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The Crazy Part Of The Brain

Here's a brief piece on Christopher Hitchens' ignorance about Sarah Palin. Now, I've long admired Hitchens as a writer, and for his integrity in standing up against the Clinton gang in the nineties, but he does seem to have gone off the rails lately, with his jihad against religion (not that it's new, but it seems to have expanded beyond his Mother Theresa bashing). But I found this comment over there interesting:

Everyone has a crazy section in their brain. Andrew Sullivan was all for Bush until Bush came out against Gay Marriage. Andrew will never be happy until he and his partner can be married by the Pope himself. In his case, the craziness has spread throughout his thinking, so he doesn't make sense anymore, although he still retains an ability to write well.

As to Hitchens, another word-centred person, his craziness is centred on religiosity, and specifically, Christian religiosity. He has written a book on atheism and on Mother Theresa. In fact, I would say he is lunatic when it comes to this topic. Sarah Palin is a declared Christian, therefore Hitchens sees her only as a cardboard cutout of 'snake-handling primitive in the woods'. He could read Byron York's column on what Sarah Palin has actually done as Alaska's governor, and why she enjoys 80% approval, but Hitchens, cowering in his corner of craziness will not pay any attention.

I notice that that Maher fella, the TV comedian also hates (really: HATES) Palin and all conservatives, even the Methodist George Bush. His craziness centres around the necessity of sexual liberation is his life and that of all the elite's life.

I wonder if it's true that everyone has a "crazy section in their brain"? And if so, where mine is?

I'm confident that my commenters will inform me shortly.



Josh Reiter wrote:

Probably one of the more prevalent forms of mental disease are obsessive-compulsive disorders. Really, when you think about it, your job is often comprised of repetitive tasks done in a detailed systemic order. So, our jobs are our OCD. What we enjoy doing in or work life is often described as the thing we are most crazy about.

I obviously seem to be infatuated with pressing tiny little plastic buttons up and down in a furious manner.

Carl Pham wrote:

A well-adjusted person must have "crazy sections" of his brain, in order not to be a complete selfish asocial bastard.

It's the "crazy sections" that make us go off the deep end when, say, relatively defenseless members of our own tribe (children, elderly) are threatened. We become unreasonable, to the point where we're willing to die ourselves to prevent harm short of death to them, which is clearly (from the personal utility point of view) illogical. A highly social species, such as ours, in which the individual did not have "crazy sections" that made him sometimes lose sight of his own best interests in defense of the tribe's best interest, would not survive long.

The only problem comes when these normal and natural but highly personal instincts become perverted (or as Freud would say) sublimated into this or that political or social crusade. And I use the term "crusade" advisedly, since these things have much in common with the actual Crusades: people mistakenly feel the salvation of their soul is at stake in what is, if you think clearly about it, merely a standard-issue political or social debate.

Brock wrote:

No one likes the threat of having that which they treasure greatly taken away from them. It's a simple survival instinct; most animals only feel that way about food, but humans (with their advanced cognitive processes) can feel that way about abstract concepts. Sometimes it's rational, sometimes it's not. But it's always there. And when it's threated, you go a little crazy.

The people who get most excited about politics are those whose great treasure is regulated by the State. Such as with Sullivan and marriage to his partner. His identity is closely tied to being in love with his partner, and the way he was raised programs him to believe that couples in love need to get married, and if you don't get married it's because you're not really in love. So when you say he's not allowed to get married ...

I'm not exactly sure how individuals professing a religious faith threatens Christopher Hitchens, but his response to people of faith is a clear hysterical response to life-or-death threat. BDR is also a symptom of this, as some poor fools have attached their identity to being members of a progressive nation striving towards "ever greater union" with their friends in the EU.

For myself, I prize my physical freedom very highly. Irrationally so. I would not do well in a jail or POW camp. I don't even like to playfully wrestle, because it triggers something deep inside me and I blank out and start throwing people across the room (true story). Even the thought of handcuffs causes an adrenaline surge and makes me look for something to use as a weapon. I can't help it.

