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Author Topic: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL  (Read 106003 times)

H2OFun

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #100 on: May 29, 2006, 09:53:17 PM »

I can understand the "need" for grading on a curve on the part of law schools ... I mean, it makes sense for the law school as a financial institution. Not to mention that law schools are expected by employers to rate the meat and impose a kind of slightly paranoid mindset that is very receptive to structural authority/hierarchy. But even the law schools themselves can not pretend the current system of grading represent a "fair" way of measuring the student's knowledge of their courses' content against a neutral baseline.  And I'm not particularly interested in offering arguments to justify this or in helping the law schools make more money

The curve encourages laziness in both professors and students. I hope that our professors, if faced with a brilliant class that "got" more of the material relative to other years or relative to an absolute scale would feel a deep and abiding sense of shame at handing out the exact same percentage of grades year after year. Unfortunately, I think none of them, even the self-styled radicals, will do anything about it. 


Being smart and successful in law is possible only for those armed with the "kill or be killed" mentality. Competition is inevitable, but in a cutthroat world that rewards street smarts and cunning along with good connections and unlimited funds conquering enemies is the necessary ingredient for true success. You want to know "everything-you-wanted-to-learn-in-law-school-but-didn't"? If you want to be a rule maker, then you must know the rules, which include be bold, don't sleep and be prepared to settle. It's not always pretty and it's certainly never fair, but the sooner one accepts the reality of this cold, hard business world, the sooner the competition will seem less threatening if not entirely inconsequential. Nice guys rarely finish first. Men and women who go to law school to learn how the system works so they can make the world a better place are fooling themselves and are likely not headed for super-success. Understanding how people, companies and laws really work the "sophistication in litigation" is what separates the winners from the losers.

The belief that violence is a reasonable and often necessary route to achieving our aims goes unquestioned in most societies. Violence is thought to be the nature of things. It's what works. It seems inevitable -- the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today.

Walter Wink, a professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in N.Y.C., in an article first published by Bible Society's Spring 1999 issue of The Bible in TransMission, further expalains that our very origin is violence. Killing is in our genes. Humanity is not the originator of evil, but merely finds evil already present and perpetuates it. Human beings are thus naturally incapable of peaceful coexistence. Order must continually be imposed upon us from on high: men over women, masters over slaves, priests over laity, aristocrats over peasants, rulers over people. Unquestioning obedience is the highest virtue, and order the highest religious value.

In short, the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the ideology of conquest. Ours is neither a perfect nor perfectible world, but a theater of perpetual conflict in which the prize goes to the strong. Peace through war, security through strength: these are the core convictions that arise from this ancient historical religion. The Babylonian myth is as universally present today as at any time in its long and bloody history. It is the dominant myth in contemporary America.

conjugate

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #101 on: May 29, 2006, 10:36:10 PM »
Well, I read this thread very attentively and I just don't get why all the "surprise" by the whole law school experience ... I mean, law school is  not  a mere continuation of one's undergraduate (or even graduate) studies -- I think it more akin to "boot camp" where, in addition to certain substantive subjects and professional skills, one becomes "re-socialized," learns to "think like a lawyer," learns to cope with stress and many other things collateral to learning law, but not collateral to "lawyering." Like boot camp (or virginity's loss!), when you enter law school, your life turns a corner past which it can never again pass. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret the trip ... but it brings a permanent change. So, those of you who still have the chance, enjoy the virginity -- law school will bring a permanent change!

It is always fascinating for the outsider to read of the preparation of innocent young men and women to participate in routinized institutionalized violence, which is -- after all -- the essence of law school training. The system requires, first, the dehumanization of the self; then, by natural extension, the dehumanization of everyone else. This is the key to survival in a world where lives must be disposed of as cheaply and quickly as possible.


