LEFTISM AS PSYCHOPATHY
By John Ray (M.A.;Ph.D.)
I have shown elsewhere that there can be many causes of Leftism. I have also shown in the same place, however, that although all sorts of different people can be Leftist in one way or another, there would seem to remain a core Leftist type -- seen at its clearest among Leftist academics and intellectuals. Although such people form only a small fraction of the total population, their influence and their grasp on the levers of power in the media, in the bureaucracy, in the universities and, at times, in politics, make what they think, say and do very important indeed. And it is my contention that this type is eerily reminiscent of a well-known psychiatric category: The psychopath. So the ULTIMATE explanation for all the core characteristics of Leftism that have been described so far lies in many Leftists being sub-clinical psychopaths.
The characteristics of the clinical psychopath can be summed up as follows: He is not obviously "mad"; he is often highly intelligent; he is unmoved by brutality (except to enjoy perpetrating it); he has no moral or ethical anchors or standards; he is deeply (but discreetly) in love with himself (narcissism) so secretly despises others and thinks they are fit only to be dominated and exploited by him and those like him; he is a great manipulator who loves getting others to do his bidding by deception or otherwise; he is the master of the lie and the false pretence but sees no reason to be consistent from occasion to occasion; he will say anything to gain momentary praise or admiration; his only really strongly felt emotions seem to be hate and contempt and he is particularly enraged by those who have what he wants and will be totally unscrupulous in trying to seize what others have for himself. But above all, the psychopath does not seem to be able to tell right from wrong and, as a result, does sometimes commit or connive at murders and other heinous crimes with what seems to be a clear conscience.
That seems to me to constitute, by and large, a fairly comprehensive description of your average Left-wing intellectual -- particularly of the many intellectuals who did (and often still do) support in various ways the old Soviet system in Russia. I think that I have already touched on each of the above characteristics as underlying much of what Leftists say and do but I will treat in detail some of the major features just mentioned, one by one, below.
I should however also note at this stage that Leftists are clearly not clinical psychopaths -- i.e. they generally keep out of trouble with the law and with mental health authorities. They do not, for instance, usually commit murders (though one still-revered Leftist intellectual -- Althusser -- certainly did). But they do definitely seem to show a milder form of all the psychopathic characteristics -- some of which can be even advantageous in certain ways -- as I have pointed out elsewhere. Psychologists do of course find that most human characteristics are normally distributed -- i.e. any extreme characteristic will tend to have much more frequent milder forms -- so the present proposal is in that sense perfectly orthodox within modern academic psychology.
Just to make sure we know what we are talking about, and to reassure readers that I am not biasing my account of the matter, here is a summary of what one of the classic authorities on psychopaths says about them:
Robert Hare, in his book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, which I have just finished, estimates that there may be as many as two million psychopaths in the U.S. Sooner or later, you are bound to come across one, a truly frightening prospect, an encounter that could ruin your life. A psychopath is characterized, as the book's subtitle has it, by a lack of all scruple, a willingness to look out for number one that leaves the greatest egotists in the dust. He (and males in this category outnumber females 20 to 1) will lie, cheat, steal, and kill without the slightest remorse, blaming the victim, and bemoaning his own fate when caught. The real kicker is that the psychopath is often charming, a glib talker who is adept at seeing when and how someone may be taken advantage of, and most victims of psychopaths walk unaware right into their traps. The psychopath knows full well how to make use of people's natural propensity to trust others
Leftist amorality as sub-clinical psychopathy
As just mentioned, the most striking characteristic of the psychopath has always been his "moral imbecility" -- his often breathtaking lack of feeling for other people and his disregard for the rules they live by. So if it shows nothing else, the assertions of "moral equivalence" between brutal regimes and democratic regimes (which I have also referred to elsewhere) that Leftists are quite famous for show their utter amorality. Neither Joseph Stalin nor Pol Pot nor Saddam Hussein bothered Leftists one bit and all were excused by Leftists in various ways -- as just doing what they had to do or some such. So Stalin's heirs are among us. One of them recently said: The disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life". And that was George Galloway, a British Labour Party member of parliament in the year 2003. And going back further, Malcolm Muggeridge, one of the few journalists to report honestly what he saw in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, knew well the British Leftists of his day. He says that members of the Left intelligentsia, like Beatrice Webb, knew of Stalin's vast brutalities against his own people of that time but just didn't care. They were attracted by the Soviet "vision" of a people who were made to do what intellectuals thought was a good thing so that was all that mattered. Mass-murder and suffering were a matter of indifference to them -- as I will set out at greater length below.
Principles? What principles?
Stalin's mass murders certainly appear to this day to be regarded by many Leftists in the economically successful "Western" democracies as merely awkward from a PR point of view rather than wrong. This psychopathy means, of course, that the Leftist really has no standards at all. Like any psychopath, he/she will say anything and everything as a means to getting what he/she wants (i.e. personal pre-eminence of some kind). U.S. Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 was a good example of that. He was renowned for his flip-flops -- saying different things to different audiences so that he came down on both sides of almost every issue. And that seemed not to bother his Leftist supporters one bit -- though the "Washington Post" was critical:
"John Kerry has become the favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination without a detailed or clarifying debate on many issues.... Now, with the nomination seemingly within his reach, the Massachusetts senator must begin to more fully explain where he stands on the major challenges facing the country. That task is particularly important for Mr. Kerry because of his fuzziness on issues ranging from Iraq to gay marriage".
And as Jeff Jacoby wrote:
"In the 2004 presidential field, there is a candidate for nearly every point of view. His name is John Kerry. Equivocating politicians are sometimes accused of trying to be "all things to all people," but few have taken the practice of expedience and shifty opportunism to Kerry's level."
There was in fact a fascinating short article in the "Wall Street Journal" pointing out that Kerry and the Democrats at that time abandoned any pretence of idealism in foreign policy and advocated instead stability and the status quo! I quote:
As the election debate over Iraq unfolds, we're struck by the role reversal of the two major parties on one of the central questions of U.S. foreign policy. To wit: Is it in America's interest to aggressively promote freedom around the world, or is it generally better to satisfy ourselves with "stability" and the status quo?
Given their constitutional aversion to stability and the status quo, that was surely another proof that Leftists will advocate ANYTHING that they think will get them power. Historians will also remember that J.S. Mill was a great spokesman for liberty but that he was in fact on the Left in British politics and voted in favour of government restrictions and regulation on lots of issues. Principles were very rubbery for him too.
Democratic Presidential contender John Kerry appeared to take the latter position last week, when he declared that "the goal here . . . is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that's a full democracy. I can't tell you what it's going to be, but a stable Iraq. And that stability can take several different forms."
And even after their defeat in the 2004 Presidential election, U.S. Leftists remained locked into the defence of the status quo. As Rich Lowry put it:
"Please, don't change anything." That bids fair to become the liberal slogan for the early 21st century. Who knew government programs circa 2004 would have achieved an equipoise of perfection such that disturbing them in the slightest way would represent liberal heresy? And who would have guessed that "progressives" would become opponents of change so thoroughgoing that they would make Edmund Burke blush?
