Yet another excellent essay by Tom Englehardt. There’s just one (complex) point I’d like to add.
When someone can’t tolerate owning qualities they have so strongly they end up believing those qualities are not present in them but are in others around them (people, nature, objects, concepts…but for now let’s stick with people) it’s called psychological “projection”. When they then take actions that make their imaginings about the other people come true, it’s called “projective identification”, or in the term used by process therapist Arnold Mindell, “dreaming up”. When the powerful in the US imagine people in the world hate “us”, attack those people and thus create the hate they imagined, that’s dreaming up enemies. Former CIA station chief John Stockwell wrote a book called In Search of Enemies in which he described this process after the fall of the USSR (although he didn’t consider the psychological or use those terms). The US “elite” have enormous amounts of intolerable stuff in them; the projections they’re therefore throwing are large, innumerable and powerful. Each person, group, religion, race, country, and other “object” carries different projections for these sad and sick “leaders” and the public. The idea of the victims of some of these delusional violence-prone would-be, should-be patients as “bugsplat” is telling. (I think of the horrifically projecting, scapegoating militaristic rampages of psychotic psychopathy, the Starship Troopers movies). As shown by those movies, (and our current life) projected fear, rage and hatred looks a lot like paranoia; there is no amount of security that will suffice for such people, and when we take an honest look at an attempt to try to provide it, what we see is 1944 Germany. Not a good model to emulate but that’s clearly where we’re headed—at Blitzkrieg speed. (AKA shock and awe-ful.)
Given the power both of the projections, and of the US “elite” to throw off physically the karmic retribution inextricably associated with their acts of outrage, it’s unlikely anything will change about this psychic and physical behavior anytime soon, unless we spend astoundingly unprecedented effort healing these folks from their psychic affliction, or remove them from power. And that would mean president, Congress, collaborating judges, huge swathes of the war department and military, the (in)security establishment, the policing power structure, most of the corporate business world and an equal scythic pass through the leadership of the major religions, media, (including the sports and infoentersuasionment industry) education establishment and most other leadership of all kinds in the US. And then got a new public, or sent nearly the entire one we have back to not only school but mother, to achieve some kind of decent attachment they can work out from, exhibiting less fear, rage, hatred and shame next time. Or we could just take over as progressives, buy ourselves time to do all that by building solar panels and wind turbines, organic permaculture farms, a boatload of trains and a trainload of sailing boats so we can survive long enough to implement all those other changes. A couple of centuries might do it if we listen to the right people right from the start. If you want to be a better instrument for the healing the right wing duopoly desperately needs in order to not destroy the biosphere, get into therapy yourself. See what it’s like. Invite a conservative friend or relative to join a group or enter therapy themselves; do everything you can to make their passage to health easier and faster. We need them healthier if we expect civilization to survive; we need us healthier and more expert at giving help if we expect them to change, or even accept being replaced without, again, destroying the biosphere. Let’s start tomorrow.