Perhaps the proper function of a legal education is to produce persons who "think like lawyers": individuals, that is, who are trained to hold various unambivalent yet rationally unjustified beliefs, necessary for the vigorous deployment of social power, that nevertheless remain highly role specific, and are therefore subject to change at a moment's -- or a client's -- notice. Such beliefs help mold otherwise ordinary people into the sorts of state actors who will not hesitate to kill, cage, and impoverish their fellow citizens on what are deemed institutionally appropriate occasions, in much the same way that successful military training renders otherwise pacific young men capable of committing acts of politically sanctioned homicide.


It was Freud who first described the marriage between sensuality and organized violence -- e.g., the law school thinking way. "Libido" refers not only to the sexual drive, but to all aggressive acts. In his dual instinct theory, Freud stated that libido and aggression come under broader biological principles Eros (love) and Thanatos (death and self-destruction). More recent psychological theorists suggest that war -- including a nation's insatiable hunger for military power and the passion for armaments -- arises from a deep-seated fear of death, a fear that is, naturally, basic to the human condition. This death fear creates the paradoxical situation where institutionalized murder (war, capital punishment, "right to bear arms," mob violence, legitimized military statism) grows out of something known as "radical pain."

According to this theory, there are three types of pain:

- Physical pain (old age, sickness, and dying);
- Emotional pain (being away from a loved one, being forced to be with people one hates); and
- Radical pain (knowledge -- or fear of knowledge -- of the intransigence of life, and one's own inevitable move towards chaos and entropy).

In other words, the lunacy of a Hitler or a Pol Pot (or even America's own militarists) grows out of an unacknowledged and unrecognized terror of the inevitable, the most inevitable fact of life. Namely, death.
A woman picking up firewood saw a poisonous snake frozen in the snow. She took the snake home and nursed it back to health. One day the snake bit her on the cheek. As she lay dying, she asked the snake, "Why have you done this to me?" And the snake answered, "Look, female dog, you knew I was a snake."

pleaselogin

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #102 on: May 29, 2006, 10:47:24 PM »
Well, I read this thread very attentively and I just don't get why all the "surprise" by the whole law school experience ... I mean, law school is  not  a mere continuation of one's undergraduate (or even graduate) studies -- I think it more akin to "boot camp" where, in addition to certain substantive subjects and professional skills, one becomes "re-socialized," learns to "think like a lawyer," learns to cope with stress and many other things collateral to learning law, but not collateral to "lawyering." Like boot camp (or virginity's loss!), when you enter law school, your life turns a corner past which it can never again pass. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret the trip ... but it brings a permanent change. So, those of you who still have the chance, enjoy the virginity -- law school will bring a permanent change!

It is always fascinating for the outsider to read of the preparation of innocent young men and women to participate in routinized institutionalized violence, which is -- after all -- the essence of law school training. The system requires, first, the dehumanization of the self; then, by natural extension, the dehumanization of everyone else. This is the key to survival in a world where lives must be disposed of as cheaply and quickly as possible.


Perhaps the proper function of a legal education is to produce persons who "think like lawyers": individuals, that is, who are trained to hold various unambivalent yet rationally unjustified beliefs, necessary for the vigorous deployment of social power, that nevertheless remain highly role specific, and are therefore subject to change at a moment's -- or a client's -- notice. Such beliefs help mold otherwise ordinary people into the sorts of state actors who will not hesitate to kill, cage, and impoverish their fellow citizens on what are deemed institutionally appropriate occasions, in much the same way that successful military training renders otherwise pacific young men capable of committing acts of politically sanctioned homicide.


It was Freud who first described the marriage between sensuality and organized violence -- e.g., the law school thinking way. "Libido" refers not only to the sexual drive, but to all aggressive acts. In his dual instinct theory, Freud stated that libido and aggression come under broader biological principles Eros (love) and Thanatos (death and self-destruction). More recent psychological theorists suggest that war -- including a nation's insatiable hunger for military power and the passion for armaments -- arises from a deep-seated fear of death, a fear that is, naturally, basic to the human condition. This death fear creates the paradoxical situation where institutionalized murder (war, capital punishment, "right to bear arms," mob violence, legitimized military statism) grows out of something known as "radical pain."