So we see how important the MOTIVATION for change is. When conservatives propose changes that will empower the individual and reduce the degree of power and control exercised by the State, they are clearly acting out historic pro-individual conservative values. Whether they like or dislike change as such does not come into it. The change concerned (private retirement savings accounts, health savings accounts etc.) meets their basic goals so is pursued. And because the selfsame changes go against the centralization of power and subjugation of the individual that Leftists want, they oppose the changes concerned. Leftists do in general like to engineer change as a way of making themselves look good but if any given change does not do that and in fact moves power further way from them, they with perfect ease go into reverse gear and do exactly what they otherwise have always accused conservatives of doing: They defend the status quo both at home and abroad.
Reactionary liberalism will be the order of the day in President Bush's second term. Take Social Security. The program was started in the 1930s. Back then, there were 41 workers for every retiree. Now, there are three workers for every retiree. Back then, life expectancy was significantly shorter than its current 78 years. In other words, in 70 years the world has changed, but the structure of Social Security hasn't -- and liberals desperately want to keep it that way.....
The same basic argument will apply to tax reform, tort reform, health-care reform and further education reform. No issue quite highlighted the left's reactionary impulse than when, during the campaign, Bush proposed redeploying American troops from their Cold War outposts around the world. Liberals immediately reacted negatively, making the argument, basically, that the troops should stay where they are, because they've been there for 40 years, and everyone is comfortable with it.
It is in foreign policy that the new liberal orientation has been most stark. Liberals once believed in global change based on the advance of human rights. This was an admirable idea (if sometimes poorly implemented). Now it's been abandoned because Bush has picked it up, and liberals believe in little else in foreign policy except that whatever we attempt will fail...."
It is amusing to note that many Leftists even used the national sovereignty doctrine in a (pathetic) attempt to defend the status quo in the Middle East. In particular they used it to protect Iraq's Saddam Hussein and attack President George W. Bush. They used the international law doctrine which says that boundaries must be respected without looking at what goes on inside them. But the origin of that doctrine may be a bit inconvenient:
It originated in 1648 after Europe became exhausted by Catholic vs. Protestant wars as the "Peace of Westphalia" and was a (partially successful) way of preventing more wars by accepting the status quo as final -- i.e. accepting as final those boundaries between kingdoms that existed at that time regardless of the religion of the ruler (which it was accepted his subjects were obliged to follow). Napoleon however eventually came along and thoroughly upset the status quo so the whole thing had to be done all over again by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. And the Congress of Vienna was chaired and run by the representative of the Austrian Kaiser, the highly-reactionary Prince Metternich (who was himself a Westphalian, curiously enough). So the Congress of Vienna must be one of history's best examples of a concerted and successful attempt to defend and preserve a major and long-lasting status quo.
And the doctrine underlying THOSE arrangements (that internal affairs are sacrosanct) is what Leftists periodically proclaim as sacred! They did it with respect to Hitler as well. Note, for instance, the response of John Curtin (leader of Australia's major Leftist political party) to Germany's invasion of Russia in June 1941. While the conservative Australian leader Robert Menzies quoted Winston Churchill's stirring words resolving "to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime", Curtin condemned the invasion but went on to say "the Labor Party has no objection whatever to the Germans practising Nazism in Germany". More details of that here .
It all shows (as ever) how non-existent their "principles" are. Leftists can DEFEND the status quo if it suits their power needs -- as indeed they also do when they defend their welfare empires from conservative attempts at cutbacks and welfare reform and as they did when they reversed gears over eugenics.
Keith Burgess-Jackson also has a post on the notion of national sovereignty that sums up the issues involved with admirable brevity:
Some posters on my Ethics of War blog appear to think that sovereignty is absolute, i.e., that nothing could possibly justify intervention in another nation's affairs. This is as indefensible as any other absolutist position, such as extreme pacifism and anarchism. Nor should it be thought that sovereignty is meaningless unless it is absolute. Sovereignty is the analogue of personal autonomy. But of course personal autonomy is not absolute. My right to govern myself has limits. I may not exercise my autonomy to harm or threaten harm to others, for example.
So the question is not whether Iraq was a sovereign nation at the time coalition forces intervened. It's what the scope and limits of sovereignty are and whether the limits were exceeded in this case. I submit that sovereignty does not include the right to harm one's citizens, as Saddam Hussein had a long record of doing and gave every reason to believe would continue to do unless prevented by force from doing so. It wasn't just Saddam, either. His sons, Uday and Qusay, had been groomed to carry on his tyrannical, genocidal ways. The coalition led by the United States did right in taking these moral monsters down.
Another amusing example of Leftist moral imbecility and lack of any real principles to go with the proclaimed ones is Will Hutton:
"Will Hutton, Britain's foremost critic of capitalism and an outspoken advocate for affordable social housing, is married to a property developer who has made a fortune out of selling and renting inner-city properties, often at rates which local council housing officers describe as exorbitant."
Keith Burgess-Jackson points to similar hypocrisy in the USA:
"Please keep in mind that I was a liberal for a long time. I know the liberal mentality and tactics. Liberals have no shame. They're unfulfilled totalitarians. Their only goal, despite their declared concern for the disadvantaged, is power. Think about it. If liberals truly cared about the disadvantaged, as they say they do, they'd dispose of their wealth. There are enough wealthy liberals in this country to feed, clothe, shelter, and medicate every poor person. Don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen. The Kennedys are still wealthy, aren't they? John Kerry is more than happy to take advantage of the Heinz fortune. Liberals insist on forcing others to pay for their hare-brained social-engineering schemes. This suggests that they're driven by envy and spite, not benevolence".
And the blindness of the American Left to the oppressive nature of Fidel Castro's Cuban regime is legendary. For instance, it really was pathetic to hear film-maker Oliver Stone's evasions and apologies for Castro. In Stone you can hear the moral blindness of American "liberalism" in full flight. One small excerpt: "I think it would be a mistake to see him as a Ceausescu. I would compare him more to Reagan and Clinton. … They were both tall and had great shoulders, and so does Fidel."
And as Nat Hentoff of The Village Voice notes:
"Ann Sparanese, a member of the governing Council of the American Library Association, has written a letter to the Voice criticizing my columns about Fidel Castro's prison sentences of 20 and more years for 75 Cuban dissenters, including 10 independent librarians. ... At an upcoming midwinter meeting in San Diego, from January 9 to 14, the ALA plans to decide whether it will indeed live up to its principles and finally support the locked-up independent librarians in Cuba. It has refused so far."
Former Leftist, Ron Rosenbaum, also spells out the moral imbecility of Leftist activists at some length in his article "Goodbye, All That: How Left Idiocies Drove Me to Flee". Worth reading in full.
And Liddy has a great list of events proving that Leftists have no standards, principles or consistency at all. The same things that were good under Clinton are suddenly bad under Bush.