I haven't seen your crazy side Rand, but I don't doubt that there are things you place immeasurable value on, and that you would go a little crazy if I took them away. It's possible though, just slightly, that the only thing you value is the freedom to think as you choose, and that no one can really threaten that. In which case the trigger is there, but no one can reach it.

Brock wrote:

What I said verbosely Carl said precisely, but note one thing: the State may impose itself into highly personal matters which a rational tribesman would want to protect.

That's why abortion and gay marriage attract such vehemence. Pro-lifers see children of the tribe being killed, and pro-choicers see the young fertile females dying in back alley surgeries. And the pair-bonding instinct can be overpowering (I'd get violent too if I was told I couldn't marry and be with my wife), but so is the social-fabric instinct, which many people feel is threatened by allowing male-male and female-female relationships.

In fact, this may be the unifying concept behind Pro-Life/Anti-Gay "Conservatives" and Pro-Choice/Pro-Gay "Euroweenies". The first group identifies most strongly with the next generation of the tribe (protect children; only child-bearing couples allowed; PTA meetings; big families) and the second group identifies most strongly with keeping the current generation of the tribe alive and harmonious and happy (protect the living; happy couples only; cradle-to-grave welfare).

Of course, both are necessary for society to survive long term.

bbbeard wrote:

Well, Rand, IMHO your crazy side seems to be NASA! I love your blog but I've learned to skip the posts that are clearly just NASA-bashing. This is distinct from your pro-New-Space side, which I still enjoy reading....

FWIW my crazy side is Communists. I blame Ann Coulter, whose book "Treason" should be required reading for university faculty. After reading "Treason" I went looking for more information, because I couldn't believe I had not learned about these major influences in 20th century politics. But most of what I've read independently confirms much of what she wrote. So at this point I feel more informed about this than 99.9% of the population, so I have no patience with the propagandized masses. And I feel betrayed by the educational system and the media, at least on this topic....


Jeff Medcalf wrote:

For me, it is social and political structures that promote Liberty. It is having my freedom to do what I want with what is mine that pushes all my buttons, and it's not only why I am a libertarian, but specifically why I am a small-l libertarian. (The big-L Libertarians would deny my right to band together with others to defend what is mine, besides just being generally nut cases, since fringe movements attract the nut case type.)

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Oh boy stuff like this invites deep hard thinking... which I'll effortlessly skip right now ^_^

I'm amazed at Hitchens. Sure I can see how people get fed up with religion this or religion that to the point of irrationality. Hitchens can vent to his hearts desire as far as I am concerned but how is it even remotely possible to disrespect real hand-down-in-a-box snake handling? That stuff is awesome! ^_^

j lee wrote:

" wonder if it's true that everyone has a "crazy section in their brain"? And if so, where mine is?"

The Clintons

Rand Simberg wrote:

The Clintons

Nope. That's not it.

Anonymous wrote:

How would you know? Being crazy might disable your ability to tell. Use outside sources for confirmation. Most of the world disagrees with you.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Most of the world disagrees with you.

Most of the world thinks the sun goes around the earth. That's not really a very good sanity test. A sufficient number of non-crazy people agree with me about the Clintons that I'm confident that's not it.

Mike Walsh wrote:

Your crazy bit has to do with the importance you attach to spaceflight. What you see as the future of the human race, I see as misplaced eschatology.(But that may be just my crazy part talkin'.)

Apart from that, I think you're just fine.

But it's one thing to have a 'crazy part' of the brain, and another to become batshit crazy, a la excitable Andy, or to be obsessed to near-paranoia like Hitchens.


Jardinero1 wrote:

Your fear of terrorists and jihadists, a totally inconsequential threat. That would be Carl's crazy part too.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 22, 2008 12:40 PM.

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