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It has become increasingly clear that the left’s ever-more-bizarre agenda for America – from passing laws prescribing imprisonment for those who fail to use the correct transgender pronoun (out of over 50 new genders!), to importing into the U.S. as many migrants as possible from impossible-to-vet, terrorist-hotbed regions of the world, to demonizing centuries of American history and destroying statues of the nation’s founders – is simply insane. Not “progressive,” not “radical.” Insane.

How and why, then, is the left able to “sell” this suicidal agenda to millions of otherwise rational people? By what magic do they convince decent, law-abiding Americans to allow men to use women’s restrooms and changing rooms and showers? To support abortion up to the very moment of birth, which is in every way identical to the heinous crime of infanticide? To believe that all white people, just because of their skin color, are automatically racists?

The answer is simple. They manipulate other people’s emotions, and thereby their thinking. And one of their most effective tactics is the guilt trip – essentially an emotional manipulation in which one party tries to induce guilt feelings in a target person or group for the purpose of controlling their behavior.

Of course, in this fallen world, people manipulate the thoughts and feelings of others all the time for the sake of power and advantage. But what happens when an entire political movement/ideology adopts these tactics wholesale?

Today’s left, which increasingly dominates the Democratic Party, attacks, demeans, demonizes and shames all those with whom it disagrees every day from morning until night – branding them as bigots, racists, misogynists, fascists, deplorables, homophobes, xenophobes, Islamaphobes and so on … in a word, haters.

On one level, the process resembles simple intimidation and compliance: If you oppose the radical, unconstitutional, far-left policies implemented by former President Barack Obama, you’re a racist. If you disagree with unfettered abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy, you want to oppress women. If you are troubled by illegal immigration’s negative impact on America’s economy, culture and security, you’re anti-immigrant. If you oppose same-sex marriage or recruiting open transgenders into America’s armed forces (obligating taxpayers to shell out millions to pay for “gender reassignment surgery”), you’re a hateful bigot.

Such is the warp and weft of current American politics – all day, every day, to the point that America has grown used to it. The left advances a shockingly destructive agenda; the right complains; the left accuses the right of being fascists and Nazis … and the right shuts up.

Hate-Wiki-Commons

But there’s more to it. Much more.

The left specializes in literally playing on – one could say preying upon – the good conscience of Americans.

Conscience – a human being’s inborn moral compass – is arguably his most important faculty. And how do people know when they’ve violated their conscience and done the wrong thing? Guilt – the unique human sense of inner conflict experienced after one deviates from the dictates of conscience.

Alas, many people have discovered how to manipulate others’ emotions, including guilt. People can also be tricked into feeling guilty even when they haven’t actually done anything wrong. And of course, one’s guilt over long-past wrongs can be resurrected and weaponized by others.

One manifestation of the left’s guilt-tripping is its almost universal practice of “shaming.” The left shames and demonizes ordinary Americans over issues as fundamental as their having voted for Donald Trump for president. During the election season, Hillary Clinton famously described tens of millions of American citizens who supported Trump as “deplorable” and “irredeemable.”

Get David Kupelian’s culture-war blockbuster “The Marketing of Evil,” its sequel “How Evil Works,” and his latest “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture,” all at the WND Superstore. Autographed, e-book, and audiobook versions also available.

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Racist-Wiki-CommonsOne issue where left-wing guilt-shaming is both reflexive and out of control is the Second Amendment. Every time there’s a mass shooting incident, the left immediately blames gun owners, Congress and the National Rifle Association for the crime victims’ deaths. A classic example of left-wing guilt-shaming can be seen in filmmaker Michael Moore’s anti-gun documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.” Moore takes two high-school students, one of them in a wheelchair and both crippled by school shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold during the Columbine massacre, into a K-Mart store. With cameras rolling, Moore shames the store personnel for having sold the 9-mm ammo used in the shooting spree. While confronting a K-Mart official, Moore refers repeatedly to the “K-Mart bullets” lodged in one boy’s back, and so on. Although K-Mart at that time sold no firearms at all, and only ammunition of common hunting calibers, this exercise in very public shaming was intended to portray K-Mart as complicit in mass murder so as to shame it (and other retailers) into stopping ammunition sales.

But without doubt, the issue most exploited by today’s guilt-trippers is race. In 2017 America, so many innocent Americans have been called “racists” and “white supremacists” that the terms are close to losing their meaning.

Imagine you committed some transgression in the distant past but had long since repented, confessed it, apologized and made amends – and yet your partner nevertheless used that long-past sin as a weapon against you for the rest of your life. That’s what is occurring in the political realm today, except the vast majority of those accused of “systemic racism” – whites – have never actually committed the sin in question. After all, when all of America’s slaves and slaveholders have been dead for well over a century, how could anyone now alive possibly be held responsible?

