American Politics and Psychology
Commentary for 12 October 2014
Perception of the truth about the real environment, especially an understanding of the human personality and its values, ceases to be a virtue during the so-called ‘happy’ times; thoughtful doubters are decried…. This, in turn, leads to an impoverishment of psychological knowledge, the capacity of differentiating the properties of human nature and personality, and the ability to mold minds creatively. The cult of power thus supplants those mental values so essential for maintaining law and order by peaceful means. A nation’s enrichment or involution regarding its psychological world view could be considered an indicator of whether its future will be good or bad.
- Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology, p. 60
It may be argued that American politics is about the lies we tell ourselves, as a nation. Our politicians do not generally offer us a menu of solutions, but a menu of self-deceptions. They tell us what we want to hear. They tell us how innovative we are, and how powerful we are, and how strong our union is. All the while our government spending is out of control. Our economy is sluggish and hampered by regulations. That we are dying, as a society, they do not tell us; for the family is dying, fatherhood is under attack, motherhood is under attack; and that coldest of all cold monsters, the state, is taking charge of everyone and everything. Hope and change, it is called. But everywhere, as the poem says, the “ceremony of innocence is drowned.”
Elsewhere I have suggested that conservatism is now the work of political undertakers whose job it is to make the corpse appear better than it did in life. Meanwhile, liberalism partakes of a neurotic venture – a void in search of a void, a weakness incapable of conviction or endurance yearning for order and authority precisely because it hasn’t any. It is this weakness which best characterizes our inner state, in political terms – as an emptiness of soul by way of a fabricated compassion for a suffering humanity. It is a fraud all around. And those who believe it are both perpetrators and victims.
In my recent interview with former Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore we get a glimpse at a political system in crisis through the eyes of a hopeful, though worried, professional. Though we should avoid exaggeration, our political trajectory bears a decided resemblance to those failed states and nations of the past. “There is a dearth of children,” the Greek historian Polybius wrote in the second century B.C. “The libraries are like tombs, permanently shut,” wrote Ammianus Marcellinus in the fourth century A.D. The family degenerates, real learning goes into decline and is replaced with fake learning.
Today we see that the family is in trouble. We can see that the birth rate is falling off. As for our intellectual culture, consider the state of our universities. Here we do not find an institution seeking truth as much as propagating political correctness. Here we find a narrow self-hating cult of leftist agitators, Marxists, environmentalists, and secret enemies of society who make policy and promote their friends (along with their own twisted views). Of course, there are normal people doing work at universities. But these no longer color the whole. On most campuses there is an undercurrent of subversive influences. Thomas Sowell has described them as seeing “no need to consult history or any other validation process beyond peer consensus of other similarly disposed intellectuals when discussing intellectual issues.”
It is truly madness when people pay good money for their children to be indoctrinated by the enemies of the very capitalist system that made such education possible in the first place. Andrew Lobaczewski argues in his book (Political Ponerology) that we are in the midst of a grand Hysteroidal Cycle in which contentment attends a growing immorality and psychological blindness which necessarily culminates in the selection of bad men as political leaders, and the teaching of bad ideas in the universities. Under a prosperous regime, “subconscious factors” are said to take over as we descend into pleasant thoughts. The search for truth becomes unwanted. The unconscious elimination of inconvenient data becomes routinized. This is the result of a hysterical state which takes root when peace and prosperity have made men soft in the head. As Lobaczewski explains, “the processes of the generation of evil are intensified at every social scale … until everything resorts to ‘bad’ times.” (This indeed is what we are seeing.)
Thus victory and prosperity engendered by the the Scipios led, in Rome, to the depredations of Julius Caesar. The peace and prosperity of the Augustan Age led to the crimes of Caligula and Nero. The prosperous reigns of Antonius Pius and Marcus Aurelius led to the degeneracy of Commodus and the dark tyranny of Alexander Severus. Here we see periods of enlightened Stoicism alternating with periods of tyrannical hedonism. Such an idea should not be strange to us. We are living it.
During the last century, the great plague of Communism infected the world, made contagious by the prosperity of the ruling classes and by the thoughtless arrogance of people who only see opportunity, yet never quite see the danger. The optimistic idea that people are “good” has been disproven time and again. The fatuous nonsense which passes for political discourse has not been corrected as yet because our prosperity has survived. The socialist experimentation of the hour must, however, result in a terrible calamity. The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics was the longest running error in all history, costing tens of millions of lives. Communist China was no different. But the American Left still dreams of “power to the people,” and a balancing of economic inequalities; so it follows that a terrible bloodletting must eventually occur (either a betrayal of the country to outside socialist forces, or an internal betrayal – or a combination of both).
