Thursday, January 05, 2006

End-Time Panic and The Liberal Ghost Dance

WELCOME, MY AMERICAN THINKER OVERLORDS! This is a pretty old post from not long after I started blogging, so feel free... no, feel obligated to check out some of my more recent efforts. Many people feel that my unusual writing style repays careful and thorough disregard, but I'm sure there are one or two of you who will disagree. After all, I don't mean to boast, but I have already been granted the extravagant honor of being named the Most Obnoxious Man In AmeriKKKa by the most obnoxious children in America. I hope they don't try to take it back when they find out about Lifson.


The great psychoanalytic anthropologist Weston LaBarre wrote extensively of "crisis cults," which involve non-rational belief systems that cultures develop when under severe stress and faced with breakdown. Similar to the neurotic individual, at the core of every crisis cult is a welcome but false "noble lie" which "is defended with the same religious fanaticism as neurosis." As he writes, "Crisis cults are notable for their foolishness and unreality, because they tend to deny and misapprehend the real situation surrounding the society. But they all promise relief from unendurable current catastrophe." In fact, as irrational as they may appear on the surface, the crisis cult is "the would-be therapy of the traumatized culture." It doesn't do anything in the real world, but it comforts those who cling to the beliefs of the crisis cult.

In his book The Ghost Dance, LaBarre describes dozens of crisis cults. In fact, the book takes its title from one of the most famous crisis cults, the Ghost Dance of the late 19th century, when American Indians were facing the complete dissolution of their way of life--loss of their hunting territories, near extinction of the once vast buffalo herds, a series of disastrous military defeats, multiple droughts, and new and fatal diseases. The Ghost Dance was a fantasied solution to all their problems, involving the widespread idea that "a new skin would slide over the old earth, covering up the whites and all their works, and bringing upon it new trees and plants, great buffalo herds, the ghosts of the dead, and the great departed warriors and chiefs." This utopia would come about if only each person in all the tribes danced the elaborate Ghost Dance.

Another famous example is the "cargo cult" of early 20th century New Guinea. There, the natives couldn't help but notice that they had to work very hard, while the white colonialists seemed to sit around a lot, and received great stores of goods simply by sending out little scraps of paper. They reasoned that this had something to do with the mysterious cargo ships that left with native products and returned loaded down with all of the machines and other items that seemed to make the white men so powerful. The New Guineans developed the idea that these powerful objects were fashioned by their ancestors in a far-off volcano and were actually meant for them. But in order to ensure receiving them, they would have to imitate the behaviors of the white men by "sitting solemnly and speechlessly around tables," waiting for their ship to come in, so to speak.

Yesterday I ninety percent half-seriously proposed a new category of personality disorder to account for the increasing nuttiness and desperation of progressive thought, which has of late become so detached from reality. But upon further reflection, perhaps we are dealing with a crisis cult. After all, progressives are having to cope with a catastrophic collapse of their world and all of its comforting myths. As each myth crumbles in succession, they become increasingly frantic in papering over reality with the downright strange beliefs of their progressive crisis cult.

Just as a neurosis is a personal culture, a culture--especially a subculture--is often a collective neurosis. I realized quite some time ago that it is not possible to respond to the content of a dailykos, since it is so histrionic and perpendicular to reality. As a psychologist, I assumed that the hysterical, paranoid, narcissistic, or antisocial content had to do with the personal issues of the writers, but there could be another way of looking at the florid material, that is, as a collective response to the ongoing crisis at the core of progressive thought. Instead of examining their assumptions, these progressives prescribe more of the same--only worse!--in a way that seems calculated to turn off and drive away the average moderate voter who has at least one foot in the real world.

A case in point is the public's reaction ot the NSA non-scandal. I'm sure the number would be even higher if the public were totally informed about it, but as it stands, almost two thirds agree with the President that it is a pretty good idea to monitor incoming international calls from suspected terrorists. And yet, the left is now openly discussing impeachment charges, as if this will magically resuscitate their sagging fortunes. It's a classic ghost dance.