Easily. For while the U.S. is the world’s least racist nation, the ever-enraged left regards America’s entire history as predatory, racist and even genocidal and has thus marshaled every resource available, from academia to the media, to play upon Americans’ residual national guilt over slavery and segregation. In the process, they have somehow become comfortable with defaming and demonizing millions of thoroughly decent Americans, as Vice President Joe Biden did in 2012 when he told a largely black audience that Republicans “are gonna put y’all back in chains.”

‘We don’t combat shame, we worship it’

The left’s guilt-tripping mania has gotten so bad – with constant attacks on President Trump as “Hitler” and his supporters as “white supremacists,” and violent antifa assaults on the constitutionally protected free-speech rights of others (while calling them “fascists”) – that some progressive activists have had enough and are finally sounding the alarm.

“Progressives must preach understanding, not shame, to be effective,” writes Democratic organizer and activist Andrew Redlawsk in a USA Today op-ed: “To vilify, shame and condemn only causes those who don’t understand to dig in their heels. If we are the ones who want change, the responsibility is ours to do what it takes to encourage it.” He adds, “To summarize: Progressives, stop insulting, stop shaming, and stop condescending. Start listening. Start teaching.”

The left has compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler (Photo: Twitter)

The left has compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler (Photo: Twitter)

Likewise, in a New York Times column headlined “Stop Shaming Trump Supporters,” Michael Lerner, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley, California, editor of Tikkun magazine and chairman of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, condemns the left’s insistence on “blaming white people as a whole for slavery, genocide of the Native Americans and a host of other sins, as though whiteness itself was something about which people ought to be ashamed.”

And Chicago community organizer R.L. Stephens II, an elected representative to the far left Democratic Socialists of America’s National Political Committee, takes on the entire progressive movement in his blog post, “The left’s self-destructive obsession with shame.”

“To my dismay,” he writes, “I’ve found myself in the midst of a social justice world that not only encourages shame, but uses it as a weapon. Shame is so often at the root of personal dysfunction, and here we have a left dedicated to its perpetual transference. Shame is ultimately self-destructive, and in no way can such a sentiment be a foundation for healthy community.
We confuse shaming for justice, and I’ve had enough.”

Indeed, explains Stephens, “in the modern left we don’t combat shame, we worship it. Perhaps the most obvious expression of the Left’s present obsession with shame and shaming can be seen in what has been dubbed ‘call out culture.’ The ‘call out’ is a form of shaming – which intentionally labels an individual as fundamentally bad – and is a deeply toxic tendency in the Left.”

Zeroing in on the left’s mass demonization of the police, Stephens cites an example of shaming-gone-wild:

Shaming is such an integral part of the Left’s DNA that it’s our default response to almost any situation. Take police brutality for example. I’ve been to leftist events where the police have started beating one of us, and the crowd suddenly breaks out their cell phones and starts chanting “Shame, Shame, Shame” or “The Whole World is Watching” – statements designed to trigger shame.

We shame the police officer – making the beating an issue of the cop’s moral character – which relieves us of having to develop political and practical solutions to police brutality. Shaming individuals as a substitute for concerted political effort and substantive analysis cannot yield dynamic movements capable of remedying the material effects of oppression.

‘Those with well-developed consciences tend to feel guilty easily’

Power of the mindIronically, though the left sees itself as morally superior to those it shames, Dr. George Simon, PhD, a psychologist and author of several books on how manipulative people ply their trade, including the bestseller “In Sheep’s Clothing,” says emotional manipulators rely on their victims having a better functioning conscience than the manipulators themselves.

“Shaming and guilt-tripping are without question the favorite tactics disturbed characters use to manipulate people with consciences that are more developed than theirs,” he writes. “Individuals with disordered characters know full well that those with well-developed consciences tend to feel guilty easily if they think they’ve done something wrong. Such individuals also have a big sense of shame when they think they’ve behaved in a manner that reflects negatively on their character.”

Simon, recently retired as a supervising psychologist for the Arkansas Department of Correction, provides some insight into the mentality and modus operandi of the “disturbed characters” who revel in guilt-tripping others:

They are very aware of the kinds of things that most people regard as things to feel guilty or shameful about. The problem is that when they do such things, they feel neither shameful nor guilty. In fact, they persist in their behavior, actively resisting any submission to the standards with which they try to brow-beat others. Traditional perspectives have always tried to explain this by suggesting that the disturbed characters are blinded from insight into their hypocrisy by “denial” and the tendency to “project” (both of which are purported to be unconscious defenses against emotional pain). The reality is that the disordered character is not blind but rather very aware. He also knows full well what behaviors most people regard as wrong and shameful, and he wants others to toe the line. The reason he doesn’t play by the same rules is because if he is a narcissistic character, he feels entitled to do otherwise.

