When it is observed that Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, it is then duly condemned for the “blockade.” When one objects that the blockade is intended to impede weapons smuggling, that it is wholly legitimate according to the provisions of international law since Hamas is demonstrably at war with Israel, that Israel allows hundreds of thousands of tons of material supplies annually into Gaza, and that the Hamas-dominated enclave is actually flourishing compared to other Muslim nations in the region, the subject is either closed off or the focus shifts to the Golan Heights. When it is shown that…by now one gets the picture. For the denizens of the left, we can be sure there is always a scheming Israeli lurking about somewhere in the whorls of their delirium. David Mamet gets it right in The Secret Knowledge: “The price of admission to the extravaganza is indictment of the State of Israel, which is condemned and scorned regardless of the facts of history, the exercise of reason, or the recognition of cultural affinity.”
The syndrome at work is one of absolute conviction based on the transformation of objective stimuli into subjective impressions via the baleful alchemy of a private obsession. Theory supersedes existence. The delusion is plausible because it is rendered seamless and coherent although it has no application to things as they are. Internal consistency, however strained, replaces external correspondence. Paul Hsieh memorably compares this “willful blindness to facts” to a driver following a malfunctioning GPS rather than “real-world landmarks,” leading to what is called “death by GPS.”
Thus, the hallucination can persuade because it appears intelligible even if it is discontinuous with reality and because every incompatible fact is either discarded or re-valued. As John Le Carré writes in Smiley’s People, “The more one has paid for a forgery, the more one defends it in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.” And, naturally, it is open season on conservatives, whose plausible rebuttals and marshalling of countervailing evidence must be rejected outright and who must therefore be denounced and ostracized. Whether on the personal or collective levels of belief, the system is unassailable. It cannot be defeated; it can only be quarantined.
The epitome of the sealed worldview is represented by the political phenomenon of socialism, in whatever form it adopts. As has often been demonstrated, socialism, however it may be defined, has failed wherever it has been tried, from the reverberating implosion of the U.S.S.R. to the Peronism of Argentina to current European states like Greece and Spain (and others) sinking into unsustainable debt and heading toward fiscal default. “Progressive ideology,” remarks Bruce Thornton, expressing a truism of the ages, “reflects a narrative founded on unexamined ideas long exposed as unworkable.” No matter. The harder reality pushes, the harder the mind committed to its illusion pushes back, impenetrable and resistant.
Admittedly, for some on the left, their concern with humanity and the health of the planet is a brazen scam. As H.L. Mencken reminds us, “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule,” at least among the commissariat. But for many others, likely a majority—especially among the rank and file—we are dealing with a cognitive and emotional infirmity that has assumed the proportions of a social epidemic.
The etiology of this psychological disease is complex and not entirely understood, but it remains a compulsion that garbles and disfigures the world. There can be little doubt that committed socialists and Marxists are immune to reality and will favor policies that deform rather than advance communal benefit, turning the world into an ideological cul-de-sac in which misconceptions multiply and neighbor is set against neighbor. The left toils in the grip of a persistent fantasy that is utterly impervious to logical refutation. Its adherents, all chanting together the formulae of epistemic solidarity, will not be influenced by such frivolities as objective data and sober reasoning.
It is, in short, sheer madness on a planetary scale.
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