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A Jungian Helps Explain Bush-Hatred

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:40 pm - March 3, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Literature & Ideas

In our class this week, “Archetypes in Cinema,” the professor assigned an article to help us understand the father archetype in films. But, as I read Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig’s, “Sinister Fathers–Healthy Children” (from his book, From the Wrong Side: A Paradoxical Approach to Pscychology), I occasionally felt I was reading about Bush-hatred. Here he seems to describe many afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome (B.D.S):

I have met many people who experienced only the loving father in the outer world. They were, therefore, never forced to grapple with the murderous side of the archetype in their environment or in themselves. These young people subsequently projected the destructive portion of the father archetype onto the world around them, using the smallest of hooks on which to hang their projections. Every mildly authoritarian or domineering male figure became a murderous inhuman father. Because they had not learned to deal with the destructive side of the father, they became existentially insecure when they met anything that even resembled it.

It would be interesting to study those evidencing symptoms of Bush-hatred to see if, as children, they experienced only positive images of the father for it is clear that many are projecting onto the president images of the destructive father. We see him depicted as a monster whose fangs drip with blood and akin to Adolf Hitler, the worst human monsters of the last century. His alienated adversaries describe him as a man who delights in destruction and who cheerily countenances cruelty while his policies mandate murder.

Such descriptions say little, if anything, about the president, but say a lot about those offering them — and about the demons which lurk in their imaginations.

UPDATE: Just corrected a sentence. In the original, a clause had read: “those evidencing symbols of Bush-hatred,” I had meant symptoms not symbols and have since corrected the text above.

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45 Comments

  1. Hm. But how’s that explain Kennedy? 😉

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — March 3, 2006 @ 9:23 pm - March 3, 2006

  2. #0 – Here’s my problem with the theory. If someone had a consistently loving father, and mother, they should tend to be secure and well-adjusted. The theory in your post seems to imply that if you had a good and loving father, you’re screwed. That makes no sense. I thought you were screwed if you had a bad upbringing / bad father!

    I think Bush-hatred is really much simpler.

    Left-liberal ideas are what many of us grew up on (e.g., Kennedy-worship; Vietnam anti-militarism). Therefore, psychologically, left-liberal ideas are SUPPOSED TO be good, right, and in control of the world – for the world to be good and right and under control.

    Now, the fact is, left-liberal ideas don’t correspond to reality; i.e., they don’t work. Plus they aren’t (really) in control any more. So, many of us must confront the fact that we were raised on a bunch of crap. For anyone who hasn’t gone through that conflict yet, well, the prospect is very anxiety-provoking.

    And anybody who seems to symbolize conservative ideas (including the existential/survival necessity of conservative ideas) becomes the symbolic repository of the conflict. And nothing is more symbolic, in America, than the President.

    So basically, you have a bunch of people (left-liberals) who were raised on crap and have committed themselves to crap, and the world no longer coddles them or conforms to their ideas. That’s a deep existential crisis. And Bush seems to symbolize all the stuff that’s no longer in their control.

    By the way, I highly recommend this sweeping book on Post-Modernism, which analyzes PoMo (successfully in my opinion) as the Left’s answer to their own crisis of faith, after (and during) the failure of Left ideas in the 20th century. In other words, PoMo theory equips lefties with certain cognitive or epistemological strategies they must require in order to continue believing in Leftism, after 100 years of evidence against it has accumulated.

    Comment by Calarato — March 3, 2006 @ 9:33 pm - March 3, 2006

  3. P.S. I say this knowing, of course, that Bush isn’t a consistent or reliable conservative.

    He merely seems like one, to the Lefties, because of his religious, pro-American and anti-abortion tendencies.

    Comment by Calarato — March 3, 2006 @ 9:46 pm - March 3, 2006

  4. Here’s my problem with the theory. If someone had a consistently loving father, and mother, they should tend to be secure and well-adjusted. The theory in your post seems to imply that if you had a good and loving father, you’re screwed. That makes no sense. I thought you were screwed if you had a bad upbringing / bad father!

    I think this point needs a bit of elaboration.

    When one talks about “loving” in this context, you can equate it with “indulgent”. These are the parents who are convinced if they just “love” little Johnny enough, everything will be fine.

    As a result, these kids grow up without ever once really hearing the word, “No”. Oh, their parents may SAY it on occasion, but what the children quickly learn is that that means, “Scream louder, or even better, say ‘I hate you!’, and you’ll get what you want”.

    Thus, when they encounter a real live authority figure that they can’t buffalo, lacking the sense of proportion that comes from experience with not always getting their way, they immediately project that this person is a monster, the ultimate in evil, a “Hitler”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 4, 2006 @ 2:34 am - March 4, 2006

  5. I’ve always thought that if Bush were really as bad as they claim, he’d be their best buddy. They loved “Uncle Joe” Stalin and many loved Hitler, as Joe Kennedy did, they helped create Pol Pot, so why don’t they love Bush?
    Of course consistancy has never been their forte.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 4, 2006 @ 5:16 am - March 4, 2006

  6. I’ll not pursue the Jungian or Freudian constructs of interpretation, since both are woefully speculative metaphysics or highly idealized theories of ancient Greek drama and philosophy. From an empirical perspecitve, both are simply wrong. From a clinical perspective, neither theory works. But like Marx or Darwin, either psychologist’s ideology can help dissect behavior from different perspectives that can be illuminating. (N.B. Jung’s “Man and His Symbols” and Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents,” “Moses and Monotheisism,” and “Future of an Illusion” are deeply philosophical works of perennial value.)

