Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Thought Provoking Psychoanalysis of the 'Obama Phenomenon'

Via Armed and Dangerous (HT: Instapundit):
...Note: I am absolutely not accusing Barack Obama of being a fascist or of having the goals of a fascist demagogue. I am saying that the psychological dynamic between him and his fans resembles the way fascist leaders and their people relate. The famous tingle that ran up Chris Matthew’s leg[,] the swooning chanting crowds, the speeches full of grand we-can-do-it rhetoric, the vagueness about policy in favor of reinforcing that intoxicating sense of emotional identification…how can anyone fail to notice where this points?

There are hints of grandiosity and arrogance in Obama’s behavior now. As the bond between him and his followers become more intense, though, it is quite possible they will not remain mere traces. I’m not panicked yet, because Obama is still a long way off from behaving like a megalomaniacal nut-job. But if the lives of people like Napoleon, Mussolini, or Hitler show us anything it’s that the road from Obama’s flavor of charismatic leader to tyrant is open, and dangerously seductive to the leader himself.

There is one more historical detail that worries me, in this connection. There is a pattern in the lives of the really dangerous charismatic tyrants that they tend to have originated on the geographical and cultural fringes of the societies they came to dominate, outsiders seeking ultimate insiderhood by remaking the “inside” in their own image. Hitler, the border Austrian who ruled Germany; Napoleon, the Corsican who seized France; and Stalin, the Georgian who tyrannized Sovet Russia. And, could it be…Obama, the half-black kid from Hawaii?

Again, I am not accusing Barack Obama of being a monster. But when I watch videos of his campaign, I see a potential monster in embryo. Most especially do I see that potential monster in the shining faces of his supporters, who may yet seduce Obama into believing that he is as special and godlike as they think he is.

That, if it ever happens, will be the moment at which Barack Obama becomes truly dangerous.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon the same kind of ruminations yesterday, and I am glad to see that I am not the only one who thought of this. In my case, I began by pondering the meaning of Obama's use of an "O" as a personal symbol. I have a degree in political science and I have always looked at politics from an analytical view, even though politics in practice is largely based on emotion. I tried to think of other politicians who who adopted symbols in the same fashion. The only example I could think of was the Nazi swastika, which was also a kind of vaguely meaningful symbol which appears to refer to something but is nothing more than a distraction from what the user is really doing. Knowing that Hitler was democratically elected by the populace of one of the most educated, advanced countries in the world, I have always wondered whether such a thing could occur in the U.S. In thinking about Hitler, Napoleon and Stain, I recognized that, even though Obama is not likely to turn into a violent despot, there are similarities to his origins in a broken family of mixed heritage on the outskirts of the culture, a dead or distant father, his attraction to various social movements while never totally committing to one, his use of religion solely as a means to achieve power, his malleable adoption and rejection of doctrines and causes, a self-perception that he is at the center of history and an ambition that drives him to constantly seek positions of greater power, and all of it propelled by intelligence, a dynamic personality and a nation in crisis desperate for a new leader. I am still ruminating on this train of thought. The one major difference here is Obama's lack of any military experience, which was a primary element in the backgrounds of the others. Perhaps the analogy can only go so far. Maybe it will get him elected, but we will see what he does then. Obama's mystique, like the others, is based largely on his meteoric rise. What would happen to his ambition once he achieves the highest office at a young age? The others all turned into war-mongering maniacs intent on building an empire.

October 9, 2008 at 4:35 PM  

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