Human Paleopsychology

MensNewsDaily Column 14

Kent G. Bailey.  Culture Wars in the 21st Century:  Geeks of the Left Versus Warriors of the Right.  MND, July 15, 2006
    The radical and destructive left has mounted one devastating attack after another on the fundamental traditions of America over the past 60 years.  As I have argued in other commentaries, the true Marxist revolutionaries are small in real numbers but they are immensely powerful where it counts- in the print, television, and movie media; in the schools, colleges and universities; in the law schools, and local, state and federal courts; in the popular culture of rap stars, rock idols, movie gods and goddesses; and, in the mighty halls of commerce, politics, and government.  At their worst, they are nihilistic, exhibitionistic and narcissistic champions of dysfunction that prey on the young, the innocent, the weak, and the spiritually uncertain. 
     Conservative activist Tammy Bruce was once one of them and she knows them all too well.  In her revealing expose of the Left- The Death of Right and Wrong- she deplores the spiritual vacuity, the simplistic notions of "tolerance," and the moral relativism that gnaws at the very soul of America.  Moreover, she knows exactly who the "termites" are that teem at our culture's foundation: "I can say with full confidence that what I have seen driving and controlling the actions and agenda of the Left Elite in all those venues- culturally, politically, and socially- is malignant narcissism...Malignant narcissism is the god of the Left Elite" (p. 27).  As a clinical psychologist, I find the idea of modern liberalism (a.k.a. radical Marxism) as a form of emotional damage and psychopathology quite intriguing, to say the least!
     The shadow powers of the Left have positioned their emotionally fragile, nerdy, geeky, ex-hippy, Ivy League elitist, and Mensa wannabes under every rock in the now morally muddy creek we call American culture.  The Left Elite and their geeky foot soldiers are engaged in an undeclared "war" against the Christian majority but there is nary a real warrior hawk among their effete ranks.  Their war is one of cultural attrition, fought under the cover of night, in the newsrooms of major newspapers and TV conglomerates, in the classrooms of major universities, in liberal religious circles, and, more recently, in the radical leftist blogosphere. 
     Being "warrior poseurs," they are terrified of physical confrontation, and they "fight" their battles with girlish personal invective, whiny claims of victimization, and cowardly group attacks on courageous single individuals (e. g., George Bush, James Dobson, or Michelle Malkin).  Theirs is a basically broad but passive offensive designed to simply shame the culturally traditional, politically conservative, and religiously Christian majority into submission.  The radical left's idea of a real John Wayne donnybrook with the enemy forces of the right is a few genteel intellectual pirouettes, glib repartee and some really down and dirty name calling and finger wagging.   When faced with a true warrior hawk of the right, their chins quiver, they may tear up a bit, and then hastily retreat in search of more sensitive and compliant opposition.  
     My favorite neocon columnist, David Brooks, opines that those of the future radical left were the unpopular nerds, techies, drama types, and gangstas in high school,  whereas those on the future traditionalist right were the popular jocks, cheerleaders, and preps who ruled the social roost (NYT, April 30, 2006)..  Brooks refers to Thomas Wolfe's notion that a person's identity is capped off in high school in a kind of ongoing morality play where Myself, the hero, is set against My Adolescent Opposite, the enemy.   If my natural enemy in the tribal throes of adolescence is aggressive, brutish, and in love with power, then he or she tends toward the "conservative."  If, on the other hand, my natural enemy is overly soft, sensitive, cerebral, and incapable of action, then expect a liberal view of the universe.
     In my warrior hawk versus peaceful dove terms, I translate all of this to mean that the more conservative type is the natural warrior- reckless, aggressive and full of action- whereas the liberal is the natural pacifist who has historically relied on the warlike "conservatives" to establish and guarantee his liberty and right to speak his piece.  Once the conservative warrior has fought and died on one bloody battlefield after another to assure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, the liberal 90 pound weaklings, whiny protestors, long-suffering "victims," and America haters emerge from under their rocks with a fury.  They feed on peace and prosperity and, as Tammy Bruce says, they just love to entertain themselves by imposing their malignant, narcissistic, and emotionally damaged selves on the rest of us.  The result of all of this is cultural disaster writ large.
    Now with all due respect, how in the world have the metaphorical big-men-on-campus and warrior hawks of the right allowed the Leftist elite and their nerdy and dovish minions to worm their way into every nook and cranny of our culture?  And, indeed, to allow them to re-define and vulgarize our basic institutions of marriage, family, education, morality, and the practice of religion?  Great wars of history were fought over far lesser matters, and we must ask ourselves, "How did the opposing side essentially nullify the male warrior class of the right over the past 60 years and thus win the culture wars by default?"
Kent Bailey is professor emeritus of clinical psychology.  His major focus is on how ancient evolutionary processes affect current human affairs.   His major monograph is Human Paleopsychology: Applications to Aggression and Pathological Processes.   Lawrence Erlbaum, 1987.
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Kent G. Bailey [email protected]