Misdiagnosis

The extended post—election public despair of disappointed Democrats has been nearly as remarkable as the Republican victory, its supposed proximate cause. Therapists, anxious to keep their couches warm, have rushed in to make up a self—serving syndrome for their clients to overcome, 'Post Election Selection Trauma.'

A nice bit of marketing, that. Most important is the acronym PEST. Turn the electoral mandate of George W. Bush into a public affliction, with overtones of vermin as the root cause. Throw in a hot button word like 'selection' to get to the right four letters, dredging up memories of the 2000 Florida recount and Supreme Court ruling, even at the cost of a silly redundancy like 'election selection.'

The left in America loves to medicalize problems. Radical physicians define guns as a 'public health problem,' after all. Making the voice of the majority into a malign source of illness adds victimization to the mix, another marketing appeal virtually irresistible to self—absorbed potential clients walking around with too much money in their pockets. The solution to losing the election is not to reflect upon the inadequacies of your political doctrine or campaign machinery, but to wallow in self—pity and spend money on a sympathetic ear and a voice ready to tell you that 'doggone it, people like you.'

In fact, there is a serious psychological problem among many in the left wing camp, but the 'election selection' is not the cause, but merely an occasion for its visibility.

Over the past forty years, since the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, many of those on the left have a built a set of assumptions about themselves, their role and value in society, and their personal worthiness as human beings, based heavily on the assumed virtue of their political alignment.

'I am a good person, despite my flaws, because my political intentions are virtuous,' is the approximate narrative. 'I may leave a five percent tip for a single mom waitress, but because I support free day care for her kids, free medical care for her, and want to tax her mean employer, who ought to be paying her better, I am a good person.'

The liberal thus finds redemption for his sins via ideology. He can behave badly toward those less powerful and wealthy than he, and yet still be an exemplar of virtue, merely by believing in and voting for the liberal candidate.

Of course, this is absurd on its face, since behavior matters more than words or ideas. Thus, it is necessary to create a bogeyman: 'I am a good person because I am not at all like a bad person,' goes the syllogism. Bad people are like Republicans, and especially they are like George W. Bush. They come from Texas, where black men are dragged on chains behind trucks. They speak haltingly and mispronounce 'nuclear' (unless they are Jimmy Carter, in which case it is okay, and just a regional dialect). They are the enemies of those Teresa Heinz charmingly called the common people.

So George W. Bush's inherent badness becomes the necessary condition of the goodness of the liberals, who base their self—concept on politics. This a very fragile psychological foundation, to put it mildly. But it gets worse.

"To be a liberal (oops, we don't want to call ourselves that: people tend to laugh at us when we do) is to be on the side of history. We will make things better by using the marvelous tool of government to make things better." So they call themselves 'progressives' and presume that victory must be inevitable. Setbacks are merely temporary aberrations. (Nobody dares mention that the foundation of this doctrine of historical inevitability wrote his masterwork, Das Kapital, in the Reading Room of the British Museum, and that he gave birth to the most murderous political doctrine of the 20th Century, surpassing even National Socialism.)

Labels are very, very important to these folks precisely because there is so much substance to ignore.

But it has been ten years now (normally a very significant anniversary, yet one that has gone almost completely unnoted in the MSM) since the GOP won control of the House of Representatives, 'The People's House.' Bill Clinton's Democratic presidency is beginning to look more like an exception than the rule. With 55 Senators, the GOP may even be able to confirm conservative Supreme Court justices, ending the last redoubt of left wing 'progressivism' in the federal government (except for the bureaucrats themselves, of course).

They are thus genuinely scared about the political future they and the nation face. Having demonized their opponents, they have made them deeply frightening. But the true horror lies within, the destruction of the very basis of the belief that they are good people.

If the assorted therapists hogging the nation's newsprint and airwaves really wanted to help their clients, they would correct their misdiagnosis, and provide a proper name for the illness. I have a suggestion, of course: Self Concept Adjustment Malady (SCAM).

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker. He has a genuine Ph.D., but does not practice any form of therapy.