According to this theory, there are three types of pain:

- Physical pain (old age, sickness, and dying);
- Emotional pain (being away from a loved one, being forced to be with people one hates); and
- Radical pain (knowledge -- or fear of knowledge -- of the intransigence of life, and one's own inevitable move towards chaos and entropy).

In other words, the lunacy of a Hitler or a Pol Pot (or even America's own militarists) grows out of an unacknowledged and unrecognized terror of the inevitable, the most inevitable fact of life. Namely, death.

We don't want to admit that we do not stand alone, that we always rely on something that transcends us, some system of ideas and powers in which we are embedded and which supports us. Man can strut and boast all he wants, but he really draws his "courage to be" from a god, a string of sexual conquests, a Big Brother, a flag, the proletariat and the fetish of money, and the size of his bank balance. The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation, but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.

Evil arises from a good impulse, the desire to escape the anxiety related to death and finitude. The attempt to escape is inevitable given our capacity for imaginatively entertaining infinity and eternity. The attempt to escape, since it is impossible, involves us in all kinds of neurotic manipulations which falsify reality. It is the fear of death which underlies all evil, the harm that we do to each other, and the destructive, manipulative, suffocating and oppressing institutions we create.  

Why do the cultural solutions to the dilemma of death seem to have led to such blood-shed and viciousness as human sacrifice, torture, executions, and wars? Why didn't this impulse lead instead to harmony and peace? The destructiveness arises, Ernest Becker taught, from the need to experience prestige and power on the one hand, and the need, on the other, for expiation of guilt.  

The need for power and prestige is obvious. The role of expiation for guilt requires some explanation. This is not the ordinary guilt we feel when we betray a friend. This is a more cosmic guilt, the kind arising from what the Greeks called hubris. It is the guilt which comes from trying to stick out above humanity's station, of challenging, by implication, the glory of the gods. It is the guilt arising from trying to exist and live heroically. Such guilt is the corollary of the cultural constructions which are designed to gather to themselves eternal and infinite meaning and power. The two go together like the two sides of a coin. The expiation of this kind of guilt in history seems to have almost always involved the shedding of blood, especially that of the enemy in war.  

Expiation of guilt is one reason why the victim must die in our place. There is another and perhaps more important reason. Victims must die in order to certify that the immortality system is intact and potent, because if our national or religious immortality chariot isn't absolutely intact, then it might not carry us to glory. The heretic who questions the true faith and/or the faithful of a neighboring country with a different system must die to assure us that our way is truth, absolute truth, the real and powerful and saving truth which cradles and shelters us from the Void.

pleaselogin

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #103 on: May 29, 2006, 10:47:38 PM »
The frenzy of destruction and the rejoicing in blood and ritualized murder arise from the fact that few can admit that none of our immortality systems or our glory fixes works at all. They are elaborate deceptions, illusions, rituals with no power to save.  No matter how much wealth the rich person accumulates, or how great the power wielded by the king, everyone knows that the relatives will be fighting over the spoils before the body gets cold. Everyone knows that no Reich lasts a thousand years and no family line is assured of perpetuation. Furthermore, insofar as I derive my glory from merging myself with another person or system, to that degree I am less than whole. Borrowed glory is not my glory.

But these are the only buffers people have to shield themselves from the terrible dark and cold of the Void. The frenzy arises from the constant undercurrent of realization that the immortality strategies are illusion. The fact that they cannot save must be denied, hidden, repressed. Rather than to doubt the meaning-conferring system, the group simply presses all the more hysterically the "just war" against internal and external heresy.  Far from being sorrowful, says Becker, these ritual murders become ecstatic rituals of expiation of guilt and celebration of our righteousness. 

