Monday, July 11, 2016

Is Liberalism Preventable?

What with leftism ending in what leftism always ends in — hatred, division, poverty, oppression, political violence, etc. — I was wondering over the weekend if there is any surefire way to prevent it. No, not via some form of censorship or reverse-indoctrination, but rather, to make sure it never plants its tentacles and takes hold of the soul to begin with.

I use the word “soul” advisedly, because I am convinced that leftism is first and foremost a spiritual disorder. Yes, leftism is irrational, but it’s more than that; it is anti-rational. Being that the mind is composed of reason and made for the purpose of exercising it, it takes great effort to subvert the natural process of seeking and loving truth.

Yes, leftism is fraught with daddy issues. Indeed, Black Lives Matter is unimaginable without these subspiritual and more banal psychological influences. If black lives mattered to their fathers, there would be no need to project the resultant abandonment and resentment onto white people, or police, or “structural racism.” But urban black children by and large don’t matter to their fathers, with predictable psycho-political consequences, i.e., various forms of acting out.

But here again, it takes real effort to not see the connection. This is what I mean by its being a spiritual disorder, in that there is a prior attack on truth before the mind even sets itself to the task of thinking.

In the past I have written about Bion’s concept of “attacks on linking.” Knowing an abstract truth requires a linkage of various ideas, concepts, and preconceptual archetypes and categories. If the mind can pre-emptively dismantle the supporting links that lead to a truth, this will be much more effective than having to deny each unwanted truth on an ad hoc basis. Cognitively speaking, it is the difference between a handgun and a nuclear bomb.

It takes great mental effort to believe the lies upon which Black Lives Matter is based. Or does it? Like Obama, its devotees certainly don’t appear to exercise much in the way of mental effort, so there must be something that makes it “easy” for them to arrive at such absurd and unsupported conclusions.

You might say that Satan’s yoke is easy but that his words endarken.

But how do minds become so easily yoked in this fashion? And is there any way to inoculate a person against such motivated stupidity? Satan never compels; rather, he only tempts and seduces. What is it about leftism that makes something so fundamentally ugly appear so attractive? Consider the fact that in one generation we have gone from “winning” the cold war to nearly nominating a socialist, mostly thanks to the young and stupid.

But are they only young and stupid? That can only account for so much. I think about my 11 year old, for example. He is already a bleeding-brain conservative, and I don’t foresee any possibility that he will be seduced by leftism as he gets older. You know the old gag, that if you're not a liberal when you're 25 you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative by the time you're 35 you have no brain. However, in my son’s case, it is precisely because he has such a big heart that he could never embrace leftism.

For example, his heart informs him that good and evil are objective realities, that there is a vital difference between them, and that life is an unending struggle between the two. Likewise, he knows that truth exists and that the purpose of the mind is to know it.

You’d think everyone would know these things, which again only goes to the left's success at inverting the psyche before it even begins to think. It is analogous to a fighting force that softens the battlefield via airpower before sending in the troops. I would say that public education — supplemented by the media and culture in general — softens the battlefield of the mind until the university troops go in and finish the job. Then the mind becomes occupied territory, usually for the remainder of one’s life.

Why else would Bernie Sanders want “free college” for everyone?

Here is a typical piece plucked from somewhere this morning, Universities’ War Against Truth. Just think about the perversity of that title! We all know it’s happening, as is the “artistic war on beauty” and the “ethical war on morality.” Again, this is why I am forced to conclude that a hostile spiritual power is at work, because how do you explain how an institution designed for the very purpose of pursuing and exalting truth has become precisely the opposite? Give the Evil One credit. That is an amazing accomplishment.

"Young people today are very reluctant to assume that anything is certain…” But why, and how? How can one not know that there are certain absolute truths without which thinking isn’t even possible?

"Whence came this ubiquitous hesitation? As I understand the matter, it has much to do with the new ideology of non-discrimination. Modern education aims to be ‘inclusive’, and that means not sounding too certain about anything in case you make people who don’t share your beliefs feel uncomfortable.”

