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Anti-Trumpers and their Festival of Hatreds

Anti-Trumpers and their Festival of Hatreds

Dostoevsky’s Demons and Orwell’s Hate

When I was in college in the late 1960s, I took a course called Russian Intellectual History. I had always liked Russian literature, I’d been told the professor was good, and the course seemed an easy way to fulfill a history requirement.

It was all that, and more. I was very fortunate to take it during that particular era because I could not help but notice—in fact, it was glaringly obvious—that, despite the distant time and place and many different details and although we young people thought ourselves to be inventing a new and better world, there were enormous parallels between our times and the path that ultimately led to the Soviet Union.

That course kept me from idealizing my own generation or their ideas, and it served as a warning about intellectual and political hubris. Recent events have only solidified those notions and added layers of present-day observation about current generations and the danger their ideas present. It’s a variation on a theme.

One of the books we read for that course was Dostoevsky’s Demons, in a translation that at the time was called The Possessed:

The original Russian title is Bésy, which means “demons”. There are three English translations: The Possessed, The Devils, and Demons. Constance Garnett’s 1916 translation popularized the novel and gained it notoriety as The Possessed, but this title has been disputed by later translators.

They argue that “The Possessed” points in the wrong direction because Bésy refers to active subjects rather than passive objects — “possessors” rather than “the possessed”. However, ‘Demons’ refers not to individuals who act in various immoral or criminal ways, but rather to the ideas that possess them: non-material but living forces that subordinate the individual (and collective) consciousness, distorting it and impelling it toward catastrophe.

What made me think of the book again is probably obvious: the reaction of many on the left to the news that the Trumps have tested positive for COVID. But that’s just one example of a phenomenon we’ve seen a great deal of in recent years, and some of the worst things about it is the element of transformation of the formerly mild-mannered and kindly into founts of seething malevolence.

It’s deeply unsettling to see the rage come over a person, as I recently did when looking into the eyes of a previously genial acquaintance who was shrieking with rage at me, her eyes narrowed with what looked like hatred.

People don’t like what threatens them, especially if they have no immediate factual answer to some of the evidence presented to them. What’s left to them is to explode—which this person did, ultimately getting into her car and peeling off with tires screeching. I would guess, although I don’t know, and I’m certainly not about to ask, that she and plenty of other people I know might be rejoicing, openly or secretly, in Trump’s diagnosis.

Are they “possessed?” Is this “demonic?” I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I tend to think in psychological terms because these people are, for the most part, not inherently evil. They are filled with self-righteousness, and they have been whipped up into a fever pitch by an MSM and Democratic Party bent on doing so for political reasons. This is no accident.

It is somewhat similar to a phenomenon described in another great literary work, Nineteen-Eighty Four, the “Two Minutes Hate“:

In the cinematic version of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), brainwashing of the participants in the Two Minutes Hate includes auditory and visual cues, such as “a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil” that burst from the telescreen. meant to psychologically excite the crowd into an emotional frenzy of hatred, fear, and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein, and for Oceania’s enemy of the moment, either Eastasia or Eurasia.

The hate session includes the participants throwing things at the telescreen showing the film, as does the Julia character. In the course of the Two Minutes Hate, the film image of Goldstein metamorphoses into the face of a bleating sheep, as enemy soldiers advance towards the viewers of the film, before one enemy soldier charges towards the viewers, whilst firing his sub-machinegun; the face of that soldier then becomes the face of Big Brother. At the end of the two-minute session of hatred, the members of the Party ritualistically chant “B-B . . . B-B . . . B-B . . . B-B.” To maintain the extreme emotions provoked in the Two Minutes Hate sessions, the Party created Hate Week, a week-long festival of hatreds.

We’ve experienced a festival of hatreds that’s already lasted much longer than that.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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I think that the Obsessed would be better. “preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent.”

It’s too bad Dostoevsky didn’t include a chapter or two on “The Clueless”.

Grrr8 American | October 5, 2020 at 9:37 am

I side with demonically possessed. This post caught my eye because recently I’ve concluded “demonic possession” as the explanation. It arose after multiple conversations over time with my wife and one of us would blurt out something like “can’t they see” and “how can they see / think that when the plain facts …”

One example is how the producers at CNN could air sequences of “peaceful protests” as fires burned behind the narrator. It was almost as if they were blinded to what was before their own eyes.