Likewise, Air America is a sad ghost dance. The primitive progressives observed the big bwana, Rush Limbaugh, and noticed that he simply sat at a table speaking into a microphone and attracted millions of listeners. They would angrily do the same thing, and watch their ratings soar! But it was not to be. The ratings ship loaded down with goodies never arrived. Nevertheless, the Air America ghost dance will continue for as long as George Soros and his ilk fund it.

Here is a fine example of a raving ghost dance plucked from huffingtonpost, entitled A Time to Slay the Republican Medusa by James Boyce, a Kerry campaign operative. Boyce is like the natives who noticed the powerful white men ruling their lives. He asks the obvious question any primitive would ask: how did they fool everyone and become so powerful?

Easy. The "appeasement of Republican Evil has led our country to the precipice where we stand today." The decent and fair-minded Democrats are "hindered by their own beliefs in equality" and "hamstrung by their sense of fair play." As such, they just don't understand "the Medusa of Republican Evil unleashed by the election of the Puppet King, George W. Bush," which will continue to "pursue its frighteningly radical agenda in the face of good intentions."

Problem is, "Decent rational human beings have a tendency to falter in front of pure evil" such as Adolf Hitler or George Bush. "Those who themselves have no capacity for evil within, respectable decent men like Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid, lack the fundamental capacity to recognize and fight evil in others. We do not need to become evil to defeat it -- but we need to recognize its presence to slaughter it." (Er, I think he has the wrong guy in Lieberman, who clearly does recognize evil. Only in Islamofascists, not George Bush.)

Boyce continues his desperate diagnosis of a crumbling world: if progressives "show any sign of resistance, the Medusa will become increasingly horrific in its actions like a wounded cornered wild animal.... [as] their dreams of their utopian world are finished, they will fight with all the weapons they possibly can without any sense of decency or conscience." (You first year psychology students out there, what is the name of the defense mechanism Boyce is squeezing every last drop from here? That's right, projection.)

This is the progressive supernatural nightmare that is happening before our eyes! "Imagine living in a world where the sole purpose of the US military is to attack countries and spread democracy through war.... Imagine no Social Security for our elders or disabled. No protection for women's rights.... Imagine a crippling national debt -- solely created for the purpose of funding vast and enormous wealth for a few who use their considerable wealth to fund and feed the Medusa in a cruel cycle which continually concentrates the wealth of the nation.... Student loans? Gone. Global warming? Accelerated because the fuels that create it drive the economic engine. Torture? Slithering from the prisons of Iraq to a jail near you. Torturing Americans in the name of the War on Terror? It's a matter of time sadly, unless, of course it's already happening.... This is the core of the true agenda."

It gets worse! "The Medusa, when cornered and threatened, will lash out with increasing ferocity and terror before it is destroyed. John Kerry was a real threat to them, and when this was recognized, the true evil surfaced.... what's truly important to realize is that we are not yet engaged in a fight to the death with them -- but they are fully engaged in a fight to the death with us." Delaying for even a second "leaves the Republican Medusa emboldened and gives it the oxygen it needs to grow and become more powerful."

Islamofascist, er, I mean, Republican evil "feeds upon weakness. Evil lives for the chance to destroy those who hesitate. Evil grows bolder when an opponent or something standing in its way falters."

Okay! We get it! The ghost dance must begin! Now!

What do we do?!!! What are the specific dance steps to kill the Republican Medusa and regain our progressive mojo?!!!

"You kill a Medusa by cutting off its head. You need to be a warrior and get blood on your hands and guts on your shoes."

Yes, but how, dammit?

By supporting the far left online community!

"The online community has the proven ability to fight and defend candidates. We need to defend them.... The online community has the proven ability to raise money and support candidates. We need to support them. We need to spread the word one person at a time, and one million people online at a time."

Excellent! God's gift to Republicans is the perpetual online ghost dance at dailykos, huffingtonpost and hundreds of other primitive progressive websites. As long as they keep dancing, our blessedly evil Medusa lives another day. I am proud to have my own personal ghost lap-dancing troll, L.A. Larry. It means the message is getting out, and the Great Liberal Ghost Dance drags on for our endless amusement. (Umm, anybody know how much I'm supposed to tip for a personal ghost dance?)


