No, it's the biggest: how a man ought to be.
As always, it's a little difficult to locate the thread after having let it go for a couple of days. Oh, there it is: instead of being wise as serpents and innocent as doves, the left recommends being cynical as a psychopath and credulous as a child.
This credo has always guided the left, but is especially vivid these days due to Trump Derangement. It is the difference between neurotic and borderline personality structure.
I don't like to get pedantic this early in the morning, but broadly speaking, there are four main categories of adult patients, and you generally know within seconds which one you're dealing with. First there are people with organic problems ranging from dementia to closed head injuries to hormonal disorders. They don't have any psycho-political relevance.
Speaking of which -- it's all coming back to me now -- yesterday on the way to work, Dennis Prager mentioned that leftism is... I forget the exact phrase, but essentially a spiritual sickness. That may sound polemic, but I've been listening to him for a couple of decades, and it is a considered opinion based upon years of examining the patient. He means it literally, not as an insult.
However, two things: first, spiritual illness presupposes spiritual health. Any normal person has the ability to intuitively diagnose spiritual illness, but he may not know how he is doing it, nor on what implicit criteria he is basing the diagnosis (nor on what basis he presumes himself to be normal!).
Second, this means that we must distinguish between psychopathology and something like pneumopathology.
Thus, the entire innerprise is based upon a distinction between mind (or psyche) and spirit. However, profane psychology either conflates the two or denies spirit altogether.
The problem is, the more intellectually rigorous the psychology, the more spiritually purblind it tends to be (for example, materialistic approaches that know -- so to speak -- everything about the brain but nothing about the person).
On the other side we have squishy and intellectually vapid new age approaches that make both psychology and religion appear stupid. And either approach can easily be mastered by morons with political agendas. I know this because when I was an agenda-driven liberal moron, I used psychology to bash conservatives.
Back to our other three categories of mental illness: they are 1) neurotic, 2) borderline, and 3) psychotic. The last one doesn't interest us per se, except insofar as the borderline individual is vulnerable to a "psychotic core" that he is always attempting to manage with various primitive defense mechanisms. The neurotic person is subject to various psychic conflicts, but not to the point of frank loss of contact with reality.
I've been out of the loop for awhile, but back when I was in grad school -- this would have been between 1982 and 1988 -- there was a lot of research and writing on borderline phenomena. There seemed to be a general consensus that we were seeing a lot more of it, because prior to the 1960s, most of the psychoanalytic literature dealt with neurotics.
But after the 1960s, we saw an influx of more seriously ill patients for whom the model of neurosis didn't fit. Which led to a great deal of research and theorizing on borderline psychic structure. Of course, it is difficult to know if we are seeing a new phenomenon, or just taking notice of an old one (as with autism or attention deficit disorder).
Another confounding variable is the general loosening of cultural controls. As a result, people are more "free" -- which includes the freedom to be as crazy as one wants to be. Prior to the 1960s, these various forms of madness, deviance, and perversion were suppressed and stigmatized, whereas afterwards they weren't only allowed open expression but even "normalized." Feminism, for example, offers a woman many novels ways to act out her mental illness that were unavailable in the past.
So in a generation or two we have gone from marginalizing mental illness to actually celebrating it. And if you are not on board with the celebration, then you are the deviant one!
Recent example plucked from the cultural pneumosphere: Twitter Bans Activist Mommy for Tweeting Her Dislike of Teen Vogue’s Anal Sex Guide.
Such a headline begs for a psychological interpretation, but that would be too easy. Besides, we're well beyond what psychology can explain, although, at the same time, I think we need both views -- the psychological and spiritual -- in order to comprehensively understand the phenomena. Although psyche and spirit permeate one another, there are also ways in which spirit is situated atop psyche, depending upon whether you look at it vertically or horizontally.
Recall the other day, when we suggested that traditional religion is a way for the average person to be wise. Conversely, leftist ideology provides a way for the intelligent man to be an idiot. But it also provides an excellent way for the crazy person to appear sane, and for the spiritually disordered person to appear "elevated" and "evolved" -- e.g., Deepak Chopra or Jeremiah Wright.
In the normal course of development, psyche comes first. However, we know from our Aquinas that what comes first ontologically is last existentially; in other words, the final cause is the last to appear. For example, the adult toward which the child is developing is present as telos before actualizing in time.
No one ever put it this way in graduate school, but clearly, the entire category of psychopathology presumes a proper developmental telos. In other words, if there is no right way to be, then there can be no wrong way.
Now, over the past 50 years, the left has been preaching that there is by definition no right way to be. Indeed, pretending otherwise is just a way to legitimize power over the oppressed and marginalized (as if, for example, heterosexuality is a conspiracy against homosexuals!). Therefore, a leftist should be the last person in the world to call someone crazy -- or evil -- for supporting Trump.
The left has systematically destroyed all standards and hierarchies, and here they are appealing to a standard of some kind. If they were sane, we would call them hypocrites. But what is hypocritical for the neurotic is standard operating procedure for the borderline person who lacks the psychic integration to maintain intellectual or emotional consistency.
To what timeless and universal standard does the left appeal? Just leftism. This is what the left has always done -- for example, in the Soviet Union you were either a Marxist or mentally ill.
No one ever thought this would happen in the U.S., but here we are.
"The liberal-democratic man, especially if he is an intellectual or an artist, is very reluctant to learn, but, at the same time, all too eager to teach.... he assumes and never has the slightest doubt that he is in possession of the entirety of the human experience" (Legutko).
This leads to the ideological flatulence that surrounds us, from fake news to fakademia, an awareness that we are "always surrounded by non reality, i.e., artifacts fabricated by the propaganda machine, whose aim [is] to prevent us from seeing reality as it [is]." We are "living among phantoms in the world of illusion," or rather, in a cloud of projected mind parasites (a "cloud of witlessness") known as the Narrative, AKA Ideology for Dummies.
These dummies never suspect that there is more to realty than what their ideology permits them to see -- and less than what it compels them to imagine.
Eh. We'll try to pick up the thread next week...