    George Lakoff, I believe, has a better construct: Conservatives mirror the Authortarian/Disciplinarian Father Model and Liberals mirror the Nurturing Mother Model. Coming from different orientations, they attempt to solve problems from a totally different model. Ironically, in the biological scheme of things, it takes BOTH a Father and a Mother to make a family, hence synthesis, but in American political landscape, ideologues take and EITHER/OR perspective, hence fractiousness. What GLBT-inclusive marriage will do to either paradigm is much too early to tell. But it has been interesting to conjoin different perspectives in synthesis to see what happens.

    Bush’s problem, from the Lakoff metaphors, is that he fails on both models. Many theorists thought Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” was an effort to synthesize the Lakoff Model. Indeed, Bush’s rhetoric is replete with both the Authortarian Father image and the Nurturing Mother image. Rather than rigid differentiation, it was anticipated Bush intended to synthesize the two different disposition. His performance in office, however, has been entirely of the Authortarian Father Model, while his rhetoric continues to stir up the impression he seeks both.

    Several “obvious” examples. Iraq: I’ll discipline Saddam for his bad behavior. AIDS: Abstinence, not condoms. Katrina: “Great job, Brownie” (which, as it turns out, Brown tried to do, but Bush et alia weren’t interested). Inclusive Marriage: “Marriage is only between a mom and dad, because dad knows.” Compromise: When right, there’s no need to compromise. Policy: What’s good for you, not what you want. Check-n-Balances: Dad knows what’s right for you. FISA: No one will tie my hands. Appointees: Dad’s buddies will do the job, not mom’s friends. Iraq II: I don’t care about the facts, I want these results. Incompetent Cronyism: You’ve pat my back, I’ll pat yours. Maleness: I know what’s best, just trust me. Congress/Courts: Treated as undisciplined children.

    In the Lakoff Model, Bush fits the Authortarian Father Image almost perfectly. Ironically, so did Ronald Reagan, but Reagan softened his extremism with a “grandfatherly” image superimposed on the Authortarian Father Figure image. Conversely, Gore and Kerry both appealed to the Nurturing Mother Figure: It’s okay, mom will make it better. Both Gore and Kerry had a certain “irresponsible children” images, that made them less than completely satisfactory to their own Model. Whereas, Bush’s Prodigal Son image only reinforces the Authortarian Father Model.

    Bush’s failures, which are legion, are not because he’s not played politics like the Authortarian Father. Rather, it’s because he’s done it so superbly well, that the Model itself shows (1) its untenability, and (2) incompetence can’t hide behind an image indefinitely. Sooner or later, if Dad doesn’t do his fatherly job as required, children want to leave home, and Mom wants a divorce. Ergo, Bush’s plumeting poll numbers. Get that man out of the house. He may no longer be a drunk, but he’s mean, and he can’t do an honest day’s work. He’s spending us out of house and home, and putting the whole family at risk.

    Obviously, there are other models one could use to evaluate Bush. One such model is the Corporate Executive. Is Bush a Ken Lay or Robert Welch? Clearly a Ken Lay. So, while Lakoff’s Model is by no means the only way to evaluate a situation, it certainly is ample in its power to describe the current state of affairs. And they’re simply bad. (Hint: Use the Lakoff Model with Jimmy Carter; it also yields interesting results.)

    Comment by Stephen — March 4, 2006 @ 8:25 am - March 4, 2006

  7. Get that man out of the house. He may no longer be a drunk, but he’s mean, and he can’t do an honest day’s work. He’s spending us out of house and home, and putting the whole family at risk.

    And replace him with a shiftless gigolo who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life, who wants to spend money at double the rate he’s spending it mostly on an even more expanded bueaucracy and by taking ever larger sums from the productive segment of society and lavish it on the unproductive segment of society, and with a group of people who don’t have the slightest clue (or plan) about keeping the family safe and who are … oh by the way… completely in thrall to parasitic trial lawyers, teacher’s unions and far-left whack-job hate groups like MoveOn-dot-org.

    That’s the nut Stephen never addresses. As bad as Bush is, on all the issues that matter, Democrats are worse.

    Comment by Kent Brockman — March 4, 2006 @ 9:36 am - March 4, 2006

  8. Seriously, who in the Democrat leadership right now shows any sign of sanity or backbone? Hillary? Even as she triangulates, the only time she sounds sincere is when she’s screeching at the left-wing fringe what they want to hear? Harry “Yea! We killed the Patriot Act” Reid? Nancy “San Francisco Whackjob” Pelosi? Howard “Bush Knew About 9-11 in Advance and Osama Should Be Tried By Ramsey Clark and the ACLU” Dean? Gigolo John “Can I Get Me A Huntin’ License (See I Can Talk Like the Rest of You Filthy Peasants)” Kerry? Al “America Is Rounding Up Arabs and Torturing Them” Gore? Mark “Massive Gigantic Tax Increase” Warner? Jay “Let’s Leak Our Plan for Monitoring Terrorists to the New York Times” Rockefeller? Ted “Samuel Alito Eats Babies” Kennedy? Russ “I Did Everything I Did to Kill the Patriot Act and Put Our Intelligence Back to September 10 and By The Way I Hate Free Speech As Much As John McCain” Feingold? Barack “Look, I can pose, pander, and backstab with the rest of them” Obama? Wesley “Pompous Egomaniac Who Tried to Start World War III” Clark?

