I occasionally venture into the dark side just to see what is going on over there. And it is dark there, abysmally dark, as a stifling smugness predominates along with a complete inability to be self-reflective, to self-monitor, to utilize “meta-cognition.” And, of course, I’m talking of my occasional checking in on Rush Limbaugh’s daily radio show on which he tells the hard-core right-wing extremists what they are to believe.
Let me illustrate. Yesterday he noted re one issue, “Now, liberal media won’t pick this up because it is not part of their narrative.” But implicit in that observation is that he does not have any “narrative” that he has subscribed to, a narrative that consists of “cherry picked” information which will support his bias. For, you see he thinks he is being objective and is reporting the news as it “really is” while all those liberals have an agenda. And the smugness of those who feel they grasp reality in an objective fashion is a basic form of tyranny which seeks desperately to maintain the status quo, which is averse to anything which threatens the narrow little prism through which they view the world. He even noted how the liberals “bend and shape the news, pushing their liberal agenda” without any suspicion that he has an agenda of his own and is pushing an agenda. This is a classic example of the projection that Karl Jung wrote about, ascribing to others the faults that one is actually plagued with him/herself.
Rush proudly announced that he lives in “Realville”, not in the fantasy world that liberals live in. Well, he does but his “realville” is the smug world view that once championed slavery, saw nothing wrong with the corporate excesses of the late 19th century, opposed giving women the right to vote in the early 20th century, vehemently opposed the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, and basically demands that our country lives in the past. His “realville” is merely a version of a template that he and his ilk daily impose on their world, a template that I describe as “the way things are.” They wake up daily and know assuredly that “this is the way things are” and do not consider that their viewpoint is very subjective and does not definitively describe reality. And their “way things are” is imposed in a tyrannical manner on the whole of their world, including those nearest and dearest to them.
They cannot have the humility to become aware of their own subjectivity, their own inner experience, and know that they can have a confidence in this subjective reality but not with the arrogance with which they are accustomed. When their subjectivity is recognized, and experienced, they can respect their own reality but at the same time recognize that other people have their own subjective world and that many times that subjective world is very different than their own. This is the phenomena of “difference” and “difference” is what makes the world beautiful and exciting. But, to acquire this humility always entails entertaining some doubt, anxiety, and emotional distress.
And discovering one’s subjective world is a spiritual enterprise. And by “spiritual” I am here not talking of Spiritual here…that is for another occasion. By “spiritual” I mean becoming aware of the complexities and ambivalence and ugliness of the human heart. Or, to put it differently, I referring to opening up to consideration of the unconscious dimension of the human heart. I am encouraging one to allow the “Spirit of God” to open up the heart and follow the advice of Shakespeare and allow that Spirit to make that heart “full of penetrable stuff,” no longer allowing it to be “bronzed over so that it is proof and bulwark against sense” (or feeling) It is only when our heart is “full of penetrable stuff” that we feel and therefore have a heart which is spiritually alive.
Conservatism is a valid and critical dimension of any culture. But when its extremists are allowed to predominate and influence the moderates and intimidate them into submission, darkness rears its ugly head. But the real evil is when these moderates do not have the courage to stand up and vote for their convictions, vote for what they feel is the right thing, and worship only their false god, “What will get me re-elected”
The election last fall provided us with one example of courage by a Republican luminary. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who “palled around” with President Obama in the interest of his state who was suffering from a weather catastrophe. He knew that his party would get all over his ass but he knew what the right thing to do was and he acted boldly. He then voted Republican, nevertheless, as he is a Republican. But one can be a Republican and see merit in collaborating with a Democrat on occasion to accomplish what is in the best interest of his constituency. And, of course, Christie was punished and was disallowed by from playing in some of the “reindeer games” of the Republican party.