The extended post—election public despair of disappointed Democrats has been nearly as remarkable as the Republican victory, its supposed proximate cause. Therapists, anxious to keep their couches warm, have rushed in to make up a self—serving syndrome for their clients to overcome, 'Post Election Selection Trauma.'

A nice bit of marketing, that. Most important is the acronym PEST. Turn the electoral mandate of George W. Bush into a public affliction, with overtones of vermin as the root cause. Throw in a hot button word like 'selection' to get to the right four letters, dredging up memories of the 2000 Florida recount and Supreme Court ruling, even at the cost of a silly redundancy like 'election selection.'

The left in America loves to medicalize problems. Radical physicians define guns as a 'public health problem,' after all. Making the voice of the majority into a malign source of illness adds victimization to the mix, another marketing appeal virtually irresistible to self—absorbed potential clients walking around with too much money in their pockets. The solution to losing the election is not to reflect upon the inadequacies of your political doctrine or campaign machinery, but to wallow in self—pity and spend money on a sympathetic ear and a voice ready to tell you that 'doggone it, people like you.'

In fact, there is a serious psychological problem among many in the left wing camp, but the 'election selection' is not the cause, but merely an occasion for its visibility.

Over the past forty years, since the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, many of those on the left have a built a set of assumptions about themselves, their role and value in society, and their personal worthiness as human beings, based heavily on the assumed virtue of their political alignment.

'I am a good person, despite my flaws, because my political intentions are virtuous,' is the approximate narrative. 'I may leave a five percent tip for a single mom waitress, but because I support free day care for her kids, free medical care for her, and want to tax her mean employer, who ought to be paying her better, I am a good person.'

The liberal thus finds redemption for his sins via ideology. He can behave badly toward those less powerful and wealthy than he, and yet still be an exemplar of virtue, merely by believing in and voting for the liberal candidate.

Of course, this is absurd on its face, since behavior matters more than words or ideas. Thus, it is necessary to create a bogeyman: 'I am a good person because I am not at all like a bad person,' goes the syllogism. Bad people are like Republicans, and especially they are like George W. Bush. They come from Texas, where black men are dragged on chains behind trucks. They speak haltingly and mispronounce 'nuclear' (unless they are Jimmy Carter, in which case it is okay, and just a regional dialect). They are the enemies of those Teresa Heinz charmingly called the common people.

So George W. Bush's inherent badness becomes the necessary condition of the goodness of the liberals, who base their self—concept on politics. This a very fragile psychological foundation, to put it mildly. But it gets worse.

"To be a liberal (oops, we don't want to call ourselves that: people tend to laugh at us when we do) is to be on the side of history. We will make things better by using the marvelous tool of government to make things better." So they call themselves 'progressives' and presume that victory must be inevitable. Setbacks are merely temporary aberrations. (Nobody dares mention that the foundation of this doctrine of historical inevitability wrote his masterwork, Das Kapital, in the Reading Room of the British Museum, and that he gave birth to the most murderous political doctrine of the 20th Century, surpassing even National Socialism.)

Labels are very, very important to these folks precisely because there is so much substance to ignore.

But it has been ten years now (normally a very significant anniversary, yet one that has gone almost completely unnoted in the MSM) since the GOP won control of the House of Representatives, 'The People's House.' Bill Clinton's Democratic presidency is beginning to look more like an exception than the rule. With 55 Senators, the GOP may even be able to confirm conservative Supreme Court justices, ending the last redoubt of left wing 'progressivism' in the federal government (except for the bureaucrats themselves, of course).

They are thus genuinely scared about the political future they and the nation face. Having demonized their opponents, they have made them deeply frightening. But the true horror lies within, the destruction of the very basis of the belief that they are good people.

If the assorted therapists hogging the nation's newsprint and airwaves really wanted to help their clients, they would correct their misdiagnosis, and provide a proper name for the illness. I have a suggestion, of course: Self Concept Adjustment Malady (SCAM).

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker. He has a genuine Ph.D., but does not practice any form of therapy.