The institutions and rituals of society parallel the situation of the inner psyche. The greater the threat to the walls of the self or the system the more frenzied and irrational becomes the effort to shore them up and make them impregnable. Deviants, Becker says, are "dying in our place." They are at once scapegoats freeing us of our cosmic guilt for a passing moment at least, and at the same time the certification of the adequacy of our immortality systems and glory fixes, again for the moment. As the victims die, we find our lives perpetuated and enhanced by their death. The blazing bodies of heretics casts light, if briefly, against the inexorable darkness of infinity. But as with all narcotic fixes, the effects do not last. 

The most vivid modern illustration is the Nazi Third Reich, with its elaborate funerals for dead heroes of the Fatherland, its genocide against the scapegoat Jews and others, and finally its suicidal, fanatic war against everyone outside the citadel of Aryan glory. Hitler was not a throw-back to some ancient animosity. Quite the opposite. He was the madness and futility and frenzy of all our immortality/glory systems taken to their fulfillment and backed by modern technology. The machinations of the political far right and the fundamentalist Christians in the United States are a less violent example of this kind of drive to control. Something more like Whittlers is mirrored in the genocide wars and executions by the Shiite fundamentalists in Iran.

Matthew Fox writes eloquently of the linkage among fundamentalism, fascism, sado-masochism and patriarchal authoritarianism: 

Quote
An almost fashionable fascism arises wherever religion or society repress the mother principle in the name of patriarchy. Power struggles, not mutual love, support and solidarity, characterize such systems. This same kind of competition can be observed in fundamentalist church structures. The authoritarian character who thrives in such a system "is essentially sado-masochistic," according to psychiatrist Anthony Stevens, and is compelled to categorize others as either strong or weak. He worships the former and has contempt for the latter. ... Every sadist has a masochistic side: the bullying adult is trying to free himself from having been bullied as a child. Such a peson deeply enjoys submission to a leader, God, or fate.

And he goes on to write: 

Quote
In a fascist society or religions two areas of the self are aborted or forbidden to develop naturally: sexuality and aggression. Persons are not educated to be true selves but to wear false personas modeled (on the demands of the parents.) ... The child thus instructed often channels these powers of sexuality and aggression into self-loathing and self-contempt. I call this the original sin mentality -- the notion that I came into the world despised, unwanted, ugly and powerless. It may be idsplaced onto a scapegoat, for example, racial minorities, women or homosexuals. It can be transformed into worship of the oppressor who is "always right." Finally, it can be eroticized in sado-masochistic fantasies and practices. This kind of energy pervades patriarchal institutions including the church.

Fox helps us understand more clearly the links among different aspects of evil which continually confuse us. It shows us how self-hate becomes hatred of others and persecution of them. It shows why the macho man, who denies motherly compassion within, comes to divide the world into two categories: my kind and the kind it's OK to kill. It indicates how sexuality becomes linked with rage in the form of sado-masochism. And it shows how this all arises from the seeking of power of being by avenues other than compassionate agape. 

Those who hurt and kill are most often people who were abused and neglected as children. This abuse results in feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness and extreme rage over past mistreatment. They live within the narrow boundaries of the self-systems which are still battling or cringing before abusive parents. These may be as narrow as stage 1 and 2, where there is only "me and my suffering and rage" rebounding back and forth off the walls. These narrow boundaries are threatened over and over every day by exposure to people who live by more out-going values. To defend those walls requires lashing out again and again against others in rituals of demonic sacrifice which assure the abuser that his walls still hold against the invasion of a compassion which would demand giving up rage and revenge for forgiveness.

Budlaw

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #104 on: May 29, 2006, 10:54:05 PM »
So where are you guys copying all of this bull from anyway? Because you're not actually typing it yourself.

Budlaw

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #105 on: May 29, 2006, 10:56:46 PM »
So where are you guys copying all of this bull from anyway? Because you're not actually typing it yourself.

Oh, here we go: http://www.bridges-across.org/wol/sess6.htm

You guys are pathetic, first you log in with a new screen name, and then you try to pass off someone else's ideas as your own.

