November 29, 2004

Democratic Dementia Rising: Victims in the Night

After the Florida Election fiasco of 2000, masses of the outraged losers at The Well [ better known as The Leisure World of Online Conferencing] descended into a depression that deepened into what can only be described as a political psychosis. The same elements we see now were born then -- Liberalosis, Bushophobia, Halliburtonhallucinogenia, Dumbmentia, MovingOutItus, Progressophrenia, and a tendency to froth at the mention of the word "Florida."

I'd been a member of The Well for over ten years at the time and, as the months dragged on, I became an increasingly unpopular member. Not that I didn't deserve it. My many issues with their manias grew apace. Nobody likes a person who, once insane, returns to his senses in the middle of the asylum and informs the inmates that they are stark raving mad. It's a buzzkiller and the inmates of the Well loved their BushBuzz more than life itself. Following the attacks of September 11, many of The Well's manias went into remission -- some for nearly 90 minutes before roaring back.

For some weeks now I've viewed the mental diseases previously held in check behind the conferencing wall of the Well metastasize into the general population of online political losers across the blogsphere. For some time I had hoped it was a temporary mania of the type chronicled in Charles Mackay's classic 19th century work, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds . In this tome, Mackay notes the subject of the book in the Preface:

In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
Yes, I had hoped some "new folly more captivating than the first" would present itself to these sufferers and that they would, at last, "go gentle into that good night."

But this, alas, is not to be. The Democrats dementia deepens and darkens across the cyberscape. Indeed, listening to the unremitting moans, screams and quiet sobbing of the Damned it is impossible not to think of that other 19th century classic, Poe's The Raven wherein we read:

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered-not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden more
Of 'Never-nevermore.'"
I admit I thought that analogy somewhat melodramatic, but then I learned it is not nearly melodramatic enough.

Reality has outstripped Poe's literary classic in the form of the "new, improved Raven," with the advent of one Mel Giles, whose sopping wet effort The Politics of Victimization is the current Cloverine-Brand Mental Salve for those now in orbit outside the political realities of our planet.

Ms. Giles, introduced as one "who has worked for many years as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse," has it all worked out and blended into a rich brew of caramel-laced, non-fat, decaf Dysfunctional Latte. It is strange that the "complex and highly intelligent " minds that make up the shrinking remnant of true believers lust for simple answers, but they do. And Ms. Giles is not slow to spoon the froth onto the cup.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.
This is a classic example of what is called "The illusion of central position." Ms. Giles simply takes the pap she's conjured up from endless hours of swapping suppositions at domestic abuse clinics and slaps it onto electoral politics. She also likes to play with the word "beat," substituting the act of slapping someone around with the situation in which one is bested in a democratic election.

It's important for her to get that little verbal slight of hand in early because once the sufferer accepts it, everything else follows. It is also handy to slap on the label "abuser" since who can argue that an abuser who slaps someone else around is an evil person, or persons, or group? Typically, the victims of a domestic abuser are women and who likes a woman-beater? Nobody. The lowest of the low.

Now that we've got that little bit of intellectual slight-of-hand out of the way, we're ready to be "looped into the cycle of violence." Well, this is more loopy than looped, but we must descend deeper into this dab of dementia.

According to Ms. Giles, she and her fellow sufferers are going to have to get used to the notion that they are undergoing an non-stop stream of "verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence." I note that very few American voters are in Iraq and, if election reports from there have any merit, the vast majority are not only for President Bush but exceedingly well-armed. For the rest of Ms. Giles millions of "patients," I suggest that they tune out of the info-stream for a few days and see if that doesn't quiet the "verbal and mental" violence of the voices in their heads.

Fortunately for the sufferers, Ms. Giles, the Compassionate, does not just reveal to them their debased state, she offers them a kind of "Dummys Guide to Abuse Avoidance." It's a fascinating insight not so much for the advice, but for the insights into the deeply rooted wrongheadedness and woolly thinking of the author and her cohorts:

As victims we cant stop asking ourselves what we did wrong.
Actually, you can. In fact one of the best ways stop beating on yourself is to stop beating on yourself.
We cant seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.
Humm, I was under the impression that the losers in this election were the "smart" people. This phenomena, if true, seems to betoken a set of people that are either born dumb, achieve dumb, or have had dumb thrust upon them. Perhaps all three. Still, if true, it is terrible to see so many reduced to intellectual servitude at the hands of an oppressing race. There must be a way out! And Ms. Giles does not disappoint.
How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple.
Again, the simple answer for the self-proclaimed complex minds. And what is the way, the truth and the light?
First, you must admit you are a victim.
Catchy, but I can help feel the phrase is a bit derivative. Maybe I've heard it somewhere before.
Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable.
"I hereby declare I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Okay, done. What's next?
Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You dont do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right.
Ah yes, no dialogue over questions of law, policy or taxation. No examination of the self or the Party to see if you can't alter your behavior, your policies or your programs to make them more mainstream. No arguments from logic -- ever. And above all do not attempt to use persuasion. Sounds like a Platform for No Power Ever to me, but what do I know?
You also dont do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less is you dont resist and fight back. Instead, you walk away.
Am I alone in finding this metaphor weak, wet, ill-conceived, and more revealing of the author's troubled psyche than any actual political situation? I hope not.
You find other folks like yourself, 56 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up.
Here we descend directly into the asinine. The concept that everyone -- 56 million! -- are afflicted with psychological political injuries on the order of a sucking chest wound is inane in the extreme.

Fifty-six million people have about 56 million different sets of reasons for voting one way or another. The proposition that they all "share the pain" is one of the bigger myths being floated. The reason for it is clear. You need to cite a big number to make yourself important in political terms. The underlying human reality has nothing to do with it. In politics no lie is useful unless it is a big lie.

You tell them what youve learned, and that you arent going to take it anymore.
Howard Beale, come on down!
You stand tall, with 56 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell.
First off, you're not tall, you are cramped and bent over with an internally generated rage that less effect on the world than the least dogcatcher elected in the fifth ward of Podunk.

Second, you do not have "56 million people at your side." You might be able to fill the Meadowlands if the Boss plays for free, but don't all head for the parking lot at the same time, okay?

Third, looking into "eyes of the abuser" assumes you can get an appointment. With this attitude, I wouldn't count on getting more than a form email back and then being dumped in the spam filter.

Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But its better than the abuse.
Well, as we used to say on The Well, "Door. Ass. Bang." But if all 56 million are going, you'd better make sure Canada has a homestead act ready for places somewhat above the Arctic Circle. As for the Pied Piper moment that has erupted from your skull, I'm sure more than a few parents, minority and other wise, will have something to say about the kids. Plus, even though there may be some members of the Gay community that favor Lumberjack garb, I don't think they'd be all that crazy about the lifestyle.

With that said, you'd think Ms. Giles cup of froth runneth over. You'd be wrong. She needs to share more of her fantasy with you.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be. The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 56 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying, because we are trying to break free and we dont know how.
Except for the weeping part, this little excursion back to the time of Trotsky certainly should chill the blood of the Oppressive Regime of Amerika. The vision of 56 million of our fellow citizens, even the godless ones, humming about and building God-Knows-What in "church basements" (Of all places!), and elsewhere, should have Homeland Security checking out known outlets of fertilizer across the country. Me, I'm shaking in my boots even as I feel their pain.

Ms. Giles then begins, at long last, to take her leave of us with a semi-sweet coda:

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this:
With this we are back to one of the core fantasies of the addlepated Left; that violence against a single woman is equal to the enforced enslavement of millions of people by a Dictatorship or a Theocracy. The mass graves of Cambodia and Iraq, the genocides of Africa and the Balkans give the lie to this concept, but these little facts cannot be seen by the delusional Left.

Finally, Ms. Giles is ready for her close-up:

There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: stop responding to the abuser. Dont let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (hell win, not because hes right, but because force works).
This little packet neatly assumes that there's nothing wrong on the 'victims' side and nothing correct on the other side. A handy point of view to have if you are addicted to losing elections. Handier still if you actually have no ideas that will work if they are ever implemented.
Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it failproof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazy, too liberal, naive, amoral, loose, irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct.
Really? Are you sure? Care to run another reality check on that in 2006? Keep it up and you will.
We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.
Oh, puh-lease! This is just pure tripe and beneath contempt. Any person or group that asserts or, worse still, believes that they have "the mandate of the world" is simply delusional to the Nth degree. If anyone knows where, exactly, one applies for a "World Mandate" this side of Funky Town, please let me know.

