Whew…. Another very long day at the Weapon household. A 14 hour work day on top of making sure Mrs. Weapon stays as comfortable as possible during recovery. I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have wished us well and sent along messages each day with support and prayers. It is so encouraging to have so many people, even those who are diametrically opposed politically, who you feel really care about what happens in your real world. As an update, Mrs. Weapon is doing well, still in a lot of pain, but getting better. With any luck, we will have a full recovery and she will be back to writing me “honey-do” lists in no time. Recovery is expected to take about 4 weeks, so we are almost through the first one. However this long day left me with little time tonight. But as I was reading some news and stuff, this article stood out to me. So I figured I would share the article with a few thoughts from me scattered in between.
It seems to me that the Huffington Post, while offering what I think is a left leaning, but fair account of things from that happen, employs some folks who are simply off the reservation with the madness that they spout. I already spent some time exposing a extremely partisan fruitcake over there in Bob Cesca (who’s incoherent ramblings about Baucus’s farce of a bill would be so much better without his bitter partisanship clouding every single sentence he writes). And now I will take aim at another writer over there, because I found this article, written as though it is an actual psychological analysis, to show how desperately in need of a psychiatrist some of those on the left can be. This time it is clinical psychologist Bryant Welch. And he sees the folks questioning things on the right as mentally ill and brainwashed. I will let you all decide what you think:
Why Obama Had to Have Been Born in Kenya
Why are there so many “crazies” coming out of the woodwork to attack public officials with their views that defy reality? And why are they so angrily insistent on those views?
As a psychologist I believe the answers to these two questions have profound significance for our nation’s mental health and will determine whether America will have the mental capacity to confront the increasingly complex challenges that confront us. (I simply wonder, Mr. Welch, whether you were asking these same questions when the “crazies” were out doing the exact same things to President Bush? Were you questioning the mental capacity of those who claimed George Bush brought the Twin Towers down? I didn’t think so.)
Of course we know these people are lied to by increasingly effective and ruthless Republican strategists operating in patriotic sounding front organizations. They are indoctrinated 24 hours a day by Fox News and proselytized to by the Religious Right. (This might have been the line that caught my attention the most. I am willing to admit that Fox News is skewed these days. But are you really going to attempt to say that those on the left aren’t indoctrinated 24 hours a day by MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Huffington Post, and proselytized to by the socialist “greater good” movement? Get a grip sir and take a look in the mirror at your own side before thou starts casting any stones)
But that still takes our “why” question only so far. What is it about the mind that makes so many people accept a reality that is so much at odds with the reality that we hold? There is nothing subjective about the reality issues in play here. Obama was born in Hawaii and there are no death squads in Obama’s plan. So what gives? (No there are no death squads, but there are things that in a worst case scenario could lead to government panels making life and death decisions, regardless of how much the left and the media attempt to ignore what is written there) (And by the way, by “What is it about the mind that makes so many people accept a reality that is so much at odds with the reality that we hold,” did you mean like the false reality that everyone is a racist, or that insurance companies are supposed to be a charity organization, or that nationalized health care actually works, or that man actually causes global warming and can do something about it? Which one of these false realities are you talking about?)
In a recent book, I tried to answer these “why” questions from a psychologist’s perspective. Here is the most succinct way I have been able to articulate it.
We take our sense of what is real and what is not real for granted. We shouldn’t. We each actually form our own unique “reality sense” with our mind that assimilates an infinitely complex bombardment of stimuli from outside us and from within. It is no simple task, and the most miraculous part of the human mind is that it is able to create a coherent reality at all.
The problem is that in times of extreme uncertainty the mind has a hard time creating this reality sense. The mind becomes confused. This can be caused by external events in our world, such as rapid change or inner psychological states — for example, when we are experiencing strong emotions like paranoia, envy, or challenges to our sexual identity. (Well that would certainly explain the positions of the far right AND THE FAR LEFT)
In this state of confusion, the mind does not do very well at all. When it feels sufficiently uncertain about what is real and what is not real, it panics. Ultimately the mind will fragment if it is not able to create a cohesive reality sense with a reassuring sense of what is real and what is not real. The breakdown in this ability to form a coherent reality sense is the primary difference between sanity and madness. Thus, it is not too surprising that for many people it is more important to have some reality sense than it is to have a correct reality sense. Of course, people differ greatly in their ability to tolerate ambiguity and in their ability to create a reality sense in times of stress. But for someone in an acute state of uncertainty, it is any port in a storm when it comes to reality formation.