Anonymous said...

are u a rush fan ?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who saw Medussa was turned to stone. Maybe that's it. When the leftoons saw the Republican Medussa, they went and got stoned.


Gagdad Bob said...

No, not a Rush Fan. Although I did play a Rickenbacker bass just like Geddy Lee. About the only progressive rock I like is King Crimson.

Anonymous said...

Can't get enough of Bob's great writings, like today's blog? If so, read his The Land That Developmental Time Forgot. I originally discovered it in The Journal of Psychohistory It was, and remains a great read. Just click on my name above, primal_john

Anonymous said...

Cannot believe that out of this well thought out, analytic post, anonymous zeroed in on Rush, like he was the main subject rather then an aside.

Guess he definately marches to a different drummer, even if the band plays on!

Anonymous said...

Somehow your review of Boyce's column reminds me of an old yarn in which one person observes another searching for something beneath a streetlight. On inquiring about the man's search, he learns that the man lost an object farther down the street, but is searching here because the light was better.

If the true evil is the Republican Party, with the Islamists being merely another third-world grievance group oppressed by decadent Western culture and capitalism, then the far left has a chance to win this fight and save themselves -- just throw Bush out of office and get on with making amends to the world through progressive policies. And, their worldview is reaffirmed.

If, on the other hand, the Islamists represent an aggressive and totalitarian force unto themselves, acting not out of righteous anger at the West but from a cultural imperative to dominate, the leftist icon of the white man as the world's sole oppressor collapses, AND they are left facing an enemy they are firmly convinced they have no chance of defeating. Actions taken based on this worldview would be (in their opinion) doomed anyway.

I suspect at least part of the "far left" may be "searching where the light is better" because they feel they have NO chance of success if they search in the dark.

Gagdad Bob said...

Agreed. I'd go so far as to say that we are engaged in a war for the future of the world between Islamist values, American values, and European values (including the American left). Two out of three are crisis cults. The third will emerge victorious.

Anonymous said...


You have pointed out a classic tool of the left (and most of us at some time) to shift focus, and avoid adressing the issue..

I was once in a very long email debate with a lefty, and at one point I sent him a rather lengthy quote from Stephen Moore (former pres of Club for Growth), along with my own commentary.

The response I got back was "Who the hell is Stephen Moore?"

Not one comment on what he actually said, but dismissal based on his own ignorance.

Anonymous said...

This blog is terrific. I love your writing. Great sense of humor and insight. Commenter Matt seems pretty damned sharp too. That "searching under the streetlight" cracks me up. So now I'm going to bookmark this site. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


feel free to take a look at my blog where i regularly deconstruct mr moore's distortions. No point doing it here where facts and numbers are disdained and faith prevails

and unlike here disputations with evidence are warmly welcomed

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think the concept of a crisis cult is a winner, a refinement of the observations we in the psychology booth of the right-blogosphere have been making about the delusional thought coming off the left. Seeing it as a collective response rather than an entirely personal pathology is important. We know these people, and they are often otherwise judicious and sane. Paranoid schizophrenics (which is often a late-onset illness) frequently show compartmentalized delusions, with other parts of their personality left intact. But while the symptom of paranoia is often present on the left, schizophrenia seemed an inapposite description of what was happening.

The same developmental features are in play. The personality devlops reasonably normally and people cope nicely with many of the difficulties and changes that happen to them. But something happens to perception that is so compelling that it overrules the otherwise rational mind. That description came close, but failed to capture what was happening in leftist minds, to my observing eye.

But this similar and related hypothesis is a leap forward in our understanding. These are people who have jobs, families, and gardens, who have matured appropriately up to at least late adolescence, and then are struck down by this collective madness.

I'm not suggesting we abandon the Personality Disorder idea, but this explanation holds real possibilities. I'll spread the word through my blogroll -- which is unfortunately, probably not so different from yours.

Anonymous said...

One doesn't normally tip a lap-dancer, said having already extracted an exorbitant sum, in advance usually, for a brief amusement. A tip is indicated only for extraordinary performance. In this case, only YOU are able to judge.

Anonymous said...

I hit the comment section to applaud you for the best explanation/diagnosis of the Left's behavior.