    Sure, I’d be willing to give a sane Democrat a shot at running things. But they’d have to respect my values, not raise taxes, control spending, be strong on defense, be clear-headed about terrorism, and not kowtow to the Teacher’s Unions, Move-On, the ACLU, and the Tort lawyers. Know any? Didn’t think so.

    Comment by V the K — March 4, 2006 @ 9:50 am - March 4, 2006

  9. And I wouldn’t have to agree on a Democrat about everything. I only agree with Bush about 30% of the time (Taking the fight to the terrorists, democratizing the Middle East, cutting taxes, conservative SCOTUS picks). Find a Democrat I can agree with 40% of the time and I’ll go for it.

    And there’s about 50% of the time, I just want to slap Bush upside the head. Prescription Drug Boondoggle? — slap! Runaway spending — slap! Underfunding the military — slap! Campaign Finance Reform — slap! Open borders— slap! slap! slap! slap! There are other areas — like the port deal, the Katrina response where I think the criticisms of Bush have been insane and over-the-top. There are other areas — like the wiretaps and Gitmo — where Bush is 100% right and his critics are 100% wrong.

    The Democrats, I pretty much want to slap upside the head all the time. Mark Warner is their hero for pushing through the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history. SLAP! The Democrats criticize Bush not for spending too much, but for not spending enough. SLAP! The Democrats want to impeach Bush for doing the best job he can to try to protect us from terror. SLAP! The Democrats support groups like the ACLU that are hostile to Christians and to the Free Exercise of religion. SLAP! The Democrats embrace an extreme environmental regulation scheme that trashes the idea of property rights. SLAP! SLAP! The Democrats support restrictions on Free Speech through campaign finance reform and regulation of the media (the “Fairness” Doctrine) SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! The Democrats want to raise taxes so they can better subsidize bureaucratis parasites and radical nutjob teachers like Jay Bennish. SLAP! The Democrats want to extend Constitutional protections to foreign terrorists SLAP! The Democrats go nuts because an Arab company is going to be the absentee owners of the company that runs the trucks and cranes at a few Port Terminals… But they go nuts at the suggestion that we might want to keep an eye on radical mosques and people who are making phone calls to al Qaeda. What the Hell is up with that?

    Comment by V the K — March 4, 2006 @ 10:48 am - March 4, 2006

  10. Sorry, but disliking President Bush is not a mental illness.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 4, 2006 @ 11:03 am - March 4, 2006

  11. And no one says it is.

    I dislike Bush myself, as you know perfectly well and I have made clear many times.

    Irrational hatred of President Bush, on the other hand – You know, Gryph, the kind where the person (the hater) actually distorts and misrepresents reality, your area of expertise? – is a mental illness. (As would be irrational anything.)

    Comment by Calarato — March 4, 2006 @ 11:23 am - March 4, 2006

  12. Patrick said…

    “Sorry, but disliking President Bush is not a mental illness.”

    Sorry, but willfully disregarding reality out of sheer, unadulterated hatred for the President sure sounds like derangement to me.

    You know, Patrick, on occasion I’ve admired your intellect. You seem to have these moments of clarity from time to time. Unfortunately, when an argument seems to be predicated on the foolishness of the left’s policies, you invariably lose your mind, regardless of the insanity displayed by your fearless leaders.

    Eric in Hollywood

    Comment by HollywoodNeoCon — March 4, 2006 @ 11:26 am - March 4, 2006

  13. The father figure for the Left is metaphorical in the situation of Bush-hatred. The Lefts father figure is the insulating and necessarily distorting ideology of Liberalism. When that ideology begins to fail lefties lash out blaming everything other than their own supposedly gentle yet seriously flawed set of beliefs.

    Comment by Dave — March 4, 2006 @ 12:44 pm - March 4, 2006

  14. Calarato pretty replied (in #11) to Patrick’s point in #10 as I would have.

    There are many responsible level-headed critics of the President — many of them on the right — but the people I’m describing find a conspiracy in every Bush mistake and diabolical motives in his every policy.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 4, 2006 @ 2:21 pm - March 4, 2006

  15. 314 You’re right they do. But it’s a Rovian world we live in.

    Comment by hank — March 4, 2006 @ 3:27 pm - March 4, 2006

  16. Kent: I don’t address it because it’s obvious. Do I have to explain on THIS blog why “the Left” is problematic? But I don’t think the way to handle the problem is with perjorative epithets, non sequitirs, and ad hominems. Some might get their rocks off doing so, but it’s plainly childish and inane. Besides, Democrats aren’t in power now, Republicans are! That casts a totally different shadow on things, don’t you think? At least it’s marginally relevant to a host of problems that Republicans, bizarrely, have created. What’s SO remarkable about the current crop of Republicans is just HOW far they’re off from traditional conservatism and republicanism. It’s not as if it’s one or two minor variances, it’s totally off message. That’s not hyperbole! I don’t recognize a single conservative principle being used by this administration. “Cut taxes” you say, but never as it’s own raison d’etre. Only when one also cuts spending too. It’s a package. To do one without the other is egregiously irresponsible. And it sure isn’t “conservative.” Plus everyone knows it. Add your favorite Bushism, and it does not fit any profile of conservatism I know.