I believe that we are a divinely inspired country, that under Progressivism has increasingly strayed from the path of righteousness. This isn’t spontaneous or organic in origin.

I also believe that Collectivism can be analogized to a genus, with species beneath it: Communism, Fascism, Socialism and Progressivism. All those find homes under the Democrat Party umbrella.

As person of faith, I believe that Collectivism (at root) is a form of Satanic evil. How else would Satan operate in this world but through people and political parties?

The numerous (not just credible, but irrefutable) reports of Democrats plotting to steal the election I have concluded is the effort to consummate the Progressive erosion from our founding that has been underway for over 100 years. (See, e.g., the “Transition Integrity Project” and plans to pack the Supreme Court and add states.)

If I am correct, then demonic possession in increasing numbers so as to effectuate the final push to “fundamentally transform” this country into a Collectivist state is not just plausible, but inevitable.

“I tend to think in psychological terms because these people are, for the most part, not inherently evil. They are filled with self-righteousness, and they have been whipped up into a fever pitch by an MSM and Democratic Party bent on doing so for political reasons.“

At the risk of starting a meandering philosophical/theological discussion, I think the opposite is true. If humans were not inherently evil, then dictatorship and suffering would be the exception. Instead, the whole of human history is one long testament of humans greedily seeking power over others for the purpose of inflicting death and suffering on others – often with wild approval of the majority.

    But it’s always done for a good cause! Most of these movements aren’t evil, they just believe the ends justify the means. Nirvana and Utopia are just around the corner.

      TX-rifraph in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      The “ends justify the means” is a philosophical evil in itself as it can be and is often used to justify moral evils. The frame of reference is “intention” which is an internal standard.

      thetaqjr in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 5, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      If ends don’t justify means, what does?

I hope you don’t mind if I plug this video. It is really quite excellent.

Cultural Marxism | Dr. Voddie Baucham

    gibbie in reply to gibbie. | October 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    To elaborate, Dr. Baucham is a black man who spends some time describing his impeccable credentials to speak to his subject, delivers important historical perspective on Cultural Marxism, describes how it has infiltrated our culture, and lastly describes how it damages people.

I tend to think in psychological terms because these people are, for the most part, not inherently evil.

If they can’t distinguish between good and evil then I’d say they’re evil. Just because they may be too cloistered, too unimaginative, or too stupid to realize they’re evil hardly matters; evil they are nonetheless.

    DaveGinOly in reply to tom_swift. | October 5, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I believe real evil requires intent, such as the intent to do harm for one’s personal pleasure at its infliction and the suffering of others. Contrarywise, for example, stupidity can cover a lot of ground, and being stupid and acting stupidly do not make a person evil, but it can identify them as dangerous, but without malice. Being convinced of your own correctness, and having been inculcated with a twisted sense of “natural order” can also lead to much suffering, but might also not be an example of evil. Although the people responsible of inculcating such a sense may be evil, evil may be absent from the followers, having been programmed by their upbringing and education, or by society at large. Entire societies are certainly capable of madness, but that’s mental illness, not evil.

    gibbie in reply to tom_swift. | October 5, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    When talking about people, I prefer “wicked” rather than “evil”. I see “evil” as a thing, and “wicked” as people who align themselves with evil.

    I think that designating people as evil actually dilutes the evil-ness of evil.

    I see the thing which “evil” is to be the absence of “good”, just as darkness is the absence of light.

    And “good” is one of the names of God.

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

One hundred years ago.

Constance Garnett’s 1916 translation popularized the novel and gained it notoriety as The Possessed, but this title has been disputed by later translators.

Garnett was quite the pioneer. She translated something over 70 Russian works, ranging from Tolstoy and Turgenev to Dostoyevsky and Chekhov. Much of this material was previously unknown to the English world. Of course in the three quarters of a century since her death, she’s been an easy target for more leisurely academic critics, and some of the criticisms are justified. But in the main the works of Britisher Garnett and her equally prolific American contemporary, Isabel Hapgood (known for translations of Tolstoy, Gogol, and Victor Hugo) remain more than merely useful. Quite surprising, really, for anything produced in the cloying Edwardian era.

