Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The left loses it

J.R. Dunn had a good piece on American Thinker the other day:

History tells us that organizations, movements, even entire nations can go mad in much the same way an individual does, with the same expression of irrationality, frenzy, and violence. Recent evidence suggests that the American left is going through precisely such a breakdown.

[. . .]

What better metaphor for the current condition of the left? Leftism suffers from an equivalent psychosis -- one that is now beginning to break out. This is not by chance, but due to the ongoing collapse of the left's epic dream. Leftists have always believed that one clear shot, one opportunity to put their policies into play without opposition from "reactionary interests," would result in a political chain reaction, success leading to further success and finally absolute triumph as the New Socialist Jerusalem came into being with almost no effort on their part. This is childish fantasy, a wish-fulfillment daydream, transparent almost to the point of contempt. (It's also extremely ahistorical -- exactly such circumstances existed in 1933 and 1964 due to historical accident. Liberals botched things then exactly as they are doing now.) But for many years, it has been the only thing keeping the left going.

Leftists really believed that Obama embodied their moment. Obama held all the cards -- majorities in both houses, a slavish press that viewed him as no less than a godling, an enthusiastic public, even an acquiescent international establishment, overlooking a few holdouts such as Kim and Ahmadinejad. No left-of-center president has had a smoother road before him -- not FDR, not Lyndon Johnson. Yet Obama's efforts amount to utter failure -- not because of opposition from the "party of no," not because of circumstances, not because of sabotage, but because of Obama's "success" itself. He got the bills passed, guaranteed that their execution would be in the hands of extraconstitutional figures beholden only to him, and got them funded by means both legal and illegal. All of it was put into play with a smoothness that only Chicago thuggery combined with socialist chicanery could accomplish. He launched them, and they crashed, and they burned.

They crashed and burned because they cannot work. Not in a universe with natural laws that operate the way they do and with human nature constituted as it is. They have never worked anywhere they have been tried -- not in Europe, not in Asia, not in Africa, nowhere across this wide world. Obama's grand schemes have been attempted previously. The failures were hurriedly stuffed down the memory hole, enabling the left to hope for another shot sometime down the line. (No small number of people in this country -- many of them not doctrinaire leftists by any means -- truly believe that FDR "ended" the Depression.)

But today they have a problem -- several, in point of fact. The first is that the memory hole has in large part been filled in over the past decade and a half by such things as the internet and the New Media. It's no longer a simple matter to shove nationwide failures out of sight. It may not even be possible.

The second is the fact that this time, they bet the house. They put everything down on Obama. Because it had to work. Because the third time was the charm. Because O was the messiah. And now they're sitting in the casino dead broke, without another dime to lay on the table, and through the doorway they can hear the shouts of the people whose money they embezzled.

This is why the left is being overwhelmed by psychosis. Because they are up against the wall with no way out. Under such circumstances, the strong individual bites the bullet and runs for daylight. The weak fall apart. It's been a long, long time since anyone defined leftists as "strong."

The left's psychosis, like those of many individuals, involves violence. Simply put, no left-wing regime has ever attained complete power without causing the deaths of its own citizens on a mass scale. We need simply give a short roll call of the bloody names: the USSR, Red China, "Democratic Kampuchea," Cuba, Vietnam...these speak well enough for themselves.

Some of the mortality incurred by social-nationalist states is caused by accident -- policies that simply don't work out (this includes hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. itself, another memory-hole saga that is going to emerge back into the light come this January). But violence is the major cause -- the ubiquitous secret police, the not at all uncommon massacres, the brutal crushing of dissidents and workers' protests, and the camp networks that no leftist government can do without. A left-wing state cannot exist without violence because there is no other method of keeping the people in line once the inevitable policy failures occur.

[. . .]

Most recently, we have had the incident marking the full emergence of left-wing psychosis in all its mad glory: the "No Pressure" film released by the 10:10 group. Few AT readers can have missed discussion of this little gem, which features a series of vignettes in which anyone opposed to the "global warming" hoax is annihilated by a magic button that blows them to pieces on the spot. (Some may protest that the film is English -- the author, Richard Curtis, is noted for his genteel British comedies. But in truth, it's international -- Gillian Anderson is American, and if you were to further trace artistic and financial involvement, you'd find plenty more Yanks in the mix.)

This is as clear a depiction of left-wing psychosis as we are ever going to see. It is the yearning -- of an intensity beyond the grasp of sane, normal individuals-- to possess some means of total power, some instrument of near-divine retribution and punishment. Not for personal aggrandizement or sadistic pleasure, no, not at all...but simply to remove those stones in the path of progress: the Neanderthals, the troglodytes, the reactionaries, who are standing between the people and their righteous destiny. We'll use it just a few times, only against the really bad ones, and only to make an impression. And once we do that, we'll put it aside, and never, ever touch it again, we promise...

This is infantilism, pure and simple, as all psychoses are, including the one diagnosed by Jung. It is a compulsive belief that the world needs to bow to the demands of the eternal child immediately and without protest. And when it doesn't -- and we can be sure it won't -- it must be punished to the limits of the imagination and beyond. This is the impulse behind leftism, stacked to the roof as it is with people who never grew out of deepest childhood, who have grown twisted and embittered in the conviction that world has let them down and must pay for it.

It is also the impulse of the tyrant from time immemorial, from the Neros and Ashurbanipals to the Stalins and Maos of our own epoch. In "Pressure," we see it expressed more clearly than ever before, by extremely talented and sophisticated people, in the expectation that it will encourage others. (Another point that struck me was the way the film mixes bloodshed with whimsy. Whimsicality -- what unfunny people have instead of a sense of humor -- has always been a mark of the left. Now it has been publicly intertwined with the impulse to kill. How sick is that?)

[. . .]

But it will come to nothing. No socialist paradise, no universal nanny government, and certainly no police state. It will come to nothing thanks to one simple fact: the American left has no spine.

Go read the whole thing.

This, like Angelo Codevilla's article (and now book) on America's ruling class, answers many questions.