Assistant village idiot expressed better than I would have my reasons for considering this an ultimate.

Crisis Cult does easily include all from the everyday
sane to those only a few steps shy of the funny farm.

It answers that bewilderment
we feel when perfectly normal people who seem rational and logical in their daily lives - turn into blithering idiots.

I am sure if I can just visualize the Death Dancing Indians or the Sitting and Waiting Natives the next time I am confronted with the Lefty behaviors, I will be able to just smile and keep my blood pressure within safe bounds.

I thank you for painting such vivid word pictures for me.

As Henry Higgins said "I think you've got it!"

Anonymous said...

Murtha does GHOST DANCE:

"Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has come to national prominence since his call for a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, said Thursday night that he worries about "a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory."

Byron York covers an event where Rep. Murtha opens his trap again in front of a group of the antiwar elite.

The Left's use of Orwellian "DOUBLESPEAK" has so permeated their
minds - they do not have any idea what they are saying.
Guess in their playbooks "the goal of a WAR is DEFEAT".
No complaints here - as "the goal of ELECTIONS is DEFEAT" must
be in there too!

Steve Burri said...

Y'all are just too complex. Back in the holler, the 'Ghost Dance' is what BillyBob does when he farts and tries to obscure his culpability. Everyone else knows what he did, but he still thinks he's foolin' us. Y'all need a little persimmonony. Plain talk, easy understood.

Since the Leftists have changed the Party so much, it has been proposed that the name be changed to The Euhirudinea Dipteric Party. (You hear a Dean, eee yaaa!) Euhirudinea is the family name for leeches, and Diptera is the family name that includes flies, maggots, and mosquitos. The new party symbol would become the maggot infested bloated corpse of a donkey.

American rustic.

Anonymous said...

Amazing irony: "Those who themselves have no capacity for evil within, respectable decent men like Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid, lack the fundamental capacity to recognize and fight evil in others."

If we take this at its face value and 100% true, it would be nothing less than an admission that the Democratic Party is fundamentally unable to conduct the war against Islamic extremists, or in fact, any other threat, ever.

Karridine said...

Jumped in from Baron's "Gates of Vienna"... GLAD I did!

The "Spirit Dances" of the Plains Indians of North America DID upset the whites of that day, 1870-1880's...

The Medicine Men were saying, "The True-Pure Brother is HERE, on Earth..." and the whites of that day didn't know about Baha'u'llah, so they wrote it off as ignorant savage hooey...

Anonymous said...

The earliest observation that the modern world's self-assumed "intelligentsia" was going insane that I have read was in G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy (a brilliant work by a enormously-gifted writer -- highly recommended). The paranoid delusional is highly rational--just in a very small way. Similarly, progressives and their fellow travelers have a very constricted world view. Having abandoned God, they work with a faulty set of first principles. We are seeing their faulty reasoning carried to extreme conclusions as they fight to preserve their world view. Sadly, as the fascists march them off to death, the progressives will remain convinced that it is a plot by evil conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm comming seriously late to this particular party, but Matt made an offhand comment to the effect that the left sees whites as the world's sole opressors.

Now they are confronted with pure evil, and it ain't white men that are perpetrating it, in fact these people have been perputrating their evil for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Not just flying planes into buildings, but stoning women for being raped. Torturing people as a matter of course, forcing a particular religeon on everyone.

Notice how quiet the left gets when you point these things out. I've never heard one yet who didn't change the subject. Perhaps this is a part of the problem

Anonymous said...

Your post is wonderfully enlightening and leavened with a sly and wicked wit. I have bookmarked your site and expect to come often for more razor-sharp insights.

I have generally consdered the lunatic fringe of the far-left as suffering from a variant of "Bunker Mentality". Because their ideology has lost so much ground in the mainstream of American Politics, they have been pushed right off the political playing field and now are forced to hunker in reinforced redoubts (Like academia). As one might imagine, when you are forced into the bunker, there is no room for anybody but true believers. This is why Kos and his ilk are attacking their own, expelling Lieberman and other moderates in a suicidal purge for ideological purity.

The only question left is - when does the cherry kool-aid come out and who will serve it?