Everything said so far in this section on amorality, however, does in one way show that Leftists practice what they preach. Because Leftists do normally LOUDLY PROCLAIM their amorality. Whether in the guise of "post-modernism" or otherwise, it seems axiomatic to the Leftist that all moral and ethical standards are merely a matter of opinion and of no binding force whatsoever. "There is no such thing as right and wrong" is a mantra that we hear from them whenever they want to dismiss any argument that does not suit them. So they themselves tell us that they have no principles. We should believe them. It is another strange characteristic of psychopaths that they shamelessly make damaging admissions about themselves. I have discussed postmodernism and its related doctrines at some length elsewhere so will not expand further on the matter here. I also show elsewhere that one does not need to make metaphysical or unworldly assumptions to regard talk of right and wrong as both meaningful and important.
Psychopathic tolerance of brutality among "liberals"
A few more notes on the weird (psychopathic) tolerance of brutality by the Left generally and by America's so-called "liberals" particularly:
A review by R. Fulford of In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr: "Hard as it may be for outsiders to imagine, a lingering affection for communism remains part of American university life.... American leftists insisted for decades that Hiss was falsely condemned. When a mountain of evidence proved the case against him (and many others), the defenders began suggesting that maybe spying actually didn't matter.."
Another review by D. Garrow says: "In Denial pulls no punches either: "Far too much academic writing about communism, anticommunism and espionage is marked by dishonesty, evasion, special pleading and moral squalor. Like Holocaust deniers, some historians of American communism have evaded and avoided facing a preeminent evil"-namely, the Stalinist dictatorship that for decades ruled the Soviet Union, murdered millions of its own citizens, and treated foreign Communist parties as mere minions of Moscow. There's no denying Haynes and Klehr's contention that "a significant number of American academics still have soft spots in their hearts for the CPUSA," the American Communist Party"."
Teichmann on the 60s generation: "One of the most striking features in the anti-Vietnam-War movement and standpoint .. was the astonishing tolerance shown towards the Communist countries, and their deeds, that is, what they did or had done to their own people, and to others, and to their attitudes towards basic notions like freedom, human autonomy, and even the possibility of democracy... Elitism without Guilt.. the Sixties' young grabbed it, and have lived off the fantasy ever since. These Believers think that everything worth saying has been said - and is known - by them. Past knowledge and history are bunk. The forever young make the new history, and make sure that no-one with different values is listened to. The similarity of these political fairytales told to our impressionable, upwardly mobile radical young, and those told to young Germans, and Italians and Russians - rather earlier - is striking".
Che Guevara is still worshipped by the young Leftists of Western universities but as a Cuban writes of him: "He did not have any business in Cuba but he went there to kill Cubans. He did not have any business in Africa but he went there to kill Africans. He did not have any business in Bolivia, but he went there to kill Bolivians, where he eventually died on his own sword.... As far as I am concerned, Ernesto Guevara was the Bin Laden of his time.... It will be very insulting for millions of people if, 30 years from now, they were to see in the streets people wearing Bin Laden T-shirts, as it is now for us to see people using Che Guevara's T-shirts."
Paul Hollander's book "Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society" recounts what Leftist intellectuals did for many decades in the Soviet era. To quote one Amazon reviewer: "Political Pilgrims is the amazing story of how Western intellectuals embraced Marxist tyrants at the very moment their colleagues were rotting in prison cells, and the common people everyone claimed to be concerned for, were starving. The book relates how cultural and religious leaders from the West, including familiar names, visited the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other communist countries, and told the most appalling lies"
And the book Stalin's British Victims (reviewed here and here), shows that members of Britain's Communist Party knew very well of Stalin's Terror. Even the murder by Stalin of their closest family members and fellow Communist fanatics could not shake them. They still kept on defending the Soviet system and Stalin himself. It shows how their inhuman vision for the world was all that mattered to them and also shows of course their utter lack of normal human feeling.
And, rather unbelievably, the glossing over of Soviet brutality continues to this day. Popular young Leftist blogger and Soviet apologist, Matthew Yglesias, was in 2004 still doing it -- saying that that lots of Russians "got themselves killed" by Stalin -- as if it were the doing of the victims rather than the doing of Stalin:
"The planned economy has also produced a public transportation system of astoundingly high quality compared to what we've got in, say, the United States. On the other hand, the extremely cramped housing in what is, objectively, a nearly empty country seemed totally absurd. And of course millions of people got themselves killed in Stalin's various schemes.
As Yglesias came under a lot of fire over that comment, he has since deleted it, but a fuller version of it is saved on "Catallarchy".
At the very least, Yglesias shows characteristic Leftist indifference to mass-murder. His further claim about the backwardness of pre-revolutionary Russia is sheer propaganda too. As one of the commenters on "Catallarchy" said:
"Russia was not "a totally undeveloped country" in 1917. It was an industrial nation spanned by railroads with an emerging capitalist class, labor unrest, factory strikes and all the other attributes of a developed nation of the time.... Still, it had freed its slaves (serfs) before the US did and even gave them land though they had to pay for it in future installments."
Russia was in fact the world's 4th largest industrial economy at the time and was steadily becoming more democratic -- and if the Tsar had not bothered his head with the Serbs, Russia would be a modern advanced nation today. There is even a photographic record of what Russia was like in the early 1900s -- in clear and brilliant colour too.
Nor is the Leftist admiration for brutal dictators with a good line of talk anything new. In Napoleon & Wellington by Andrew Roberts (excerpt here), we learn that the British Left of Napoleon's day (the Whigs) so admired Napoleon that they had a lifelong aversion to the man who finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo -- The Duke of Wellington.
I normally explain the sort of behaviour described above as the outcome of a dishonest character rather than any mental defect but it is so obvious from the attitudes involved that Leftists just don't feel for others that I think psychopathy has to be the major cause of the dishonest character.
Another possibility comes from one of the readers of my blog who emailed me to tell of an interesting case he knows where someone developed a paranoid mental disorder -- which is a type of psychosis and would normally stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain, with too much dopamine being present. Before the disorder developed, the person concerned was conservative. As his paranoia developed, however, his politics drifted to the left. He now thinks that all members of his family should pool their wealth and then re-distribute it equally. Of course, he would contribute nothing and benefit greatly. He is now very opposed to Bush even though he formerly voted for Reagan. So is an excess of dopamine in the brain generally associated with leftist political leanings? It's a testable hypothesis. I must say that some of the emails I get from Leftists do have all the hallmarks of psychotic thought disorder. It is hard to make head or tail of some of them. And loss of reality contact would seem to be characteristic of both schizophrenics and Leftist ideologues so it does seem a lively possibility to me that SOME Leftists are suffering from a low-grade psychotic disorder, rather than psychopathy.