What Ms. Giles has is a mandate from the Heart of Her Own Darkness to believe in porcine aviation. Those that choose to join her in her Children's Crusade are advised to pack a lunch and take a candle, for the way will be long and the path dark.

And, oh yes, also put on a lot of protective padding because, as Ms. Giles notes at the bitter end of her bitter buffet of bombast and balderdash:

Even if you do everything right, theyll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they dont even know they are being hit.
You'd think someone so "informed" would have a deeper understanding of the vast array of different people that voted against her tattered fantasies, but that is obviously not the case. She begins in darkness and she ends in ignorance. It's a kind of intellectual Black Hole of Calcutta. I don't know how many others are going to join her in there, but it is already feeling very overcrowded. Would some compassionate conservative please go over in the morning and let the survivors out?

I will wait here for you.

Posted by Vanderleun at November 29, 2004 1:01 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

You may not have intended your quip about fertilizer stores literally, but that's where this mentality leads. Picture ten thousand Unibombers. If the economy sours, or if the Middle East War widens to Iran or Syria, there's no telling how far some of these sweet, pacific folks might go.

Posted by: Alan Sullivan at November 29, 2004 4:07 PM


Posted by: dave at November 29, 2004 5:25 PM

I'd like to hear how 56 million people didn't vote for Kerry.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at November 29, 2004 6:24 PM

GvdL and Alan Sullivan-- You are so right about the potential for trouble from angry "pacifists"-- here is a link (courtesy of one of the posters at LGF) to a news item about a murder/suicide involving these folks:

The story: "Southern Activists Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide":

"In an apparent murder-suicide, virginia activist Niklan Jones-Lezama murdered activist Sue Daniels, set fire to the cabin Daniels was residing in, and then slit his wrists on the evening before he was scheduled to attend to the annual SOA protests in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Both Nik and Sue were active around varous social justice issues, such as opposing war in the Middle East, oppression in Central America, and violent mountaintop removal in Appalachia. The two had spent several months in federal prison last year due to their participation in the annual School of the Americas protests in Georgia....

[Sue's] presumed murderer, Niklan Jones-Lezama of Blacksburg, VA 38, was married to a Nicaraguan Sandinista, Claudia and had two sons, Emilio Jose and Omar Eli. He was a past co-coordinator for the Coalition for Justice in Central America; 1987 Witness for Peace/Fellowship of Reconciliation/Buddhist Peace Fellowship delegate to Nicaragua and Honduras. He was also part of fact-finding delegation to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala and an intern with Global Issues Project in Haiti. He was currently helping to build a local chapter of the Colombia Support Network and was a Re-evaluation co-counselor, studying and practicing healing touch and reiki energy therapies for the past four years.

People who knew the two said that in the past, Sue had sought protection from Niklan who had developed an unhealthy romantic preoccupation with her. Authorities (allegedly) denied her request for a restraining order and mutual friends failed to adequately respond.

Another friend close to the community Nik and Sue were involved in reported that Sue had unsuccessfully sought a police restraining order from Nik and had an emergency response team of friends who were on-call and ready to show up immediately if Nik came around. These people also were completely shocked by what happened and had no idea that Nik's instability was this serious and dangerous."

Feel the love.

Gerard, once again, thank you for this blog.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at November 29, 2004 7:11 PM

Yikes! That was a frightening read. Note how she lumped minorities and gays in with children. That says a lot about how she thinks of those in the first two categories.

Posted by: Juliette at November 29, 2004 7:16 PM

Ah yes, the amazing Welberts, I remember them, uh, well, for their wonderful hive mind.

Keep up the good work, Boswell.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at November 30, 2004 1:56 PM

A first rate Fisking. Lord help us if these Jacobins ever get hold of the reigns of political power.

Posted by: Tongueboy at December 1, 2004 9:31 AM

I blame Gans.

Having walked away from Welltopia a good four or five years ago, I'd always wondered how they were dealing with the strain of being more marginalized with each passing day of the Bush Administration (and their increasing irrelevance in a world where they haven't just lost the title of "Most Influential Online Community", but have fallen so far below the noise floor that hardly anyone even knows they exist).

I can't say I'm surprised to learn they've been acting pretty much the way I expected they would.

Posted by: Aaron at December 1, 2004 9:56 PM