A Case of Possession?

This is why it can spend its time and resources shilling for tyrants and mass murderers like Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot, and Fidel Castro while attacking democratic America as an imperialist and colonialist hegemon. This is why Jimmy Carter can lobby in favor of Hamas while vilifying Israel. This is why the despicable Che Guevara can become a poster boy for the left, but not the righteous Raoul Wallenberg. This is why the New York Times, which denounces “many on the right” for “demonizing” people, is itself entirely heedless of its own obscene history — its standing by Duranty, its suppressing news of the Holocaust, its compromising of anti-terror operations by releasing sensitive U.S. intelligence, its arraigning Israel for the crimes of the Arab Middle East, ad vomitatum. This is why the Guardian can write that “rage…is encoded in conservative DNA” without a wisp of reflexive acknowledgement of its biased and vitriolic conduct, as closely tracked by CiF Watch. This is why PBS commentator Mark Shields can blame Congressman Tom DeLay for the death of twelve coal miners in West Virginia or impute discredited CBS anchor Dan Rather’s firing to a “lynch mob,” yet decry the “deterioration of public debate and the climate that has been fostered by…hate speech.” This is why former  Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean can distinguish his party from the Republicans, saying, “This is a struggle between good and evil and we’re the good.” This is why former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark can defend Saddam Hussein and Hollywood mogul Oliver Stone can lionize Hugo Chavez, but have nothing good to say about Ronald Reagan or George Bush. In flipping the syntax of moral accountability, they acquit themselves in the court of private opinion.

Unfortunately, they are like characters in the film Inception, locked inside the third level of the dream from which they cannot escape. For what is involved is more than simple hypocrisy or classic projection. It is a disorder that reaches down into the structure of the psyche or, as some would have it, the soul. Admittedly, it doesn’t start out that way. The source of such thinking resides in the laudable impulse to create a better world based on the principles of social justice, economic parity or befitting dispensation, and reciprocal understanding. Presumably most of us are on the same page with respect to such aspirations.

The trouble is that this noble passion is inevitably perverted in the minds of many by impatience and credulous idealism attended by a deep-dyed sanctimoniousness. It derives from a set of serious flaws of character and attitude, namely, the puerile conviction that the world is ultimately perfectible in toto, the correlative belief that beneficial change can be achieved only by drastic, often violent but always radical upheaval, and the assumption that we — the bearers of such fine motives — are both on the side of the angels and wholly infallible. The contagion gradually suffuses the entire personality. The upshot is a kind of sinister enchantment that comes eventually to dominate and seize, if not consume, the mind that entertains such purposes. And such minds are to be found today chiefly on the left.

Indeed, it would make analogical sense to say that the left is effectively possessed, controlled, and channeled to resist exorcism. Facts are either forgotten, brushed aside as of no importance or, as I have argued, transmuted chiastically to sanitize the self and stigmatize the “other.” Again, what is fair “here” is foul “there,” and what is truly foul “here” somehow remains fair. From the New York Times to the Hudson Gazette, from Chris Matthews to Aislin, from top to bottom, a pathological commutation is busy, in Melanie Phillips’ words, turning the world upside down.

Its most salient characteristic is that it is hermetically sealed and immune to the “talking cure,” closed off from persuasion. Macbeth’s witches have cast an airtight spell. In an insightful article for PJM, Kyle-Anne Shiver deplores “the entire progressive meme [as] no more enlightened than an actual witch hunt.” This is true enough, but who are the real practitioners of the black art? For the rapt and hexing behavior of the left is enough to make us believe in witches again, massing on the heath, laying about them with their broomsticks, and recruiting an entire generation to the cause and rituals of ensorcellement.

One may therefore be pardoned for suspecting that the only remedy for this tranced affliction is to be found in an updated and suitably expurgated version of the Malleus Maleficarum, not to hunt for supposed heretics but to expel a morbid fixation. Or maybe a reading of psychiatrist M. Scott Peck’s Glimpses of the Devil might be of some value. On second thought, this would be unlikely since analysis and illustration are contraindicated. Amulets and incantations may be needed to purge so ghostly a calenture. Perhaps gushing hydrants of holy water will do the trick. One thing is for sure: Reason doesn’t seem to work. For as Jonathan Swift is reputed to have said, what a man has not been reasoned into, he cannot be reasoned out of.