Green Room

Madness Takes Its Toll: Democrats Play Psycho-Politics in the Health-Care Debate

posted at 5:03 am on December 21, 2009 by

“If you dismiss a priori the possibility that there are rational grounds for resisting the Liberal view of things, one necessarily looks elsewhere than to reason for explanations . . . [O]ne needs no advanced degrees in clinical psychology and psychoanalytic theory in order to penetrate the fallacy of The Authoritarian Personality.”
William F Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959), pp. 90-91

“Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our young president. They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The ‘birthers,’ the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militias and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Obama should exist. . . Our colleagues are behaving in this way – unprecedented, malignant and vindictive – because they are desperate to avoid that day of judgment, frantic and desperate now and willing to do strange and unprecedented things, willing to do anything, even throw our troops at war in the way of that day of reckoning.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dec. 20, 2009

It’s astounding.
Time is fleeting.
Madness takes its toll. . . .
I remember doing the Time Warp . . .

Riff Raff, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975

Those who don’t know history are not only doomed to repeat it, but to do so without even knowing what it is they’re repeating. Like a mad scientist toiling in his lab, Sheldon Whitehouse resurrected a long-dead monstrosity Sunday when he invoked the name of Richard Hofstadter and denounced Republicans as suffering from The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

“Vindictive passions often arise, [Hofstadter] points out, when an aggrieved minority believes that America has been taken away from their kind . . . [Hofstadter] wrote of the dangers of an aggrieved right-wing minority with the power to create what he called a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.”

To Sen. Whitehouse, “the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety” means ramming through a 2,000-page health-care bill before Christmas, by any means necessary, so that President Obama will have a major accomplishment to celebrate in his State of the Union Address next month. That is perfectly rational, according to Sen. Whitehouse and the Democrats, and therefore it is crazy to oppose them.

Without any knowledge of history — the repeated failures of liberal policies that still haunt America like the Ghost of Christmas Past — it might be tempting to believe that ObamaCare will accomplish all the wonderful goals its advocates claim without any unintended harmful consequences. Yet to the careful student of history, the failure of liberal policies is as predictable as the dishonest rhetoric used to advocate such policies.

Elitist pundits like to invoke Bill Buckley’s name when denouncing Sarah Palin and the Tea Party rabble, even though none of them seems to bother actually reading Buckley, nor do they remember what it was Buckley fought against. No conservative should be surprised that Sen. Whitehouse resurrected the mouldering corpse of Hofstadter, an academic who popularized the bogus psycho-political theories of The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno.  From my latest American Spectator column:

Adorno claimed to have proven scientifically that American conservatism was rooted in psychological maladjustment, fostering a tendency toward authoritarianism, which he asserted was the fundamental source of European fascism.
However, as Buckley explained, Adorno’s argument was a tautology based on the implicit presumption that all opposition to liberalism was illegitimate and therefore irrational. Adorno’s theory was “marvelously convenient” for liberals, Buckley said, and it has been recycled periodically ever since.
Hofstadter was among the most shrewd, persistent and opportunistic of Adorno’s disciples, applying his Freudian couch-trip method whenever the conservative menace erupted during the Cold War. In a 1954 essay, his chosen patients were “the most zealous followers of Senator McCarthy.” A decade later, on the eve of the 1964 presidential election, Hofstadter saw “angry minds at work . . . among extreme right-wingers . . . in the Goldwater movement.” This demonstrated, he said, “how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.” . . .
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, and so it is that Americans opposed to the current liberal agenda were denounced in the Senate as an “aggrieved minority,” even when the most recent Rasmussen poll shows that 56 percent of registered voters are against the Democrats’ health care bill. . . .

Please read the rest. If’ we’re doomed to repeat history, let’s at least try to understand why we’re doomed.

With a bit of a mind flip
You’re there in the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same
You’re spaced out on sensation,
Like you’re under sedation
Let’s do the Time Warp again!

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I’ll toast to that.

5u93rm4n on December 21, 2009 at 6:40 AM

Listening to the liberal democrats make their case you begin to think they are delusional. After watching the senate debate yesterday, in its entirety, I have reached the conclusion that the liberal democrats know exactly what they are doing. They are very skilled at what they do, and they do it deliberately.

Barack Obama and his cronies are doing to the United States exactly what Robert Mugabe did to Rhodesia for exactly the same reasons, in nearly the same way, and will achieve the same result.

Skandia Recluse on December 21, 2009 at 9:08 AM

I bet Sen Whitehouse doesn’t know the Democrat party founded the KKK to be their terror and intimidation wing. A task that now has been handed off to SEIU.

tarpon on December 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM

After watching the senate debate yesterday, in its entirety, I have reached the conclusion that the liberal democrats know exactly what they are doing. They are very skilled at what they do, and they do it deliberately.

First, I commend your intestinal fortitude. Secondly, you are correct. This is no accident, it’s the result of a long-ago laid plan to destroy the foundations of our great country–which is why we must fight it.

Bob's Kid on December 21, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Godwin’s law does indeed have a racism corollary. Just this morning, I was accused of hating Obama because of his skin color- and why the accusation? Because I oppose his agenda in general and his healthcare overhaul in particular.

And I didn’t even know that I was in an Aryan support group.

lionheart on December 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

textbook case of projection, make your opponent seem to have your believes.

RonK on December 22, 2009 at 1:55 PM