Examples such as the above are also a good reply to any claim that I overgeneralize. American "liberals" in particular often say that not all Leftists are as nasty as Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Pol Pot, Mao, Kim Jong Il and all the other lovely "socialists" who have gained unrestricted power. Some American "liberals" even say (through gritted teeth?) that they hate such "totalitarians" or "authoritarians". So if "liberals" hate Communists, how come they were apologizing for the Soviets and praising them and trying to protect them almost up to the day that the Soviet Union imploded? Even to this day, to have been a Communist in the past is treated most indulgently in "liberal" intellectual circles -- as no more than excessive idealism or as having been "a liberal in a hurry". And what American "liberal" has ever said a bad word about Castro? I got an email from a Leftist quite recently saying what a good and wise man Castro is -- despite Castro's police State, his political prisons, his political executions and his suppression of free speech and any opposition. So it is "liberals" themselves who make it clear that the only real difference between Communists and themselves is how much power they have. U.S. "liberalism" is just an attempt to achieve the old Communist goal of enforced "equality" in a gradual, step-by-step way. They are just "slowed down" Communists and like the Communists, their real motive for seeking equality is not "compassion" but hatred of other people's success.
And there are still totally unreconstructed, unapologetic and overt Stalinists among America's Leftist intelligentsia. They have had to transfer their allegiance from the now-vanished U.S.S.R. to the DPRK but that is all. As Tremoglie notes here:
"If you believe the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) - an organization that extols the virtues of communism and detests capitalism - North Korea is nearly a paradise. A nation where a peace-loving president governs a land of contented people, living a happy existence, with sustenance not even a tertiary concern. On September 29th, 2003, a self-appointed group of representatives of the United States of America traveled to North Korea to build a bridge between the two nations. The group consisted of four NLG lawyers... The NLG repeatedly claims there is no starvation in the DPRK."
A brief summary of Leftist amorality and indifference to suffering
Ralph Peters puts it well (Excerpt):
"The silence of the Left in the face of uncomfortable truths is a hallowed tradition, of course, dating back to the earliest crimes of the Soviet Union. When the reality confronting the Left contradicts the theory, the theory must be preserved at any cost.
And there's no sign of improvement, not a glimmer of the least scrap of conscience or integrity on the Left. It's all about revenge against a democratic system that gives a blue-collar worker a vote equal to that of a university professor's ballot, about hatred for the free market for providing better lives for the great majority while Marxism drowned in the bile of its victims. There's no one the new American Left so despises as the working man or woman who continues to believe in the United States.
And it's about power. Had Bill Clinton invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, the Left would have cheered their throats raw, praising him as one of history's greatest liberators. The rhetoric about Iraq isn't about justice, or the Iraqi people, or even about the horrors of war ..... The great, unforgivable insult to the Left is that conservatives took the idea of liberation seriously and acted, while the Liberal-Arts faculty merely chattered about it...
The global Left never cared about the Iraqi people until they became American "victims." As Saddam Hussein slaughtered more Muslims through campaigns of oppression and wars of aggression than any tyrant since Tamerlane, the Left remained silent. But now that Saddam himself might face the death penalty, Leftists everywhere are wringing their hands at the thought of such injustice.
Where were they when the screams of torture victims pierced the prison walls under Saddam? Where were the celebrity journalists when Iraq's mass graves were being opened over the past fifteen months? Where are the reports of the fierce joy of the Kurds, free at last, free at last?
Now, in late July of 2004, where is the Left as the Sudanese government conducts a campaign of genocide against the wretched of the earth in Darfur Province? Oh, yes, there have been a few crocodile tears - but where are the demands for intervention?
Where are the campus demonstrations against that great liberator, Robert Mugabe, who destroyed Zimbabwe, terrorized its people - and is using scarce reserves of food as a weapon while his citizens slowly starve?
Where is the American Left's sense of justice in the face of European anti-semitism? Of course, the spreading hate-crimes against Jews, synagogues and cemeteries are all Israel's fault.that's been explained to us.
Then where are the protests against the corruption and repression used as tools of control by the Palestinian Authority? The self-respecting Leftist whispers, "It's their culture." As are suicide bombers, no doubt. Why doesn't the Left complain about the hate speech spewed in mosques and madrassahs around the world? Are calls to exterminate Jews and butcher Christians just "part of their culture," too?
When will we see mass demonstrations demanding rights for women in the Islamic world? Are women's rights only for middle-class whites with college degrees? Where is the Left's passionate sense of humanity when Islamic extremists behead the innocent - and videotape the event, to the glee of the Muslim world? Of course, those decapitations are really America's fault ... we've driven them to it, you see.
The truth is that our Left is so intellectually decrepit, so infected by dishonesty, so morally feeble that it has only breath enough to condemn American actions. No matter how many brown or black human beings suffer around the world -s tarved, ethnically cleansed, raped, tortured, murdered - it doesn't count unless you can blame America.
This is a moral crime for which we all pay. By obsessing about Iraq - where the United States and its allies performed a great and noble deed, however imperfect the day-to-day details - the Left has tacitly agreed to let the rest of the world rot. And it is, indeed, rotting. Intervention to stymie tyrants couldn't be right in Bosnia or Kosovo when Democrats owned the White House, but automatically wrong with Republican sponsors.
This isn't just hypocrisy on the part of the Left. It's complicity. With tyrants and thugs everywhere. The blood of al Qaeda's victims is on the hands of terror's apologists, whether in Cairo or in Cambridge.
Is Leftism juvenile rather than psychopathic?
Further to what has already been said about Leftism as a form of infantilism: The very short time perspective of Leftists is very noticeable. As was noted above in the case of John Kerry, they seem to live in an eternal present where what they say only has to sound good today to this audience. To another audience tomorrow they will happily say the opposite if it seems likely to win them applause. This leads to the chronic conservative complaint of "inconsistency" or "hypocrisy" on the Left and the lame Leftist "post modernist" retort that there is no such thing as truth anyway.
A very well-known example of Leftists cheerily going into reverse-gear over an alleged "principle" is the way they once claimed that government should be "colour-blind" in the way it treates it citizens. As soon as this was more or less accomplished, they went into reverse and said no, the government should be colour-conscious in the way it treats its citizens -- so-called "affirmative action". Other examples: Communists were pro-Nazi when Hitler and Stalin were allies but became anti-Nazi overnight when Hitler invaded Russia; Leftists were keen eugenicists in the 1930s but claim to loathe eugenics today; Leftists deny that genetics could have anything to do with black/white differences or ability differences generally but still cheerily assert that homosexuals cannot help being homosexual because "they were born that way" etc, etc, etc.
This willingness to say anything to anyone if it will gain some momentary applause, popularity or advantage is of course very characteristic of the psychopath but it could also be argued that it is juvenile. Children too have short time perspectives and not very systematized thought. As Evan Sayet says (see here or here):
"Today immaturity reigns in the Democratic Party -- from the Clinton frat house to the left's top authors (while conservative titles include the thoughtful "Why We Fight" and "Inside American Education", the bestsellers of the left are "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot", New York Times writer Molly Ivin's "Shrub" -- a fifth grader's jealous play on the name of the popular new kid, Bush -- and her infantile sequel "Bushwhacked."). In fact, not only does immaturity reign, to today's Democrat it is considered a badge of honor....
This type of insane hyperbole has become the norm in the Democratic Party because, like the child, the leftist lives in a world of self-importance, where nothing is bigger than the servicing of their immediate wants. A child can believe his parent is "the worst in the history of the world" because the child knows little -- and cares even less -- about the world outside his tiny domain. The same is true of the Modern Liberal. To them little thought is given to long term consequences of their actions or the historical context of their words.
