation successful. Once achieved I will quit while I am less behind.

Of course, I'd much rather speak forthrightly and without any seeming subterfuge. Yet because I am completely surrounded here in leftist land--mind you, I am literally (I mean that in the non-Biden sense of the word) the only conservative I know--I am somewhat forced to find other ways to make conservative points without blowing my cover.

For what it's worth.

Gagdad Bob said...

Jack: I like your approach -- it's similar to Dennis Prager's -- but in the end, I think liberalism is something one can only awaken from and not be argued out of. That's how it worked for me...

Gagdad Bob said...

I was reading somewhere recently that conversion is the critical thing for humans, and I agree. To become liberal is to convert to a dysfunctional ideology that is more or less demonic. It is a kind of perverse image of genuine conversion. It helps explain the crazed intensity of the converted. I mean, imagine trying to have a rational discussion with Chris Matthews, or Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or Joe Biden, or Rachel Maddow, or Paul Krugman, ad nauseam.

Jack said...

but in the end, I think liberalism is something one can only awaken from and not be argued out of. That's how it worked for me

I agree wholeheartedly. My experience as well.

For me it was in seeing the insane leftist response to George W. that woke me up to the madness swirling all around me. I knew something had gone *very* wrong. To say the least.

Though, once I was ready, the logical arguments--including those made here at OC--were what brought my mind over the tipping point and slowly back towards sanity.

Jack said...

I mean, imagine trying to have a rational discussion with Chris Matthews, or Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or Joe Biden, or Rachel Maddow, or Paul Krugman, ad nauseam.

Where I live, this list pretty much exhausts what anybody considers legitimate (Chomsky too, of course). They get their all information from the Maddow/Matthews/Krugman matrix. There is no alternative. Well, except for those--not a tiny minority--that find MSNBC to be too conservative and reactionary.

I actually had one fellow tell me that the New York Times AND Barack Obama were conservative. I wish I were kidding.

So basically, it is like attempting rational discussion with, say, Nancy Pelosi, albeit in a more junior, though equally distorted form.

Maybe a move to Texas is in order...

julie said...

Jack, I think that's part of the trouble - people have to first see the insanity, then realize that that's not just the lunatic fringe of leftism, it's pretty much the norm. And of course, if they're getting their news from the lamestream media, that's a truth that is carefully hidden.

Thus, otherwise intelligent people will happily proclaim, "Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!" without ever questioning the meaning behind those words. Obama is responsible for both, as far as they know; they heard it on the news. Huzzah!

You just can't argue with that; either they see what is wrong with the statement and its implications or they think it's a perfect argument for four more years. And if the latter, only a genuine conversion is likely to change their minds.

Gagdad Bob said...

Think of how monstrous it is for these psychos to routinely accuse us of racism, with no evidence whatsoever. Pure demon projection. Not only does it vilify innocent people, but it trivializes the enormity of racism.

It's hard to think of too many liberals of my acquaintance in whom one isn't aware of a darkness inside. Speaking for myself, I definitely imported that darkness, because it's part of the conversion process: instead of turning toward the light, one either rebels against the light or embraces darkness. I think the latter is worse. Fortunately, I never went there.

I'm able to talk about these things quite openly with my seven-year old, since he's still slightly closer to heaven than earth. I've asked him to tell me if and when he starts to be aware of the darkness, and to especially let me know if he feels it making a home inside, because that's how the conversion gets underway.

Then I'll have to pull out my Raccoon Guide to Do-it-Yourself Exorcism, by Toots Mondello's brother in law, Alf.

It's all about the Light, isn't it?

Jack said...

It's all about the Light, isn't it?

Amen to that. Why is that some see it (or glimpse it) and others don't?

When I look at my life, I still shudder at how much I actually did go over to the dark side. Honestly, it baffles me just exactly how I got myself turned back around to the Light.

As Blake had it, "the fool who persists in his folly, would become wise". Or if not wise, at least a not quite so deluded.

Still, it seems more likely that the fool who persists in his folly is a registered Democrat. Overcoming folly requires something else entirely than mere persistence in it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Our pneumographies converge. Thinking back on it, even when I wasn't drawn to the light, something in me was always repelled by the dark. Probably what saved me.

Jack said...

[O]nly a genuine conversion is likely to change their minds.


I agree. It's getting to that point of conversion that seems to me to be the real mystery.

Certainly, the fact that the left has control of education, the media, Hollywood and the artworld can go a long way to explaining why it can be so hard to see the obvious.

I spent the bulk of my life trying to follow the prescriptions for the "good life" laid out by the good people listed above. The more it didn't work--in short the more miserable I became--the more intensely I tried to *force* it to work. Basically, I doubled down on the madness. Eventually it dawned on me that the so-called cure WAS the disease.

There has got to be a better way to convert to the Light than that?

julie said...

