Distribution Automatique

Sunday, November 7

Bush's Cult-ural Capital and the Politics of Paranoia

Whether or not Bush was re-elected by
means of voting machine fraud and
forms of voter disenfranchisement,
those who are intensely upset with
the ongoing far right wing takeover
in the US feel that way in part because
it is clear the there are signs of
emotional disturbance both in the
President and in the philosophy and
beliefs, policies and behavior of his followers.

There is clearly a flavor of paranoia
to far-right thinking. Nixon, certainly
one of the architects of this movement,
was certainly paranoid; i.e., the constant
audio taping, suspicious thinking,
communist witch-hunting and Watergate.
Paranoia is based,in great part, on sexual repression.
Christian fundamentalist philosophy seems to
eagerly embrace fears of unrestrained
sexuality, while, ironically, their free
market philosophy derives its (short
term) high octane fuel from elements
of sexuality in advertising, and elements
of eroticism fostered by highly charged competitiveness,
which in turn produces fears of castration,
or group rejection or
retribution on another level. These fears
in turn fuel unconscious paranoia. Abortion
must be forbidden because sexuality-
and in particular, homosexuality,
must be strongly repressed by
being consciously and overly firmly connected
with child rearing, parenting and the family. The
supercharged eroticism connected to
increased competitiveness is
split off , denied, and sublimated
into militaristically uniform
participation in the brutal competitiveness
of corporate power mongering and war.

Cult formation is closely tied in
with paranoiac thinking, and
is connected with group
competitiveness, in turn easily
tied in with individual competitiveness
and longings for success, or longing
for feelings and fears of failure to be assuaged
by assurances of coming success. It
is likely that most intensified
fantasies of unlimited success are
connected to grandiosity and conscious
and unconscious desires to ward off
fears of impotence and group
rejection.. Paranoids
long for leaders who derive unlimited
confidence from fantasies of unlimited
power that can be derived from some
even greater power- such as divine power.

Bush believes he and his followers derive power
from God directly. The attacks of 911 gave the
far right an opportunity to expand the
illness of paranoia to ever greater sectors
of the population. Once tied in to the
fantasized future successes of capitalism,
in turn to individual longings for
success, wealth and power, the far
right succeeded in inflicting the self-
propelling illness of paranoia on ever
greater numbers of people. The
question that must be asked now is: how
can cultural mental illness be treated? How
can an entire sector of the population
be freed from a cult infected with paranoia?
The time tested techniques of civil disobedience
and non-violent resistance offer modes of
action that activists may turn to with some degree of
predictability of success within limited areas of applicability.
People with extensive experience with such techniques
recommend strategic thinking and extensive planning in their use:
certainly they are not to be employed impulsively or under the
sway of emotional response to immediate events.
But can current models of "competing" in the
open market of ideas and beliefs
be effective under such circumstances,
public education and the like? The
far right wing has made clear its
rejection of rationality, science,
intellectuality and rational debate.
This has caused further chaos
and confusion among the
mentally healthy portion
of the society. If lecturing,
exhorting, explaining, won't
work, what will? How should
a large, maybe a majority
of the society be related with
by a smaller part, which is
in better health psychologically?
This seems to me to
be one the most important, yet complex
and frustrating tasks facing the remaining
members of society who
still have (of course, in varying degrees,
at various times)
some ability and willingness
to think for themselves.