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Thursday, December 28, 2006

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Very interesting.

It is probably true that drunks replace their addiction to alcohol with another addiction. Coffe? Cigarettes? Work? Sex? War?

Basically you seem to be saying that there is no truth except what works for a person. If that is true, then all is lost because there is no "TRUE" way forward, only choices, some worse than others.

Or maybe I'm not smart enough to "GET" it.

Hi Jimmy,

No, I'm saying that converts generally find it more difficult than the average person to change their minds in response to new data.

The The Neocon Church has a holy trinity defense developed by church fathers and Neoconitic political philosophers, Sts. Krystal and Strauss. Neocon church leaders drum this trinity defense into the heads of Neoconites. One or more of these responses are to be recited whenever a Neoconite responds to a challenge. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, the Neoconite must respond with one of these three statements:

1. You get all of your data from the liberal media so it’s false.

2. You don’t believe that there is any such thing as truth.

3. Liberals don’t know anything about economics.

Yes! Another way to put it: conversion narratives tend to confuse content with form. The beliefs may have changed but the nature of the belief structure (rigid; fervent; lacking in empathic capacity)remains the same. I would guess that's why it's more often the arch lefty than the moderate lefty who becomes an arch conservative or vice versa.

You have badly mischaracterized the discussion over at ShrinkWrapped. Intentionally, it seems. If we're so dumb, why have you been hanging out with us for the past several days? Don't bother answering, I will not be back.

Re: Sarah

I ‘hang around’ Shrinkwrapped's site because I'm interested in data and opinion that extends beyond my own thoughts. My interest in opinions and insights other than my own should be evident from my blogroll which contains links to sites offering a wide range of opinion.

Neo-cons claim that they are more open to new data than others. They accuse those of us who disagree with them of limiting our exposure to liberal media outlets. Now, though, a neo-con is angry that I read and commented on a neo-con blog. She interprets my disagreement as an accusation of stupidity. I've read Sarah's comments in Shrinkwrapped’s blog. I think she is bright person as are many others who post on Shrinkwrapped's site. I will leave it to Sarah to figure out why it is that she misinterprets my disagreement as an indication that I view Shrinkwrapped’s fans as dumb

I wrote this post because a Shrinkwrapped fan, Ken Spiker, said he would like to see me offer an analytic formulation of neo-cons much in the manner that Shrinkwrapped offers analyses of those who disagree with the neo-con perspective. Ken said that he finds reading these analyses to be ‘fun.’ I suspected that the idea of me writing such an analysis had greater appeal as a challenge that would not be taken up, while the reality of such an analysis would be less fun for the neo-con reader than the neo-con reader might have expected.

For that reason, I hesitated before writing this piece. After considering the matter for a few days, I concluded that it would be condescending to decide that neo-cons aren’t entitled to data they’ve requested simply because I fear they can’t handle it. I was aware that such a concern was merely a hypothesis. In one instance, at least, my hypothesis seems to have gained some support.

"Don't bother answering, I will not be back."

The neocons are'cutting and running.'


The neocon party is over. Now we all pay with one bitch of hangover.

The dimension that I remain curious about is that much of what keeps war support static is that beliefs are held in opposition to a projected other. There isn't coherent objective content to neo-con beliefs because the primary pay-off is the relief afforded by projecting an internal conflict onto "islamofascists and their allies in the left."

Copithorne,

That’s a fascinating insight. I’d been thinking about the selfobject functions of belief systems, but it can make sense to talk about static beliefs in terms of drive theory. If you have more to say about that, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Dr. X.

You did so nicely with your part, I was hoping you would be inspired to elaborate on my suggestion.

I'll try to do it myself, though I don't have the time for a sustained treatment.

It is a tenet of Jungian psychology that all war starts with the projection of disowned qualities onto the enemy. People won't organize that level of violence without projecting their own shadow onto their enemy.

It's a mystery since we tend to think of enemies as unwelcome things. But enemies enable one to resolve one's ambivalence about oneself in certainty of blaming the other.

