I occasionally venture into the dark side, just to recall how it used to be when I had my head so squarely up my backside and thought I viewed the world with objectivity. And it is abysmally dark in there; no light can get in for the light of day would crush the smug world of certitude. And, of course, I’m talking of my occasional venture into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
Let me illustrate. Earlier in the week he noted re one issue, “Now, liberal media won’t pick this up because it is not part of their narrative.” Implicit in that observation is that he does not have any “narrative” that he has subscribed to, a narrative for which he “cherry picked” information that would support bias. He thinks he is being objective and is reporting the news as it “really is” while “all those liberals” have an agenda. He vividly illustrates the smugness of those who feel they grasp reality in an objective fashion and seek desperately to maintain the status quo and repudiate anything which threatens the narrow 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 which he is pushing. 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 live there 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…as is the case with all of us… 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 that subjective reality but not with the arrogance they once had. When their subjectivity is recognized, and experienced, they can respect their 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 from their own. This is the phenomena of “difference” and “difference” is what makes the world beautiful and exciting.
But, one’s discovering one’s subjective world is a spiritual enterprise. And by “spiritual” I am here not talking of Spiritual (in the sense of God and such—that is relevant but must wait for discussion on another occasion). By “spiritual” I mean becoming aware of the complexities and ambivalences and ugliness of the human heart. Or, to put it differently, I referring to opening up to consideration of an unconscious dimension to the human heart. I am encouraging one to allow the “Spirit of God” (if I might employ that notion) 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 “bronzed o’er” with a culturally imposed template of how the world is.
Conservatism is a valid and critical dimension of any culture. But when its extremes are allowed to have undue influence, and the moderates are intimidated into submission, darkness will rear its ugly head. But the real evil is when these moderates do not have the courage to stand up and vote for their convictions, to vote for what they feel is the right, and therefore not worship the false god of “Re-electability.”