    So, maybe Bushisms are right, and conservatism is wrong? Is that being suggested? Can’t be! Bushisms are in fact proving conservative theory by his not applying it. Illegality, torture, rendition, Katrina, Iraq, ad nauseum, all point out that Bushisms not only don’t work, but they don’t work precisely because they aren’t even coherent, much less “conservative.” This administration is so out of touch with almost everything, it’s downright scary. What’s even worse, it’s being done under the color of “conservatism,” when there’s nothing conservative about it. It’s total adulteration.

    When Clinton was in office, I had a few choice complaints about him. But he’s no longer president. The fact that Democrats do not offer an alternative, or that the alternative they offer “might” be worse, does’t extinguish the fact that Bushisms are hazardous in their own right, without reference to anything else. If Democrats regain power, and that seems likely, I’ll criticize them for their policy failures. But that scenerio isn’t even in play right now. We’re being ruled by an hubris autocrat that doesn’t know any better. Clinton at least repented; Bush doesn’t even know he’s sinned. Even worse, he thinks he’s part of God’s plan! That should scare the crap out of everyone.

    Comment by Stephen — March 4, 2006 @ 4:42 pm - March 4, 2006

  17. Bush has a clear goal for us . For some of us. For them. The Rapture.

    Comment by hank — March 4, 2006 @ 5:59 pm - March 4, 2006

  18. Bush has a clear goal for us . For some of us. For them. The Rapture.

    Bring it on, I’m ready! 🙂

    Comment by V the K — March 4, 2006 @ 6:59 pm - March 4, 2006

  19. #16 Excellent. The Republican Party of 2006 has very little in common with the Republican Party of Eisenhower, Taft, etc., of the mid-20th century. Fiscal conservatism is virtually honored only in the breech. Social conservatism has been ceded to the likes of whom are an embarrassment to religious/spiritual men and women of goodwill.

    One does not have to hate anyone or any country to feel profound sadness for the current state of our national affairs. Hatred, as a matter of fact, has no place in the discussion; we all strive for the same goal.

    Comment by Gene — March 4, 2006 @ 7:40 pm - March 4, 2006

  20. #18
    I hope your SUV doesn’t fall on me.

    Comment by hank — March 4, 2006 @ 7:44 pm - March 4, 2006

  21. “…we all strive for the same goal.”

    No, Gene. We don’t!

    Get that through your head.

    Some people strive for socialism, and/or, for the dhimmitude of America. The Michael Moores. The Cindy Sheehans. The International A.N.S.W.E.R.S. To no small extent, the Nancy Pelosis. The Barbara Boxers. The John Kerrys.

    And what about you? I know little about you, so tell me: would you like to be numbered among them?

    When Islamic Sharia is proclaimed in Washington DC, Gene, you will be killed. (And today you aren’t.) Think about it.

    Comment by Calarato — March 4, 2006 @ 9:38 pm - March 4, 2006

  22. Oh, and P.S.

    I just noticed that the very name of your blog (people can mouse over Gene’s name) denies we are all striving toward the same goal.

    In other words, your conclusion in #19 is sanctimonious hooey on your own self-proclaimed terms. (Either that, or else one would be driven to a conclusion about you being a hypocrite?)

    Comment by Calarato — March 4, 2006 @ 9:43 pm - March 4, 2006

  23. One does not have to hate anyone or any country to feel profound sadness for the current state of our national affairs. Hatred, as a matter of fact, has no place in the discussion; we all strive for the same goal.

    So says the man whose blog title is “Take That Right Wing Nut Scum”.

    It isn’t hatred you oppose, Gene; it’s anyone else but you being allowed to practice it.

    And as for you, Stephen, you’ve REALLY been exposed.

    I wonder if hank and Gene will agree with your screed, quoted there, that all the gays here who don’t agree with Stephen want to strip gays of jobs and homes, write Biblical laws directly into the Constitution, and put gays in concentration camps?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 4, 2006 @ 9:54 pm - March 4, 2006

  24. #23
    Of course not. Why do you even say stupid things like that?

    Comment by hank — March 4, 2006 @ 10:20 pm - March 4, 2006

  25. Could someone please explain to me how, exactly, Bush is a conservative? Seems to me that when it comes to spending money, expanding the power of the government, and letting his pet “intellectuals” drag the country into ruinous wars, he’s LBJ x 10.

    Comment by Pootie — March 4, 2006 @ 10:56 pm - March 4, 2006

  26. #25

    Fred Barnes explains it here.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 4, 2006 @ 11:31 pm - March 4, 2006

  27. Of course not. Why do you even say stupid things like that?

    Because I can read.

    You are not alone. But save your breath.

    You agreed with Stephen before when he said that; why should I assume you don’t now?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 5, 2006 @ 12:06 am - March 5, 2006

  28. Could someone please explain to me how, exactly, Bush is a conservative?

    I never thought of Bush as a conservative. Bush is a social moderate, a fiscal liberal, a big government liberal, and maybe a foreign policy conservative.

    Most of us are smart enough to criticize Bush policy-by-policy. But there are some who have decided that since they disagree with Bush on one policy, or just because they hate him personally, that he is evil and stupid and everything he does is wrong and that makes it all right to compare to Hitler and call for his impeachment… meanwhile shrieking ‘wooo- wooo – wooo’ like Daffy Duck on amyl nitrate.