Way to go jackass.

germane

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #106 on: May 30, 2006, 12:13:18 AM »
Awesome thread!

c/p

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #107 on: May 30, 2006, 08:55:36 AM »

Fox helps us understand more clearly the links among different aspects of evil which continually confuse us. It shows us how self-hate becomes hatred of others and persecution of them. It shows why the macho man, who denies motherly compassion within, comes to divide the world into two categories: my kind and the kind it's OK to kill. It indicates how sexuality becomes linked with rage in the form of sado-masochism. And it shows how this all arises from the seeking of power of being by avenues other than compassionate agape. 

Those who hurt and kill are most often people who were abused and neglected as children. This abuse results in feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness and extreme rage over past mistreatment. They live within the narrow boundaries of the self-systems which are still battling or cringing before abusive parents. These may be as narrow as stage 1 and 2, where there is only "me and my suffering and rage" rebounding back and forth off the walls. These narrow boundaries are threatened over and over every day by exposure to people who live by more out-going values. To defend those walls requires lashing out again and again against others in rituals of demonic sacrifice which assure the abuser that his walls still hold against the invasion of a compassion which would demand giving up rage and revenge for forgiveness.

A letter to the editor of a small, upstate-New York newspaper, written in 1992 by an American GI after his return from service in the gulf war is disclosed. This person complained that the legacy of the American middle class had been stolen by an indifferent government. The American dream -- he wrote -- has all but disappeared; instead, most people are struggling just to buy next week's groceries. That letter writer was Timothy McVeigh from Lockport, N.Y. 2 years later, he blew up the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in what is now the second-worst act of terrorism ever committed on American soil.

As one issue of The Truth at Last, a white-supremacist magazine, put it: "Immigrants are flooding into our nation willing to work for the minimum wage (or less). Super-rich corporate executives are flying all over the world in search of cheaper and cheaper labor so that they can lay off their American employees. . .Many young White families have no future! They are not going to receive any appreciable wage increases due to job competition from immigrants." hat they want, says one member, is to "take back what is rightfully ours." Their anger often fixes on "others" -- women, members of minority groups, immigrants, gay men, and lesbians -- in part because those are the people with whom they compete for entry-level, minimum-wage jobs. Above them all, enjoying the view, hovers the international Jewish conspiracy.

A RHETORIC OF MASCULINITY is what holds together these racist/sexist/homophobic "paranoid politics". In their quest for power these men consider themselves to be emasculated by big money and big government -- they call the government "the Nanny State" -- and they claim that "others" have been handed the birthright of native-born white men. In the eyes of such downwardly mobile white men, most white American males collude in their own emasculation. They've grown soft, feminized, weak. White supremacists' websites abound with complaints about the "whimpering collapse of the blond male"; the "legions of sissies and weaklings, of flabby, limp-wristed, nonaggressive, non-physical, indecisive, slack-jawed, fearful males who, while still heterosexual in theory and practice, have not even a vestige of the old macho spirit."

White supremacists thus offer men the restoration of their masculinity -- a manhood in which individual white men control the fruits of their own labor and are not subject to emasculation by finance capital or a black-and feminist-controlled welfare state. Theirs is the militarized manhood of the heroic John Rambo, a manhood that celebrates their God-sanctioned right to band together in armed militias if anyone, or any government agency, tries to take it away from them. If the state and the economy emasculate them, and if the masculinity of the "others" is problematic, then only "real" white men can rescue America from a feminized, multicultural, androgynous melting pot.

Already sounded familiar? Central to this political ideology is the recovery of manhood from the emasculating politics of globalization.

Remasculinizing men and refeminizing women.

For instance, many of Hitler's policies -- such as the killing of longtime colleague and avowed homosexual Ernst Rohm, or even the systematic persecution and execution of gay men in concentration camps -- were, in fact, prompted by a desire to conceal his own homosexuality. But what do such accusations actually explain? Do revelations about Hitler's possible gay propensities raise troubling connections between homosexuality and mass murder?

