The Pop Psychology

of the punditariat:

Political psychology got its start with Theodore Adorno’s attempt to identify conservatives as a psychological type, as measured on his F-scale (F stands for fascist). Today, as his ideas have trickled down and pop psychology has caught on, we see the common conflation of “anti-illegal-immigration” and “anti-immigrant,” the belief that welfare reform was essentially anti-black, and the reduction of concerns about Islamism to a kind of phobia. Conservatives’ ostensible reasons and supporting facts are dismissed without consideration, because it is presumed that those reasons and facts aren’t what really motivate them. And when one lacks, in postmodern fashion, a belief that reasoning can lead to truth, questions of political motivation become preeminent. Conservative ideas are investigated as psychological phenomena — evaluated for the mental health or pathology they suggest — rather than as philosophical propositions — evaluated for the truth or falsehood they contain. The Left seems every day less concerned with substantive reasons for policies, and focuses more intellectual energy on trying to discover the invisible psychopathologies of its opponents.

When you combine the conceit that political ideas are merely manifestations of subconscious impulses with a habit of viewing people through racial and other group taxonomies, it’s easy to buy into Blow’s belief that Tea Partiers are so anti-government because of our president’s racial background. Indeed, given all that, it’s easy to understand how Blow’s columns have at times become streams of assertions about the revolting bigotry of Republicans and conservatives.

They’re not elite, they’re just credentialed.

I think this is in fact just one more of many examples of psychological projection by the Left. There’s a whole book to be written about that. It would drive them (even more) nuts. In fact, I want to start gathering up chapter titles, with a little help from my commenters.

Racists
Liars
Haters
Bigots
Intolerants
Insane
Censors
Fascists
Imposers of Morality

I’m sure there are more.

[Late afternoon update]

The hate of the left. Yes, of course. If you’re in favor of limited government, you’re just like a Nazi. Oooooohhhh, those scary libertarians. They’re going to take over the government and [discordant organ sound, thundercrack, horses neighing] leave us alone.

When I was young and stupid, I thought that Rob Reiner was smart.

[Tuesday morning update]

More leftist projection, from Robert Reich:

…isn’t there something funny about Reich claiming that the GOP is full of authoritarian personalities, even as the Democrats have just enacted a law that orders Americans to buy health care? Which party is asking that government do a whole lot less and which is asking it do a whole lot more? Which party wants the government to boss people around more? Which party is more likely to attract people who find this sort of thing compelling? Which party wants to get rid of the union secret ballot? Which party wants to restore the “fairness” doctrine? Which party wants the government to be able to ban smoking, regulate salt, and ban political speech? Which party attracts people who like campus speech codes? Which party attracts movie stars who vow to be servants of Obama? Or educators who expect likewise of their students?

As I said, classic projection.

[Bumped]

Are The Republicans Ready To Govern?

Probably not:

In the normal course of politics, after a party has its clock cleaned as badly as Republicans did in 2008, the losers go off to recover — off to the desert — while the winners go on to govern. For the defeated, regaining the political momentum can take years.

Normally, we should be in the early stages of that process. Instead, it appears that Republicans are about to retake one, and perhaps both, houses of Congress. The normal cycle of defeat and renewal has been speeded up considerably.

Why? Because Democrats have been screwing up faster than Republicans can recover. The GOP might not be fully ready to govern, but voters are increasingly convinced that Democrats don’t deserve to. The Democrats’ willful defiance of the public’s wishes on Obamacare, on federal spending, and on other government-expanding initiatives has changed voters’ priorities. In the urgency of the moment, throwing Democrats out is more important than determining whether Republicans are fully ready to take control.

Yup. At least we can hope that they’ll stop digging. It would be disastrous to allow the current reign of Democrat insanity to continue.

[Update a while later]

The tea started brewing under Bush:

If the Democrats had properly understood the Tea Party movement, and if they had seen the water coming to a low boil during the Bush administration, they might have avoided their present fate. There are two steps to their misunderstanding of the Tea Party. First, the Bush administration was wrongly viewed as thoroughly and quintessentially conservative. Second, the public’s eventual rejection of the Bush administration was viewed as a repudiation of conservatism and a fundamental political realignment of the electorate (perhaps even the basis of a permanent Democratic majority in “America the liberal”). The important point is this: many who now comprise the Tea Party were not Bush die-hards, but disapproved or largely disapproved of the Bush administration’s big-government tendencies. Of course small-government conservatives and independents, when Obama took those tendencies and magnified them threefold, went from frustration to outrage.

To take the first point, President Bush was alternately viewed as a scheming arch-conservative or else a congenial dunce manipulated by scheming arch-conservatives. In his famed “Case for Bush Hatred” in 2003, Jonathan Chait (in spite of the fact that Bush had increased government spending in his first three years at a rate unseen since Lyndon B. Johnson) wrote that “Bush would like to roll back the federal government’s spending to something resembling its pre-New Deal state.” James Traub concurred in the New York Times magazine, writing that “today’s Republican party is arguably the most extreme — the furthest from the center — of any governing majority in the nation’s history.” Examples could be added, but anyone who remembers the Bush administration will surely recall that he was painted as conservatism’s avatar.

The point is not exactly that President Bush was not a conservative, but that his administration precipitated a crisis of conservative identity within the Republican coalition. While Bush could identify with conservatives culturally from Kennebunk to Crawford, and while his judicial appointments and stances on ethical issues gave conservatives reason to support him, he took an activist view of government in the foreign sphere, leveraging the American military to transform the world order in pursuit of democracy, and in the domestic sphere, leveraging the American government to transform the social order in pursuit of conservative virtues.

When Governor Bush articulated his vision for “compassionate conservatism” at a speech to the Manhattan Institute in 1999, he rejected the typical Republican “disdain for government,” and sided with Benjamin Franklin, arguing that “the general opinion of the goodness of government” is foundational to America. The government must concern itself with the “human problems that persist in the shadow of affluence,” and conservative ideals should be utilized in the interest of “greater justice, less suffering, more opportunity.” Bush even criticized the Republican-controlled Congress for “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.”

It’s ironic that the Democrats were done in by their Bush derangement.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!