Friday, February 18, 2005

They are insane

Dr. Sanity reminded me of a homily given by Father Bill (God rest his soul) years ago. Father Bill was discussing his work with drug addicts and alcoholics. His basic point was that you have to remember that no matter how rational they seem, no matter how well they can repeat the reasons they shouldn't use, they will do it anyway. Because with respect to their addiction, they are insane.

Father Bill then extended this concept to moral questions like abortion. He viewed many abortion proponents as incapable of rational discourse on the topic. No matter what facts are brought to bear, nothing will make them change their mind.

When I get into a debate on such a topic, I think of that homily. If it becomes clear that facts and logic are irrelevant to the other person, I gracefully exit the discussion because I know it is pointless.

In her "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Lynne Stewart?" Dr. Sanity explains the concept as a trained Psychiatrist. (Lynne Stewart is an attorney who has just been convicted of giving material support to terrorists, in this case her client the blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. See Andrew C. McCarthy for more.)
As in a case of hysteria, or a conversion disorder--where the symptoms are not intentionally produced but are the result of unintentional motives--the Lynne Stewarts of the Left are not deliberately being obtuse. They aren't even deliberately evil. They truly don't see anything wrong with being a nice person and kindly grandmother and simultaneously thinking that a terrorist attack in Indonesia where children might be killed is a wonderful thing. This kind of cognitive dissonance is the result of a psychological defense mechanism called "repression". Repression is necessary in the expression of a conversion disorder where some physical symptom (blindness, paralysis, pain) becomes the focal point; so that the individual is able to avoid the unacceptable thought or feeling. For that to occur, the unacceptable thought or feeling must be ruthlessly stashed away from awareness, or repressed.

But symbolic physical symptoms like blindness are not the only way that repression can be manifested. Another, and much more frequent psychological strategy to rid one's self of the unacceptable thought or feeling is to display a contradictory and often unbelievable (to an outside observer, anyway) dissassociation, or disconnect, between a person's thoughts and feelings on the one hand; and behavior on another.

This is why so often the Lynne Stewarts present an unsolvable puzzle to an outside observer. How can they argue for Peace and behave violently? How can they demand Free Speech but simultaneously suppress it in others? How can they be for Diversity and squelch any dissenting opinions? How can they claim to be for freedom and democracy, and make common cause with those who would destroy it? The catalog of paradoxes goes on and on.
So even though they can give every sign of understanding and agreeing with all the reasons not to drink, alcoholics are repressing the fact that they simply love to drink. Anti-war "peace" marches represent repression of the fact that some leftists just don't want others to be free. And "choice-" and "liberation-" spouting abortion proponents are repressing the simple truth that they just don't want more babies to be born.

It's nice to get a more clinical view of what is going on with these people. Thanks, Dr. S!

(Father Bill also had a great homily debunking the warm fuzzy image of the nativity. In truth, Christ was born into squalor. Now why would He do that? But that's another posting...)