They do address the consequences of homophobia, at least -- both official and informal homophobia -- on young men who are exploring their sexual identities. What's relevant is not the possible fact of Hitler's gayness, but the shame and fear that surround homosexuality in societies that refuse to acknowledge sexual diversity. What is interesting about Hitler is not their repressed sexual orientation but gender -- their masculinity, their sense of masculine entitlement, and their thwarted ambitions. They accepted cultural definitions of masculinity, and needed someone to blame when they felt that they failed to measure up. (After all, being called a mama's boy, and told to toughen up are demands for gender conformity, not matters of sexual desire.)

c/p

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #108 on: May 30, 2006, 08:56:30 AM »
Gender is the issue, not sexuality.

The terrors of emasculation experienced by lower-middle-class men all over the world will no doubt continue, as they struggle to make a place for themselves in shrinking economies and inevitably shifting cultures. They may continue to feel a seething resentment against women, whom they perceive as stealing their rightful place at the head of the table, and against the governments that displace them (until they find themselves in the government at least...) Globalization feels to them like a game of musical chairs, in which, when the music stops, all the seats are handed to others by nursemaid governments.

Massive male displacement that accompanies globalization, the spread of American consumerism, and the corruption of local political elites -- fused with a masculine sense of entitlement.

Killers dont just get mad. They get even.Such themes are refound on the disparate bands of young, white supremacists. American Aryans admired the terrorists' courage and chastised their own compatriots. "It's a disgrace that in a population of at least 150 million White/Aryan Americans, we provide so few that are willing to do the same [as the terrorists]," bemoaned Rocky Suhayda, the chairman of the American Nazi Party. "A bunch of towel head/sand niggers put our great White Movement to shame."
It is from such gendered shame that mass murderers are made.

In the last 20 years, the existence of an interesting group of socially created homosexual "monsters" became better known to the average person, although many gay people were always aware of these individuals.

"Malignant bisexuals."

These males seek great power and status in society and understood that hating and punishing homosexuals was always perceived to be a reflection of the "highest morality." Therefore, one of the best "closet" situation available included their participation in the destruction of their own kind; it is now strongly suspected that Senator Joseph McCarthy who headed the American homosexual witch-hunts in the early 1950s was also homosexual. His prosecuting attorney, Roy Cohn, was definitely gay.

At the time few people knew that the hunters of "dangerous", "evil," and "morally weak" homosexuals were themselves homosexual. If, however, anyone fitted negative homosexual stereotypes, it was these self-hating homo-hunters considered to be "morally righteous" because they were reflecting our society's traditional morality; this was the type of morality also used to make the desired destruction of all Native cultures appear to be righteous. We hated homosexuals and behaved accordingly, and Roy Cohn continued his abuses of homosexual people up to his death from AIDS in 1986. He had become very powerful, was very promiscuous, needed to have sex with a male at least once a day, and he could afford to have four or five young male prostitutes on his payroll so that his sexual needs would be met. He was strongly opposed to equal rights for gays, and was totally against the idea of having openly gay teachers in public schools.

Our homohatred also causes other problems such as creating countless males - "monsters" - who are in a psychological closet, have sex with males, and always deny they are in any way homosexual or bisexual. This is done to avoid the total destruction of their self-esteem intimately related to socially learned perceptions. Ultra-macho males in prisons accomplish this by having a belief system causing them to degrade other males to a subhuman level. In accordance to men's traditional view of women, the inferior sex slave status of the males they rape, use, and abuse is deemed to be "the female status." Once males have been magically turned into women, dominant males then consider their homo-sexual activities with these women (also equates to gay-identified males) to then be "normal" and "heterosexual."

