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Sunday, 23 August 2015

When We Have Power

Lately, I have been struck by the number of Catholics, who like the fictitious action of the armadillo, curl-up into balls and refuse to deal with the evil around them.

We are heading for the greatest era of tribulation that Christians have ever seen. And, yet, we do not have to be passive against evil.

I simply do not understand passivity regarding evil.

The graces we receive in baptism are stronger than most evil people come against daily.

The trouble is that Catholics do not use the power which is given to them. Like a fairy who has a magic wand and puts it in a drawer, rather than using it, many, and perhaps, most Catholics, do not use the spiritual power given to them by God, in and through the sacraments of the Church.


I was discussing some evil in a neighborhood with a friend. A family who said the Auxilium Christianorum prayers daily as a family got rid of the evil within one month of beginning those prayers.


The father led his family into a spiritual battle with spiritual guns blazing. Satanic activities in a house, including witchcraft, ended when those people moved out one month after the Catholics began praying.

So, when people lament evil in their neighborhoods, like drug dealers, or gangs, why are they not getting together to pray against this?

Why no prayer groups?

Sloth, ennui, compromise, lack of faith?

We have great power as Catholics, Use it.

Stop complaining about evil and do something about it everywhere. Start with your families, your neighborhoods, your parishes.

God did not leave us orphans to be tossed about with a spiritual battle.

When we have power and do not use it, the results become our own fault. We have let evil have its day. We may lament and complain, but tolerance leads to more evil. Taking charge of one's own backyard in spiritual warfare is not only possible, but our responsibility, particularly that of men.

Christ said this:

Matthew 17:19-21 Douay-Rheims

19 Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.

20 But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.

Of course, big spiritual problems, like poltergeist and possession, demand the action of an exorcist, but families, and especially groups of men, can take power over much more.

Try using the weapons God has given us all and see what happens.

Voice of Sanity Part IV

Part Two in Dr. Sanity's "strategies" is so good I decided to post this as can look up Part One.

 APRIL 14, 2006

STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH DENIAL - Part II : Logical Fallacies and Rhetorical Ploys Used in Denial

This is the second of a three-part series on Strategies for dealing with denial. Part I -The Many Faces of Denial can be found here. Part III is here.

In this post I am going to discuss some of the techniques that those in denial use in order to maintain and facilitate their denial and to prevent any confrontation about it or their motivations. There are a number of logical fallacies and rhetorical ploys that frequently pop up when dealing with someone in denial. People in denial may believe they are engaging in substantive arguments and presenting their case, but when examined, the grounds they present are actually examples of pseudo-reasoning.

Although not precisely a fallacy or rhetorical ploy, physical coercion is another important technique that is used to defuse and/or disrupt rational argument or discussion. For the denier, coercion has the advantage of eliminating any possibiity they might have to confront their denial and what is driving it.

Understanding all of these techniques is essential for being able to deal with individuals in denial.

There is frequently a connection between the pseudo-reasoning technique employed to perpetuate denial, and the style of denial being used (as described in Part I). The list that follows is not exhaustive, and only includes some of what I consider the more important techniques being used. The table is only intended to be a preliminary guide. A brief discussion of each of the fallacies or rhetorical ploys referred to follows after table.


From: Critical Thinking A Concise Guide (Bowell and Kemp):
Rhetoric is any verbal or written attempt to persuade someone to beieve, desire or do something that does not attempt to give good reasons for the belief, desire or action, but attempts ot motivate that belief, desire or action solely through the power of the words used.

The difference between fallacies and rhetorical ploys is understood most eaily as a difference in the function of the language being employed....politicians, advertisers and newspaper columnists tend to be experts when it come to using rhetorical ploys. Rhetorical ploys typically make a more or less direct appeal to feeling and emotion rather than to reason, which is the domin of argument. Fallacies, on the other hand, are simply defective attempts at arguments....They may fool us into thinking they are not defective, but they are still presented as attempts at argument. Of course, manny writers and speakers will use a mixture of rhetorical ploys, fallacies, and genuine arguments when attempting to persuade us of the truth of their claim.

Let us first consider some of the most common rhetorical ploys in use:

-Appeals to FEELINGS : this type of ploy is very common and the user tries to appeal to specific feelings or desires. For example, you may be enticed to believe what is said because of the passion with which it is said (rather than analyzing the content); or because it stimulates compassion, pity, guilt, fear or any number of other feelings.

Eliciting fear is also known as using "scare tactics", and should be distinguished from genuine warnings for which there is a good reason to act and/or experience the emotion.

Additionally, when one appeals to feelings; emphasis may be placed on the novelty of the idea; or popularity ("everyone thinks this!") or the sexiness or cuteness etc.; all of which can easily distract from a rational analysis of the idea or product.

-Direct attack is simply the unapologetic assertion that something is true or not true without any evidence presented.

-Buzzwords are the use of emotion-laden terms that subtly influence the listener but which offer no information about the truth of what is being said.

-Scare quotes are used to mock the opposition (I use them myself at times!) by calling into question a particular concept (e.g., terrorism vs "terrorism").

-Smokescreen is diverting attention from the topic of discussion by introducing a new topic.

-Equivocation is deliberately making ambiguous statements in order to mislead.


-Formal fallacies can be found in almost any text on logic and include affirming the consequent (i.e., if P then Q; Q; therefore P) or denying the antecedent (i.e., if P then Q; not-P; therefore not-Q). As a group they are invalid arguments because of formal mistakes in reasoning.

-Substantive fallacies are fallacies that rely on an implied but not expressed general premise, but which are false when scrutinized. They include:
Majority belief - concluding that because a majority believe something it must be true. This category includes the excessive reliance on polls to be the arbiter of what is true or false and how one should behave.
Common practice - concluding that because everyone does a certain thing, you should do it too.
Ad hominem is responding to an argument by attacking your opponent rather than addressing the argument itself.
Appeal to an alleged authority - is problematic when the authority appealed to has no expertise in a particular field; or even if he does, there is no automatic guarantee that he is correct.
Perfectionist fallacy - where an idea or proposal is rejected because it cannot completely solve a particular problem.
Weak analogy -use of an unjustied or unsustainable analogy;
Causal fallacies are also very common and involve making assumptions that (1)because things are temporally related that there is a cause and effect (temporal fallacy); or (2) that because two things are correlated there is a causal relationship between them; (3) going from knowing a certain thing is true to believing that something else also must be true when there is no evidence to support the belief is called the Epistemic fallacy.


The following techniques don't fit into the previous categories; or are a combination of one or more already mentioned. They include:

-Red Herrings are premises or ideas that are irrelevant to a particular conclusion but which are offered as evidence of the conclusion;

-Straw man is deliberately setting up a false target that is easier to defeat in argument;

-Begging the question is the situation where the truth of a conclusion is assumed by its premises;

-Selective use of evidence: in any analysis there is usually a large amount of evidence to consider; particularly when there is sufficient complexity involved, it is sometimes easy to pay attention only to evidence that supports the desired conclusions and not to evidence which contradicts it;

-Moving the goalposts is a common practice in denial and occurs when someone always demands more evidence than can currently be provided. If that evidence becomes available at a later date, the demand is then made for even more evidence ad infinitum;

-Argument by definition is changing the meaning of words or concepts so that they support your argument (e.g., "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."; and other distortions of language like using the opposite meaning of a word as in Orwell's Newspeak)

-Liar paradox is one of my personal favorites and is the use of paradoxical statements (e.g., "This statement is false" or "There is no objective truth") that are linguistically correct but internally inconsistent and cannot be demonstrated to be either true or false.


The most obvious technique in this category is the physical analog of the ad hominemattack. This clearly requires no thinking or logic manipulations at all. We see this in the physical attacks that are made by the left on whoever incurs their ire; or dares to spread ideas that deviate from their own script.

Isaac Asimov famously said that "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." From a psychiatric perspective, I would amend the saying to: physical coercion is the last refuge of a person in denial. 

Coercion is the historically tried and true method by which most totalitarian regimes perpetuate themselves. They must control the flow of information; ruthlessly suppress any ideas that delegitimize their ideology; eliminate any persons threatening to expose their weaknesses; and even physically prevent their own people from being able to freely leave the country where they might pick up alien ideas. All of these measures ensure that psychological denial and the underlying motives of those in control are never questioned or challenged. A tyrant is, from this perspective, the ultimate person in denial.

There are many deluded people who claim that this situation already exists in the U.S. under the BusHitler. I'm sure you have noticed the frequent round-ups and imprisonment of all those Hollywood stars; and courageous antiwar protesters whose opinions are being ruthlessly suppressed by the Bush Administration.

Nevertheless, the real physical suppression and aggressive attacks that are occurring instead of rational debate are not coming from either the government or conservatives for the most part.

Some of the most recent examples can be seen here and here. The latter story about the attempt by law schools to ban US military recruiters is particularly amusing in light of the law school's belief that not only should they be able to effectively prevent the military from recruiting on campus, but they should also continue to receive money (and protection from the military, I assume) from the organization that runs the military (i.e., the US government).

Further, there are numerous physical attempts to shut people up that also use the rhetorical ploy of appeal to feelings--in particular, an appeal to cuteness--when protesters throw pies in the faces of speakers they don't agree with; or the mindless--and loud-- chanting of cute slogans to drown out speakers with whom protesters disagree.

Not only do these individuals and groups not bother to argue their side of an issue, but they can't even bear to listen to someone who might stimulate them to consider alternative ideas or confront their own denial.

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities suggests to me some other ways that today's political left have developed to control the flow of information. He mentions Amazon, where you can track swarms of those on the left panning new conservative books they've obviously never bothered to read. Jeff suggests that this occurs, "As though the very existence of material that challenges their worldview is a threat that must be extinguished (rather than letting people make up their mind)."

Exactly. The last thing a person in denial wants is the free flow of information about a topic that threatens the perfection and contentment of his denial.

Wikipedia is another forum where people deep in denial have painstakingly tried to rewrite history so that it conforms with their ideology. If you read about the Aztecs, for instance, you'll find that their mass human sacrifice was really no different from European warmongering.

Democrats have also stated their intention, should they get the opportunity, to reinstate the 'Fairness Doctrine' aka govt regulation of private radio stations, which would have the effect of forcing conservative talk radio stations to jettison half their content in favor of Air America type shows, regardless of whether anyone wants to listen to them.

How many times have you heard those from the left side of the political spectrum state that the FCC should shut down FOX for its "lies". At college campuses all over the country, every time a campus newspaper runs an editorial that goes against the ideology, all the papers are stolen by the ideological minions of the left. Military recruiters are run off campus by the threat of violence (either to them or any who would like to listen to them).

I won't even go into the entire issue of leftist mainstream media bias, which has been taken up in many other venues.

The pattern remains the same. To physically prevent people access to alternate
worldviews or information instead of persuading them by rational argument of the truth of your own position.

None of these techniques (rhetorical ploys, logical fallacies, or physical control) are unique to one side of the political spectrum or the other certainly; but in today's political climate, most of the denial manifested--particularly since 9/11--is almost all on one side. Back in the 40's and 50's of the last century, the situation was reverse.

In Part III, I will discuss various strategies for dealing with your own psychological denial; as well as psychological denial in others. One commenter in the discussion thread for Part I said:
You have a solution? After only four years and seven months? But now we have to wait for it? Please hurry, early voting for the primaries starts tomorrow here in NC.

Well, I hate to disappoint. You can only lead a denier to reality, but you can't make him (or her) drink. That said, there are some useful strategies that may be helpful in dealing with the problem!

UPDATE: Anyone who would like to send a link to examples of any of the above techniques will have it listed here.
-SC&A found an example of coercion where a college librarian is being sued for sexual harassment because he recommend several conservative books to a freshman.
-LLB sent me this article about a display on abortion being destroyed.
-Junior says that with latest news today about the Iranian president saying that Israel will be annihilatedthis blogger is more worried about what Bush will do. (Displacement)

UPDATE II: At the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh writes this about the SC&A referred article:
It's quite sad, I think, that these university professors are responding to offensive ideas not just by arguing against them, but by trying to coercively suppress them (apparently, according to the ADF's letter, with considerable support from their colleagues).

Yes, isn't it?

UPDATE IIINeo-neocon has a great post up on Critical Thinking. She agrees that it is...critical! Great minds think alike.

STM is posting these because of the upcoming Synod, wherein many are not thinking in terms of Christ's teaching or the long teaching of the Church. I taught Logic and Critical Thinking for years. Sadly, most Catholics cannot think, and do not think like Catholics.

Hope these posts jar some into reality.

The Voice of Sanity Part III

This article of Dr. Sanity is the last of three parts, and I highly suggest reading the first two parts. Part Two of her series on denial has a great chart.

In this Age of Narcissists, and now moving into a second level of that Age, I feel impelled to repeat her good stuff here.

APRIL 17, 2006


In this final essay, I will discuss strategies for dealing with denial in one's self and in others. I apologize in advance for the length; but bear with me because I think this is an important topic.

Part I is here. 
and Part II is here.

At the center of all psychological denial is a hidden agenda. That agenda is usually not completely conscious--meaning that the denier has not thought through the issues surrounding his denial; and may not even be aware of what his motivation is in asserting something is true when it isn't; or false when it isn't.

Denial need not be absolute and completely cut off from reality. Even among alcoholics and drug users there is a varying level of awareness of their problem. Some accept that they are in jail or sick because of their substance use, but yet are still not willing to do anything about it. Some may recognize some facts about their drinking (like that they get put in jail), but completely deny the impact of those facts on themselves or their families; or the future implications of continued drinking or drug use (e.g., that they are killing themselves and will die).

The hidden agenda or underlying motivation behind the denial is very frequently related to the potential adverse consequences that could ensue if the denial were eliminated and reality acknowledged. That is where the unnacceptable feelings, needs, and thoughts come in. The denier (or part of him) has made an unconscious decision that awareness of certain feelings, needs, or thoughts is more threatening to his sense of self than the act of denial.

As an example, consider a person who develops a chronic cough. He might rationalize to themselves that his cough is because of a lack of humidity in the air; or because he has a slight infection; and most certainly is not a result of his smoking habits. He could go see a doctor, but doesn't, telling himself he is fine. As the cough gets worse, he become even more creative in his thinking about it (or not thinking about it) and is "too busy" to see a doctor; or tend to minimize the symptom even as it worsens.

This strategy of ignoring the problem goes on for some time--maybe months. The person may next fail to notice that he is losing weight and looking a bit drawn-out. The rationalizations now even include benign explanations for the specks of blood that can be seen in the cough. Finally, after much resistance, a loved one firmly intervenes--or the person faces the truth, confronts the issue-- and schedules an appointment. After a few tests, lung cancer is diagnosed. The prognosis is very poor because the cancer has already progessed to advanced stages during the months of denial.

Why would such a person deny the symptom to begin with? Because by denying the symptom, the person can pretend that everything is normal. Early on, when the symptom is new or minor, this possiblity may even be true. But as the evidence accumulates that something is very wrong; the person has now entered a phase of magical thinking and/or fantasy where he effortlessly pretends to himself that everything is as he wishes it to be. Eventually, the individual may become totally psychologically invested in believing that nothing is wrong ("lalalalala I can't heaaaar you"), and reacts (or overreacts) with anger and rage toward anyone who questions his view of things.

The entire act of denial was initiated to begin with by the psyche for a good psychological reason-- to temporarilly supress awareness that something was wrong--while the person struggled with the effort to face that possibility.

That awareness was so frightening, that a temporary psychological bargain evolved into a binding contract that allows the person to suspend cognition and reason so that he is able to ignore any knowledge or evidence that alters his fantasy reality.

Unfortunately, if the person really does have a cancerous process going on within them, it is completely unaffected by the psychological bargain made by the psyche. There are certain rules that govern the progression of cancers and they will be in force, whether or not the person is aware of them or not. Hence, the denier has made a short-term pact to feel better at the expense of his long-term health. In the case of this type of cancer, he has chosen to enjoy a period of relative complacency and blissful ignorance at the cost of catching the cancer earlier when it might be more treatable. In the long-run his unconscious choice is a very bad one.

But the reality is that some people in denial prefer the lethal consequences of their denial as long as they don't have to question their own motivations, beliefs, and ideologies.

Those individuals, groups, or nations who live in the world of deep denial are practically untouchable by reality or rational argument. They go through their daily lives secure in the knowledge that their self-image is protected against any information, feelings, or awareness that might make them have to change their view of the world. Nothing--not facts, not observable behavior; not the use of reason, logic, or the evidence of their own senses will make them reevaluate that world view.

All events will simply be reinterpreted to fit into the belief system of that world--no matter how ridiculous, how distorted, hysterical or how psychotic that reinterpretation appears to others. Consistency, common sense, reality, and objective truth are unimportant and are easily discarded--as long as the world view remains intact. As discussed in Part II, there are countless strategies --rhetorical ploys and logical fallacies--that can be used to keep the truth at bay.

Identifying the underlying motivational factors are important to understand the phenomenon of denial; the reasons why denial is used; and the overally psychology of deniers--whether they are individuals, groups, or even entire nations. There are limitations to this kind of analysis, however; and it is that exposing a motivation or even a hidden agenda in denial is not the same thing as a rational argument or analysis of what the denier is saying or arguing.

In a therapeutic relationship (i.e. therapist /patient) theoretically, a person in denial and the therapist collaborate and work together to discover the underlying problem. Even when very motivated to change, it is often the case that the denier exhibits a great deal of resistance to the idea that he or she is in denial.

In real life (not a therapeutic or professional relationship) we all have to deal with people in denial, and getting a person to accept that he or she is in denial is even more problematic. Unless there is a serious crisis in the person's life, there is little or no incentive for a person to emerge from the comforting cocoon of denial and rationalization--particularly when the consequences of doing so are more threatening to the sense of self than remaining ignorant or oblivious to one's true motivations.

What the psychiatrist does when a patient uses any psychological defense to interfere with treatment is to interpret the defense.

In psychiatry, particularly in psychoanalysis, the psychological defenses --especially the immature ones such as denial and projection --often stand in the way of a person being able to understand the source of their dysfunction and to deal with reality. These unconscious mechanisms act to protect the individual from reality by distorting that reality.

That is why I sound like a broken record and talk about DENIAL, PROJECTION and PARANOIA (see here and here for example) over and over again. Each time I observe such defenses, I work to get those who are using them to be conscious of what they are doing. Only then can they change their behavior.

Ultimately, an individual must CHOOSE to deal with reality. Noone can make anyone face a terrible truth they wish to avoid. One of the purposes of this blog is to "shine a psychological spotlight" on the maladaptive responses to the realities of our world.

(My choice of photo-stm)

A crisis may stimulate self-analysis and make the person more open to reflection and insight; but waiting for a crisis to happen, especially when someone's denial threatens your own well-being, is frustrating and irritating, to say the least. Also, those who have to deal with people outside of a therapeutic alliance, have neither the patience or desire to wait for the hoped-for epiphany in the denier.

Sometimes a crisis occurs (e.g. the events of 9/11) that should shake everyone out of their complacency for all time--but sadly, even that horrible day was not enough to open the eyes of some.

We have discussed the many faces of denial; i.e., the different psychological mechanisms used to facilitate and maintain an avoidance of a painful truth or reality; and we have discussed some of the cognitive tricks that are used to pretend to the rest of the world that one's fantasy is reality. What are the consequences of denial--both the positive (and there must be positive ones) and the negative?


Positive consequences of denial include:

• In the short-term, psychological denial can help a person maintain their sanity--which would be threatened by awareness of a painful truth or reality
• In the short-term, denial can help a person function day to day
• In the short-term, denial can prevent a person from having to acknowledge painful thoughts, feelings or behavior and help them maintain their worldview from unacceptable reality

In the short-term, defenses--even denial-- may be creative, healthy, comforting, and coping. While they may strike observers as downright peculiar, in the short-term, they may be adaptative. Denial is a way to integrate one's experience by providing a variety of filters for pain and mechanisms for self-deception. It creatively rearranges the sources of conflict so that it becomes manageable.

Some negative consequences of denial include:

• In the longer-term, denial requires continued compromises with reality to maintain the pretense that "Everything is fine!" or "If only X would happen, everything would be fine!" Eventually, delusional thinking, along with paranoia and the inevitable conspiracy theories begin to take the place of rational thought in those who deny reality for long periods of time.

• The denier must then place the blame for the unacceptable reality on someone else and that leads to increased conflict between deniers and non-deniers. Efforts to maintain their denial consumes them and will lead them to escalate their anger and rage as their denial becomes untenable and ever more obvious.

• The denier will begin distort language and logic to rationalize and justify their behavior. Eventually, cognitive strategies and rational argument will be abandoned altogether by the denier, because those strategies are not sustainable and are unable to convince others; at which point the person in denial will simply refer to his feelings or emotions as the sole justification.

• The denier will feel justified in acting out against those who threaten the peacefulness of their fantasy.

• Problem solving and decision making will deteriorate as the entire focus of energy becomes the maintenance of the denial. In place of rational alternatives, excessive emotionality in general; and specifically anger and rage escalate toward those who are "blamed" for the reality that does not conform to the denier's worldview.

• In the end, interactions with those in denial are characterized by the denier's frequent smugness; sense of superiority; arrogance; belittlement of alternative views; and undiluted hatred toward anyone or any idea that questions their worldview.

In order to deal with someone who refuses to acknowledge reality or truth, there several basic approaches.

First, when confronting denial in others, your own house must be in order. In other words, if you are to have any hope of convincing someone else that they have a problem, you must be able to honestly and objectively assess any personal issues you yourself are carrying around that could cause you to distort reality.

In psychiatry, we call this process insight and self-awareness.

What do you look for?
• Hidden motives for your own behavior or beliefs
• Hidden agendas or ideologies that underlie your own thinking; or any thing in your own life that might facilitate distortion of reality or truth.
• Know yourself! Everyone has vulnerabilities, sensitivities, biases etc. These are not contraindicators for confronting denial in others--you don't have to be perfect; just honest with yourself.

Considering all the different vulnerabilities, sensitivities, and biases all human beings have, it actually requires a considerable effort of will to remain in touch with reality.; as well as a continual and conscious effort at a committment to truth. This is fundamental to personal honesty and integrity. Obviously this is not easy, and we are all prone to those self-deceptions that spare us from unpleasant truths about ourselves.

One of my frequent commenters, "Oh Bloody Hell" left a quote from Isaac Asimov on the Part II thread which is particularly relevant here:

"What I'm doing, really, is to look at things as they are. It's what you must do. Forget your ideals, your theories, your notions as to what people OUGHT to do. Consider what they ARE doing. Once a person is oriented to face facts rather than delusions, problems tend to disappear. At the very least, they fall into their true perspective and become soluble."
So many people look at the world through glasses that filter unacceptable thoughts, feelings and reality; and hence they are only able to see what they want to see, instead of what is (and no, that does not depend on the meaning of the word "is").

Again, this does not require perfection--you don't even have to have "pure" motives--just conscious ones that help you to understand why you think and/or feel a certain way. Then you will be open to recognizing the truth and what is. Then you will have a choice in your actions.

If you are lucky, your scrutinized motives, beliefs, wishes, and desires will not seriously conflict with reality. But, if they do, then you must face the music.

Reality is completely indifferent to your feelings, wishes, or your unresolved issues.

Once you have applied some self-awareness and know your own limitations--or, as the philosoher Eastwood has said, "A man's gotta know his limitations."-- then you can begin to appreciate the magnitude of the task that lies ahead for someone who is chronically in denial about reality.

The second step in the process is to accept the fact that there are positive rewards for the person in denial (at least in the short-term), and that the psychological defense that you would like them to abandon is actually a creative strategy designed to help them keep their sanity and their sense of self and worldview intact.

You have two choices at this point. You can engage the denier in rational argument in the hopes of breaking through their denial; or you can work around them and let them suffer the consequences of their denial. The second strategy may be the best in some cases, but is obviously more difficult if your own fate is tied to theirs. Let's discuss engagement first.

Just because you wish to engage the denier in argument does not mean that you have to allow them to abuse you or threaten you (this has been an issue several times on this blog--while I want to engage people, I don't have to put up with their abuse). That means that the first principle of engagement is

• Limit Setting - you must make sure that the rules of engagement are followed and that what you are seeking is a rational discussion of issues; not a name-calling session where the person who screams the loudest or speaks with the most swear words considers himself the "winner".
Once the limits are set; be prepared for the person in denial to ignore them.

If you still want to engage, then the second principle is:

• Redirection - where you point out what the rules are again and only respond to the rational argument thatmight be buried in all the emotion. Gently (or at least as respectfully as you can--remember, it is your choice to engage them) point out to the person that they are avoiding the point by using such and such a rhetorical ploy or logical fallacy, etc. You can then challenge them to use a rational argument or present their premises and any evidence to support them. This is as close as you might get to "interpreting the defense". Either they will come back more appropriately and logically, or they'll ignore you; or they'll simply abandon the argument. Limit set and redirect as often as necessary.

If you can get the person back on the topic, and expressing his perspective honestly:

• Give constructive feedback (but not in a condescending tone). You can say something like, "that's a good point; let me see if I can counter it."

• Be ready then, to present your own rational perspective, with whatever evidence or facts you have available that might help them begin to question their own irrational beliefs; or even their own honesty.

• Be ready to point out the specific errors in logic; or fallacies and/or rhetorical ploys in their own arguments. Call them on it and ask for objective evidence from that that you would consider. Make sure you know what these fallacies and ploys are!

• Be willing to acknowledge when they have a point..

• Try as much as possible to engage them with what really exists--not what either of you would like to exist.

• Ask them for specific suggestions on how to deal with the problems you can both agree on. Be ready to give your own specific suggestions.

• When applicable, don't solve their problems for them; or shelter, protect or help them avoid the consequences of their denial --unless those consequences also impact you. If that is the case, understand that by letting them off the hook, you have encouraged them to think that their worldview is correct and yours is not.

• Have some standby information to direct them to that they can read on their own time that may help them to face the problem.

• Don't give into the temptation to call them names or to do unto them what they might be doing unto you…unless, of course, you are human; then in that case once in a while it might help your own mental health.

As you can see from the above list, it is quite difficult and time-consuming; as well as frustrating and endlessly repetitive to engage a person in denial.

Sometimes you may think you have put an issue to rest and successfully argued your point; only to discover that later the denier will bring up exactly the same slogans or mantras that you had previously and painstakingly countered!

That is why the level of denial is important to ascertain. Some people simply need to be nudged or reminded of certain facts--e.g., seeing a movie like United 93, which can bring back the reality of the events of 9/11 which may have slipped from conscious awareness simply from the everyday vissictitudes of living one's own life.

At the other end of the spectrum are those people, groups, and nations committed to the denial of reality the way others are committed to truth. Their entire sense of identity is dependent on a certain view of the world and they would rather die than relinquish that view.

If you want to continue with the challenge of engaging someone in denial, you must recognize that moments of epiphany and breakthroughs in insight are few and far between. In therapy, you can wait for months and even years for people to confront their own denial and understand the motivations that underlie their own unhappiness--but that is in therapy, where they presumably come to see you to get well and/or happier.

Unless the person you want to engage is a loved one, engaging a person in denial can be a thankless task. As I said in Part II, "You can lead a denier to reality, but you can't make him/her drink think."

As I said earlier, ultimately, an individual must CHOOSE to deal with reality. Neo-neoconhas written about her own journey in her excellent series, "A Mind is a Difficult Thing To Change" which I highly recommend (click on the link and go down her right sidebar to access those posts).

Finally, what do you do if you conclude that you must find a way to ignore or work-around people in denial because you are at risk due to their behavior?

Let me return to my own major motivation for blogging: my observations of the psychological denial --particularly after 9/11--and increasingly psychopathological responses of the left (including many in the Democratic Party) to the war on terror. My hope when I started blogging was that I could offer a unique perspective on the problem and by "shining a psychological spotlight" on the dysfunctional behavior, I could help those with an open mind to to come to grips with the critical issues of our time--Radical Islam and the threat to western civilization.

I remain hopeful that there are many people out who can be motivated to do exactly that. I don't expect them to all think exactly the same as I do about the current situation in the world; nor do I expect them to agree with me on what to do. Surely, reasonable people can differ on these points and amicably work together to come up with optimal solutions.

But what I do expect is some fundamental agreement on what the reality is.

The left's current concensus view on terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror and Freedom is flatly wrong and cannot be justified by the facts that are out there. Their rhetoric is designed to obfuscate and deny objective reality --which they don't even believe in to begin with (or, they believe in it until it become threatening then they seek refuge behind postmodern political rhetoric). The motivation for their continual Bush/Republican bashing is simple: Bush is the current symbol of their demise--the fly in their utopian ointment; the light shining in their darkness; or, to be more precise, the symbol of the end of their ideology.

How do I know this? Since Bush's election at the millennium, things have been going very badly for the left. As the real world presses in on them, their voices have become more shrill and hysterical; their rage is escalating out of control. No longer do most of them even bother to argue their points logically; they simply loudly denounce any idea or person who threatens their worldview; or deliberately and with the ruthless finesse of all tyrants and thugs, simply attempt to supress all dissenting opinions.

9/11 did not wake them up; rather it forced them to openly move toward what they have supported surreptitiously all along--the elimination of free speech in the name of political correctness and multiculturalism; a dictatorship where the pseudo-intellectual, politically correct priesthood rule; and complete control over the lives of others (for their own good, of course). Since their objectives dovetail nicely with those of the Islamic terrorists, they have made common cause with them and have not lost many opportunities to enable and encourage them, even as they denounce America and the principles of freedom and democracy.

They pretend their actions are motivated from love and peace and patriotism; but this is only how they rationalize it to themselves. Their self-deception and denial is simply stunning in its sweeping grandiosity and self-righteousness betrayal of the good.

Gerard Vanderleun has a post up about the eerie appropriateness of the recently discovered "Judas gospel". The money quote:

Treason, done with the kiss of "my personal freedom," proves that you do not really hate your country, you love it. You are, in the final analysis, your country's best friend. In these "new" old tales about Jesus we read that Judas betrayed the Son of God because Jesus told him to do it. Really? Or did his betrayal come, not from any request that may or may not have been made, but from humanity's persistant lust to sin freely and without even the thin penalty of remorse? Was this final treason done because this sin had been secretly blessed by God, or for the sheer dark thrill of asserting the self at the expense of life in the light?

"I betrayed my friend, because he gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for him."

"I betrayed my country because it gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for it."

Black is white. Hate is Love. Slavery is Freedom. Treason is Loyalty. That last phrase fits right in to the secular catechism, doesn't it? All it needs to become holy writ is an avatar, a solid historical personage with the power to turn darkness into light, lies into truth, and betrayal into something that was, in the final analysis, "all good."

Saint Judas, step right up to the Gates, ring that bell, and don your halo -- you the man.
Careful observation and analysis of behavior is what I do for a living. I am very good at it. My patients tend to get well for the most part. I am not always correct and I have a great tolerance for ambiguity and doubt. I can be convinced that I am incorrect because I accept my own humanity and its limitations. But if you want to convince me, you will have to give me some compelling argument that is rational and which conforms to what I observe in the real world. Calling me names and threatening me (try reading my email for a week) just will not do it; and, quite frankly, only confirms my premises.

If you can look in the mirror and truly know yourself, including all those hidden motives and agendas and unresolved issues in life which we all must grapple with; you can gain some control over your own life; make choices and attack problems based on a clear view of reality. Yes, people may still make the wrong choices, or screw up in dealing with the problems even when they are aware of their own unconscious conflicts. Human beings are not perfect.

But when denial distorts or obscures reality, we are far more likely to make the wrong choices and ignore the serious problems. Our energy becomes solely focused on maintaining and nurturing the denial as we get angrier and more out of touch with reality all the time.

As long as the left continues to live in the world of denial and play their rhetorical games and use their non-logic to justify the unjustifiable; to tolerate the intolerable; and support the unsupportable; then I will continue to blog and expose their motives and hidden agendas; and do everything I can to prevent them from regaining political power.

This means that no matter how badly I think of the current crop of Republicans--and I do think very badly of them--when the alternative is the Party of Denial, better known as the Democrats and the loud lunatic fringe that they cater to; then the Republicans are going to get my vote every time. Where once I had the luxury of voting for third party candidates (e.g. libertarian), the stakes are far too crucial now to waste my votes.

There is hope, however that the cocoon of denial may finally be breaking up. Those who are still rational on the left have come together around the "Euston Manifesto," which is a manifesto that, among other things says it stands for democracy; for human rights; and for freedom. It refuses to apologize for tyranny; and rejects the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that has become the hallmark of leftist politics. One can only ask, what took so long ?

At any rate, the Euston Manifesto may represent the left's first small steps back toward the real world.

More Goodies from The Voice of Sanity--II

 SEPTEMBER 03, 2004

A Lesson in Narcissistic Rage

Let me give a mini-lecture. Here are some characteristics of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
A pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy;
A narcissistic individual is grandiose in their sense of self-importance and exaggerates their achievements and talents. He expects to be recognized as superior without achieving any great accomplishments; A narcissistic individual is preoccupied with fantasies of his brilliance as well as his unlimited success or power. He fantasizes about beauty or ideal love;
A narcissistic individual believes that he is "special" or "unique." He feels that he can only be understood by or should associate with other special or high status people;
A narcissistic individual requires excessive admiration and is on a constant search for
A narcissistic individual has a sense of entitlement. He has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment and expect others to automatically comply with his wishes;
A narcissistic individual takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends and uses others without regards to the feelings of others;
A narcissistic individual lacks empathy and does not identify with the feelings or needs of others; A narcissstic individual is envious of others and believes that others are envious of him;
A narcissistic individual shows arrogant or haughty behaviors or attitudes and does not care who he offends. (emphasis mine)

A narcissistic injury occurs when someone defeats or criticizes the narcissistic individual. The narcissist may not show it outwardly, but he is haunted by criticisms and defeats. When a narcissistic injury occurs, the narcissist begins to feel empty, degraded, and humiliated and he is capable of retaliating with narcissistic rage. His reactions constitute disdain or defiant attacks.

What we witnessed last night at midnight --if you bothered to stay up you heard it; if not, you heard it this morning on the news--was an outbreak of narcissistic rage from John Kerry who simply cannot believe that anyone could possibly question anything the candidate has said or done in the past. See Here and Here for details.

From the NY Times:

"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief,'' Mr. Kerry said. ``Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.''

So there you have it. That's the best that Mr. Kerry can do. He has reached deep within his soul and...found it empty. In a time of world chaos, where there is a current war against an impacable enemy who doesn't care about the number of innocents they murder and who would destroy millions of Americans if they had the chance, John Kerry is obsessed with a war he was in 35 years ago. While the Republicans concentrated on an agenda of promoting freedom and liberty and NEVER ONCE CALLED INTO QUESTION MR. KERRY'S SERVICE IN VIETNAM (his behavior since then was, of course, fair game), Mr. Kerry called the President and Vice President "liars", and suggesting that they were only in it for their own personal gain; even condoning his supporters comparing Bush to Hitler and worse.

You see, Kerry's sense of entitlement knows no bounds. His unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment has been fully nurtured by a timid press, reluctant to question Kerry's fantasies of brilliance. Noone is permitted to question him or his achievements. But he seems to think that he can question their honor and motivations with impunity. In his arrogant and haughty behavior toward his fellow Vietnam veterans, he has demonstratedthat he could care less who he offends. He needs admiration so very much that he simply can't bear a few months where some of his less than admirable behavior over the last 30 years is examined (his frightening "sensitivity" on this issue makes you wonder how he would have fared over the last three years with the level of rage, hostility and denunciations which have been relentlessly directed at President Bush. One suspects he would have completely fallen to pieces the first time France didn't like what he did).

There is nothing more important to John Kerry than to make sure his image as an heroic Vietnam vet is protected.

And yes, there is nothing more important to John Kerry than...John Kerry


 SEPTEMBER 07, 2004

Enabling Behavior For Terrorism

In psychiatry--and particularly addiction medicine--we talk about people who "enable" addicts. Enabling refers to any behavior or action that assists the addict in the continuation of their addiction. Enabling can be either intentional or unintentional, but enabling behavior allows the addict to continue their destructive behavior. An example of enabling behavior is a man or woman who, although they verbally disapprove of their spouse's drinking, repeatedly will go out and purchases alcohol for him/her. Frequently enablers tell psychiatrists that they "only want to help" or that they are "afraid" of what will happen to them if they don't do the things that help the addict (e.g., the addict will beat them up or hurt them in some way).

From this site about Alcoholism, an interested person can find out if his or her behavior makes them an enabler. Here are a few questions that one might ask:
1. Have you ever "called in sick" for the alcoholic, lying about his symptoms?
2. Have you accepted part of the blame for his (or her) drinking or behavior?
3. Have you avoided talking about his drinking out of fear of his response?
4. Have you bailed him out of jail or paid for his legal fees?
5. Have you paid bills that he was supposed to have paid himself?
6. Have you loaned him money?
7. Have you tried drinking with him in hopes of strengthening the relationship?
8. Have you given him "one more chance" and then another and another?
9. Have you threatened to leave and didn't?
10. Have you finished a job or project that the alcoholic failed to complete himself?
Of course, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you at some point in time have enabled the alcoholic to avoid his own responsibilities. Rather than "help" the alcoholic, you have actually made it easier for him to get worse.
If you answered "yes" to most or all of these questions, you have not only enabled the alcoholic, you have probably become a major contributor to the growing and continuing problem and chances are have become effected by the disease yourself.

I would like to propose a corollary use of "enabling"--to refer to those individuals who intentionally or unintentionally behave in such a way as to encourage terrorists and terrorism.

Asking the same questions can be revealing:
1. Have you ever made excuses for terrorists or terrorism ? 
2. Have you ever accepted part of the blame for the terrorist's behavior? Examples: after 9/11 the Left responded by demanding that we look at the "root causes" of terrorism and there was a chorus of "America's policies are to blame". Or, for more indepth discussion go herehere, and here, and here)

3. Have you avoided talking about terrorism--even avoided using the word "terrorist"--because you are afraid of the response terror groups might have or just because it is politically correct? 
Let's see if we can identify all the words being used for "terrorist" (except, of course, the word "terrorist") - rebel, insurgent, militant, militia, guerrilla,freedom-fighter, minutemen(a la Michael Moore), hostage-takers. It is totally breathtaking the amount of effort that is being expended to AVOID using the "T" word. It has become the new political correctness. Is there any doubt that it enables murderers? RantingProfs has some good analysis.

4. Have you bailed a terrorist out of jail, or paid his legal fees?
5. Have you provided financial support or aid to terrorist groups or regimes that support terrorism?
6. Have you loaned money to terrorists or regimes that support terrorism? 
Well, we have seen this over and over again. Germany releasing the Islamofascists involved in 9/11 because we wouldn't permit access to a key witness in our custody; our own Supreme Court saying that they are entitled to the same priveliges and legal options as citizens of the US (there can be reasonable debate about this issue, but there is no doubt that this kind of decision--IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR--only helps the enemy and enables them to continue to harm us); Our own foreign policy prior to 9/11 consisted of giving money to the Middle Eastern dictators (Egypt comes instantly to mind); the people in this country who unwittingly gave money to charities that purported to help muslim/palestinian children etc. etc.

7. Have you marched in solidarity with terrorists, even to the point of participating in acts or encouraging acts of terrorism against others?
ANSWERUnited for Peace and Justice this letter to Glenn Reynolds is a good example; and numerous other organizations that probably actually believe in their mottos.

8. Have you given terrorists or regimes that support terrorism "one more chance" and then another and another? This one is so obvious that it requires only two words: United Nations

9. Have you threatened to be tough with a regime that supports terrorism and then weren't? 
Every European country comes to mind; US policy for decades also was a textbook example of waffling behavior in this area. At least we seem to have stopped for the most part.

10. Have you finished something like a project or job for a terrorist or a terrorist regime who wasn't able to finish himself? 
France supporting the development of the Iran nuclear plants is one example; Companies that continue to support the oil industry in Saudi Arabia (they don't have the technical expertise in the country); continued financial support for dictators (and the US has had its share of guilt in this behavior).

As you can see, there are many Terrorism Enablers around. Some of these people truly don't have a clue that their behavior is not all sweetness and light and that it encourages the exact opposite of what they think it does (e.g., some of the innocent groups--like the Episcopal Church--who are members of "United for Peace and Justice"). These "Do-gooders" are usually completely deluded about the nature of the terrorist and often cry that we must "try to understand" why the terrorists are angry at us and want to kill us. They believe that with enough soul-searching we can discover how to change ourselves and the terrorism will then cease. They are the same "useful idiots" who said the same things about communism and socialism in the last century as communist and socialist regimes murdered millions and enslaved even more. They are the pacificists and the genuinely good people who continue to maintain a denial so intense that they cannot see that they are supporting Evil.

A second kind of Terrorist Enabler is an individual or group engaging in enabling behaviors for manipulative reasons and for personal gain--primarily because it is financially or politically beneficial for them in the short run. They are deluding themselves as they appease the terrorists or the regimes that support terrorism so that they can earn a few more bucks from them; or politically benefit from opposing efforts to stop terrorists. In truth, they cynically doubt that the terrorist are really "all that bad", and believe that by befriending them, they can have the best of both worlds.

And then there is the third kind of Terrorist Enabler. This kind is as morally reprehensible as the terrorists themselves because their motivation is one with the terrorist. They do their enabling because they gain sadistic pleasure from the acts of death and destruction that terrorism involves, yet since they don't directly participate in these actions, they consider themselves not responsible. They know that they are supporting terrorism and terrorist regimes, and that is why they behave the way they do. They hate freedom and indivudality; they hate their own country and desperately wish for its destruction. For them I have no sympathy and I feel nothing but the same contempt and revulsion that the subhuman terrorists engender within me.

So, are you an enabler? Is the newspaper you read or the TV station you tune into; or the actor/singer/comedian you idolize an enabler of terrorism? If you think this doesn't matter, you are fooling yourself--just as the woman who buys the alcohol for her alcoholic husband is fooling herself. Someday in a drunken rage, he will beat her up--even kill her. Her efforts at appeasement are folly and they only encourage the very thing she fears.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing

-Edmund Burke 

God bless Dr. Sanity, wherever she is.....

A Sane Voice in The Age of The Narcissist

I must thank the great blogger Dr. Sanity for all I learned about narcissism in politics. She was my virtual mentor for years. When she stopped blogging after the last election, I knew the blogging world had lost one of the finest commentators.

If you have not read her articles. you can google Dr. Sanity. Or, here is the link. Just look at the articles on the side for the great ones on narcissism.

One of her best was a warning on the social engineering in education, which many of us saw and why we home schooled.

Years before Common Core, which is totally bad, bad, bad, Dr. Sanity wrote this. My choice of cartoon...

 NOVEMBER 27, 2009


“Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” - Joseph Stalin

If you thought I was joking or too extreme in my discussions of the ongoing corruption of k-12 education; and how all the leftist "educational experts" like Bill Ayers intend to destroy the minds of your children in the era of hopenchange, then you need to read this. All of it.

What is happening in Minnesota is the evolution of education into leftist political indoctrination.

The health of our educational system--from K-12 through college-- is absolutely essential to the long-term welfare and competitiveness of the United States. American education used to be the strongest on the globe, and to the extent that remains true, it is because the hard sciences in this country (e.g., math, engineering, computers etc.) have been largely resistant to the political taint that runs rampant in the humanities. The latter subject areas, which include literature, philosophy, and history, have become unabashedly ideological over the last two decades; and the "social justice" advocates of today's collectivists have taken over our K-12 education system and are determinedly undermining American values with their politically correct, multicultural and anti-capitalist curriculum.

Make no mistake about it, what many teachers today are doing is indoctrinating their students minds into an unquestioning obedience to the collective. This they cannot do unless they also can manage to corrupt even the hard sciences with their dogma.
There can be no area where a child is allowed to think freely and without the proper political perspective. That is far too dangerous for the underly ideology they are promulgating.
And here is one of her classic articles on narcissism. Remember, she is a trained clinical psychiatrist and worked with NASA for years.

 MAY 17, 2009


With the classic narcissist, language is used cruelly and ruthlessly to ensnare one's enemies, to sow confusion and panic, to move others to emulate the narcissist ("projective identification"), to leave the listeners in doubt, in hesitation, in paralysis, to gain control, or to punish. Language is enslaved and forced to lie. The language is appropriated and expropriated. It is considered to be a weapon, an asset, a piece of lethal property, a traitorous mistress to be gang raped into submission. --Sam Vaknin, author, Malignant Self Love.

Pathological lying is one of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist, who does it out of a need to manipulate and maintain control. For the immature narcissist there is an essential emotional truth: lying is an expression of his (or her) mistrust of others; and his (or her) need to maintain a fragile sense of self at all costs.

Being honest (and therefore vulnerable) terrifies the narcissist. Since his primary goal is to control others, through projection he constantly fears that others will try to control him. Thus, lying becomes the modus operandi through which he can maintain his superficial presentation of himself and keep people from learning the truth of who he really is. He never allows himself to be "pinned down", or accountable. More lies are always necessary to cover up a previous lie. And typically, he even begins to believe his own lies and become outraged at any suggestion that he may be lying. Thus he becomes sincere in his lying and others may actually believe the lies because of the sincerity. This is why truly pathological liars (such as sociopaths) are so hard to detect in the population. In general, the lack of an ability to feel guilty about the lies, and the perverse sense that he is "entitled to lie" are standard for the political narcissist.