We see this in recent history with the succession of enemies entertained by the right. Communism, Bill Clinton, Islamofacism, the left. Always a new enemy.

To my mind their is almost no content to this enmity. We can travel around the right wing blogosphere and the psychbloggers and we see recurring, near daily, diatribes against "the left." In those diatribes it is strangely rare to see any named representative of "the left." You don't see policies, you don't see quotes. They can go on for thousands of words talking about the bankruptcy of "the left" without talking about anybody who actually exists or any policy that touches their lives. Even if you ask them for examples, they are unable to supply them.

So, for example, we presume the neo-cons experience themselves as generous, civilized, rational. But they undertake a course of action in which they feel licensed to kill thousands of people in order to engineer a better world. In other circumstances, they would know that there is no moral philosophy which gives them such license. But they are traumatized and frightened by 9/11 and under that fear, they regress.

The resolution to this internal conflict between self image and behavior: project a distorted and perverted view of their own conscience onto "the left." (I.e., refraining from starting a war is siding with the terrorists.) Do battle with that projection. In the ensuing confusion, there is an opportunity to avoid responsiblilty for their own views or conduct.

"History and reality have weighed in."

In The Weekly Standard, March 2003, William Krystal said:

"We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam's regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people's pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts."

The neocons refuse to be held accountable; plain and simple, they reject the verdicts of history and reality.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/341lxxol.asp

Hiya Dr. X,

This discussion was enlightening and entertaining, I'm glad to have found your blog, its necessary. Now please have Dr. Sanity committed.

Well, that was a sane and insightful comment.

"...there is nothing intrinsic to conservatism that makes support for this war inevitable."

That's an ad-hoc assumption, not necessarily a fact, which appears necessary for the author to make in order to validate the following assertion.

"For many conservatives, the war was a policy decision rather than an ideologically determined position. Neo-cons have a great deal of difficulty with this distinction."

Just why do you think we are incapable of picking up on the common pseudo-subtleties you find so intriguing?

The first part may be true, as I don't know that all those labeled as "conservative" really are. But for someone who really is, then the two are not necessarily distinct, in general, and specifically not in this case.

If in fact the war is morally (ideologically) justified, and the continuity of our way of life requires it, then support is inevitable because conservatives try to make policy decisions not only based on self interest, but on what we think is "right," ie., based on idiological considerations. And this war is justified on both practical and ideological fronts.

That makes both your statements above incorrect, as are many others you have made, but proper use of my time prohibits giving them the attention I think they don't deserve.

Oh, and finally, in a little more depth. When you say "just a policy decision" what do you mean by that? Is it because for you vital "policy decisions" are normally made in the absence of any ideological framework?!! (otherwise why would you assume that's how it's normally done?) If that's how you make your important decisions, then you guys are even worse off than I thought.

yonason:

"When you say "just a policy decision" what do you mean by that? Is it because for you vital "policy decisions" are normally made in the absence of any ideological framework?!!"

First, you misquoted me by inserting the word 'just' before the words 'a policy decision,' wrongly implying the exclusion of moral consideration on my part. You, not I, authored a quote that contains the word 'just.' The quotation is vastly altered in meaning with that one liberty you took in misquoting me. Then you proceed from your own alteration of the meaning to a false implication that I operate without an ideological framework. This is exactly the kind of data manipulation that many supporters of Bush, many neocons and many diehard war supporters constantly engaged in as they relentlessly seek to maintain their fictional negative assessments of those who disagree with them.

And you can stow the self-righteous nonsense about ideological framework, redundant exclamation points and all, right here and now. As a serious, deeply faithful Christian, I assure you that no part of Christian moral theology demands fighting terrorism by invading Iraq. There is, however, much reason to seriously question the war and question the way the decision to go to war was reached.

The neocons have been wrong, wrong, and wrong in virtually every assumption and prediction about the war in Iraq. Chief among their errors was the profound failure to grasp the deeply intractable nature of the underlying tribal conflicts that had been suppressed by an old-fashioned, genocidal tyrant from one of the tribal factions. The neocons were also warned about the possibility that the WMD evidence was largely a fiction, but the neocons chose to dismiss both propositions and, in the process, ruthlessly ridiculed those who were later proven correct.