Thinking back on it, even when I wasn't drawn to the light, something in me was always repelled by the dark. Probably what saved me.

Yes, I can relate to that as well.

Jack, re. doubling down on the madness, I wonder if for some (if not most people), it isn't necessary to first get lost in the dark, in order to find our way to the True light?

julie said...

Incidentally, speaking of conversion and true believers, it occurs to me that if Romney does win in November the shrieking we heard during the Bush years may well pale in comparison to what will follow...

Gagdad Bob said...

Linda Blair + holy water shrieking.

Van Harvey said...

Enjoying the coonversation.

Julie, yes, I think that feep darkness is often whats needed-thats when you see the points of light- but the greyness of dusk... thats when its " making a home inside“, it takes sharp eyes, or a trusty guide, to see the shadows, or the light.

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of liberal darkness, it doesn't get darker than this: pedophilia is the new gay.

Liberalism + gravity. Only a matter of time before it hits bottom.

Gagdad Bob said...

I have a deeply liberal cousin by marriage who was outraged a few years back at the prospect of California passing a law that requires sex offenders to register with the state, so you can find out if you have any perverts in your neighborhood. Oddly enough -- or maybe not -- she herself was molested as a child.

She's due to give birth to her first child in a couple of months. It will be interesting to see if this changes her perspective. If it doesn't, I feel sorry for the kid.

julie said...

Along those lines, there's also this: How To Tell Your Parents You're a Prostitute

In which we learn that leftist reactionary parents are shocked and horrified to discover their daughter has followed their teachings to their logical conclusions. Oops.

Magnus Itland said...

Speaking of feeling sorry for the kids: If the state is not to provide free contraception to liberals, then I hope at least there are charities that do. Although they would have to be named very, very carefully.

Cond0011 said...


Wow. A couple liberal New England Puritan types who wandered outside the Pale and was faced with the fruits of their liberal-enlightenment. The 'circle of life' is definately broken within this family. Unless there is a sharp turn towards proven successful lifestyles, Good luck with them perpetuating their family, let alone society, as their family is really a microcosm of the society they reside within.

Furthermore, his young lady needs to be immersed in Microbiology (and Anthropology And Sociology and...) in the same way that compulsive Gamblers need to be immersed in Microbiology.

Looks like we have a new poster child for the "Parenting Fail Blog":

Whats sad is that the young lady thinks its still a 'Healthy Lifestyle'. So much for Western Civilization.

Cond0011 said...

"in the same way that compulsive Gamblers need to be immersed in Microbiology."


Compulsive-Gamblers need to be immersed in Statistics.


Joan of Argghh! said...

You will have noticed that it is always the burden of the sane one to adapt to the less-than-sane, because the latter cannot adapt to the former.

Indeed. It's why Christ had to become a man. Because we couldn't adapt to Heaven, Heaven came to Earth.

julie said...

Off topic,
the apocalypse looms...

ge said...

President Romney, not 4 more of

ge said...

Their only hope= Massive voter fraud

Thursday night in Charlotte, Barack Obama doubled down on his liberalism, articulating the case for big government, greater regulation, and more spending (which he calls "investing"). He defined a choice that is starkly ideological, courageously embracing the left. We have not seen such positioning since the days of Mike Dukakis and Walter Mondale. And with good reason: the American people are conservative.

Asked in a recent poll, "would you rather that government get out of your way or lend you a hand?" Americans voted 54% to 35% for the government to get out of the way. It was odd to watch a president commit political suicide by so brazen and overt an embrace of the 35% and a repudiation of the 54%.

While eloquent as he accepted his party's nomination, Obama failed to go after Mitt Romney in his speech and throughout the whole Democratic convention. "The folks in Tampa," "the Republican establishment" and "the conservative Congress" all came in for a thrashing. Mitt Romney was not on the list in both Clinton and Obama's speeches. In fact, his name was hardly mentioned -- an odd occurrence in view of the over $100 million Obama has spent on ads attacking Romney.

Overall, tonight left America with the impression that Obama saved GM, killed Bin Laden, and passed ObamaCare (which most of us don't like). What a thin, thin record on which to base a plea for reelection.

The result of these two conventions is a decided advantage for Romney.

-Dick Morris

phil g said...

What's so special about condoms?

'Free' sex is at the root of the lefts rebellion against humanity and civilization. The perversion of sex as primarily an act of procreative love and promotion of a loveless, relationshipless sex has been profoundly destructive to the institution of marriage, family, and relationships between the sexes. It has probably been the most successful tool for destroying the family which is the ultimate objective of a totalitarian philosophy.

ge said...

Hmmmmm, Evil NYT headline this morn:
Legal Battles Over Voting May Be Critical in Election

With federal and state courts handing down decisions on ballot casting and counting, the election may hinge partly on last-minute legal battles.