Liberal Narcissism and Anti-Christian Phobia
Americans have always expected national television broadcasters to steer clear of degrading epithets. On April 14, 2009, CNN’s Anderson Cooper established a new low in television journalism when he labeled millions of Americans in the Tea Party movement with a vulgar sexual term. Other mainstream media journalists and personalities gleefully followed suit. There was no outcry from the “anti-hate community.” Many liberals do not merely tolerate contumelies against conservatives, but they delight in them.
In the years after World War II, psychologists (many of whom were European Jews who had escaped Nazism) intensively studied how fascist and authoritarian states could bring ordinary people to commit extraordinary crimes against minorities. The two dominant personality theories of the twentieth century, the Freudian and Adlerian psychoanalytic models, provided theoretical frameworks for understanding bigotry and fascism as forms of individual and collective neurotic delusions. The Freudian model attributed these neuroses to a frustrated “will to pleasure,” while Adler pointed to an unhealthy expression of the “will to power” over others.
For the most part, psychologists today deny or ignore anti-Christian prejudice in the American conversation. This is because psychologists are overwhelming politically liberal and spiritually humanist. In social science, bias in is bias out. In addition, America’s dominant psychological model, behaviorism, has always been anti-theoretical and has not produced an integrated theory of personality equal in influence to either Freud or Adler.
Although Freud and Adler agreed on the existence of unconscious fear as the core of neurotic anxiety, they had different explanations for it. Freud posited that bigotry arises when a child internalizes the prejudices of the father in order to resolve unconscious sexual conflicts in the process of superego formation. This thwarted “will to pleasure” is projected as hatred onto a scapegoat minority. Culturally, fear becomes fascistic, involving rigid group conformity against a common enemy. Freud’s model is obsolete. Anderson Cooper, and the Manhattan micro-niche he typifies, is not anxiously reacting to an overbearing father-figure. It is the extreme opposite. Mr. Cooper is the son of a fantastically permissive brand of humanism. The only thing he has to feel guilty about is guilt itself.
But the Freudian model does have utility in one dimension. The aggression resulting from thwarted narcissism is gratified when projected onto a devalued minority — e.g., Tea Party participants. The core phobia is that non-approving conservatives are thwarting the “will to pleasure.” The need for perfect admiration and approval is the hallmark of narcissism, which is by definition insatiable. Narcissistic pleasure is the precursor to inevitable narcissistic rage. In the narcissistic liberal imagination, Christian conservatives stand in the way of a human heaven of sexual freedom.
Alfred Adler coined the term “inferiority complex.” He held that the neurotic complex arises from harm inherent in the “will to power” over others. His model explains liberal prejudice as an overreaction against unconscious self-doubt that projects intellectual, moral, and cultural inferiority onto others. Uppity and unmanageable conservatives, who, oblivious to their own stupidity, doggedly stand up for their inferior beliefs anger the narcissistic liberal.
Applying either Freudian or Adlerian analysis to liberal phobic structure requires updating the concept of individual anxiety, or neurosis, to the contemporary concept of group-based social phobia. Both Freud and Adler were middle-class Jewish men who assumed that neurosis developed in reaction to imbalances in the paternalistic nuclear family — the only normative child-rearing form either had ever seen.
In 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III dropped neurosis as a diagnosis and replaced it with culturally based phobias. The father-led nuclear family was no longer the social structure for incorporating values, morals, and role expectations. “Inadequacy adjustment” in relation to that family system was no longer the source of mental imbalance. Values, norms, and the power of social conditioning were moving outside the home and into the hands of “experts,” government schools, universities, and mass media — in other words, liberals.
Liberal phobic structure is a fascinating innovation in the history of prejudice and cultural fascism. It is a dread of specific forms of sin-cognizant religious belief.
Both anti-Christian phobia and narcissism result from the humanist denial of sin, heaven, and hell. Liberals believe the narcissogenic idea that they create their own heaven or hell on earth. The denial of God-defined sin leads to self-deification and the anxious business of high-stakes, self-directed life-styling. Liberals live with their eyes glued to mass media to learn what is and isn’t sin this season. People who believe that such behavior can lead to a nasty outcome beyond this life are detested. Although liberals accuse Christians of being homophobic, true Christians are hellphobic. Regardless of religious self-identification, people who are betting their immortal souls on a denial of sin and its effects beyond this life have to be crazy not to be phobic.
Every permanent theistic religion of the last seven thousand years — Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam — provides an understanding that spiritual wastefulness is sin. These religions seek to protect people from the consequences of sin beyond this life. Traditions that assume reincarnation, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, teach that sinfulness in one life leads to suffering in the next. Religions that do not incorporate reincarnation, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, explain life as a fleeting preparation before divine judgment.
The pathognomic sign that the liberal reaction to sin-cognizant belief systems is a symptom of phobic complex is that it selectively rejects the teachings of its own traditions — Judaism and especially Christianity. These cultural heritages pose a threat to the liberal wills to pleasure and power. Liberal phobia includes a complex delusional system that exempts some sin-cognizant religions. For example, liberals adore their own version of a morally permissive, designer Buddhism. Nor are they phobic toward Islam, which is based on fiercely sin-cognizant scripture. Liberals maintain mechanisms of denial regarding Islam that rise to the level of psychotic dissociation.
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Bigots are people who have no convictions at all.” Screaming-meemies like Keith Olbermann, Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Penn, Janeane Garofalo, and all the porn-thumping preachers railing against the sin of sin-cognizance are the voices of the new cultural fascists, spittle-flinging celebrities unconsciously raging against their own fear.
I recently evaluated a 53-year-old man who has been unable to recover psychologically or physically from what appeared to be a minor accident. He was born into a devout Christian family in a small Midwestern town. He was also born gay. At about 30, he adopted a gay mode of life. His family continued to love him, but they did not alter their religious beliefs. When he discovered in 1990 that both he and his partner had contracted HIV, his family took this as a sign of the sinfulness of his lifestyle. This man’s friends, counselors, therapists, and humanistic-Christian pastors have for twenty years encouraged him to believe that his family is bigoted. His family has visited him through the years. They sit in the front room and do not stay the night. He acquired a settled resentment toward his people and never went home again. By the grace of God, he and his partner have survived for twenty years, while all of their friends have died. Ironically, he believes that this is because his family back home is praying for him. This man moved from an unyielding belief system based in divine forgiveness to a man-made culture that does not seem to value it.
Dr. Tyler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.