These developments alone should give pause to a person with any kind of a functioning conscience, but are diehard supporters of war in Iraq embarrassed or chastened by being so profoundly and devastatingly wrong after ridiculing the political opposition? Hardly. Instead, they are as smug, certain and as shameless as ever. The most benign assessment of such an attitude would be to call it narcissistic defense. In other words, many neocons are so unable to tolerate an awareness of their own limitations that they turn reality upside down to assure themselves that they are always right and always better than others who disagree with them.

And how have the neocons enured themselves to disconfirming data coming from Iraq? They have done so by arbitrarily declaring that their chosen method of fighting terrorism (war in Iraq) is not only ideologically permissible, but ideologically necessary. That is a completely bogus contention. What moral system is it that compels anyone to fight terrorism by invading Iraq, as opposed to some other place(s) or by some other method(s)? By falsely placing the method itself in the realm of idealogical requirement, the war supporter is immunized against evidentiary critique. With neocons defending specific policies as ideological necessities, no amount of data indicating that the approach has been a disaster will ever change their minds.

A declaration of absolute, moral correctness about the Iraq invasion was made, a priori, and practical considerations have been excluded because the course of action is supposedly based upon some ideological requirement. The neocon’s conscious and unconscious attempts to manipulate evidence on what is happening in Iraq have always served as (ad hoc) rationalizations to justify the Iraq invasion. From the outset, there was never any possibility that the supposedly ideological supporter of this specific method of fighting terrorism would allow correction by the unfolding data.

The latest neocon salvo in the war against data has been the absurd declaration by war supporters that conservatives who oppose Bush’s Iraq policies aren’t really conservatives. What next? Will you declare that I can’t be a Christian because I disagree on the war policy or will you declare that Christianity offers no moral framework to its adherents?

I am curious to know what moral system or ideological system you subscribe to. I’ve heard a lot of chest-thumping contempt for liberals and many short-sighted pragmatic arguments that only admit confirmatory data, but which ideological system specifically demands the invasion of Iraq as the morally correct and necessary method to fight terrorism?

Dr. X

"...you misquoted me by inserting the word 'just' before the words 'a policy decision',"

Hmm, so I did.

But I don't see that it makes much difference. I mean, if they commit to such momentous decisions, despite their not being ideologically invested in them, they are profoundly spiritually bankrupt. I would much prefer they opposed the war, if that's what they believed, than to just casually decide go along with the war 'cause they didn't want to rock the boat, ...or whatever. That kind of amoral behavior is what I have come to expect from the Left, not the Right. Such a decision really is 'just' an arbitrary policy decision, morally speaking. Perhaps I unconsciously thought you might understand that, and gave you more credit than you deserved in my accidental misquote? In any case, I do appologize.

And, yes, I know that what you were hypothesizing was that, because we are "neo-cons" we are all "converts." From there it looks like you are concluding that our positions are somehow therefore invalid? But, anyone who lives life effectively is a "convert" every day, if he does it right. I call that process "trial by error," because even though I would like to be always right, I am not, and when I learn from my mistakes I am less likely to make them again, which frees me to move on, hopefully not to make any more mistakes, thought if I do, then hopefully, with enough effort, to learn from them and grow, etc., etc. However, according to your model, I am wrong and should just sit back and stop trying to achieve anything? Or did I misinterpret your analogies., where you seem to be saying that it is better for someone to remain an alcoholic rather than to risk not being sincere about it? That may not be what you meant, but that's the way it came across.

Fianlly, you say:

"A declaration of absolute, moral correctness about the Iraq invasion was made, a priori, and practical considerations have been excluded because the course of action is supposedly based upon some ideological requirement."

Talk about revisionist thinking! I really don't know what to say about that, except that it has no connection to reality, which includes how most of those I know on the Right employ ideology in the decision making process. In fact, that's something I've noticed the Left in general doesn't understand.