Today's Democrats, like small children, see only their own immediate gratification and the chance to advance their short-term personal wants.
(There is more from Sayet here. Also reproduced here. His comment on abortion is rather good: "Interestingly, while the leftist believes that twelve year old children are mature enough to make a decision on issues of life and death, they don't think seventeen year olds are mature enough to make decisions as to what soft drink to buy on high school campuses!")
Ben Stein, V.D. Hanson and Dennis Prager, too point out a variety of ways in which Leftists would appear to be fundamentally juvenile.
And the claim that Leftists are simply juvenile would certainly help account for the fact that Leftism appeals preponderantly to the young. See elsewhere for the large body of evidence I have amassed in support of that well-known generalization. Most prominent conservatives do seem to have started out on the Left and moved Rightwards as they got older -- Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan being probably the best known examples of that.
There are however other explanations for the appeal of Leftism to the young -- see above -- and I doubt that "juvenile" is any more than a description of the Left. It would not seem to be much of an explanation. The people concerned are after all physically and mentally mature so what makes them juvenile? There is no obvious explanation. To say that they are psychopathic, however, IS explanatory. Psychopathic behaviour IS normally exhibited in adults (though it mostly seems to die down after about age 40) and there is little doubt that some brain abnormality is the cause of it. It is also an abnormality that is not wholly disadvantageous -- as I note here -- in its subclinical (less severe) forms so it seems reasonable to see Leftism simply as psychopathy in politics -- or, putting it another way, what happens when subclinical psychopaths use politics for their purposes.
And, of course, tolerance of brutality is absolutely characteristic of psychopaths but not particularly characteristic of the young. In summary, then, one might say that adult Leftists behave in juvenile ways BECAUSE they are psychopathic. Psychopathy is itself immature by normal standards (in its failure to acquire moral or ethical anchors of any kind, particularly).
More examples of Leftist infantilism here
Psychopathic Leftist reliance on lies and dishonesty
Another absolutely characteristic feature of psychopaths is their readiness to lie and lie shamelessly. And to this day I have never quite managed to get used to the way many Leftists seem to be completely uninterested in the truth. And this is another way in which the Leftists of today differ not at all from the Leftists of the Cold War era.
Stalin's old Soviet production statistics are of course the classic example of Leftist lies but chronic misrepresentation was also confirmed by the revelations made possible in Russia by former President Gorbachev's policy of "Glasnost". From what has been revealed, there can surely now be no doubt that for most of last century the Soviet system literally floated on a sea of lies. This was so extreme that even the maps produced by official Soviet cartographers were fraudulent. Even an accurate Moscow street map was unavailable! And note that the great cartographical capacity that U.S. spy satellites have had for many years renders any explanation of this in terms of defence considerations quite laughable. And note that this attachment to lies is not confined to the Soviet bloc and China. I myself remember well the pre-Khrushchev times when most Western Leftists dismissed accounts of Stalin's mass murders as "inventions of the capitalist press". There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Another example of the attachment of Western Leftists to lies is the accusation that the early British settlers of Tasmania were guilty of genocide against the Aborigines there. This was finally debunked by historian Keith Windschuttle, a former Leftist himself. There is a short summary of his work here. Prominent Australian historian, Geoffrey Blainey has reviewed Windschuttle's book and accepts that Windschuttle has indeed demolished the Leftist myth about the "genocide" of Tasmanian Aborigines. Speaking of the Leftist historians, Blainey says: But many of their errors, made on crucial matters, beggared belief. Moreover their exaggeration, gullibility, and what this book calls "fabrication" went on and on.
And a very relevant comment on the modern British Left:
The silent endorsement of Saddam's war crimes by the fake peace movement is fortunately highlighted by the indiscreet George Monbiot. This Marxist academic not only accused the US of being a war criminal, meaning Bush, but also claimed that "The five soldiers dragged in front of the cameras this week should thank their lucky stars they are prisoners not of the American forces fighting for civilisation, but of the 'barbaric and inhuman' Iraqis"
A regime that beats and murders POWs, uses civilians as shields, fakes surrenders, beheads women, shreds opponents, shoots down protestors and shells refugee is not barbaric and inhuman according to Monbiot. I always tell people who are rightly outraged by the lying likes of Monbiot that we should nevertheless be grateful to them because they inadvertently tell us what the left is really thinking. And it ain't pretty.
Quote from BrookesNews. So nothing has changed among the Left. They are dishonest as ever but what they support shows well enough what sort of people they are.
A more subtle form of dishonesty is the great absurdity of the policies that Leftists have often advocated. Policies such as rent-control and nationalization of industry have a superficial attraction that guaranteed that they would be widely tried but who could honestly advocate them once it is apparent how badly they work? Certainly not a person who had the welfare of the people at heart. Such policies have only ever delivered poverty and housing shortages. Why have Leftists advocated such nostrums for so long?
If their motives were benevolent, it would make no sense to advocate so much misery. If their real motives were, on the other hand, a need for power and a desire to concentrate in the hands of their clique extensive power over the lives of others it makes very great sense indeed.
And the famous Leftist call for abolition of wealth and income differentials would surely lead one to expect that Leftists would reject materalistic ambition in their own lives. But it is not so. Although Leftists seem to decry the scramble for private material possessions (conservatism is smeared as "the politics of greed"), they themselves on the personal level seem to be just as keen for the scramble as anyone else. There has been a lot of research reported in the literature of academic psychology on the subject of achievement motivation but the various measures of materialistic achievement motivation have been shown to have negligible correlation with Leftism -- where a high negative correlation might on theory have been expected (Ray, 1981b; Ray & Najman, 1988). In other words, in their own lives Leftists are just about as apt as Rightists to seek personal material gain. Once again the Leftist emerges as being hypocritical and as not honest about his/her real motives and values.
And we do not really need psychological research to see what the motivations of Leftists are actually like in their daily lives. Johnson (1988), himself a former prominent Leftist, explored at length the actual lives of various prominent Leftist intellectuals -- including Karl Marx himself. He found that while such intellectuals claimed to love humanity, their actual deeds in their own lives and their detailed exhortations to their followers suggested a loathing of and contempt for their fellow man. For them it was no joke that "I love humanity. It is just people I can't stand". Dishonesty of various kinds just seems to be inherent in Leftism.
Leftists as practitioners of the "big lie"
Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels is famous for his saying that if you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it. He has able successors in the Leftists of today.
The CounterRevolutionary has argued (with obvious truth) that what influence Leftists have stems from their being better at propaganda rather than from their capacity to deliver desirable results. He argues therefore that conservatives should do more to press their arguments rather than just respond to Leftist claims: "We must insist that people and ideologies are judged by the results of their actions, not on the lofty ideals they claim to uphold. Without the reliance on the facade of humanity socialism, and it's modern derivatives anti-Americanism and anti-globalism, are reduced to hate ideologies no different from fascism or Islamism."