    Comment by V the K — March 5, 2006 @ 12:15 am - March 5, 2006

  29. There are several problems for me with your analysis of Guggenbuhl- Craig’s essay, GPW.

    The most conspicuous problem is that the way you are representing G-C’s theory would apply more concretely to George Bush himself. When we are talking about the excessively benevolent father, we are talking about the father who makes life easy for the child by sparing him the pain of ordinary challenges and who keeps his own murderous feelings out of sight.

    Bush’s biography is infamous for exactly that. At every step of his education and career, his father or his father’s proxy has stepped in to rescue him when things didn’t go well. And Bush’s long history of rebelling against authority – from his drug and alcohol use to the current allegations that he ignores the law by, say, revising the Geneva accords or failing to get warrants before eavesdropping – are consistent with what you are describing. Indeed, it would not be far-fetched from this perspective to say that the images of torture at Abu Ghraib flooding the world are the psychological projections of the monstrosity hidden from GWB in his privileged life, returning like all repressed material, to demand introjection of the father’s missing aspect. Of course, a Jungian more orothodox than G-C might say that those images are projections of the same process in the collection American psyche. (You might argue, too, that the Danish cartoons acquire their excess of significance through a similar process.)

    But the main thing I’d observe is that the point of GC’s essay, “Sinister Father – Healthy Children” is NOT to predicate anything as predictable as this process. His point, which is repeatedly stressed in the essay (as I recollect), is to demonstrate that the adult cannot be reduced to his childhood experience. He is calling into question our usual notions of causality – that good always brings about good and that evil always brings about evil – and he is showing this by observing what can happen with some children who have purely benevolent fathers. He also observes that some kids with asshole fathers end up being “good.” And in the next chapter in that book, as I recall, he says the most difficult father of all is the brilliant, creative, unusual one. I wonder if that might be more GWB’s curse. The sons of the unusual father, GC argues, sabotage themselves repeatedly, failing to resolve the Oedipal conflict.

    As I’m sure you know, there’s been at least one study of GWB’s history from an Oedipal perspective.

    By the way, I know the facts of Bush’s biography as I have presented them are selective but that in itself points to G-C’s critique of psychotherapy. The effort always to find a cause in the past requires a selective consideration of events. But whether we like or dislike him, we tend to do that.

    Comment by JwGreen — March 5, 2006 @ 12:16 am - March 5, 2006

  30. Stephen: I think that is one way of looking at Lakoff’s analysis, but he has said repeatedly that the problem on the progressive side is not merely failing to refute the language of the right but borrowing it.

    I queston that Bush will undo himself entirely by acting like an authoritarian. Just as hazardous is the left’s assuming the nuturant role but still speaking the language of the right. It’s no wonder that people find the left confusing when it supports the right of abortion but employs phrases like “partial-brith abortion” that are created to produce an offensive image (no matter how much the right claims such phrases have empirical validity).

    By the way, I think Lakoff’s work on metaphor bears some resemblance to Jung’s discourse on archetype and it’s pretty widely acknowledged that his embodiment of the metaphor is another way of expressing the Freudian unconscious.

    Comment by JwGreen — March 5, 2006 @ 1:08 am - March 5, 2006

  31. NDT I have agreed with you many times.

    Comment by hank — March 5, 2006 @ 1:40 am - March 5, 2006

  32. No, JwGreen in #29, Guggenbühl-Craig’s theory — at least as articulated here — does not apply to the president in the least. To be sure, he had his rebellious streak, but his life changed in twenty years ago (in 1986) after a night carousing at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, I believe. But, the question I raise is about projection. Does he project diabolical motives on others as Bush-haters project onto him?

    It’s absurd to claim that the president had anything to do with the “images of torture” at Abu Ghraib. To be sure, it happened under his watch, but as soon as authorities (answerable to the Administration) became aware of the abuse, they began investigating the crimes and prosecuting the perpetrators. The president never once condoned that. And the Schlesinger Commission report makes clear that neither he nor anyone else in his Administration sanctioned it.

    You do have good recollections of the book — as the next chapter is about the creative father.

    But, if you’re to apply G-C’s theories to the president, you’ll need to find a case where he projects “the destructive portion of the father archetype onto the world around them.” To be sure, you can find lots of liberal websites (and news outlets) which claim that W thinks Muslims and liberals are bad, but you can’t find it in his words (or policies) as you can find it in theirs. And that’s the point here.

    Let me repeat — I’m dealing with the projection issue (and not an overall analysis of the president’s psyche — or that of his adversaries).

    But, I’m impressed that you’re familiar with Guggenbühl-Craig, perhaps the most serious of the archetypal psychologists.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 5, 2006 @ 2:57 am - March 5, 2006

  33. Ah. A title. A title. My upset over a title.
    Sensitive, aren’t we?
    Go beyond the title.
    Moderation in public discourse accomplishes more than hyperbole.
    Remember the old greeting cards–SEX!!! (now that I’ve got your attention)
    Surely none of you who see my title consider yourselves “right wing nut scum!” Because you aren’t.

    It’s just a title.
    It’s just a joke.
    It’s just how far hyperbole can be taken.
    It obviously made its point (some of you were offended).

    Perhaps it might be a good idea if hyperbole were moderated (an oxymoron?).

    Peace.

    Comment by Gene — March 5, 2006 @ 9:52 am - March 5, 2006

  34. “Moderation in public discourse accomplishes more than hyperbole.”

