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Dr. Madsen Pirie: When Others Interpret Our Inner Selves

There is a very insightful and thought-provoking piece by Kit Wilson in CapX, making the point that “These days the worst left-wing ideas come from Freud, not Marx.” Wilson makes a strong case that left-wing successors have seized upon and extended some of Freud’s ideas in order to construct the pernicious case that our “real” selves do not show in what we think, say and do, but in our subconscious minds

Versions of this Freudian principle – that your surface behaviours are a lie, and that we experts know better what you’re really thinking –have cropped up everywhere. Take the notion of microaggressions: unintended slights that supposedly reveal some deep, latent prejudice. Or the idea that dissenting voices can simply be explained away with “internalised racism” or “internalised sexism”.

The implication of this so-called analysis is that while we might be outwardly anti-racist and anti-misogynist, our inaccessible subconscious might be deeply bigoted, only revealing glimpses of that inner bigotry by inadvertent slips of the tongue, or in dreams whose symbolism exposes our inner wickedness, or in seemingly innocent mannerisms whose origins lie in that inner beast.

It’s a perfect theory for the Left because it is completely untestable. There is nothing that could show it to be out of accord with observation. Indeed, on this theory observation itself is worthless, and must give way before the much more important thing: interpretation. And guess who gets to do the interpreting?

Fundamentally this school of thought claims that others, specifically enlightened others, know us better than we know ourselves, and that surface politeness and good manners are just oppressive ways of concealing those real selves. But, as Wilson tells us:

“Telling us that our surface intentions and good deeds pale in significance to the endless unconscious evils of which we’re supposedly guilty doesn’t make for a more harmonious society.”

No it doesn’t. It makes for irrationality, and we should identify it as such and call it out. Wilson has done a great job, and I wholeheartedly recommend his article.

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Spike
Spike
9 months ago

It is simple name-calling! carried to preposterous levels by the absurdly named “anti-racism” movement, that stresses that a white person is still probably racist even if taking pains to be the exact opposite.

Trump with common sense banned workplace workshops on Toxic Caucuasity, but common sense itself is now banned. Secretary of Gayness Pete Buttigieg crows about how unracist the Biden Cabinet is. You need only look at them.

Boganboy
Boganboy
9 months ago
Reply to  Spike

I’d argue that it’s simple racism. Whites are naturally evil because of the colour of their skin. The left are simply pretending that their blatant racism is anti-racism.

The bit I liked best was in Kit Wilson’s article, in which he mentions the mainstream assumption that those on the right are always driven by greed or sadism.

Y’know, I’ve always believed that those on the left are always driven by greed and sadism. Do you think I’ve got a left wing mind??

Spike
Spike
9 months ago
Reply to  Boganboy

It has been a very good year in the USA for overt anti-white racism, including yesterday with the new “African-American” vice president (no, Tamil) electing to be sworn in by the Justice who told the Senate would be better served confirming a “wise latina.”

The entire gist of the four-year anti-Trump push was to postulate the internal forces “driving” him, then show what every utterance really meant, in view of that greed and sadism.

Barks
Barks
9 months ago

The nuts on the left today in the US are calling it “multiracial whiteness”. The explanation is so mind bendingly stupid that simply reading about it will probably make you less intelligent. It’s of a piece with the most nonsensical feminist or black studies baloney.

Spike
Spike
9 months ago
Reply to  Barks

Racial identification became a mere political epithet when the networks disparaged Hispanic neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic.”

Pat
Pat
9 months ago

It might be instructive to examine the unconscious biases of those proposing this theory.
I genuinely believe these people have been taught that they are geniuses, and are desperately trying to prove it.
A consequence of sending half of the population to university and telling them that they form an elite.

Snarkus
Snarkus
9 months ago
Reply to  Pat

Pat, valid suggestion. Read the book, “The Intelligence Trap”.

DiscoveredJoys
DiscoveredJoys
9 months ago

The left wing (use a label of your choice) essentially dreams of an Utopia where everyone is equal and lives happy useful lives. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Clearly since people do not behave this way in real life they *must* be flawed.

And if they are flawed they must be ‘perfected’ for their own good, and the good of society. And of course our left wing pundits, who are strangely unaffected by their subconscious flaws (ha ha) are the ones to do the ‘perfecting’.

John Galt
9 months ago
Reply to  DiscoveredJoys

…and Lo! New Soviet Man emerges as the successor to Homo Sapiens Sapiens, just because we think nice thoughts and obey our “elders and betters”.

It didn’t work for the Soviet Union nor any place else that “not real socialism” has been tried.

These people are delusional…

Snarkus
Snarkus
9 months ago
Reply to  John Galt

I prefer the notion that the lefties, marxists whatever, are simply re-inventing a hereditary aristocracy by another name. The Divine Right of kings has morphed into historical inevitability aka progress. In a leftie sense of course.

Balam
Balam
9 months ago

I think I have detected a pattern: people on the left put more weight on what people say than what they do. This is why Trump was anathema to them – a lot of bloviating nonsense. As long as someone (Biden) ‘sounds’ presidential, they don’t really care what he does (witness the absence of policy discussion during the elections).

With their mouths, people say they want ‘authenticity’ in their politicians. But they actually prefer comfortable suave liars.

Esteban
Esteban
9 months ago
Reply to  Balam

Balam – quite a bit of truth to that point, in 2016 I had friends who couldn’t believe I supported President Trump over the Hildebeest. When I asked them why they did the opposite most couldn’t ID a policy issue and their objections were pretty vague, pretty much “the NYT says he’s mean”.

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