He is undoubtedly right but I think that conservatives will never be as good at propaganda because they do not have that Leftist carelessness about the truth.
The greatest triumph of the Leftist "big lie" technique in recent times would have to be the way they have persuaded almost everyone that Hitler was a Rightist when he was in fact one of them -- an extreme socialist. He was to the Right of Stalin but that is about all. See here.
But there are many smaller examples of successful Leftist deception and the "stolen generation" story in Australia is one of them. It has in fact been one of the triumphs of the Australian Left to convict white Australians of the "crime" concerned -- the alleged forcible removal of 100,000 black children from their families so they could be brought up by white foster-parents instead. There has even been a film made about the subject -- Rabbit-proof fence -- which claims to be a documentary. The whole story is however just another Leftist lie -- as Andrew Bolt sets out at length here. The slender basis of fact that the story relies on is that some 1930s official do-gooders -- predecessors of the modern LEFT -- did place a few mixed-race children in white foster homes to give them a better chance in life -- but the placement was always made with written parental consent. There was NO forced removal. Nobody and nothing was "stolen". And that's not just Andrew Bolt's opinion. It is the finding of a year-long $10 million Australian court case about the claim. Officialdom acted only when the parents either did not want the children or felt that they could not care for them adequately.
So the truth is that it was white do-gooders and social workers just like the Leftists of today who ran the programme concerned. The children concerned were all half-castes (of partly white ancestry) and the wiseheads of the day felt that "for their own good" such children would have "a better chance" if they were brought up in white families rather than other black families. Like the Leftists of today, the "welfare" workers of that time felt that they knew what was best for other people. But to this day most Australians believe it was all just racism -- with no awareness of the do-gooder motivation behind it.
And in the USA, the most successful big lie would appear to be the constant claim from Democratic party propaganda that they are the anti-racists and Republicans are the racists. I guess Abraham Lincoln must have been a Democrat? And the "Jim Crow" laws of the old South must have been put in place by Republicans? No need to guess, is there?
And which party voted in higher percentages for the 1964 civil rights act? The actual percentages of "yes" votes were: Republicans 80% in the House and 82% in the Senate versus Democrats 63% in the House and 69% in the Senate. In fact, in the 26 major civil rights votes after 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the votes. So how do the Leftist liars get away with it? I guess hardly anybody knows their history so that gives the liars free rein.
There is a great quiz about all those good old anti-racist Democrats here. It comes ultimately from a column by Thomas Oliver. Sample question:
3). When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights efforts in the South, the governing powers that opposed him were of which party?
Also, this article gives a much more detailed history of whether Democrats or Republicans have been more racist.
Psychopathy, elitism and hate
Much that I have said in this monograph (e.g. here, here and here) points out the good fit to reality provided by the explanation that Leftists are strongly motivated by hatred and contempt for others -- with "compassion" being merely a necessary cloak for their real motivations. Leftists want power and acclaim for themselves and when they see any power and success in others they hate it and want to tear it down. But is that consistent with Leftists being psychopathic? Are not psychopaths supposed to be devoid of normal human emotions? They are not. They certainly have large emotional deficits and a great lack of empathy but one emotion that thrives in them is hate. This can be most graphically illustrated by the case of Eric Harris, the moving spirit behind the Columbine massacres. Read this excerpt from the psychiatric conclusions about Harris and marvel at how similar Harris was to the average Leftist intellectual:
More of the psychiatric summary of Harris can be found here. And for a fuller discussion of how prevalent elitism is on the Left -- despite their claimed passion for "equality"-- see here. And for the destructive envy that is part and parcel of Leftist elitism see the discussion elsewhere under "Envy".
Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power.... Klebold is easier to comprehend, a more familiar type. He was hotheaded, but depressive and suicidal. He blamed himself for his problems. Harris is the challenge. He was sweet-faced and well-spoken. Adults, and even some other kids, described him as "nice." But Harris was cold, calculating, and homicidal. "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people," Fuselier says. Harris was not merely a troubled kid, the psychiatrists say, he was a psychopath.
In popular usage, almost any crazy killer is a "psychopath." But in psychiatry, it's a very specific mental condition that rarely involves killing, or even psychosis. "Psychopaths are not disoriented or out of touch with reality, nor do they experience the delusions, hallucinations, or intense subjective distress that characterize most other mental disorders," writes Dr. Robert Hare, in Without Conscience, the seminal book on the condition. (Hare is also one of the psychologists consulted by the FBI about Columbine.. ) "Unlike psychotic individuals, psychopaths are rational and aware of what they are doing and why. Their behavior is the result of choice, freely exercised." Diagnosing Harris as a psychopath represents neither a legal defense, nor a moral excuse. But it illuminates a great deal about the thought process that drove him to mass murder. Diagnosing him as a psychopath was not a simple matter. Harris opened his private journal with the sentence, "I hate the f---ing world." ... It rages on for page after page and is repeated in his journal and in the videos he and Klebold made. But Fuselier recognized a far more revealing emotion bursting through, both fueling and overshadowing the hate. What the boy was really expressing was contempt.
He is disgusted with the morons around him. These are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he's not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority. It may look like hate, but "It's more about demeaning other people," says Hare.
A second confirmation of the diagnosis was Harris' perpetual deceitfulness. "I lie a lot," Eric wrote to his journal. "Almost constantly, and to everybody, just to keep my own ass out of the water. Let's see, what are some of the big lies I told? Yeah I stopped smoking. For doing it, not for getting caught. No I haven't been making more bombs. No I wouldn't do that. And countless other ones."
Harris claimed to lie to protect himself, but that appears to be something of a lie as well. He lied for pleasure, Fuselier says. "Duping delight"-psychologist Paul Ekman's term-represents a key characteristic of the psychopathic profile.
Harris married his deceitfulness with a total lack of remorse or empathy-another distinctive quality of the psychopath. Fuselier was finally convinced of his diagnosis when he read Harris' response to being punished after being caught breaking into a van. Klebold and Harris had avoided prosecution for the robbery by participating in a "diversion program" that involved counseling and community service. Both killers feigned regret to obtain an early release, but Harris had relished the opportunity to perform. He wrote an ingratiating letter to his victim offering empathy, rather than just apologies. Fuselier remembers that it was packed with statements like Jeez, I understand now how you feel and I understand what this did to you.
"But he wrote that strictly for effect," Fuselier said. "That was complete manipulation. At almost the exact same time, he wrote down his real feelings in his journal: 'Isn't America supposed to be the land of the free? How come, if I'm free, I can't deprive a stupid f---ing dumbshit from his possessions if he leaves them sitting in the front seat of his f---ing van out in plain sight and in the middle of f---ing nowhere on a Frif---ingday night. NATURAL SELECTION. F---er should be shot.' "
Harris' pattern of grandiosity, glibness, contempt, lack of empathy, and superiority read like the bullet points on Hare's Psychopathy Checklist....