    It does, doesn’t it? So why not simply change the title? (You know, practice what you preach?)

    “Surely none of you who see my title consider yourselves “right wing nut scum!” Because you aren’t.”

    As an 18-year Democrat (and now Independent), yes, I know that about myself. But you don’t. And the calling card that you yourself are choosing to carry suggests you could very easliy be (mistakenly) assuming otherwise.

    Your chosen calling card is your chosen calling card, Gene. You only get to make a first impression once. Take some responsibility for that.

    Comment by Calarato — March 5, 2006 @ 11:14 am - March 5, 2006

  35. Taking responsibility for foibles has been the bane of my life; the trouble is I insist others take responsibility for their foibles, too.

    Mas peace.

    Comment by Gene — March 5, 2006 @ 11:36 am - March 5, 2006

  36. Seriously, who in the Democrat leadership right now shows any sign of sanity or backbone?

    Well there’s Lieberman, but he’s just one more socialist when it comes to domestic issues.

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 5, 2006 @ 11:56 am - March 5, 2006

  37. We’ll have to disagree, GPW, but I’d take it up with my teachers. To say that G-C’s analysis of this one particular dynamic can be applied to an entire political class is really an amazing stretch if you’ve actually read his work. His whole point is that you cannot explain a person in terms of his past with any reliability, so to take his observation about some people who have an entirely benevolent father and apply it to an entire group is completely contrary to his way of thinking. (It’s like those who diagnose childhood sexual abuse on the basis of shared characteristics even in the absence of a memory.) Sorry, but you’re completely undermining G-C’s thesis. You’ve taken a piece of his argument and subverted it to a wholly different purpose.

    I do NOT think the benevolent father explains George Bush. My point was that it as well explains him as you explain an entire CLASS of people, liberals. As I said, if anything explains him, the unusual father does. Moreover, I said that I was quite aware that I made a selective description of the events of his past — just as you are doing. And that is how you end up being seduced into the very reductions that G-C wants us to avoid. Your own transference becomes the issue and there is utterly no room for another reading of the facts. (This happens on the left as often, of course.)

    Perhaps I was not clear about Abu Ghraib’s images. You call my contention that they could, from a Jungian perspective, be projections of Bush’s failure to introject the “monstrous father” absurd. How in the world can you make a general statement about the projections of liberals as a class (an abstraction) and not authorize the same process in regard to a flesh-and-blood individual? But, more important, you are on the one hand advocating an archetypal reading (of liberals as a class) and at the same time posing a literal one (in Bush’s case). From an orthodox Jungian perspective, the nation under its leader enters a particular state of consciousness and the images that arise are expressions thereof, as compensatory corrections or as projections. These projections tend to gather around the heroic figure, the leader. This has nothing to do with empirical reality. As G-Craig argues, it’s about the soul’s operation outside the purely causal.

    G-C does not call himself an archetypal psychologist. In fact, he goes out of his way in several of his books to distance himself from that post-Jungian term. At the same time, he disputes many orthodox Jungian perspectives but prefers nonetheless to situate himself within the camp of analytical psychology. Then again, he may have flip-flopped about this again recently, for all I know.

    Not sure I would rank G-C as highly as you do. He has the traditional Jungian’s pathological perspective on homosexuality, which is annoying. A lot of his ideas are borrowed from Rafael Lopez-Pedraza, also something of a dinosaur when he comes face to face with a mo.

    If you aren’t familiar with the work of Philip Slater, you might enjoy his essay on why America is polarized: http://www.philipslater.com. He wrote a well-known book on Hera, so you might find his approach stimulating.

    Comment by JwGreen — March 5, 2006 @ 1:03 pm - March 5, 2006

  38. JwGreen (in #37), I’m trying to get at some of the things that account for the angry left’s irrational hatred of the president. G-C’s comment certainly sounds like he is talking about those afflicted with B.D.S. But if you read my post, you would understand that I do not see this comment as conclusive as I suggest my idea needs further study: “It would be interesting to study those evidencing symbols of Bush-hatred to see if, as children, they experienced only positive images of the father for it is clear that many are projecting onto the president images of the destructive father.”

    Given that there are millions or irrational Bush-haters, I’d expect that each has his (or her) own story. Some are just hangers-on for social reasons. Other manifesting signs of adolescent rage. Others eager to return to their glory days of the late 1960s & 1970s. But, it is clear there is a lot of projection going on. People projecting demonic images onto the president. And this certainly offers an interesting explanation.

    I’m not making a projection about liberals as a class. I made very clear in a previous comment (#14) that there are “many responsible level-headed critics of the President.” I refer here to those afflicted with B.D.S. and in my post did not even use the word “liberal.” Never once do I, as you claim, advocate an “archetypal reading” of liberals as a class. I’m trying to understand why they project such demonic images onto the president, none of which have any basis in fact. G-C’s ideas help me formulate one theory.

    You are reading way too much into Jung to suggest that all images that arise relate to the leader of a nation. The crimes at Abu Ghraib took place on one day. And it was the MSM in spreading them that attempted to make the images for our time. (So perhaps they relate more to the MSM’s projection of evil onto this Administration.) That the Administration sought to investigate and prosecute as soon as it became aware of the crimes says more about the president than the images themselves. You seem to be looking to find a way to pin these images onto the president, just as the MSM and leftist blogs have done, even when there is no causal connection.