Oh, and the reason I, and many other "neo-cons" won't go in for a mind change, is because after long and careful examination of the historical data, as well as what keeps coming in, we know we are right.

That's all I have either the time or the inclination for now. The rest will have to wait.

Good night.

Ps., I also appologize for my atrocious spelling.

That was a lot of words to evade a simple question before you needed to cut and run. I asked:

"I am curious to know what moral system or ideological system you subscribe to. I’ve heard a lot of chest-thumping contempt for liberals and many short-sighted pragmatic arguments that only admit confirmatory data, but which ideological system specifically demands the invasion of Iraq as the morally correct and necessary method to fight terrorism?"

The neocons have consistently suggested that their support for the invasion of Iraq is ideologically determined. That is different from an ideological investment in a policy.

What ideological system do neocons (or you) subscribe to that SPECIFICALLY DEMANDS invasion of Iraq as opposed to some other place(s) and/or some other method(s) in order to fight terrorism?

I told you about my ideological system and I've written about it in this blog. For you to accuse anyone of lacking an ideological or moral framework that you claim to have as the basis for specific support of the war in Iraq, and then failing to tell us what system it is that DEMANDS your support for this specific war, is typical of the evasion I've come to expect of neocons.

I don't know of any moral system or ideological system that requires the invasion of Iraq as the morally necessary way that we must fight terrorism, but please enlighten me if there is some such religion or ethical system with a rule book that specified the invasion of Iraq as a moral imperative.

Interesting post, and well-written.

Dr. X: "What ideological system do neocons (or you) subscribe to that SPECIFICALLY DEMANDS invasion of Iraq as opposed to some other place(s) and/or some other method(s) in order to fight terrorism?"

Excellent question. Let's see. If an ideology places fighting terrorism as a high priority, and if the data one is exposed to indicate that invading Iraq is the best way to achieve the goal, does that answer the question? I'm just working with this as I think, so please, point out if I've fallen off a cliff here. Maybe it would help me if you would answer the reverse question: What ideology specifically demands Iraq NOT be invaded as part of a war against terrorism?

copithorne: "It is a tenet of Jungian psychology that all war starts with the projection of disowned qualities onto the enemy."

Very interesting. As I know very little about psychology, could you recommend a good source to learn more about that?

Lastly, before I turn in, a small quibble with an exchange of comments between Sarah and Dr. X:

Dr. X: "Now, though, a neo-con is angry that I read and commented on a neo-con blog."

I'm a bit confused, as Sarah's anger doesn't seem to have anything to do with you simply reading and commenting on a neo-con blog, but rather with a perceived deception on your part. Her words were: "You have badly mischaracterized the discussion over at ShrinkWrapped. Intentionally, it seems."

I don't know if Sarah is right, of course, as I haven't read the comments, etc., at Shrinkwrapped. But you do seem to have mischaracterized her comment on this thread. A petty point, especially as she won't be back, but one I thought I'd make in the interests of clarity.

Oscar wrote:

"If an ideology places fighting terrorism as a high priority, and if the data one is exposed to indicate that invading Iraq is the best way to achieve the goal, does that answer the question? I'm just working with this as I think, so please, point out if I've fallen off a cliff here."

I was responding to Yonason. He accused me of having no ideological system because I stated that some conservatives oppose Bush's policy on the basis of evidence.

If you read my subsequent post I explained that that is false. But, if you want an example of an ideological application from my camp, here you go:

http://drx.typepad.com/psychotherapyblog/2007/01/the_moral_theol.html

Now, I think we can agree that evidence can be debated without it implying that one has no ideology, as Yonason suggested. I'm not sure, then, what you're troubled by here. Yonason said I don't have an ideology without explaining his ideology. It was a strange argument coming from someone who doesn't know me and someone who obviously hadn't read much of my blog. My ideology is constantly with me in living my life. It was also strange coming from someone who didn't explain his own ideology. You've got mine now. Feel free to share yours.

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