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Genèvievism Gone Global

Whether personal or collective, madness is madness. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is a perfect example.

by
David Solway

Bio

October 21, 2011 - 12:10 am
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Genèvieve’s mania summed up for me precisely the behavior and thought process of the political left, especially in its immunity to reason. I might read an article on a left-wing website and then step outside and meet Genèvieve, and be unable to tell the difference in their structural attitudes to the world around them. The same destructiveness is at work, and when one brings up a countermanding point, the response is the same. They reply — to paraphrase Dennis Prager — not with arguments but with placebos and deflections while “labeling their opponents ‘selfish’ and worse.” Or in the words of Michael Savage from Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder, “If there is a dissenting opinion raised…the person offering that opinion is laughed at as being an eccentric throwback to a more primitive time.”

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement, or what I prefer to call the “American Spring,” is a perfect recent example of such irrational and anti-social behavior. The wrong “perpetrator” is singled out, the stink of anti-Semitism is in the air, false justifications are mobilized, disruptive behavior is countenanced, and an impenetrable self-righteousness characterizes the entire affair. The “intellectual bankruptcy and childish behavior [of] the logically challenged Wall Street protestors,” as C. Edmund Wright puts it in American Thinker, is a textbook illustration of a country reaching the “tipping point.” Wright continues: “The mob’s understanding of reality is so stunted,” that they do not realize “the iPhones and blankets and food and even the condoms they depend on are products of a free-market capitalist system they want to demolish. These are intellectual children — and a society must have intellectual adults, or it will fail.” In short, they are the Genèvieves of the sociopolitical world.

It should be clear by this time that, as with people like Genèvieve, there is no medium of intellectual exchange with the left, that facts do not matter, that the mentality in play is naïve and jejune, that logic and evidence are helpless to convince or even to prompt the slightest reconsideration, and that practically every counter-argument can be turned on its head and interpreted as confirmation of the original idée fixe. The left is plainly susceptible to what Eric Voegelin in The New Science of Politics has called “theoretical illiteracy,” which shows itself in the form of an “axiological dream world.” In other words, a proneness to delusion, the seductive reverie of antirealism, and the habit of rejigging the past seem hardwired into the collective mindset of our leftist intelligentsia. Such minds cannot be detoxified. What we are treating with here is an aberration of epidemic proportions.

And at the root of this species of madness, wherever it may happen to surface, an “Israeli” armed with his more lethal version of a weedwhacker and staple gun is always to be found intent on troubling his neighbors. The omnibus tendency in the world press and in such institutions as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the European Union, the current American administration and, of course, “progressive” opinion in general to target Israel for any and every policy it adopts to secure its borders and defend itself against the threat to its very existence is an infallible sign of mental deracination.

The derangement of the left is nothing less than Genèvievism gone global.

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David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012.
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