In Part IV of this series, I described the primitive psychological defence of "splitting" and wondered: Why is the correspondence between splitting and Political Correctness important?
Howard Schwartz left a comment on that post which is worth repeating, in part:
SW has said that the infant splits the image of the good mother from the bad mother, and in this way helps to keep the image of the good mother good. What he has not said yet is that the infant, and obviously it is not just the infant, can extend the goodness to the image of the whole mother by taking her bad aspects and projecting them onto the father. Out of this you get the "oppressive white male," of which SW has spoken and with whom we are all familiar. Having preserved the perfect goodness of mother, though, the infant has created an image whose goodness cannot be doubted, and which serves as the bedrock of our experience of being loved. This makes her, by far, the most powerful image in the psyche.
The power of feminism arises from the fact that women, in our time, identify with this omnipotent maternal image, and speak in her name. Doubt what she says and you will quickly find that you lose her love, and indeed encounter her rage, which has the effect of causing the bottom to fall out of life.
And what she says is this: the oppressive white male, your father, has stolen my love, by subterfuge and force. He has done this at the cost of the love that should have gone to others, which is to say all those who are not heterosexual white males. He should be deprived of love for this and hated, while those from whom he has stolen love should be loved exquisitely, in compensation.
When Howard describes the projection of all the bad aspects and projecting (attributing) them onto the father, he is pointing out that when splitting occurs, there is always an idealized object, and a corresponding devalued object. In the case of Political Correctness, the "oppressive white male" is the repository of all the bad that exists, while all the goodness in life belongs to the primitive, all loving mother. Since the process of splitting is unconscous, the recognition of its defensive distance from reality is lost. The most interesting aspect of splitting is that even when a person can recognize, intellectually, that it is impossible for anyone to be "all good" or "all bad", emotionally the distinction is unavailable.
A typical example from therapy would be the patient who falls for the "perfect man". [This is based on many patients, male and female, who have had experiences almost identical to this, but with minor deifferences on the margins.] He is loving, brilliant, talented; the fact that he is 40, has never been in a long term relationship that lasted more than 6 months, and still lives with his mother is recognized, but dismissed. The patient rationalizes that he just hasn't met the right girl yet, and she will be the one who will fit. Asking about the "red flags" would usually elicit an annoyed response, something allong the lines that the Therapist "doesn't understand and doesn't want her to be happy." Four months later, the patient bitterly complains that this man was emotionally limited, too attached to his mother to ever have a relationship, and not even that smart. Reminding her that she had known this from the start, an insightful patient agreed that she had known, but that it hadn't "sunk in" at the time; it wasnt emotionally meaningful.
Howars Schawrtz also notedt:
By the way, SW has said that the prevalence of such splitting can be traced to abuse during childhood. I doubt that a cultural phenomenon of such breadth, especially one that has arisen among the most privileged, indulged, and even loved people that God ever made, can be explained by the maltreatment of some individuals.
I purposely used the example of childhood abuse to make the process of splitting more understandable. In fact, there is some tendency toward splitting in certain, normal, circumstances that exist for all of us.
For example, when we fall in love, the object of our affections can do no wrong; they are perfect. Partly they are perfect because we idealize them. This is the most human of responses and nearly ubiquitous. On the other hand, when we are terribly hurt or disappointed, we tend to devalue the person. When we are rejected by our formerly idealized love, we tend to amplify all the negative traits we overlooked when we were "in love". Again, this is a perfectly normal type of splitting that helps us either enter a relationship or exit one.
It is worth noting that civilization has been an ongoing struggle to enlarge the concept of "self" and diminish the size of the "other." To amplify, the first distinction a child makes is between self and other. As he grows and develops, he enlarges the group which is identified as "like-self". First, the rest of his family is included, then the extended family (clan), then perhaps a tribal affiliation, then a national "like-self". The other is always approached as if they are an enemy. Children develop stranger anxiety at ~8 months, when they recognize another person is not "like-self". Strangers are always to be approached carefully. The classic guard challenge is "friend or foe", ie part of the extended concept that includes "self" or "other."