Of course, this fails to convey the obnoxiousness with which the bogus conviction of having no convictions is held. Thus,

"Speaking or thinking in the wrong way does not mean disagreeing with the beliefs of the students — for they have no beliefs. It means thinking as though there really is something to think — as though there really is a truth that we are trying to reach, and that it is right, having reached it, to speak with certainty. What we might have taken to be open-mindedness turns out to be no-mindedness: the absence of beliefs, and a negative reaction to all those who have them.”

To paraphrase Chesterton, there is one thought that should be declared off limits, and that is the thought that stops thinking. For the left, the Forbidden Thought isn’t a bug but a feature. It is their foundation, their self-evident truth.

Last week I read a relevant comment at Happy Acres, that “To find out what is destroying your culture, discover which ideas are considered beyond criticism.”

That is the real purpose of the regime of political correctness: it is all about forbidding the very thoughts that facilitate thinking about -- and conforming ourselves to -- transcendent reality.


Van Harvey said...

"For the left, the Forbidden Thought isn’t a bug but a feature. It is their foundation, their self-evident truth."

It hinges on the intimation of 'that is so noble' that having the gall to question it, to be so coarse as to not accept it without question, is to express affection for all that is bad, crude, mean and nasty in the world.

That's the pro-regressive evangelist's 'good news' - if you don't question it, it remains 'good', and so do you.

Gagdad Bob said...

"America’s modern race-obsessed progressive media exhibits symptoms of brainwashing that are so severe, they make North Korea look positively libertarian."

ted said...

I recall reading somewhere that consciousness is both cognitive and functional when properly integrated: being aware of reality (cognition) and becoming a guide to acting in that reality (functional). The left doesn't bother with the former and only engages with the later. Then they say they "raising consciousness," when all they are doing is raising the part wants to act (according to their incoherent values) without being aware of reality.

Gagdad Bob said...

Talking about racism is racist!

Read that abstract and tell me they aren't spiritually deranged.

Gagdad Bob said...

Blacks can't be racist.

So Obama's right: we may never know what motivated Micah Johnson.

Gagdad Bob said...

Indoctrination. You will be made to care, and on their terms.

You may not be interested in leftism, but leftism is interested in you.

maineman said...

I still like the Girard/Bailie take on what we're dealing with: empathy for the victim, initiated by Christianity but now run amok in a secular world that no longer has the supportive, prosocial structure of Christianity to keep it from lapsing into scapegoating and human sacrifice. David Warren wrote in a similar thesis last week, portraying the politicization of ritual as having produced a sacralization of violence, which would make the shootings in Dallas a kind of liturgical event.

But isn't your question, Bob, about whether The Fall, of which all this is yet another replication, could have been prevented? Evidently not. Or at least God had to know where this was headed and have a jolly good reason for it. One possibility: As I look around, it seems to me that we're all being asked to choose and that it may be sheep and goats from here on out.

(Aside to Julie: First, heartfelt congratulations. I remember when your family was still a dream in the making. We were married again, too, in 2010, with our children and incipient first grandchild there. I was in the choir, so they sang Tallis' If Ye Love Me for us. One of the best moments of my life. Second: what church? Am I to understand you're all Catlicks now?)

Van Harvey said...

For the left, there is no free (internal, chosen, self-initiated) will, only externally driven actions and appreciations. If you are questioning or otherwise failing to appreciate any expertly approved position, enthusiasm, awareness, etc., then obviously you are somehow been inadvertently closed off to what have been determined to be correct feelings, rendering you in some way defective and potentially dangerous to the polity of the correct. Sadly your neural unit is in need of correction, and they will see to it that you receive your upgrade.

Or as Rousseau said, the Legislator must force you to be free.

Gagdad Bob said...


Good point about Girard. Whenever Christianity is renounced by the implicitly Christianized, there is a reversion to sacralized violence and human sacrifice.

About the Fall -- it affects more the will than the intellect. Which is why, even when we know the truth, we may have difficulty conforming ourselves to it.

horatio said...

Great blog and podcasts from an Orthodox perspective.

maineman said...

Re. the fall and the will, that makes sense given that most of the rebellion and lawlessness that we see down here seems to have to do with sex, either explicitly or sadistically.