It must again be stressed, however, that we are talking about committed Leftists here rather than voters for Left-leaning political parties. It is the Leftist leaders and ideologues who are clearly psychopathic. Some Leftist followers may be too but probably not predominantly. Julie Burchill has a column in The Guardian which makes that point most emphatically -- saying that the mass of supporters for Leftist causes are decent but naive folk led astray by a small group of bloodthirsty psychopaths. As an only partly reformed Leftist herself, she is in a position to have some insight.
Clinton as a psychopath
And there can surely be no more prominent leadership position than President of the United States. So who is unquestionably the ex-President that Leftists still swoon over? As noted already above, it is William Jefferson Clinton, of course. Leftists identify with him enormously. So what sort of person is he? There is little doubt that Clinton is/was a psychopath:
* Jesse Jackson once described him as "immune to shame," someone who at the core consisted of "absolutely nothing . . . nothing but an appetite."
* Or as former senator Bob Kerrey famously characterized him: "an unusually good liar -- unusually good". And Jackson and Kerrey were both on Clinton's side of the political fence.
* And as The Wall St. Journal points out, Clinton, despite his Leftist credentials, changed very little in America during his time in office. He mainly carried forward processes that were already underway. Why? Because he had to spend such a huge amount of his time just defending his repeated amoral behaviour in his personal life.
* And even Clinton's much-noted personal charm is characteristic of psychopaths.
* And the stupid lie about how his wife Hillary got her name (from Sir Edmund) is typically psychopathic in the way it gave him only a trivial gain in return for revealing himself as a compulsive liar.
* And his pardoning of utter rogues during the closing hours of his administration was also breathtakingly cynical and amoral.
But none of that bothered his admirers during his Presidency, of course. So if people reveal their own outlook by those they admire, the psychopathy of committed Leftists is well revealed by their admiration of Clinton. His psychopathic character is so marked and central to him that it has to be a large part of the reason WHY committed Leftists like him. Telling a good and impressive story regardless of its truth and without any belief in it WAS Clinton. And it largely IS Leftism too. Clinton is/was as shallow as a birdbath. Like all psychopaths, he was simply glib.
And, for anybody who knows psychopaths, what a classic psychopathic performance this was:
"Sitting before a rapt audience of thirty-somethings, the former president recounted the childhood horrors of a negative body image and a drunken stepfather and the grown-up challenges of brutal Republicans and journalists who live to hurt politicians' feelings. Oprah was, at all times, duly sympathetic and handled the subject of adultery with considerable skill: Scolding her guest with affectionate concern, she drew from her audience laughter and applause simultaneously. This enabled Mr. Clinton to smile in his trademark boyish fashion and pledge that marathon counseling had made him a better man, better husband, better father, better president and better guest on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.'"
The psychopath will say whatever it takes to gain sympathy and approval -- and he is very good at detecting what it takes.
There is also an interview with Clinton here (plus some comments) which shows psychopathic features. Note the total lack of any sense of guilt or remorse for anything he did and the wild theories put forward to explain the attacks on him. It's his "enemies" who harmed him, not his own lack of any morality or responsibility. Psychopaths all think that they can do no wrong and very commonly explain their difficulties by saying that people are just out to "get" them.
John Kerry as a psychopath
Democrat Presidential candidate for the year 2004, John Kerry, is another rather clearly psychopathic figure. He made much in his campaign of his service in Vietnam so let us for starters look at just one excerpt from what his fellow servicemen at the time recollect of him:
George Bates, another officer in Coastal Division 11, participated in numerous operations with Kerry from January 1969 to March 1969. In Bates' view, Kerry was a coward who overreacted with deadly force when he felt threatened. Bates, a retired Navy captain, believed that Kerry treated the South Vietnamese in an almost criminal manner.
Bates is haunted by a particular patrol with Kerry on the Song Bo De River in early 1969. With Kerry in the lead, their Swift Boats approached a small hamlet with three to four grass huts. Pigs and chickens were milling around. As the boats drew closer, the villagers fled. There were no political symbols or flags in evidence. It was obvious to Bates that existing policies, decency and good sense required the boats simply to move on.
Instead, Kerry beached his boat. Upon his command, numerous small animals were slaughtered by heavy-caliber machine guns. Acting more like a pirate than a naval officer, Kerry disembarked and ran around with a Zippo lighter, burning up the entire hamlet.
Bates was appalled by the hypocrisy of Kerry's quick shift to the role of a peace activist condemning war crimes upon his return home. Even today, Bates describes Kerry as a man without a conscience.
(Quote from p. 62-63 of "Unfit for command" by J.E. O'Neill and J.R. Corsi)
The last sentence is of course the characteristic lay summary of psychopaths. So let us look a little further. Sometimes little things can tell you a lot and John Kerry's totally implausible story about his dog is an example of that. It is a classic psychopathic lie -- something said which earns momentary acclaim but which is uttered without any thought of its being found out as false.
Given the chronic lying of psychopaths, this story also begins to makes sense. It claims that the details of his war record posted on the net by John Kerry are fraudulent: "I looked at that Web site and the first thing I looked at was Kerry's Silver Star citation. Guess what? It is for an action that took place in 1969, but it is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Strangely, Lehman was secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987,"
It is also now rather clear why Kerry made his outrageous claims about American war crimes as soon as he got back from Vietnam. As well as the incident mentioned above, the sampan incident and various others incidents indicate that Kerry himself was a war criminal and it seems to be a reflexive Leftist strategy to accuse others of what are in fact their own faults (Freudian "projection").
And read again the summary at the beginning of this section on psychopathy and note what is says about the typical psychopath: "a willingness to look out for number one that leaves the greatest egotists in the dust. He.. will lie, cheat, steal, and kill without the slightest remorse... " And then note this summary of Kerry's vast egotism by the infamously partisan Leftist columnist Maureen Dowd:
For his entire life, he was seen as so ambitious to be president, as so eager to consort with heiresses, that it was off-putting; his St. Paul's classmates played "Hail to the Chief" on kazoos when he walked by, and in the Senate, Bob Dole mocked the Massachusetts senator's love of cameras by nicknaming him "Live Shot".
If that is what his friends say about him.....
Obama as a psychopath
It is probably pointless to add more and more examples of sub-clinical psychopathy among prominent Leftists so perhaps just a few notes about President Barack Obama will suffice:
"Speaking early this month at a church in Selma, Ala., Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said: "I'm in Washington. I see what's going on. I see those powers and principalities have snuck back in there, that they're writing the energy bills and the drug laws." . . .
Like Clinton and Kerry, Obama is just another glib rogue.
But not only did Obama vote for the Senate's big energy bill in 2005, he also put out a press release bragging about its provisions, and his Senate Web site carries a news article about the vote headlined, "Senate energy bill contains goodies for Illinois." . . .
On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported that an extensive search found no basis for an episode Obama recounts [in his 1995 book, "Dreams From My Father"] about a picture he ran across in Life magazine of a "black man who had tried to peel off his skin" in a failed effort to use chemicals to lighten it. Obama writes that "seeing that article was violent for me, an ambush attack." The Tribune reported: "Yet no such Life issue exists, according to historians at the magazine. No such photos, no such article. When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, 'It might have been an Ebony or it might have been . . . who knows what it was?' (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)" . . .