There are, however, other ways that similar types of defenses against the homosexual self-label can be articulated. These males to be "homophobic, gay-bashing hoodlums who. . .pick up or are picked up by a gay male, have sex with him, and they exorcize their own homosexual guilt by assaulting and maybe killing him." The "exorcist syndrome" which is a version of the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" nature manifested by people like Cardinal Spellman and Roy Cohn. The phenomena is also similar to a "split personality" situation. One of the personalities is "the grand inquisitor," as McCarthy and Cohn had become in a spectacular way, and it needs to punish the homosexual part of their 'personality'. This internal war is also projected outward causing these (pathological?) socially created monsters to harm other gay males by ruining their careers or, as other males will do, punishing them may include physical assaults and even murder.

A fascinating aspect of the war waged against gays in our society is the observation that it is often (always?) being waged by repressed homosexuals who may not be homosexually active, or repressed closeted homosexuals who are having sex with males and hate themselves. The targets may be other closeted homosexuals, but the victims are more often visible "out of the closet" gay males. These wars, however, would not exist if our society would stop its highly effective teaching of anti-homosexual attitudes and homohatred which produces many "closets" and all the horrors being described. When we teach hatred, we can expect to reap hatred, and its dividend: SOCIAL VIOLENCE.

Hitler always used established perceptions of morality to sell the proposed abuses of people, and a similar situation existed with respect to black slavery. White supremacists had rationalized the idea that they were doing Black people a favor by having them as slaves! Our abuses of Native people was also based on immorality. The objective was to make them into people just like us because we believed they were seriously lacking.

At least Hitler was sane and knew that trying to make Jewish people into Nazis was impossible.

We were nonetheless claiming to be moral just like all people today who hate gay people and teach such hatred also believe, often in association with the claim to being the most moral in society.

Scratch the surface of the self-righteous and find the devil.

tania

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« Reply #109 on: May 30, 2006, 07:05:53 PM »

Fox helps us understand more clearly the links among different aspects of evil which continually confuse us. It shows us how self-hate becomes hatred of others and persecution of them. It shows why the macho man, who denies motherly compassion within, comes to divide the world into two categories: my kind and the kind it's OK to kill. It indicates how sexuality becomes linked with rage in the form of sado-masochism. And it shows how this all arises from the seeking of power of being by avenues other than compassionate agape.


Fear of Freedom: Submission and Conformity

German-born social psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Fromm reported a phenomenon he called "fear of freedom" over 60 years ago. When Fromm published his theory (Escape from Freedom, 1941), he was living and writing in the United States, where European fascism was a predominant thought on the minds of many. Those who fought for freedom in World War I were undoubtedly frustrated by what seemed to be a European readiness to succumb to authoritarian regimes.

In analyzing socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems of Europe during the emergence of fascism, Fromm came to the conclusion that individuals, and therefore societies, have an innate tendency to revert to systems of political and cultural restraint rather than to take advantage of opportunities for freedom or emancipation and that they may actually seek out governments to control them rather than face the prospect of individual freedom. Fromm's explanation for this type of reversion was seen in the following assertion:

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If the economic, social, and political conditions on which the whole process of human individuation depends, do not offer a basis for the realization of individuality ... [and] people have lost those ties which gave them security, this lag makes freedom an unbearable burden. It then becomes identical with doubt, with a kind of life that lacks meaning and direction. Powerful tendencies arise to escape from this kind of freedom into submission or some kind of relationship to man and the world which promises relief from uncertainty, even if it deprives the individual of his freedom.

The basis of Fromm's theory was his belief that societies, like individuals, progress through a series of feelings of security and insecurity during the process of growing. He likened an individual's dependence upon the society to which he or she was born to that of a child's dependence upon its mother. These dependencies are gradually lost, or "the primary ties are cut" as independence and freedom is sought. However, even as the desire for freedom encourages this separation, feelings of alienation, weakness, and insecurity are growing simultaneously. It is at this point, Fromm believed, that the individual forms a fear of the freedom that is so desired. During the process of growing and establishing freedom from the ties of initial dependence, attempts are made "to overcome the feelings of aloneness and powerlessness by completely submerging oneself in the world outside." If, however, the individual encounters suppression or oppression, the effective result is submission and fear of the process of achieving individuality and freedom.