By the way, I'm finding it harder and harder to prove that I'm not a robot.

Gagdad Bob said...

I wonder if I can disable that feature.

Magister said...

wonderful post

speaking of human sacrifice, can someone please explain this video to me?

I try hard to watch it and think "oh, pfft, illuminati conspiracy theory wackjob"

but watch that and tell me that doesn't make your eyebrows knit together in complete consternation

what in the hell?

Van Harvey said...

um... wth?

mushroom said...

... he only tempts and seduces.

That's why it requires so little mental effort by the left. How much does a guy have to "think" about a hot woman? Satan is aligned with the flesh and the world in an unholy trinity. All he has to do is give the fallen a rhetorical excuse for making asses of themselves then get out of the way.

mushroom said...

That's makes no sense.

mushroom said...

By the way, I'm finding it harder and harder to prove that I'm not a robot.

Which is exactly what a robot would say.

Van Harvey said...

The Daily Mail tries manfully to put a 'just a weird nod to local traditional folk lore' spin on it,

But... a youtuber gives a more, uhm, credible play by play commentary to it, as a deliberate mockery of Christianity, and perhaps worse,

But no matter what, that crap spells Brexit!

Gagdad Bob said...

Now this is some bad writing:

"The truth is we are as much sinew as we are symbol. Our whiteness is our skin color, but it’s also a torn sheet draping the dead, a flag of privilege that will not surrender, a town called separateness. Our whiteness is that poisonous sky right before it rains, the color of shame."

As truth and beauty converge, I suppose lies and ugliness must also.

Cousin Dupree said...

I don't get it. What's wrong with rain? It isn't caused by poisonous skies, nor do rainclouds have any reason to be ashamed of themselves.

julie said...

So much crazy in the world today.

(Maineman, thank you! We are indeed catlicks now. It sounds like your ceremony was lovely!)

William Wildblood said...

Great post, and I wonder if you put your finger on it when you said that leftism is fraught with daddy issues. Could it all be founded on resentment of the authority of the father, both spiritual and temporal? It's certainly rooted in anger and resentment of some sort, and I think the image of the father is usually something that all leftists are frightened of and consequently attack relentlessly while at the same time knowing, on some level, that they depend entirely on it.

Magister said...

"the color of shame"

I thought that was a sort of pinkish, blush-like rose color, but I only have physical evidence to go on.

Ah, Ensler. She wrote "The Vagina Monologues." Come to think of it, there's a title that captures a lot of what is wrong with Ensler and her ilk.

Gagdad Bob said...

I miss the days when people only talked through their hats and not vaginas.

Magister said...

"If the mind can pre-emptively dismantle the supporting links that lead to a truth, this will be much more effective than having to deny each unwanted truth on an ad hoc basis."

I believe that preemptive dismantling is achieved by indoctrinating the emotions first. Orwell's Two Minute Hate. This weakens a person's defenses against surges of the fight/flight response. Example: HappyAcres links to a Yale cafeteria worker's explanation of why he destroyed an antique stained-glass window:

“'It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that,' he said"

Not much horsepower in that brain, is there? He feels disgust, he has a "thought," and therefore he takes a broom handle to things. I've read that he then went to the bathroom to shave himself before authorities came to arrest him, which they did. Yale, witless and craven to the end, will not press charges for vandalism. The vandal will walk.

In order to engage in a process we called "thinking," a person must not be in a combat situation. The goal of the Left is to turn everyday life into a combat ("political") situation, because only in this condition can people act thoughtlessly on the basis of politically-correct emotions.

The Enlightenment is officially over -- especially at Yale University.

julie said...

Is today the day for Mrs. G? We'll be praying that everything goes well.

Van Harvey said...

There's first the posturing - striking the bold and defiant pose against [insert cause here]. That engages the emotions, and as the pose was adopted via pride, not reflection, the attempts at 'linking' bounce off. There is no depth of thought for them to link into, no actual consideration (as that would involve choice and evaluation which are ultimately treason to the cause), only positions and emotions, with only pride to defend them through the only means it has ever had available, attack.

Pride goeth before the fall.