History tells us that organizations, movements, even entire nations can go mad in much the same way an individual does, with the same expression of irrationality, frenzy, and violence. Recent evidence suggests that the American left is going through precisely such a breakdown.
In his memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Carl Jung, the psychiatric pioneer who was smarter than Freud, discussed a particular case history in which a patient told of a troubling dream: he was repeatedly confronted with the image of a howling, feces-covered baby. Jung had no immediate explanation and thought about little else for several days. At last, the solution appeared: his patient harbored a buried psychosis, one that was in danger of emerging. To his horror, Jung realized that it must be the therapy itself that was threatening his patient's sanity. Jung was presented with the dilemma of how to cut short the analysis without allowing the patient to guess the actual reason, which might well send him into a tailspin from which he would never recover. (Freud would have kept pushing until the guy was institutionalized.)
Fortunately, on his next visit, the patient asked to curtail the treatment, giving only vague reasons. A relieved Jung concurred. The patient never returned, but Jung checked on him regularly and assured himself that the man remained whole and rational, the seed of insanity remaining safely buried for the balance of his life.
What better metaphor for the current condition of the left? Leftism suffers from an equivalent psychosis -- one that is now beginning to break out. This is not by chance, but due to the ongoing collapse of the left's epic dream. Leftists have always believed that one clear shot, one opportunity to put their policies into play without opposition from "reactionary interests," would result in a political chain reaction, success leading to further success and finally absolute triumph as the New Socialist Jerusalem came into being with almost no effort on their part. This is childish fantasy, a wish-fulfillment daydream, transparent almost to the point of contempt. (It's also extremely ahistorical -- exactly such circumstances existed in 1933 and 1964 due to historical accident. Liberals botched things then exactly as they are doing now.) But for many years, it has been the only thing keeping the left going.
Leftists really believed that Obama embodied their moment. Obama held all the cards -- majorities in both houses, a slavish press that viewed him as no less than a godling, an enthusiastic public, even an acquiescent international establishment, overlooking a few holdouts such as Kim and Ahmadinejad. No left-of-center president has had a smoother road before him -- not FDR, not Lyndon Johnson. Yet Obama's efforts amount to utter failure -- not because of opposition from the "party of no," not because of circumstances, not because of sabotage, but because of Obama's "success" itself. He got the bills passed, guaranteed that their execution would be in the hands of extraconstitutional figures beholden only to him, and got them funded by means both legal and illegal. All of it was put into play with a smoothness that only Chicago thuggery combined with socialist chicanery could accomplish. He launched them, and they crashed, and they burned.
They crashed and burned because they cannot work. Not in a universe with natural laws that operate the way they do and with human nature constituted as it is. They have never worked anywhere they have been tried -- not in Europe, not in Asia, not in Africa, nowhere across this wide world. Obama's grand schemes have been attempted previously. The failures were hurriedly stuffed down the memory hole, enabling the left to hope for another shot sometime down the line. (No small number of people in this country -- many of them not doctrinaire leftists by any means -- truly believe that FDR "ended" the Depression.)
But today they have a problem -- several, in point of fact. The first is that the memory hole has in large part been filled in over the past decade and a half by such things as the internet and the New Media. It's no longer a simple matter to shove nationwide failures out of sight. It may not even be possible.
The second is the fact that this time, they bet the house. They put everything down on Obama. Because it had to work. Because the third time was the charm. Because O was the messiah. And now they're sitting in the casino dead broke, without another dime to lay on the table, and through the doorway they can hear the shouts of the people whose money they embezzled.
This is why the left is being overwhelmed by psychosis. Because they are up against the wall with no way out. Under such circumstances, the strong individual bites the bullet and runs for daylight. The weak fall apart. It's been a long, long time since anyone defined leftists as "strong."
The left's psychosis, like those of many individuals, involves violence. Simply put, no left-wing regime has ever attained complete power without causing the deaths of its own citizens on a mass scale. We need simply give a short roll call of the bloody names: the USSR, Red China, "Democratic Kampuchea," Cuba, Vietnam...these speak well enough for themselves.
Some of the mortality incurred by social-nationalist states is caused by accident -- policies that simply don't work out (this includes hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. itself, another memory-hole saga that is going to emerge back into the light come this January). But violence is the major cause -- the ubiquitous secret police, the not at all uncommon massacres, the brutal crushing of dissidents and workers' protests, and the camp networks that no leftist government can do without. A left-wing state cannot exist without violence because there is no other method of keeping the people in line once the inevitable policy failures occur.
The policy failures are piling up in this country. So it is no coincidence to find violence breaking out in their wake.
Let's go to the video:
- In Philadelphia on election day in 2008, two members of the New Black Panthers planted themselves outside a polling station wearing bogus military gear, one of them armed with a nightstick. Several potential voters were chased away. The case, uncontested by the defendants, was suddenly dropped by the Justice Department. It has taken over a year to establish that the highest levels of the department ordered an end to litigation involving electoral violations by minorities -- that, in other words, Panther violence was to be sponsored and encouraged at the highest levels of the federal government.
- Kenneth Gladney was beaten by union goons in St. Louis in August 2009 for selling patriotic items outside a town hall meeting in an effort to supplement his unemployment payments. Gladney was worked over badly enough to be hospitalized. Legal proceedings began last April but have not progessed one iota.
- In New Orleans last April, two Republican political operatives, Allee Bautsch and Joe Brown, were attacked by anarchists after leaving a GOP dinner. Both were badly beaten, Ms. Bautsch seriously enough to require hospitalization. Although the gang leader was identified from a videotape and was of distinctive appearance (he looks like a combination of the late Frank Zappa and Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber), no arrests have been made.