And this is where things go awry. Current right-wing politics is an art form that is designed to re-define reality for a class of people who are increasingly unable to establish their own sense of reality. Instead, they succumb and become increasingly dependent on someone else to tell them what is real and what is not real. In their regressed psychological state, under certain conditions, many people will accept as real whatever they are told by an authoritative sounding figure be it Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O’Reilly. (Current Left-wing politics is an art form that is designed to re-define reality for a class of people who are increasingly unable to DEAL with what is really reality. Instead, they succumb and become increasingly dependent on someone else to tell them what is real and who’s fault it is that they are not getting ahead. In this state, many people will accept as real whatever they are told by an authoritative sounding figure be it Nancy Pelosi, Keith Olbermann, Timothy Geithner, or Barack Obama)
And the more people lean on these people to provide that function, the more dependent they become on them, and the less able they are to think for themselves. (Amen Brother. Oh, you meant the people on the right…. sorry) As this process continues people will accept ever more outrageous ideas. Death squads in health care? Obama secretly born in Kenya? Okay. (As this process continues people will accept ever more outrageous ideas. The rich are hoarding all the wealth and don’t deserve what they earn. Freedom and liberty should be sacrificed for some bizarre concept of “the greater good,” or even something as crazy as Cap and Trade will work to stop global warming and will not result in energy prices skyrocketing. Okay.)
The value people like Limbaugh and O’Reilly have for these people is that without them people simply cannot make sense of their world. They are in a state of confusion unless and until someone offers them a reality that “explains” things enough that they at least feel they understand what is going on in the world. Only then is their panic and anxiety abated. (The value people like Obama and Pelosi have for these people is that without them people simply cannot make sense of the fact that they cannot simply quit their jobs and expect others to pay their way. They are in a state of confusion until someone offers them a reality that “explains” things in a way that reinforces to them that none of their failures are any fault of their own. Only then is their self worth and trust in government restored)
The “reality” sense they are handed has to be simple enough that they can readily understand it. The devil was one of the earliest bogeymen for a reason. We create a “devil box” and everything that needs explanation comes from the devil box.(And I submit to you that you have explained this part very well. The “devil box” is currently both “the rich” and those “evil white racists”)
So if you paint a Hitler-like mustache on a picture of Obama and toss in the word “socialist” things begin to make sense and come into a focus no matter how distorted that “focus” is. (Again did you have the same “psychological assessmeent” when they called Bush Hitler and had “fascist” on the sign?) Again, it is better to have a reality sense that is wrong than to have no reality sense at all. In the latter case one enters a state of complete fragmentation or madness.
The portrayal of someone, in this case Obama, as the devil incarnate serves multiple functions. It organizes a person’s world by explaining so much so simply, and it also offers an explanation of why the person has been feeling so apprehensive. They were not afraid of their own psychological fragmentation. Instead, the danger is external in the form of Obama. Better the enemy be outside of oneself than inside oneself. (I really hope by this point, Mr. Welch, that you are not so silly as to not see that you can apply this same analysis to the folks on the left. Because they don’t point to a single person doesn’t eliminate the fact that the left has done a great job of painting “the rich” and “capitalism” as their version of the devil incarnate)
And, of course, if Obama is a foreigner from Kenya their fear is much more understandable and helpful in arranging our inner world. The “birthers'” insistence on their reality, even in the face of Obama’s birth verification from Hawaii and the copy of the newspaper announcement of his birth, reflects the deep psychological need these people have to maintain the view of reality that was handed to them. Once their reality is established people are reluctant to retrace the steps of uncertainty that has led them to their illogical position. To do so they have to traverse their route back through the uncertainty they were trying to escape in the first place. (again, a phenomenal explanation of the psychosis of the far left in America. They are not willing to apply reason to their arguments against “earned wealth” or “capitalism”. Excellent point that they aren’t even willing to retrace their steps to find the point where they left the path of reason)
And make no mistake about it, the conservative element in America has a very good understanding of how this process works inside the mind, the critical sense of timing it requires, and how one must deliver the powerful messages in repetitive depth charges to the human mind. (You simply fascinate me with your ability to describe to a tee the liberal movement in America. Timing has been everything, and no one knows better the importance of a unified message being drilled into people’s head better than the Liberal strategists and media folks who take part in that daily morning conference call with Rahm Emanuel and James Carville)