A friend provided me with this link. It relates how a committed leftist outsider, a Brit, views what we are doing to ourselves. He makes an elegant and compelling case.

    gibbie in reply to bernie49. | October 5, 2020 at 11:37 am

    I hope you won’t be offended, but this video doesn’t smell right.

    Yes, he makes an elegant and compelling case, and I agree entirely (except for his thoughts about the George Floyd case).

    Who is he? How do we know he’s really a leftist? How does a lower class run-of-the-mill guy manage to create a video with that kind of first class production values?

    Why are comments disabled?

    I wish it were true, but it’s too slick by half.

      DaveGinOly in reply to gibbie. | October 5, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Disabling comments is, to me, a sign that the author (of an article or video) does not have confidence in the material he has presented. Even an author who is full of crap, but has confidence, will permit comments. One who disallows comments is probably full of crap and knows it. And/or is a snowflake who can’t take the heat that he knows controversial subject matter will attract.

        Not necessarily, Dave. There is an ugly history of trolls on YT (etc.) and some of us just don’t want to deal with them. I don’t allow comments on my song parody videos. And with the way YT has throttled them, it was the right call for me.

        Agreed the video has a smell test issue … for a simple working class man, he sure has an accounting of our history and fact-based logical and ordered presentation of it. Seems like the kind of production that would be from the organized WalkAway movement.

          bernie49 in reply to MrE. | October 5, 2020 at 1:29 pm

          I have no idea why comments are blocked. As to his articulateness, he apparently is a poet of some note in the UK. I am looking at more of his stuff now.

      bernie49 in reply to gibbie. | October 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      It is always good to be skeptical so I am certainly not offended. Here is Chris McGlade giving an interview to another Teesider:
      He has a consistent message and one that many working comedians will recognize. Comedy cannot co-exist with political correctness.

If you are not actively pursuing the Divine, your intentions tend toward Evil.


Our whole system of mental health, from classification to treatment is based upon how rational a person is. When a person descends into the realm where naked emotion rules his behavior, he is considered to be mentally ill and, often, has to be removed from society for the protection of others.

Current liberalism is based upon the ascendance of feelings and emotions over rational thought. This is not to be misconstrued with Progressivism, which is exceptionally rational, though wholly amoral and selfish; placing the benefit of the few over the needs of the many. So, by definition, all liberals are suffering, to some degree, from mental illness. Once you accept that premise, liberal behavior makes total sense.

    Fundamentally, Trump is bring us together by pointing us to God and Country, to building and working together, cheering success, etc. His is a rewards based approach and it is overcoming racism and division.

    Liberals on the other hand, are punitive – denounce and cancel wrong think, dispatch mobs to compel compliance by force – and so rather than heal the underlying condition, they force it into hiding which they wrongly hold to be cure – or at least in remission.

    From my limited experience with other cultures – as a musician who over the years has been in bands and theater companies with people of several colors and persuasions, the common love of musical creativity brought us together without regard to our ethnic / gender identities. If some leftist pantywaist had come into our midst and started spouting microaggression and white privilege horse-hockey, we’d have beat hell out of them with our guitars.

    For me it’s simple – pointing people towards a positive dream – something constructive will succeed where punitive measures fail.

      Heh – I espoused a positive and constructive approach – while beating hell out of a dissenter with my Gibson. Probably would be better to loan him my axe and tell them to shut up and play …

Michael Johnson | October 5, 2020 at 12:36 pm

I was similarly enlightened by a course in Russian cultural history. This caused me to be an early adapter of Andrew’s position that politics is downstream from culture.

Far too many people sell novels short. Dostoevsky is far from alone in showing us the runaway train coming down the tracks.

I remember people scoffing at Orwell’s example of 2+2=5 if the state says so. Now we actually have academics defending that, not to mention 57 genders and using drugs to transform the sex of 8 year old children.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | October 5, 2020 at 11:01 pm

Time to give the leftists nightmares.

Nunes: Shut Down Intel Agencies Until They Declassify “Smoking Gun” Evidence Against Hillary Clinton