Leftists aren't Evil -- Only Demon Possessed
Anyone can see that the left has been behaving in an "insane" manner since last November 8, but there is something going on that transcends mere psychological categories. Indeed, whatever it is, it has also managed to appropriate the psychological categories as part of its strategy. Now, that's thinking ahead! Truly, the lunatics are running the asylum. I don't think most of these people are evil. But their minds have been highjacked by darkness. They are frankly possessed. But by what or who?
As it so happens, I recently read Jousting with the Devil: Chesterton's Battle with the Father of Lies. Perhaps he can help us understand what is going on here. The following exchange is from an interview in 1910:
"In your book just published you tell us 'what is wrong with the world.' As I haven't read the book yet, would you mind telling me what is wrong?"
However, Chesterton was a happy spiritual warrior: "The finding and fighting of evil is the beginning of fun -- and even of farce."
It's certainly the latter, in that the left is beyond parody. In the book's introduction, Dale Ahlquist writes that "Satan is real. That's the first thing. The second thing should be obvious: Satan is horrible. But the third thing may not be obvious: Satan is also ridiculous. But he is the only ridiculous thing that must be taken seriously."
A ridiculous thing that nevertheless must be taken seriously. That is a very useful characterization, isn't it? So much about the left is so ridiculous that one is tempted to dismiss it as impotent self-beclowining. But it doesn't work that way: no matter how ridiculous the left becomes, it only seems to gain in power and influence.
It goes without saying that the left is utterly blind to its own ridiculousness. Something intrinsic to the process prevents irony, self-awareness, and rudimentary intellectual consistency. It is what makes a Meryl Streep denounce "brownshirts," even while liberal fascist brownshirts are violently preventing Milo from speaking at Berkeley.
Evil is something specifically human, which tempts one to imagine that it originates in humans. In other words, there is obviously no evil in the physical world, nor in the biological world. It only emerges with humanness, so it is easy to think that humans are the source.
Well, sometimes they are. But again, sometimes the evil goes so far beyond what can be explained by psychological categories, that any attempt to deploy them for that purpose is reduced to banality.
You could say, for example, that Hitler was mistreated by his father. Well, okay. So was Churchill mistreated by his father. What's your point?
It more useful to see that Satan exploits psychic weaknesses in order to invade the personality. There is a crack at the foundation -- or at the periphery, in lesser cases of evil -- which is where the demonic energies enter.
I heard Fr. Robert Barron use the analogy of a deep cut to the hand that one ignores. Over time the open wound becomes infected, and the infection can eventually spread to the whole body. So, watch closely over your own cracks, for those are precisely the soft targets that will be probed and exploited by the adversary.
It is very much as if we have a psycho-pneumatic autoimmune system that functions more or less effectively. But some people have the moral-intellectual equivalent of AIDS, such that they have no defenses at all. It is hardly surprising that leftism so disproportionately infects the young and stupid. Remember it is an invasion and rebellion, so it can also ride piggyback on youthful rebelliousness in order to gain entry.
Evil "has no independence or positive existence but always remains parasitic, deriving its life negatively by living off its host." This reminds me of something Schuon says in writing of the "'descending,' 'darkening,' 'compressive,' and at the same time 'dissipating' and 'dissolving' tendency, which on contact with the human person becomes personified as Satan."
So the force is descending and endarkening; and either diffuse or compressed and concentrated. Have you ever seen Watter's World? So often the people with whom he converses have minds that are ridiculously dissipated by evil. They simply make no sense at all, but are nevertheless tools -- and victims -- of the more concentrated evil. Indeed, this pretty much describes the process of a liberal education: hardened evil deployed to soften young and impressionable minds. Marx is hard. His youthful idiots are gelatinous.
Satan is also "a gentleman who promises good things and doesn't keep his word." Could this be why the left always promises the impossible? This is rooted in two fundamental impossibilities, 1) that there is some sort of cure for human nature, and 2) that man can cure himself. That is the recipe for hell, precisely.
Along these lines, Wild writes that "The heart of my thesis... is that the main work of the devil is to insinuate deficient ideas and false ideologies."
Looking at Genesis, we see that "a superiority complex was the beginning of all evil," i.e., the pretension of man displacing God. And the left is specifically and unapologetically in the business of inculcating "pride" and "self-esteem," which is to say, pathological narcissism and unearned respect. Look at how our professional child abusers are reacting to Betsy DeVos!
We alluded to the Devil's ridiculousness above. He is also "stupid as well as devious." This must ultimately be because he rejects truth. It reminds me of criminals, who may be vicious but are also stupid, with lower than average IQs. And the left is of course the pro-criminal party, whether it is protecting alien felons or fomenting violence against the police.
For Chesterton, "the only thing I will say with complete confidence" about evil "is that it tells lies.... whatever they are, they are not truths... about this world."
In fairness to the left, they clearly believe we are evil, and they have no compunction about saying so. Their rhetoric is always cranked up to 11, such that Trump is Hitler and we are his Storm Troopers. But how did we get so evil? In other contexts, the left will insist that there is no such thing as objective morality, and that "good" and "evil" are just social conventions -- a diabolical opinion if ever there was one!
But just as we are enjoined to hate the sin and love the sinner, Chesterton notes that "The assertion that a man is possessed of a devil is the only way of avoiding the assertion that he is a devil." It's a more sophisticated ontology. So, I don't say that Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer are evil per se, rather, only demon possessed. They are the tools, not the master.