- At the "Working Together" Washington union bash this past October 2, a reporter for Human Events was assaulted by a female union member. Viewing the footage, it's difficult to tell exactly what triggered the incident, but it's all part of the pattern. No arrest was made here, either.
- For well over a year, Sarah Palin and her close friend Kristan Cole have been harassed by an unbalanced individual claiming to be on some sort of mission with biblical sanction involving the punishment of the governor and her associates. This campaign escalated to outright stalking in recent weeks, when the individual sent Palin a copy of a receipt for a pistol purchase and made a threatening call to Ms. Cole from what seemed to be a local Alaska number.
Beyond the threats themselves, what's disturbing is the left-wing response. Comments on local media reports (There has been no national coverage. If Palin slipped a soda can into the regular trash, the sky would be rent asunder amid raging headlines, editorials, jabbering talk-show hosts, and the whole nine yards. But a threatened assault on a national political figure simply doesn't rate.) feature page after page of remarks such as "Go get her, Shawn!" (Refering to the perp), "Good luck, Shawn!", "Wish I could be there," and so on. While some of this is the standard crassness we've come to expect from leftists, some is undoubtedly intended to goad the stalker to further action.
- In Houston on August 27, on the eve of serious revelations concerning voter fraud, the warehouse containing Harris County's entire supply of voting machines burned to the ground. While unquestionably suspicious, it's difficult to tell from media reports if any real investigation is taking place.
Most recently, we have had the incident marking the full emergence of left-wing psychosis in all its mad glory: the "No Pressure" film released by the 10:10 group. Few AT readers can have missed discussion of this little gem, which features a series of vignettes in which anyone opposed to the "global warming" hoax is annihilated by a magic button that blows them to pieces on the spot. (Some may protest that the film is English -- the author, Richard Curtis, is noted for his genteel British comedies. But in truth, it's international -- Gillian Anderson is American, and if you were to further trace artistic and financial involvement, you'd find plenty more Yanks in the mix.)
This is as clear a depiction of left-wing psychosis as we are ever going to see. It is the yearning -- of an intensity beyond the grasp of sane, normal individuals-- to possess some means of total power, some instrument of near-divine retribution and punishment. Not for personal aggrandizement or sadistic pleasure, no, not at all...but simply to remove those stones in the path of progress: the Neanderthals, the troglodytes, the reactionaries, who are standing between the people and their righteous destiny. We'll use it just a few times, only against the really bad ones, and only to make an impression. And once we do that, we'll put it aside, and never, ever touch it again, we promise...
This is infantilism, pure and simple, as all psychoses are, including the one diagnosed by Jung. It is a compulsive belief that the world needs to bow to the demands of the eternal child immediately and without protest. And when it doesn't -- and we can be sure it won't -- it must be punished to the limits of the imagination and beyond. This is the impulse behind leftism, stacked to the roof as it is with people who never grew out of deepest childhood, who have grown twisted and embittered in the conviction that world has let them down and must pay for it.
It is also the impulse of the tyrant from time immemorial, from the Neros and Ashurbanipals to the Stalins and Maos of our own epoch. In "Pressure," we see it expressed more clearly than ever before, by extremely talented and sophisticated people, in the expectation that it will encourage others. (Another point that struck me was the way the film mixes bloodshed with whimsy. Whimsicality -- what unfunny people have instead of a sense of humor -- has always been a mark of the left. Now it has been publicly intertwined with the impulse to kill. How sick is that?)
Some readers might find this overwrought. These are all minor incidents, well separated in time and space. But trends tend to reveal themselves as discrete incidents. We can be sure that some of these episodes are probes, carried out to test how blatantly the line can be crossed. If judged successful, then in three weeks we'd see hundreds of polling stations patrolled by Panthers and Black Muslims and SEIU goons -- and in 2012, not one, but dozens of voting machine warehouses gone up in flames. And over the next few years, we'd be inundated with commercials, films, and scenes of smiling, cheerful lefties beheading, gassing, vaporizing, and setting ablaze anyone who disagrees with them.
But success eludes them, and after November, the left will lose its collective mind. The acting out will intensify; the assaults will grow more vicious as the dream continues its collapse. Anyone who has ever stood against them -- the Tea Parties, the GOP, ordinary Americans asserting their rights -- will be targeted. It would be wise to consider methods of self-defense.
But it will come to nothing. No socialist paradise, no universal nanny government, and certainly no police state. It will come to nothing thanks to one simple fact: the American left has no spine.
Kent State, once etched in national consciousness, is now beginning its slow fade into history. It was the apotheosis of the anti-Vietnam war movement. When in May 1970 U.S. troops entered Cambodia seeking to destroy communist bases and supply dumps being used against South Vietnam, the left went wild across the entire country. At Kent State, they raged down the streets, smashing windows, burning cars, and menacing passersby. There were rumors that certain unknown figures had brought in weapons, rumors that turned out to be all too true.
On May 4, someone took four shots at the Ohio National Guard troops protecting the campus. (This information, well understood by the investigating committee, was kept secret for forty years, being released only this year. The identity of those who suppressed it remains unknown. Obviously, such facts would have seriously embarrassed the left. Readers may draw their own conclusions.) The troops returned fire, killing four rioters on the spot. The rest broke and fled, and peace returned to the Kent State campus.
Along with the country as a whole. After Kent, the antiwar Movement collapsed. There were a few more riots, a few attempted "Days of Rage," but the revos who had terrorized the country for years suddenly found themselves isolated as the bulk of their followers discovered better things to do.
That's the left in action. Once it all turns real, once their rhetoric and activities get the response they have earned, they suddenly turn into good, obedient yuppies, concerned with their investments and their summer homes. I will be quite surprised if the results are any different this time.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.