Those countries where socialism has been tried, in full force, have already experienced the kind of brainwashing which is popular in our colleges today. Clear-thinking persons were exterminated in many places under Communist rule. Here in America, as we approach closer and closer to a Communist type state, we find ourselves in a middle position. Some people’s careers come to an end, not because they are Communists but because they are anti-Communists. A virtual war for control of our institutions is being waged, and the patriotic side has been losing, little by little. But life is good, and the stores are full, so nobody has bothered to take effective action. As long as our prosperity continues we will turn a blind eye to the creeping red frontier. We will wink at the destruction of fatherhood and motherhood. We will wink at the demise of the family and corruption of the churches. We will wink at the socialization of health care. We will wink at the Communists in the universities. We will wink at the Communists in Congress, in the White House and in the Judiciary. We are living well, so why make a fuss?
It is hedonism which has made us so dull and so wicked. And until we suffer the full cataclysm nobody will want to hear about real solutions. Europe suffered massive destruction and loss during the last world war, with hundreds of cities in ruins and millions of civilians dead. Nazism (or National Socialism) was blamed. That’s well and good, but the blame was not extended far enough and so we must suffer another World War on account of International Socialism. The Communist Chinese regime is preparing for war even now, and the Chinese president has told his generals to get ready. From the article cited:
Xi Jinping commands the PLA to be battle-ready. The state media uses harsh words like ‘unswerving,’ ‘unflinching,’ ‘uncompromising.’ A defense academic warns the nation to prepare for World War III. An active-duty PLA major general scoffs that Japan can be ‘taught a lesson’ with a third of his forces.
At the same time, Russia intends on deploying tactical nuclear weapons into the recently-annexed Crimea. Thus, Russia not only takes the territory of a neighbor, but seals that conquest with an unbreakable nuclear seal. This movement of nukes is said to be a violation of a 1997 Russia-NATO agreement. Yet the United States government will continue to engage in nuclear disarmament talks. And the United States will continue to weaken its forces. In fact, that’s still the plan.
“Prevailing wisdom, which often isn’t all wise, holds the army shouldn’t face any problems downsizing because we’ve been down this road before,” writes Retired Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan in an article published by DefenseOne. “That’s wrong. As one who served as the Army chief of staff during the post-Cold War drawdown, I can say, unequivocally, this time is far worse.” Gen. Gordon later noted, “we are witnessing a confluence of events that have created security and defense risks that must be acknowledged and addressed.”
But they won’t be, because the enemy is inside the gates.
The damage inflicted by our enemy on 9/11 was insufficient for the purposes of intellectual and moral correction. For a few days or weeks, our collective psyche began to grasp our danger, yet we lapsed back into hedonism, and the shopping mall regime got a new lease on life. As Lobaczewski noted, “America … has reached the nadir for the first time in its short history…. The emotionalism dominating individual, collective and political life, as well as the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, are … leading to national egotism.” This egotism may also be called “narcissism.” As Jean Twenge has argued in Generation Me, the United States has become more narcissistic, especially after 1964. Various factors contributed to this, but it’s safe to say that American prosperity is a central cause. The narcissist thus produced was described in one of Agatha Christie’s stories as encased in an almost impenetrable armor. It was so impenetrable that many arrows simply glance off it. But a man encased in such armor might not know he is under attack, she explained. He would be slow to see, slow to hear, slow to realize a dangerous enemy. This is very much our condition. America’s culture of narcissism believes itself invulnerable. We are incapable of admitting that we are under attack. About this state of affairs, the master narcissist Sam Vaknin has explained, “The irony is that narcissists, who consider themselves worldly, discerning, knowledgeable, shrewd, erudite, and astute, are actually more gullible than the average person. This is because the narcissist is a fake; his self is false, his life a confabulation, his reality test gone. Narcissists live in a fantasyland all their own in which they are the center of the universe, admired, feared, held in awe, and respected for their omnipotence and omniscience.”
Ah how the mighty are fallen!
The American shopping mall regime is not in trouble because the rich exploit the poor. It is in trouble because the resulting hedonism produces an ever widening web of falsification with pathological social effects. That America’s intelligence community has failed, overall, is not understood; that the banking system has failed, overall, is not understood; that the political system is in the process of failing, overall, has not been understood. In my interview with former Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore we get a glimpse at this failure (if we know how to look). The current political system is one in which the most important issues and problems must be sidestepped, and the truth must not – and cannot – be told.