Madness Takes Its Toll: Democrats Play Psycho-Politics in the Health-Care Debate
posted at 5:03 am on December 21, 2009 by The Other McCain
“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
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!