Kyle-Anne Shiver notes another trend in today’s political rhetoric from the left: Accusing those they disagree with of being insane. We have Jon Stewart’s upcoming “Restoring Sanity” rally, the NPR exec who said before she fired him that Juan Williams should just confide his fear of Muslims to his psychiatrist, the psychoanalyzing of the President about lizard-brained voters, and all kinds of comments about tea-party populists. She notes:
The Soviets were infamous for declaring any vocal dissident “insane,” putting them in psychiatric “hospitals,” turning the shock therapy machines to full voltage, and throwing away the keys.
When I was in Estonia, I met a poet who had just been released from a mental institution where he had been consigned for writing a poem critical of communism. Under Marxist theory, art and literature reflect the economic superstructure of the society. Under a socialist society, a poet who do does not reflect the reality of socialism must therefore be disconnected from reality. Therefore, insane.It isn’t that the culture czars were simply trying to shut up a critic. They really did think he was insane, according to their worldview and their definition of insanity. (We even had that here in a comment in our discussion of the president’s remark about his opponents not being rational or “scientific” because when they are afraid a different part of the brain takes over. The commenter argued essentially that conservatives really ARE irrational.)
I’m not saying that these silly political slams are equivalent to the Soviet persecution of artists. Just that this is dangerous rhetoric to be throwing around.