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Projection as Rhetoric

via Ipecac:

In an article at Townhall Mona Charen expresses what are likely the feelings of more than a few partisan Republicans when she writes, "Many on the left seem incapable of carrying on a political discussion without descending into character assassination." The ironic thing, however, is that this is her segway from a wack-job on Michael Moore to one on Paul Krugman.
These days [Republicans] are fond of simply declaring that liberals are insane and comparing them with terrorists. Clearly, they are out of ideas. When they say they cannot comprehend the "Bush-hater's mentality" they are telling the truth. They have little comprehension of or tolerance for any (world)view which does not jive with their narrow ideological outlook.

The classic Freudian definition of projection is:

A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits. Thus the cheat is sure that everyone else is dishonest. The would-be adulterer accuses his wife of infidelity.

And to quote Hofstadter once again:

As Reinhold Neibuhr has remarked: 'Extreme orthodoxy betrays by its very frenzy that the poison of skepticism has entered the soul of the church; for men insist most vehemently upon their certainties when their hold upon them has been shaken. Frantic orthodoxy is a method for obscuring doubt.'

The feeling that rationalism and modernism could no longer be answered in debate led to frantic efforts to overwhelm them by sheer violence of rhetoric and finally by efforts at suppression and intimidation...

The knuckle-draggers are becoming desperate — just think of Cheney's recent comment to Leahy. The gloves are starting to come off (or rather the chains are loosening) — we haven't seen anything yet.

Much more on this soon...