Trying to understand: derangement

Neo-Neocon describes an experience described in “some remarks from commenter “kolnai” describing the attitude of a group of liberal friends of his toward Bush” and others on the same topic. It is well worth a careful read through with some introspection about one’s own beliefs and behavior.

Time has not dulled the sharp edge of Bush-hatred, as many of us have discovered. And I think that all of us stand with Mrs Whatsit in saying that we don’t “get it,” not really, not totally. … Bush-haters actually do believe that he lied about Iraq, that he is a troglodyte who is against science, that he loves war and seeks it out, that he stole the 2000 election, that he is stupid and perhaps even mentally handicapped, and that he evaded his National Guard service.

Perhaps the reason this came up is the book just released and President Bush’s book tour. You can see the Bush Derangement Syndrome in some of the headlines for reviews of the book in some outlets.

The belief that does not fit well with reality in regards to the subject is only a part of the story. There is also a belief used to rationalize and normalize the irrationality. That is the ‘if I am deranged about Bush, then you are deranged about Obama’ school of thought.

These same people believe not only that their hatred of Bush is every bit as rational as hatred of Hitler, but many of them also believe that we on this board and others like it have an irrational hatred of Obama. That is one of the reasons that every criticism of Obama is met with charges of “racist,” rather than a focus on the policy arguments being made (the latter are too rational). That is why the more irrational segments of the birther movement are emphasized so much by the left.

This is a first step. That is, being aware that something isn’t right and meeting the dissonance head on. The question is whether this political dissonance will be resolved via growth or will need a more painful confrontation. When a people refuse to grow out of their fantasies and bring their desires into the grim world of reality, the outcome can indeed be painful and costly. We can hope for growth and a resolution of the emotional dilemma driven by a blind hatred so that it becomes something more benign.

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