The democrats are still lagging very far behind in this regard and still think the public is engaged in a substantive discussion of the issues. They ignore the reality of the human mind time and time again. (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL… Sorry I simply couldn’t help myself here. The Democrats are lagging behind? They have done a PHENOMENAL job of brainwashing a mindless American public. And the far left has understood the meaning of the word reality since the early 1900’s)
There are two critical elements to this form of “reality” politics. One is timing. The other is certainty. To exploit this vulnerability in the mind, the time to strike is at the very first moment of uncertainty that people feel, before they have formed any reality of their own and before they become attached to anyone else’s view of reality. This is why the swift-boating was so effective. John Kerry was “unfit to lead” before he even introduced himself to the American public. (It is also why the redistribution of wealth targeting was so effective. Americans were at the mercy of mean old Wall Street before the month of September ended. Superb timing indeed sir)
With the current health care debate, a black man is offering a government designed health care plan that is largely undefined. Health care is too complicated and confusing for most people anyway, and Obama is a “foreigner.” Latent paranoid fears and uncertainty are not hard to understand. In such a state, many people are receptive to anyone who presents him or herself with a strong angry argument that organizes their world and gives some extrinsic explanation for the anxiety they are feeling. Anger is a tremendous organizer. Angry people may not think clearly, but they are very certain of themselves. This is what we are seeing in the town hall meetings. (It is also what we saw at the polls last November. Anger at Bush got Obama elected. Are you denying that Obama was tapping solely into the paranoid madness that is the American sentiment of the rich white men are hoarding all the money and keeping the rest of us from succeeding. Jesus, dude, you really are not that bright to have a psychology degree)
So what should progressives do? Do we have to be like the far right and beat them at their own game? No, not at all. But we do have to hoist them on their own petard. We have to expose the manipulations and the manipulators with a torrential counterattack that is focused on the manipulations, not a message that emphasizes some irrelevant “positive” message such as how important health reform is. (And this is exactly what the far right needs to do to combat the absolute craziness on the far left. The only problem is they don’t have the media on their side as well. A troubling obstacle. But you know what? The far left will eventually lose anyway because even mentally challenged folks know a losing proposition when they see it)
Instead, we need to harness the rage that is ubiquitous in this country because of all the uncertainty and the confusion. That is the energy that is driving health care and most political life in America at the present time. We need to harness it for constructive purposes, exposing the puppeteers and the corporate interests that are behind them (I suggest that before you go this route, you check the campaign contributions of your majority party, including your President. You might be surprised to find their pockets are equally filled by THOSE EXACT SAME PUPPETEERS AND CORPORATE INTERESTS). Health care is ultimately a populist issue, but we are not igniting the populist rage that drives all populism. Until progressives learn this lesson they will lose. (Or perhaps you need to understand that a majority of the population doesn’t support your bullshit health care reform plan, hence why the “populist issue” isn’t so popular)
Those Pollyannas who thought that with Obama’s election progressives had won were very naïve. If we learn nothing else from the birthers and the deathers, if we learn that we must work with the deeper strata of the human mind, it will be an invaluable lesson.
Bryant Welch is a clinical psychologist and attorney. He is the author of State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind (St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
Read the original article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bryant-welch/why-obama-had-to-have-bee_b_262639.html
OK so there it is. Something a bit easier for me on a tough day. But you have to admit that reading this guy’s explanations really does apply as much to the freakshow that is the far left as it does to the freakshow that is the far right. I know this ended up being a bit petty, but every now and then you have to call out those that spout absolute nonsense and expose them for what they are. When the left gets to the point where psychologists are coming out and writing articles stating that those opposed to Obama are clinically “mental”, I think it is fair to say that we have crossed the line. This article was complete nonsense from a man who is too smart (according to his degree anyway) to not see the absolute contradictions and connections that were present. It took me, a guy who is NOT a clinical psychologist, all of a half hour to add the comments in that show the absolute absurdity of his using this argument against the far right.