THE LEFT'S PSYCHO-PATHOLOGICAL "BEHAVIOURS" OR ITS MORAL FAILURES?
1st July 2020
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn:
The humble Sheep, a threatning horn:
While the Lilly white, shall in Love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
William Blake - The Lilly
But from the Author of all ill could Spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creatour?
John Milton - Paradise Lost
The Black Lives Matter affair leaves white westerners feeling like they are being ridden by a devil on their backs; a devil that tells them to apologise and to 'take the knee' to show solidarity with the black people they have supposedly tyrannised. The weak-minded amongst those white westerners behave like sufferers from 'Stockholm Syndrome' who have come to love what captors who have bullied them into submission tell them to do. Stockholm Syndrome is, of course, a psychological term for a classified kind of psycho-pathology and, in our technocratic, scientific age, it is fashionable to characterise the world in terms of psycho-pathological conditions and complaints.
In the political world too there is talk of the psycho-pathology of the left. It is used to explain their infantilism, their appetite for childish moral paradigms and their readiness to 'cancel' people who offend against their orthodoxies. Such explanations see them as 'presenting' with mental ailments in the same way that alcoholics or drug-addicts are often deemed to be afflicted with illnesses.
While such explanations can work, they are ultimately unhelpful because they don't go deep enough. A societal tendency to see humans primarily as patients who suffer from psychological diseases which might, in the final analysis, excuse their behaviour is not enough. In fact it may do humans the disservice of stripping from them the essence of their being. That essence is the unique dignity of moral responsibility. Seeing us as patients first may also be to remove from the observer of humanity the best handle of all that one can get on human conduct - the moral. For, if a grown Police officer takes a knee against his wishes when bullied into it by his superiors and the culture around him, the problem is not that he is suffering from a syndrome. He is suffering from the very moral failing of cowardice. It is civilisationally vital to prioritise such a framing over exotic-sounding 'diagnoses' such as Mirror Neurone Syndrome, Echopraxia, Social Anxiety or Preference Falsification. All of these describe human behaviour from the outside as if it is a phenomenon which is utterly alien to us rather than something which we understand only too well from the moral interior which we share with all other humans because, well, we are humans. The essence of our nature is moral not medical.
And this leads me to explore not the psycho-pathology of the avowedly and explicitly Marxist bullies behind Black Lives Matter, but the moral condition that leads them to exhibit the bullying 'symptoms' that we see. One explores the psychology of the bully knowing that, at base, the failure to relate to others in any way preferable to bullying them is a moral failure. That is why it is entirely normal and proper for us to get angry with bullies. It is notable that, when it comes to their enemies, the left have no difficulty or hesitation in denouncing them in the baldest moral terms and little desire to excuse them on the grounds of psycho-pathology.
The West has not been, perhaps, the most spectacularly successful civilsation the world has known because it has accidentally consisted of white populations but it can't be asserted sensibly that white populations and that civilsation do not correlate to a very large extent. For that reason it is not unreasonable, therefore, to call western civilsation white especially as it was predominantly white when the main seeds of its success were sown. This is simply to acknowledge an accident of history rather than to assert any kind of white supremacvy based merely on skin colour. Those seeds of embracing Christianity and the liberal values that flowered in the Enlightenment led to it becoming a model of the thriving and success of human life and the fulfilment of its potential. This is not, of course, to say that moral challenge and moral failures have been absent from it. That, though, is really to say nothing as they have been present in every human civilisation as an accompaniment to the human condition.
The morally healthy response when faced with with the spectacle of thriving and success is to love and admire those who succeed, to emulate them, perhaps, and to participate in their culture in order to reap its benefits. But, of course, for every morally healthy response there is a morally unhealthy one. Faced with superior talent and enterprise one can give in to resentment, vengefulness, jealousy, spite and even hatred. The mean-spirited, inadequate or unformed person may feel that the thriving and success of life is, in itself, an insult and an offence. In extreme forms he or she may wish that those who thrive should be made to abase or apologise for themselves or be punished for the mistake of creating such cultures. They have to be pulled down to the level of the inadequate rather than things travelling in the opposite direction.
What will emerge when such feelings are acted out will be what psychologists might term pathological 'behaviours' such as sadism, abuse, bullying or even torture and violence. These are of course vices rather than mere behaviours.
There are various models for such morally 'pathological' relationships in our culture. There is the abusive relationship dynamic exhibited by Pozzo towards Lucky in his early manifestations in Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot. There is the model of the 'Incel' serial killer of the women he is not equipped to woo and impress. An early prototype of this is, perhaps, Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho the title of which fits the purpose of this thesis well. Of course it is a sad fact that there is such a thing as genuine psychosis and other mental illnesses that truly divest their sufferers of responsibility but the justified anger expressed by normal people towards weak characters who torture and kill those they desire is revealing.
Hitchcock and his writers make Bates a complex 'sicko' (a term which interestingly combines the medical and moral anger) who possibly might be suffering from an exacerbated Oedipus Complex, the transference of guilt for murdering his mother or an unsatisfactory relationship between his superego, his ego and his id which Slavoj Žižek ingeniously likens to the three floors of the Bates mansion. Does his being a 'psycho' excuse all in this case though? Or, rather, do we sense that his infantilism and a sexuality repressed by his dead mother's malevolence and puritanism leading to a desire to avenge himself on women who excite him really boil down to the cowardice that never allowed him to break free and grow up and get a woman for himself? Is Norman Bates a 'case' or a failure? Perhaps the convoluted psychiatrist scene at the end of the film demonstrates that even Hitchcock was unable to disentangle this mare's nest.
In the final analysis it is hard to resist the conclusion that the 'pathological behaviours' exhibited by rapists, torturers and sadists usually have a moral root and require a moral reckoning if you dig deep enough and that most people know this instinctively to be true.
In the same way the vindictive bullying and humiliating behaviour of the avowedly Marxist BLM movement can all too easily be explained in moral terms. The vengefulness, spite, jealousy, resentment, meaness and hatred they direct towards western capitalist societies are moral rather than clinical failures.