    I apologize for calling G-C an archetypal psychologist. My professor lumped him in with James Hillman for whom I have little respect.

    Thanks for the long and thoughtful comment. But, please make sure to address the points I raise. I am careful to distinguish those afflicted with B.D.S. from responsible Bush critics. Please make sure to distinguish my critiques from those of the narrow-minded conservative of your imagination.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 5, 2006 @ 2:16 pm - March 5, 2006

  39. “Please make sure to distinguish my critiques from those of the narrow-minded conservative of your imagination.

    And the above you would undoubtedly say was a comment free of projection. I was just reading on Malcontent a thread in which it was observed that any challenge to you was read as an insult which requires snark upside the head.

    I’m not sure how you have qualified your post in conversation with others, but I already knew you were talking about extremists, as I have noted in my own replies. So, fine, you are making an inquiry into the class of people who IN YOUR OPINION are extreme Bush haters and, unless the world has turned upside down, those are people on the far left. Whatever! You’re proposing testing a hypothesis that a large group of people THAT YOU ARE GOING TO IDENTIFY AT THE OUTSET got purely benevolent fathering because, in your opinion, their contempt for George Bush goes farther than it should.

    Obviously I’m not getting my point across. I am saying that you can take exactly the same viewpoint toward Bush and if you want to limit it strictly to the personal, fine. Some of the things people MIGHT see as his projection of the murderous include his invasion of Iraq, his authorization of practices at Gitmo, his use of lies and rumors (via Karl Rove) to discredit his political opponents, his approval of the death penalty, etc. etc. Since I’m setting up the study in the way you are, I get to make the evaluation at the outset – just like you are with your liberal cohort of people you’ve already identified (on subjectively evaluated critieria) as suffering BDS. (Never mind that Cindy Sheehan finds your critieria meaningless just as you find her estimation of Bush’s monstrosity meaningless.)

    If you said you’d like to conduct a random study of people’s paternal experience and then track their orientation toward GWB, that would be an entirely different thing, since you wouldn’t be starting out by identifying them as irrational Bush haters first. What you will find, if GC is correct, is that enough people in the cohort with benevolent fathers are at the extreme end of Bush hating to prove that the notion that a purely good father produces the best-adjusted child is false. As GC says repeatedly in that essay, it is better to have a bad father or a good father than no father. Your point has very little to do with GC’s point. Fine, but let me go in my direction too.

    No, I’m not reading too much into Jung to propose that images, which have their own autonomy according to him and GC, cluster about the hero in the culture. (The archetype is a vortex in Pound’s view.) From the Jungian perspective – or the McLuhanistic one, for that matter – the media’s replication of the images is in service to demonstrating what is up in the culture. It’s not Abu-Ghraib. It’s torture imaged by Abu-Ghraib, which arguably is still occurring and is still being debated in the Congress, whether you think it was a one-day occurrence that should be dismissed or not. I did not say all images everywhere cluster to the leader. We’re talking about a limited set here. (By the way, the McLuhan Institute, whatever it’s called, in Toronto has produced a video on psychology, Jung and cyberspace. It’s kewl.)

    The point is not necessarily to destroy the hero but to bring him and those for whom he stands into contact with what is unresolved.
    That is the other thing that seems to be missing from your consideration. The projections of the murderous father, the return of the repressed, is in compassionate service to the psyche: to heal it. As both Jung and Freud observed, the more such a task is avoided, repressed, the more it it will return, usually in increasingly horrific guise.

    It’s fine for you not to buy the Jungian narrative, but I ain’t misrepresenting it. In the Jungian view, the image has autonomy and telos. That’s why the suppression of the image is so important to authoritarian governments.

    Mkay, that’s all I’ve got to say about this. Sorry for the long posts.

    Oh…Hillman and G-C are buds and relate to one another as provocateurs. Unless I’m mistaken there’s a statement about GC’s orientation toward Hillman in the intro to the book you read. We can much like people with whom we have broad differences, can’t we, GPW?

    Comment by JwGreen — March 5, 2006 @ 4:05 pm - March 5, 2006

  40. JwGreen, if you hadn’t left a false e-mail when you signed up to comment to this blog, you would have already known that I distinguished your comments from insults. I had e-mailed you (but given that you left that false address, it bounced), I had written, And thanks for your comments. While I disagree with most of what you have to say, I appreciate your tone, instead of insulting us, you take issue with us. I wish all our critics could so disagree.

    It is an outright lie to say that I read any challenge to me as an insult. To be sure, I have noted that many of our critics have insulted me without addressing the points I raised. That said, I have defended such critics as Patrick (Gryph) in these threads and have e-mailed several of my critics thanking them for their tone and encouraging them to keep commenting. I had even attempted to do so in my e-mail to you, but you decided to hide behind your anonymity and give a false e-mail so you wouldn’t know.

    Jw, if you read the post, you would see that I was putting an idea out there for discussion without reaching a conclusion. I e-mailed my post to a psychoanalyst who understood that my post was a “first approximation of the problem.” Exactly as I meant it. A first approximation. An inquiry into a phenomenon.

    Um, no, Jw, you can’t take the same viewpoint toward the president. He did not authorize torture at Guantanamo. To suggest he projected the murderous in supporting the invasion of Iraq is ludicrous. The claims he made were based on what he believed to be facts. And the evidence of Saddam’s barbarity has been well-documented — both before and after the liberation of Iraq. The claim that you make that through Rove, he has lied to discredit his opponents is a figment of Bush-haters’ imaginations. It has never been substantiated. Again your projection, not his. Most people who claim the president projects evil onto his adversaries rarely cite his actual words and when they do, as Michael Moore, take them out of context.