When the PC philosophy began to take hold among the intelligentsia on the campuses, there followed a predictable arc of development. Just as with other intellectual fads, the idea took the university community by storm. In such situations, careful attention to detail, evidence, and consistency were relatively lacking, and generally considered unnecessary. This has been true of most theories that have emerged via "revealed wisdom", (phrenology, Communism, etc) rather than through the careful weighing of data and the struggle to overturn previous paradigms with the weight of new evidence. The hidden danger of this was the result of the re-designation of all "white men" as ""oppressive white males." Men were turned into the devalued "other." Men were now the enemy. This was not be so terrible in times of peace and security. If some women, and some feminized men, wanted to suggest that male characteristics of aggression, competitiveness, linear thinking, etc., have been over emphasized, we could safely perform the great social experiment of PC without much real world danger. Many individual white men would be harmed by this (with more difficulty getting into very selective colleges and professional schools, for example) but this was primarily a problem for the middle class and lower class white males, and they were not about to be championed by the new nomenclatura of PC. The wealthy were quite willing to go along since it didn't have much impact on them. The lower class white males who objected could be easily dismissed as racists, bigots, troglodytes. (Indeed, this is what still passes for much of the intellectual argument over PC today; anyone who questions a basic percepts of PC is automatically known as an oppressor or oppressor apologist.) During war time, however, PC thinking is dangerous, perhaps suicidally so.
PC "splits" the world into those who are modeled after the idealized women, who has rebelled against her oppressor and seized power for herself (at least in Academia), and those who are modeled after the "oppressive white male." The beauty of the system is that it offers false power to all who can claim to have "victim" status. This can be anyone who is not an "oppressive white male."
Once male attributes have been devalued, a liberal assault on the authority structure could be justified, indeed mandated. Again, during peace time the social experiment is harmless to society as a whole, though individuals certainly suffered. [There is a growing body of evidence that it is boys who are most in distress and at risk in our culture, not girls. This has yet to be addressed by our Universitariat.] Once we realized we were at war, post 9/11, we suddenly found ourselves in need of many of the male attributes that had been viciously devalued by the extreme feminists through the PC movement. We needed men's strength, aggressiveness, courage, honor, all the traits that have been mocked and sneered at for the last 30 years by those who arrived in the MSM, Academia, and Politics, from the "counter-culture" of the '60's.
Of concern, PC nonsense continues to infect the highest intellectual precincts of our nation's universities. Todd Zywicki, at the Volokh Conspiracy, points to a particularly illogical, counter-productive assertion of the PC mandate at Columbia, a school which has seemingly learned nothing from their own travails at the hands of PC-conflated with anti-Semitism. The Father is the mediator between the family and reality. Once the Father has been devalued, there is no one to protect the family from the dangers lurking just outside the light cone of our campfires. If we are now at war and our lives and way of living are at risk, we need the very male traits that have been used to devalue him as the "other", the evil oppressor. PC thought is in a difficult conflictual position. It can either admit error: The Father/white male is not necessarily the evil other, but is actually someone who has multiple dimensions, including love of his family and country, and can use his abilities to protect us against those who would destroy the very culture that has allowed PC to flourish (which of course, includes offering great wealth and prestige to its proponents), or it can deny the danger. If the world is a peaceful, loving place, there is no need for the Father and what he offers. During peace time, the end of history time, there is no need to solve the contradiction. During war time, especially when PC thought controls the organs that disseminate information, the need to deny danger so as not to stir up the contradiction, is dangerous. Over the weekend, I wrote about a New York Times article which professed puzzlement at the apparent lack of heroes and their stories emerging from the Iraq war. I pointed out their responsibility for failing to publicize the many heroes who are protecting us everyday in Iraq. When I am feeling particularly irritated, I would suggest that the PC infected thinking of the MSM causes them to minimize the heroism they see. When I choose to be more optimistic and generous, I suspect many media people have been so inculcated with the PC virus that they, in fact, cannot see heroism when it is right in front of them. The problem for our war effort is that in either case, they prevent their readers and viewers from seeing danger and seeing "White Male Heroism" (and please note, white male in this case refers to all those, White, Black, Oriental, Hispanic, male and female, who refuse to see themselves as victims and who support our war efforts.)
Continue with PC & Defects in Reality Testing: Part VI