As another example, consider Obama's stirring tale for the Selma audience about how he had been conceived by his parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, because they had been inspired by the fervor following the "Bloody Sunday" voting rights demonstration that was commemorated March 4. "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala.," he said, "because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Ala. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Ala."
Obama was born in 1961, and the Selma march occurred four years later, in 1965. The New York Times reported that when the senator was asked about the discrepancy later that day, he clarified: "I meant the whole civil rights movement."
A significant waffle
Obama's now-famous 2008 remark: "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" has been much noted. Google has over 19,000 mentions of it. And the message taken from it has generally been that Obama is a haughty elitist who does not like to be questioned. I think that there is much more than that to it, however. Read the following contemporary report to put it in context:
Early morning trainers and exercisers at the Greenville, Miss., YMCA on Mississippi primary day last Tuesday got a taste of Sen. Barack Obama's reclusiveness, which the traveling press corps has learned to accept.
After speaking at Tougaloo College on Monday night, Obama went to the "Y" at 6:30 a.m. for a workout. He greeted nobody and did not respond when people there called out to him. That aloofness has been the pattern in the Democratic presidential candidate's behavior toward reporters who cover him.
After finishing his workout, Obama returned to his gregarious campaign mode with a visit to black-owned Buck's restaurant in Greenville before leaving the state. He won Mississippi comfortably against Sen. Hillary Clinton.
The above quote and the waffle remark are both telling us the same thing: That Obama has difficulty keeping up his "nice guy" image. Keeping it up quite simply wears him out. It is not who he really is so keeping up that image tires him and he just HAS to rest from it. It is not who he really is.
And, as someone who has studied psychopathy, that is very familiar to me. Psychopaths also typically present a "nice guy" image -- something that sucks in the females wholesale. The psychopath says and does all the right things and people promptly put their trust in him. And then when they least expect it, he "goes bad" on them. "Why did he do that?" is the typical distressed response, "He was so nice and then he went and did ....".
The sucker in the story gets very thoroughly betrayed and has no clue as to why the psychopath suddenly changed. The answer, of course, is that the nice guy act was all a pretense in the first place and because it was not genuine the psychopath just could not keep it up for long. The "change" that distressed the sucker was the mask being dropped and the psychopath reverting to his true type.
And that is what we see in both reports of Obama's behaviour above. By the time he got to his waffle he just could not keep up his act, even under the full glare of media scrutiny. He HAD to have a rest from acting. So the Obama we saw on the campaign trail is just a false front for the very dismal soul that lies beneath it.
The examples above are about Obama on the campaign trail but the typically psychopathic lack of moral anchors was readily observable during his Presidency too -- as Tibor Machan observes. An excerpt: "There is no black and white for the man–no one, not even a vicious terrorist and a leader of a country in which women are systematically and barbarically oppressed, justifies for him any sort of firm moral condemnation. Like those ever-permissive parents who always have an excuse for what their offspring are doing, no matter how mischievous or outright evil it manages to be, for Mr. Obama those who attack America, actually attack innocents everywhere, just could not be all bad, unworthy of understanding."
And here's a classic bit of psychopathy as described by Thomas Sowell:
Innumerable facts, however, show that it is our Commander in Chief who is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. That date is important, as we shall see.
And another example that is greatly amusing for its discrepancy with what he later did. The huge expansion of Federal debt under Obama could have no better critic than Obama himself. Here is what he said in March 2006:
In his speech -- delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn't use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience -- he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.
Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.
Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be "part of the American family." But the people in New Orleans -- predominantly black -- "they don't care about as much," according to Barack Obama.
If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it -- rub people's emotions raw to hype their resentments. And this was Barack Obama in his old community organizer role, a role that should have warned those who thought that he was someone who would bring us together, when he was all too well practiced in the arts of polarizing us apart.
Why is the date of this speech important? Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.
Truth is not a job requirement for a community organizer. Nor can Barack Obama claim that he wasn't present the day of that Senate vote, as he claimed he wasn't there when Jeremiah Wright unleashed his obscene attacks on America from the pulpit of the church that Obama attended for 20 years.
Unlike Jeremiah Wright's church, the U.S. Senate keeps a record of who was there on a given day. The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against -- repeat, AGAINST -- the legislation which included the waiver.
When he gave that demagogic speech, in a feigned accent and style, it was world class chutzpah and a rhetorical triumph. He truly deserves the title Phony in Chief.
If you know any true believers in Obama, show them the transcript of his June 5, 2007 speech at Hampton University (available from the Federal News Service) and then show them page S6823 of the Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, which lists which Senators voted which way on the waiver of the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans.
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
Typically psychopathic feigned principles. It sounded good but was ignored when something else suited him.
Summary of the psychology of the Left
All explanations simply push the need for explanation one step further back. If you show that Y is caused by X then the next question is obviously, "what causes X?". I think that what has been said so far has taken us through several such steps. We initially saw that ideologically-committed Leftists (as distinct from the much larger number of people who vote for Left-leaning political parties at election time) are motivated by a love of change. As the second step we saw that they love change because it gives them opportunities to strut and feed their large but weak egos in various ways -- including giving them opportunites for gaining power.
Now however we have come to the point of suggesting that the emotional shallowness that a large but weak ego implies may in fact be just one symptom of a much broader and more serious emotional and intellectual deficit -- psychopathy. Psychopaths are after all renowned for their emotional shallowness -- to the point where they can at times seem entirely devoid of emotion. Additionally, we have seen that Leftists not only have the moral imbecility of the psychopath but in fact proudly proclaim it -- in their "postmodernist" doctrine (See here) that everything is relative and nothing is better or worthier than anything else (except when it suits Leftists, of course). We have also seen that the other major characteristics of the psychopath -- indifference to brutality and reliance on lies -- are present in spades among Leftists. And most of all, the sense of superiority to others and the masked contempt for others are at once very psychopathic and very Leftist.
In a basic sense, then, it has been proven that Leftists are psychopathic: They have all the symptoms. To show that they and clinical psychopaths have similar brain function would be the next step but the study of psychopathy itself is still only in its infancy so that step would seem a long way off as yet. Psychologists might consider it a useful step to examine whether or not Leftists score high on standard questionnaires that are used to detect psychopathy but I have shown elsewhere the large problems in that.
In summary, then, Leftism at its deepest level would seem to be a form of sub-clinical psychopathy -- not normally severe enough to get the person into much trouble but severe enough to cause lots of trouble for others.
Clickable index to the above article:
Leftist amorality as sub-clinical psychopathy
Principles? What principles?
Psychopathic tolerance of brutality among "liberals"
A brief summary of Leftist amorality and indifference to suffering
Is Leftism juvenile rather than psychopathic?
Psychopathic Leftist reliance on lies and dishonesty
Leftists as practitioners of "the big lie"
Psychopathy, elitism and hate
Clinton as a psychopath
John Kerry as a psychopath
Obama as a psychopath
Index page for this site
DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.
BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:
"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED
"Leftists as Elitists"
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Bank of Queensland blues
There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)
Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)
Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: