"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hysteria - Progressives' Disorder But We All Have Our Moments

The history of hysteria can be traced to ancient times. In ancient Greece it was described in the gynecological treatises of the Hippocratic Corpus, which dates back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Plato's dialogue Timaeus compares a woman's uterus to a living creature that wanders throughout a woman's body, "blocking passages, obstructing breathing, and causing disease". The concept of a pathological wandering womb was later viewed as the source of the term hysteria,which stems from the Greek cognate of uterus, ὑστέρα (hystera) – Wiki
Image result for images female hysteria ancient greece

In the 19th century physicians thought that the stress associated with the typical female life at the time caused civilized women to be both more susceptible to nervous disorders and to develop faulty reproductive tracts.

Up until the 20th century doctors treated hysteria by masturbating female patients to orgasm (termed "hysterical paroxysm"), and that the inconvenience of this may have driven the early development of and the market for the vibrator.

Image result for images female vibrator

All that medical nonsense is happily in the past; but hysteria remains, both as an individual pathology and national, collective one. Does the following sound familiar?
The hysteric personality is characterized by mental instability, superficial and excitable emotionality, capriciously changeable tendencies, and the capacity for completely contradictory behavior. Hysterics combine inferiority feelings with the need to attract attention, role-playing, and showing-off; they take the imaginary for the real and subordinate reason and will to emotional impulse. Their attitude to the environment swings wildly and they change from sympathy to antipathy instantaneously (The Free Dictionary).
Perhaps it is unfair to make any conclusions about mass hysteria during the current post-election (2016) emotional roller-coaster.  Six months after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, progressives have still not gotten over their sense of betrayal.  It was politically impossible, they concluded, for Trump to get elected; and the very thought of it was unconscionable.  How could a vaudevillian, homophobic, racist bigot ever get to the White House?

Image result for images donald trump president official photo

Betrayal quickly turned to anxiety, fear, and panic.  Not only was this buffoon elected to the Presidency; not only was Hillary Clinton defeated denying her and the nation their entitlement; but the new President had vowed to dismantle all the gains for which the progressive Left had fought for decades. 

In other words, a perfect political storm – an idiot on Pennsylvania Avenue, the rout of Democrats in the House and Senate, a more robust conservative Supreme Court, and good-bye to environmentalism, race and gender inclusivity, and the reconfiguration of the economic landscape to favor the poor and the disadvantaged.

It is no wonder that progressives have become hysterical.  The election of Donald Trump represented not one arrow shot but a quiver-full.

Image result for images the saint pictures shot with arrows

The laments have only increased since January as Trump has proved as good as his word.  His policy positions, his Cabinet and Supreme Court appointments, and his public pronouncements have confirmed the worst.  He does indeed intend to make America great again; but no one on the Left was prepared for the structural reform he intends.  In fact Trump will be far more transformative and revolutionary than Ronald Reagan ever was, for he intends to uproot progressives and their policies from education, energy, social welfare, and foreign policy and replace them with solidly conservative, religious nationalists.

The Right can only say, “I told you so”.  A populist revolution was long in the making and took only an outspoken advocate to give it voice and momentum.  While the Left parsed Trump’s every campaign word, supporters only listened to what he meant; and like Reagan, he was very clear about his foundational principles. The fact that he exaggerated, confabulated, and was more comedian than politician bothered no one.  The howls of the Left branding him as a modern day Mephistopheles were ignored and dismissed. 

Image result for images ronald reagan

Moderate Democrats were upset at Trump’s victory; but were hopeful that the Office would change the man – that sooner rather than later the awful responsibilities of the Presidency would weigh on the new President and he would begin to ‘act presidential’.  No such thing.  Trump has been even more outrageous as President as he was as a campaigner.  His attacks on the media and on the unreconstructed liberal Left have only increased.  He remains unapologetically his own man.

It clinical terms, this initial anxiety attack, severe as it has been, might– with the proper treatment, counseling, and care – be brought under control; but unfortunately the cure can only be cold turkey.  There are no compassionate conservative hands being extended.  No understanding, conciliatory overtures made by the victors.  Progressives will simply have to get over it, for no matter how much they may pray for his demission, Donald Trump is here to stay.

Progressives are not the only Americans to suffer from hysteria.  They are only the most painfully public.  Many conservatives, while happy with Trump’s ascension, are still worried that the Socialist-Jewish-Anarchist international cabal is stronger than ever.  The rot in American institutions is so extensive that it will take more than a few Trump years to rebuild them; and in the meantime feminist-homosexual-black activists will continue to thwart him.

Newsweek reported a few years back that: “Forty percent of all Americans and 45 percent of Christians believe that the world will end, as the Bible predicts, in a battle at Armageddon between Jesus and the Antichrist. Fully, 71 percent of Evangelical Protestants...share that view.

Image result for medieval images armageddon

Researchers at Ipsos Global Public Affairs polled 16,262 individuals from more than 20 countries to gather Armageddon data.  They found that 22 percent of Americans were convinced that it would come during their lifetimes.

By no means are all those who believe that a fiery end is just around the corner are hysterical; but a goodly number check for the seven signs of the Apocalypse written in Revelations: One who is both a king and a conqueror rides forth on a white horse. (6:1-2); A rider on a red horse brings war. (6:3-4); A rider on a black horse brings famine. (6:5-6); etc.

Image result for medieval paintings revelations

Since these signs can be interpreted in many ways, the cause for concern is more widespread than if the Bible had been more specific and less allegorical.

Some Christians see the Middle East peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state as the beginning of the seven-year period before Armageddon.  Others see the dissolution of the EU, religious anarchy, the International Monetary System as signs.

The leader of one religious sect popular during the Soviet era prophesied a temporal Armageddon – a nuclear war between the superpowers which would destroy all of humanity except for her chosen few who would survive in the underground shelters she had built.  Disaster may have been averted through prayer, but the threat of annihilation because of human dereliction has not passed.

On a more prosaic level, millions of Americans are worried about unsafe playgrounds, second-hand smoke, bullies, unclean counter tops, aggressive drivers, drink, wastrel husbands, and taxes.  The hysteria comes from worrying about all these problems at the same time; and from assuming that they all are related to some fundamental, underlying cause, usually the decline in family values.

The French and Italians have no such concern.  They continue to drink, smoke, have afternoon liaisons, take three hour lunches, two month vacations, and are happy.  La Dolce Vita is alive and well on the Continent.  Latin Americans are less anxious because of a healthy que sera sera attitude.

Image result for la dolce vita images

Only Americans, it seems, suffer from hysteria disorder.  Perhaps it has to do with our Puritan roots and persistent feelings of guilt and shame; or our can-do, anything-is-possible, every-problem-has-a-solution spirit.  Both can cause letdowns, anxiety, and hysteria. If the world is not getting any better and you are part of the problem, there is indeed cause for personal concern.

Perhaps it is that life has simply gotten away from us, moved so fast that we can’t catch up.  It is normal to panic at times, feeling lost and helpless; and understandable to suffer from inchoate anxiety.  After all if there is anything complexly inchoate it is American society.

Progressives may be the worst snake-bit, but we all have our moments.  Nihilism is the best recourse, although with our healthy attachment to our children and our careers, a philosophy of denial and meaningless is not be an option.


So, we will have to suffer through dry-mouth and attacks of generalized anxiety; and yell and scream at Donald Trump and his shills if it feels right and good.  At the very least anxiety-based temper tantrums are chronicled in the literature as legitimate, if temporary, anodynes to stress.

No comments:

Post a Comment