Having said all this, it is important to remember that lying, no matter how pathological it may be is not in itself a disease. EVERYONE LIES. Most psychological tests have built in scales that detect this tendency to make one's self look better to others.

When you combine an overwhelmning need to make one's self look better (i.e., superior) with a grandiose sense of self-worth; throw in glibness and a superficial charm that easily convinces others of your sincerity; then there is little to stand in the way of easily manipulating others to your will. Of course, it behooves you to also throw into the mix that whatever you do, you do it for the sake of others. Children are a good standby (as in, "do it for the children!").

Let me refresh your memory about some basic psychological defense mechanisms.
Denial, which is an immature defense is defined as an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes--or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:
-Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
-Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
-Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)

One type of denial is Repression , a neurotic defense characterized by a seemingly inexplicable naivete, memory lapse, or lack of awareness. Repression is often dismissed as an artifact of diminished attention by cognitive psychologists, but I find that it almost always reflects a rather creative method to resolve some inner conflict for the person who uses it. With repression, affect is out in the open, but the associated idea is out of the mind and unavailable to consider. Someone who has repressed some knowledge may be genuinely astonished that anyone would consider them to have deliberately ignored the issue.

The "forgetting of repression is different from ordinary forgetting in that there is often some sort of parallel symbolic behavior that goes along with it.

Most often repression is associated with histrionic traits. A typical example might be the doting and dutiful wife who remains blissfully unaware of the husband's constant philandering--although the evidence is obvious to everyone else; and she may not understand why she feels anger at her spouse. She may defend him passionately from his accusers, but the anger will find a way to express itself in various ways within their relationship. Or, another example is a devoted public servant and leader of the Party, whose behavior in a recent press conference raised red flags in almost everyone who was watching and listening to her.

Neo-neocon captures the essence of her psychological dilemma, on view for all to witness:

Some people have asked why Pelosi hasn’t just said, “Look, at the time of the briefings I thought waterboarding was okay, but now I see the light and I’m against it.” Such a statement would have arguably gotten her in a lot less trouble than the course she’s taken instead: a series of ever-changing and hedgy excuses that read as lies, culminating in her making accusations against the CIA that have roused its formidable defenses against her.

I don’t think Pelosi is stupid, although I agree with almost nothing she stands for or says. She has shown great political savvy and cunning in her long career. Why does it appear to be deserting her now?

I see Pelosi as having been put between a rock and a hard place by Obama’s release of the “torture memos” and the resultant brouhaha. If she were to make the statement I posited in the first paragraph of this post, she would be admitting something that would contradict the entire Democratic Party “narrative” of the Bush administration’s decisions regarding terrorists.

Going that route would destroy the tale the Democrats have ridden to victory and power: that the Bush administration was evil, lying to us (rather than sometimes mistaken), trampling on liberties for the sake of power and even sadism. How can Democrats contradict themselves by acknowledging now that nearly all of Bush’s decisions in the war on terror were arrived at after due deliberation, analysis of the best information available at the time (the conclusion that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs would be a prominent example), acting in the best interests of our country, and with an effort to preserve as much liberty and protection as seemed possible?

For Democrat leaders to do so would be to undercut their own story about Bush, which was (and remains) vital to their own success.

So, we might reasonably conclude that Nancy's "surprise" in discovering that she was actually briefed by the CIA on its enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, is an example of:

(a) PSYCHOLOGICAL DENIAL (suggesting she is out of touch with reality)
(b) PSYCHOLOGICAL REPRESSION (suggesting that she has neurotic conflicts)
(c) DELIBERATE LYING (suggesting that she is a liar)
(d) NORMAL FORGETFULNESS (suggesting that she is clueless and inattentive)

Of course, it could well be a vast rightwing conspiracy to take down the poor, hapless Speaker. But I rather suspect it is the Democrats' own neurotic conflicts coming home to roost (to coin a phrase.)

Neurotic defenses may be used by all sorts of otherwise intelligent people; and in this case, the willingness to believe anything that is said--especially when it is said by a Democrat (no matter how obviously ridiculous); while sneering and demeaning anything said by a Republican (no matter how true or obvious) suggests an underlying neurotic conflict.

Perpetual Displacement, anyone? Poor Obama "can't turn the page" on Bush? Or, is it that Obama and Co. are unable to turn that page because their entire success and current power grab depends solely on this bizarre neurosis of theirs?

There are narcissists and liars in both parties, of course; but Nancy Pelosi's rather blatant attempts to play fast and loose with the Truth, even as she loudly demands "Truth Commissions" is nothing more than the extreme narcissism and pathological lying that is peculiar to politics. Victor Davis Hanson is amazed that she--and Democrats, in general--seem not to believe in the god Nemesis:

There is an odd sense among Democrats that nemesis simply does not exist.

A once-vein-bulging Al Gore who barnstormed the country slurring President Bush by calling him a liar now seems baffled about the precedent he set of a vice president (albeit now much more politely in the case of Cheney) questioning the policy of the current president.

A Nancy Pelosi, hellbent on releasing once-classified memos for partisan advantage, and eager to begin 'Truth" hearings, suddenly believes such an inquisition will not apply to herself, despite the fact that she, like so many Democrats from Senator Schumer to Senator Rockefeller, in that dark period in 2001, spoke of the need for, or was complicit in, approving enhanced interrogation techniques.

Then the president himself, who jump-started his campaign in Iraq's crisis year by slamming the commander-in-chief on renditions, military tribunals, email and phone intercepts, Predator drone attacks, and Iraq, now suddenly wishes to explain the nuances and complexities of these policies and why he will continue the Bush protocols — apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy involved with his own prior self-interested stridency. These examples could be easily augmented.
To explain their behavior, Hanson invokes the deity in charge of just consequences--Nemesis; but I would account for it by pointing out the self-satisfied smugness and narcissism of Democratic leaders who pathologically are unable to believe that reality and truth have any hold on them. In psychiatry, we call this delusional.

And the leaders of the Democratic Party (including the Great, Supreme Poobah Messiah) demonstrate their delusional and narcissistic credentials on a daily basis.

For those Catholics who still have their kids in CC schools, get them out now. You are allowing others to steal their souls. Period. Remember that the majority of diocesan schools have capitulated to CC, because of the money. Your children's minds and souls are being exchange for government influence through government money.