Expanding on this assertion, Fromm maintained that the extent to which an individual develops (or individuation occurs) is largely dependent on the type of economic and social structure to which the individual was born. Behavior consistent with self-preservation within an individual's economic system or society explains the determination of an individual's character structure, which, in turn, substantiates and magnifies the character structure of the society, according to Fromm. In this circuitous manner, an explanation was proposed for societies with a seemingly predisposed willingness to submit to forms of authoritarian rule as opposed to those societies with a much more substantial resistance.

Fromm stressed the need for an individual to be a part of a larger whole as a factor in the formation of societal character. This need, according to Fromm, is a form of mental self-preservation, similar to the basic need for sustenance. "Even being related to the basest kind of pattern is immensely preferable to being alone." Thus, as people gain a measured sense of individualism and freedom, they are pushed by an uncontrollable drive to join with others, thereby obtaining security in society, even at the expense of individual freedom. This was, according to Fromm, "the negative side of freedom" (or "negative freedom"). Included in the concept of negative freedom was the societal constraint of conformity. Conformity encompasses all of the conscious and self-conscious actions and feelings experienced in the spirit of social assimilation. The fear of being unique, of thinking or acting differently, of standing out in a crowd, can be a debilitating fear especially when "standing out" might mean torture or death of self or loved-ones.

For conformity and submission to exist within a society, there must be a corresponding need to find security in authority and power. For example, authority and power might be determined by ownership of land and wealth or by the accumulation of business or political strength. Those without land gain security by belonging to groups, organizations, or cultures, and may obtain a feeling of power by discriminating or oppressing other groups, organizations, or cultures. Those with land act in a manner that displays superiority to those without, but may feel inferior in regard to those with monetary wealth. The cash-rich may, in turn, feel inferior when compared to a high-level business executive, who may feel less than adequate when confronted with political power. The feeling of superiority over other persons or groups becomes the ultimate objective in the search for the security that is found in power. Limitations on power are dependent on societal character structure, which is (as previously noted) determined by behavior consistent with self-preservation within the socio-economic system.

Fromm believed that people live in bipolar societies. His characterizations of the individuals within a society might be anthropomorphically ascribed to sheep and wolves, with the wolves lined up on a spectrum of power lust or madness, from a category of good to bad. Sheep could be classified in categories from acquiescent to willing. All (sheep and wolves), according to Fromm's theory, are motivated by feelings of insecurity, alienation, powerlessness, isolation, and fear. Fromm's contention was that:

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In any society the spirit of the whole culture is determined by the spirit of those groups that are most powerful in that society . . . partly because these groups have the power to control the educational system, schools, church, press, theater, and thereby to imbue the whole population with their own ideas; furthermore, these powerful groups carry so much prestige that the lower classes are more than ready to accept and imitate their values and to identify themselves psychologically.

Fromm pictured the masses (the sheep) as being overwhelmed by powerful propaganda (initiated by the wolves), which serves to increase the feeling of insignificance and powerlessness, and increase their willingness to submit. In discussing what he considered to be an "escape" into submission to an authoritarian type of leadership, Fromm described the individual as exhibiting masochistic tendencies an unconscious need to act in a manner that invites external control. He depicted the sadistic tendencies of an authoritarian leader as stemming from the same escapist feelings. He postulated that the sadistic leader was attempting to gain strength and identity by creating an image of being bound to a greater whole, such as that of the state. Contrary to popular belief, the sadist and the masochist, according to Fromm, have the same character structure. Both exist in a symbiotic relationship that guarantees escape from freedom because freedom elicits feelings of alienation and powerlessness.
I shall remain an impossible person so long as those who are now possible remain possible.