January 18, 2014
The Three Christs of Obamanism
By James Lewis
I start with an apology to faithful Christians who believe in one Christ the Savior. This column is not about religion, but about a classical psychological study of three mental patients in Ypsilanti, Michigan, each of whom believed he was the true Christ. The study appeared in 1964, called The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.
Milton Rokeach, who conducted the study, was one of the most brilliant social psychologists of the 20th century, focusing on the crucial question: why are human beings so prone to delusional beliefs? Why do we gamble everything we love on plain falsehoods?
World War II was provoked, after all, by leaders of major countries who were profoundly delusional, hateful, and murderous -- in Japan, the USSR, Germany, and Italy. Stalin was diagnosed as a paranoid by a famous Soviet psychiatrist who knew him well, V.M. Bekhterev. Bekhterev was promptly executed for his diagnosis.
The question of delusions in political leaders is just as critical today, aggravated by the easy availability of crack cocaine, amphetamines, and hallucinogens, which promote paranoid thinking. Sports athletes are constantly tested for doping, but politicians are not.
Normal people cope well enough with reality, but humanity as a whole is plagued by false prophets. As far back as the Epic of Gilgamesh, legends and scriptures have warned about such seductive but malignant characters. They appear in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and China.
False prophets are typically megalomaniacs, but they are also charismatic, so they can persuade others to validate their deadly fantasies. Jim Jones was one. We have seen others.
False prophets often bring mass tragedy in their wake. Or, to put it differently, there is hardly a mass genocidal movement in history that has not followed some delusional prophet.
Rokeach wrote his classic work half a century ago, but humans haven't changed. The question he asked was, What happens if you put three delusional men, each of whom believes he is the true Christ, into a room together? Psychologists might call that unethical today, but there were no anti-psychotic drugs in the 1950s, and there was no known cure for paranoid patients. (There still isn't.)
What if three messianic personalities were put in the same room? Rokeach discovered a few truths we still see today.
1. First, paranoid delusions are extremely stable. They cover delusions of grandeur and persecution, and of "delusions of reference" -- "Some very important people are watching me." Such delusions make the patient feel unimaginably important. Paranoids may lead drab lives of little meaning, but inside they feel cosmic, messianic, like the saviors of the world. Their resistance to change makes them the least promising, as well as the most dangerous candidates for psychotherapy. Paranoids can become violent if they feel challenged. They are extremely touchy.
2. When faced with each other, each patient in Ypsilanti denounced the others as frauds.
3. After they got to know each other, each man came to believe that the other two were paranoid patients in a mental hospital. That means they were able to see reality about others -- but not about themselves.
4. None of them changed their personal megalomania.
True paranoids are extreme, but normal people can also fall for self-glorifying delusions. History is full of delusional cults that recruit normal people, who become convinced the delusions of their leaders are real. More than 900 people drank the Kool-Aid, and died, to support Jim Jones's paranoid beliefs. They were reasonably normal people who fell under his spell.
The mass killers who murder schoolchildren to get national attention are typically male paranoids in late adolescence -- isolated, enraged, frustrated, and hypersensitive to feelings of shame, inferiority, and sexual humiliation. They are often so stereotypical that they can be identified with a simple checklist. (Every high school teacher should know that checklist.)
Which brings us to Obamanism and its three messianic personalities. First of all I mean the One Himself, who has come to save America from its many sins, to the noisy applause of the radical left. Obama is a grandiose narcissist with a nasty streak, but he also loves the adoration he constantly receives from his cult followers. He is certainly following a messianic political path -- a terrible reflection on the common sense of the American people today. The United States used to be pretty well immune to politicians with swollen heads, but this time we've totally lost our traditional caution.
Then there's John Kerry. Last week the foreign minister of Israel violated the niceties of diplomatic protocol by calling Kerry "messianic" and "dangerous."
I have no idea of John Kerry's personality, but there is at least one small fact that fits, from his Swiftboating days in Vietnam, when Kerry had himself filmed with a home movie camera, assaulting the rice paddies in Nam while manfully brandishing an AR-15. Those home movies were presumably meant to make him famous back in Boston to launch his political career.
In the event, Kerry made his name in the Democratic Party by smearing his Swiftboat buddies in Nam. That's how he rose to fame and political power. That fact may tell us something about Kerry's character: he might be an egomaniac, but in the end he will play for political power. So will Obama.
In Geneva the United States openly betrayed our most important allies in the Middle East: Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia -- against their greatest enemy, Iran -- just as Kerry betrayed the U.S. armed forces in Vietnam by testifying about war crimes he could not possibly have witnessed. That betrayal, it turned out, is what actually launched his political career.
I don't doubt that Kerry would pull the same stunt today for the sake of personal glory, and to boost his run for president against Hillary.
Thus, the United States today is stuck with not just one, but two Big Democrats with grotesque egos and ambitions.
Obama is widely believed to be running for Sec. General of the U.N., to play out his globalist fantasies. John Kerry wants to be president. If our purblind media declare the Geneva surrender to be a great victory for peace, both Obama and Kerry will both launch their next steps to power.
The third paranoid patient in that room in Geneva would be Ayatollah Rouhani, the current president of Iran, who represents the medieval absolutist cult of the Khomeinist regime. If you doubt whether the mullah regime is delusional today, just read the news about Iran. The mullahs are a true messianic cult, expecting the coming of the Hidden Mahdi, who is supposed to arrive soon after that thermonuclear Armageddon they are always hinting at.
The difference among our three messianic characters is that the mullah cult is willing to die for its cause, while Obama and Kerry put their personal ambitions first.
So what happens when you put three overweening egos in the same room, all with messianic ambitions?
After Obama's Geneva agreement, we know the answer: the Shi'ite fanatic wins, hands down. Such people are willing to die for their cause. Obama and Kerry are not.
Or, as Mullah Rouhani just boasted on twitter: "In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation's will."
Which happens to be one hundred percent correct.