Monday, November 17, 2008

The Warning

If you can watch this entire video clip, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. A man and his wife, who years ago set off explosives, at the same Federal buildings in Washington that were known targets of foreign terrorists on "9-11," and who nonetheless sleep pretty well at night in their Hyde Park mansion, had the audacity to get on television and fawn over the election-night love-fest in Chicago.

David Horowitz is a writer and activist. The son of two life-long members of the Communist Party, Horowitz was once leader of the 1960s "New Left," and an avowed Marxist. He later renounced this philosophy to became an advocate for conservatism. In 2001, following the attacks in New York and Washington, he wrote the following:

In my experience, what drives most radicals are passions of resentment, envy and inner rage. Bill Ayers is a scion of wealth. His father was head of Detroit’s giant utility Commonwealth Edison, in line for a cabinet position in the Nixon Administration before his son ruined it by going on a rampage that to this day he cannot explain to any reasonable person’s satisfaction (which is why he has to conceal so much). It could be said of Bill Ayers that he was consumed by angers so terrible they led him to destroy his father’s career. But in the 10 hours I interviewed him I saw none of it. What I saw was a shallowness beyond conception. All the Weather leaders I interviewed shared a similar vacuity. They were living inside a utopian fantasy, a separate reality, and had no idea of what they had done. Nor any way to measure it. Appreciating the nation to which they were born, recognizing the great gifts of freedom and opportunity their parents and communities had given them, distinguishing between right and wrong – it was all above their mental and moral ceiling.

In the days ahead, this is one of the dangers we face.

It should be said in fairness (as in "the Fairness Doctrine"), that the President-Elect decried the acts of Ayers and his accomplices as "despicable." Then again, while was nine years old when the bombings occurred, he was forty years old as a guest of honor for a political fundraiser in Ayers' home.

Not despicable enough, apparently.

The late psychiatrist Dr M Scott Peck is best known as the author of the self-help book, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. He is also the author of People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil, in which he gives detailed accounts of patients who came to him for help, but who then resisted any form of it. The nature of that resistance brought him to the conclusion, that these people were truly evil in nature. In this book, he outlines in psychological terms, as opposed to the purely spiritual, the nature of the evil person.

Evil people would be distinguished by these traits:

a) Consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which may often be quite subtle

b) Excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury

c) Pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of lifestyle but also to pretentiousness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives.

d) intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophrenic-like disturbance of thinking at times of stress. (page 129)

Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgment of one's own need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgment, we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of our imperfection. Strangely enough, evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil. The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves. (page 74)

Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. They seem to live lives that are above reproach. The words "image", "appearance" and "outwardly" are crucial to understanding the morality of "the evil". While they lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their goodness is all on a level of pretense. It is in effect a lie. Actually the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves. We lie only when we are attempting to cover up something we know to be illicit. At one and the same time "the evil" are aware of their evil and desperately trying to avoid the awareness. We become evil by attempting to hide from ourselves. The wickedness of "the evil" is not committed directly, but indirectly as a part of this cover-up process. Evil originates not in the absence of guilt but in the effort to escape it. (page 75)

Peck maintains that, while being fully cognizant of the evil within themselves, the subjects choose to avoid the necessary introspection to own up to that evil. They respond by putting themselves in a position of moral superiority, and projecting the responsibility onto others. The result is an extreme form of what he describes in The Road Less Traveled as a "character disorder." Whatever the diagnosis, Peck considers evil to be the result of free will, where a man eschews the path to God, for the path away from God.

In the end, the responsibility does not end with either Ayers, or even with the President-Elect. The latter could be said to be guilty of no more, than being exactly what the majority of the American electorate wanted him to be. As such, the burden extends to anyone and everyone who lent credence and support to his cause, for whatever reason. The choice between "the lesser of two evils" is nonetheless a choice, and those who made their bed must lie well in it.


Adrienne said...

I watched that video and the white hot blind rage that bubbled up threatened to consume me on the spot. Words that come to mind are: vapid, arrogant, self absorbed, and on and on....

What have we become that we even put such people on TV and then actually listen to them???

David L Alexander said...

"What have we become that we even put such people on TV and then actually listen to them???"

I have the answer. Click here.

Anonymous said...

Odd disconnect between her mention jubilation in such a flat monotone. Sounded like a rote recitation of something she had to memorize for a class. These people are truly living in a bubble. I didn't get angry, but rather experience a weary sense of deja vu -- same old, same old, tired 60s rhetoric, fresh 40 yrs. ago, but now yawn/cringe inducing. Didn't these people's ideas change or evolve somehow? Guess not. Yawn ...