    Of course, Cindy Sheehan would find my criteria meaningless as she doesn’t seem to have much understanding of anything that doesn’t fit into her belief that Bush is a monster pretty much responsible for all evil in the world.

    And your paragraph on the finer points of G-C’s argument have nothing whatsoever to do with my post. I just noted the similarity and wondered — given how so many base their criticism on the president not based on facts, but on their own feeling.

    The “torture imaged at Abu-Ghraib” (as you put it) is an image of the Media (and the left’s) projection of what they believe the president and his policies to stand for. It is their projection. I never said it should be dismissed because I believe (as do most conservatives) the perpetrators should be (as they have been) prosecuted.

    I have no clue what you’re trying to say by dropping all these names of psychoanalysts and their theories.

    I know that Hillman and G-C are friendly. But, G-C is a much more serious thinker than Hillman who has lately dropped all pretense of being a responsible psychoanalyst by eschewing case studies and hardly referencing stories. He claims he delights in images, yet in his books he offers few stories from mythology (or from any place for that matter) and in his book on dreams, he did not recount a single dream.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 5, 2006 @ 7:07 pm - March 5, 2006

  41. Good lord. You are doing exactly what you deny doing: You are accusing me, without an inquiry, of doing something wrong.

    I am using a borrowed laptop while I recover from surgery. I was not comfortable inserting my own name and email into what looks like a program that contains cookies, so I decided not to. I have no idea who JW Green is. I don’t really see how that matters inasmuch as I have no intention of logging onto these sites except anonymously, as most people do. But I have no idea whether that email works. But I am signing this with a corrected email and changed name. Sorry for the confusion but it was not, as you’re depicting it, some effort to delude you.

    As for the rest of your email: It’s useless to reiterate myself. I simply have been unable to make myself understood to you. I don’t believe for an instant an analyst would take any stock in an inqury structured the way you have proposed it. I have no idea why you can’t see the deficiency of the method.

    The finer details, as you call them, are certainly salient to the structural considerations, which seem unimportant to you unless they transgress your own intention content-wise….I mentioned other people involved in work with images because there is a consensus about the way images function….Hillman is in his 80s and is no longer seeing clients. His importance, at least since he left Zurich, has always been as a theorist. I’ve never heard anyone call G-C, who has written very little compared to Hillman, a more serious thinker, but then I read things here I’ve never read anywhere else. 🙂

    JacquesLacanary nee JW Green.

    Comment by Jacques Lacanary — March 5, 2006 @ 10:02 pm - March 5, 2006

  42. JwGreen, if you hadn’t left a false e-mail when you signed up to comment to this blog….

    Just to let you know, some of us leave fake email addresses in the “E-mail” line from experience. I used to use a real email address. But there have been viruses/worms that collect email addresses from comment threads and use those email addresses in a “return address” line in emails, while sending virus laden messages to other email addresses. I discovered that a few years ago, when I started receiving messages from what were obviously from corporate firewalls that indicated that messages that were attributed to me (but were not sent by me) had viruses in them. It caused me no end of problems with my previous computer. And so, I stopped using real email addresses.

    On another matter, on other threads some have surmised that the commenter using the handle “Stephen” also uses other handles. It isn’t that difficult to determine if that is true. Get the webmaster here to log the IP addresses, go to the ISP and find out if the IP addresses point to the same computer. That would not necessarily indicate that it would be the same individual, but it would probably come close.

    Comment by raj — March 6, 2006 @ 6:01 am - March 6, 2006

  43. look, I may in the minority here, but isn’t W just trying to please both sides. I’m liberal and even I don’t think he’s evil. He’s made several mistakes, but I don’t find Reagan or Clinton any better or had recieved any less criticism. I don’t know about y’all, but I would not want to be in his shoes, especially after 9/11.
    And I NEVER voted for him.

    ps – the liberals hate him because he a Republican 😉

    Comment by Rachel — March 7, 2006 @ 5:50 pm - March 7, 2006

  44. “Jacques,” since an analyst read the piece and agreed it’s a good approximation, I stand by what I said.

    Had you not left a false e-mail, you would have known that I appreciated your tone while disagreeing with your content.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 7, 2006 @ 6:20 pm - March 7, 2006

  45. *eyeroll* Well, rest assured that my real name is Jacques Lacanary. Say didn’t you boys make a big deal about losing your own anonymity some time back?

    No analyst involved in serious research is going to abandon scientific standards by avoiding a randomized survey to first identify the range of attitude toward Bush so that your identification of the extreme is not purely subjective. That you’re even arguing such a thing is unbelievable. But stand by it all you want.

    It is a wonderful example of the way people on the right often place belief before proof — kind of an iteration of that famous chastisement of liberals for living in the “reality-based community.” While we’re digging around in the mud of facts, you’re

    Truly, though, I just don’t think I’ve made myself clear. So I am quite happy to drop this and move on. Good luck with the new Mac. The reason I am on this borrowed machine is that I just bought a powerbook that required repair two weeks after I brought it home.

    Jacques Lacanary nee JW Green

    Comment by Jacques Lacanary — March 8, 2006 @ 2:16 am - March 8, 2006

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