My Dallas, Texas, online friend of recent years, a brilliant, lovely lady, collaborated with a friend of hers from the east in attending and recording big Tea Party rallies in their respective areas. They reported on them in podOmatic videos with discussion in which they agreed that the preponderant message of signs many people waved on sticks and carried on placards was (1) angry, (2) ignorant and (3) selfish. This squares with my reading of the whole movement. Tea Party racism was shown by display of brown monkey-dolls with Obama faces of which people seemed to approve with laughter and occasional purchase.
Tea Party outlook and rhetoric demonstrates maliciously wrong-headed brainwashing of conceptually retarded (not “mentally retarded”) people whose minds drown in emotion deliberately thrust upon them and magnified by brain-damaged Pied Pipers. These would-be tune-callers for the national dance suffer from social diseases I have previously described as “Standard Metaphysical Disconnect” (SMD) and “Standard Political or Personal Disorder” (SPD). They seek to spread the ravages of their ailments to as many others as possible. They really should be brought to the attention of The Center For Disease Control as they are actually quite sick but see their enemies as sick. I call these “Pied Pipers” brain-damaged because they lead toward destructive goals.
Conceptual retardation accompanies a lack of the mature intellect that should be applied to anything deeply abstract or complex. They who display it apply themselves well enough to practical activities and concrete situations. The confusions of Tea Party followers assume false clarity in sound-bite maxims and short, pithy arguments that appeal to emotion. The quality of their thinking seems characterized by reductive simplism and scorn for ideas or people with whom they disagree. They characterize their opponents as equally simple minded and scornful while imagining their own views are above reproach, clear, honest and beyond sensible criticism.
All this is such old stuff! In-group/out-group polarization; agitation of vulnerable groups by outside provocateurs (in this case, agents of ultra-wealthy initiators); faked-up webs of mutually reinforcing suggestion in place of truthful news; flying clouds of hearsay; inflated and bombastic speech-making. It’s simply classic stuff, and it all seems brand new to the groundlings whose eyes can barely peer over the stage floor’s edge. (This alludes to Elizabethan theatre — high-class folks sat on mezzanines or in boxes. Groundlings had standing-room only, down in “the pit.”)
An astonishing travesty of testing and training procedures in currently afoot in our armed services, called CSR (Comprehensive Soldier Fitness) of which an exposé has just appeared on Truthout, “The Dark Side of ‘Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.’” The authors are Roy Eidelson, a clinical psychologist consulting in conflict and stress; Marc Pilisuk, professor emeritus, University of California and professor, Saybrook graduate School and Research Center; and Stephen Soldz, a psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility.
In short, a $125 million dollar no-bid contract to Martin Seligman’s group (he is former president of the American Psychological Association) to develop resilience training for reducing or preventing adverse psychological consequences of combat, hopefully good for soldiers and veterans. The authors are troubled by 13 articles in the APA’s journal, The American Psychologist which “…offer very little discussion of conceptual and ethical considerations; the [journal’s] special issue does not provide a forum for any independent critical or cautionary voices whatsoever; and through this format, the APA itself has adopted a jingoistic cheerleading stance toward a research project about which many crucial questions should be posed.”
Farther along they write: “Although its advocates prefer to describe CSF as a training program, it is indisputably a research project of enormous size and scope, one in which a million soldiers are required to participate.” CSF team leaders write, “We hypothesize that these skills will enhance soldiers’ ability to handle adversity, prevent depression and anxiety, prevent PTSD and enhance overall well-being and performance.” The Truthout article’s authors point out this is purely a proposed thesis as yet unproven.
Soldiers in CSF training must take a test which includes questions of religious belief and family relations. Young men are supposed to “believe in a higher power” religiously defined in some way or they are regarded as unspiritual and too vulnerable to combat-stress for reliable service. Top officers seem to imagine “there’s no place for athiests in foxholes.” I suppose they end up in desk jobs, army bands or jobs in supply or hospitals away from the fighting?
Without examining related articles on this subject, it looks to me as if the top brass and these university-trained, psychological “engineers” don’t know what they’re doing even at the practical level, because they have no fit concept of spirituality. They use a purely pragmatic notion of “spirituality” as an inner strength or resilience that can resist the horrors of war and the lasting, moral effects of actions wars often require. Men have to suffer things done to them and cope with doing terrible things to other humans which they would never bear apart from combat. Such an ill-conceived approach is abject nonsense. It is one thing not to know what spirit or soul is. It is another thing to imagine knowing how to develop psychological integrity with only peripheral understanding of what it is by means of what you want it to accomplish before you have tested a lot of men in real combat. Like guinea pigs in the lab or rats in a maze you condition and test them in a race with snakes and coyotes?At least you can talk to men and ask them questions. But, you do not need all the rigmarole of hypotheses and mental-exercise procedures to do that. Shades of staring at goats!
The Tea Partiers don’t know who they are and the Army doesn’t know what a human being is or they would not imagine they could succeed at engineering inhuman soldiers out young Americans at higher rate than they managed to do in 1860 or or 1916. Not every casualty bleeds. Men are not robots. The worst thing you can do to young men and women is to send them into unjustified wars, wars that serve special “interests” or imperialism rather than actually defend our nation. Let a people fight only in just wars, they will experience less mental and emotional damage. The troubles that arise in and come home from wars begin with problems in the heads and hearts of those who put service people into harm’s way. The manipulators of the GOP and Tea Party must be thwarted and defeated in their wars against women, the ill, the old, working folks, labor organizations and middle class citizenry. And the generals must be persuaded to resist all foreign adventure that takes fancy argument to frame it as “national defense.”