This narcissism and apparent lack of conscience on the part of some political leaders, particularly on the left, often crosses over into actual gaslighting of good Americans – literally, attempting to make sane people think they’re going crazy.

As Simon explains:

Covert-aggressors exploit your good nature. Conscientious people possess good consciences, and are capable of shame and guilt. So, by pressing your guilt button or inviting you to feel ashamed, a skilled manipulator can easily sway you. And they can make you feel crazy for suspecting they’re up to no good. Their justifications sound so reasonable. And the way they cast you as a villain appears in some way valid. That’s how they get the better of you. It’s also the way they make you feel crazy. In your heart, you sense they only mean to get the better of you. But you can’t objectively validate your hunch. And that can make you feel pretty crazy.

Doesn’t this aptly describe today’s political melodrama, in which the always-moralizing, always-shaming left constantly strives to make regular Americans with decent morals and beliefs feel guilty and ashamed for being somehow racist and bigoted and selfish, or at least ignorant and “privileged”?

Get David Kupelian’s culture-war blockbuster “The Marketing of Evil,” its sequel “How Evil Works,” and his latest “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture,” all at the WND Superstore. Autographed, e-book, and audiobook versions also available.

Follow David Kupelian on Facebook.

‘If bigotry is pronounced dead, the racket is over’

As we can see, guilt is a powerful tool in the hands of unscrupulous people. And weaponizing guilt is what the left’s racism juggernaut is all about; it’s what so-called “white privilege” is about; it’s what teaching Americans to hate their own country is about.

Why do they do it? And why do so many otherwise decent people fall for it?

Shelby Steele, the respected black author, columnist and documentary filmmaker, recently wrote an insightful Wall Street Journal column, “Why the left can’t let go of racism,” provocatively subtitled, “Liberals sell innocence from America’s past. If bigotry is pronounced dead, the racket is over.”

“Is America racist?” asks Steele, who specializes in the study of race relations as a Hoover Institution fellow at Stanford University. “It used to be that racism meant the actual enforcement of bigotry – the routine implementation of racial inequality everywhere in public and private life. Racism was a tyranny and an oppression that dehumanized – animalized – the ‘other.’ It was a social malignancy, yet it carried the authority of natural law, as if God himself had dispassionately ordained it.”

Then evoking various “racial incidents” of America’s recent past, from Charlottesville to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others, Steele observes: “At the news conferences surrounding these events there are always the Al Sharpton clones, if not the man himself, ready to spin the tale of black tragedy and white bigotry. Such people – and the American left generally – have a hunger for racism that is almost craven.”

Calling to mind American novelist Walker Percy’s reference to the “sweetness at the horrid core of bad news,” Steele observes: “It’s hard to witness the media’s oddly exhilarated reaction to, say, the death of Trayvon Martin without applying Percy’s insight. A black boy is dead. But not all is lost. It looks like racism.”

Writing that “what makes racism so sweet” is that “it empowers,” Steele believes “redemption – paying off the nation’s sins,” especially slavery, has become “the moral imperative of a new political and cultural liberalism.” He explains:

This liberalism always projects moral idealisms (integration, social justice, diversity, inclusion, etc.) that have the ring of redemption. What is political correctness, if not essentially redemptive speech? Soon liberalism had become a cultural identity that offered Americans a way to think of themselves as decent people. To be liberal was to be good.

Here we see redemptive liberalism’s great ingenuity: It seized proprietorship over innocence itself. It took on the power to grant or deny moral legitimacy across society. Liberals were free of the past while conservatives longed to resurrect it, bigotry and all. What else could “Make America Great Again” mean?

In this way redemptive liberalism reshaped the moral culture of the entire Western world with sweeping idealisms like “diversity,” which are as common today in Europe as in America.

So today there is sweetness at the news of racism because it sets off the hunt for innocence and power. Racism and bigotry generally are the great driving engines of modern American liberalism. Even a remote hint of racism can trigger a kind of moral entrepreneurism.

“Liberalism,” observes Steele, “invited people to internalize innocence, to become synonymous with it – even to fight for it as they would for an ideology. But to be innocent there must be an evil from which to be free. The liberal identity must have racism, lest it lose innocence and the power it conveys.”

The problem with conservatives, says Steele, whose most recent book is “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country,” is that “they lack the moral glibness to compete with liberalism’s ‘innocence.'” But he does discern signs of hope.

“Today, there are signs of what I have called race fatigue,” Steele concludes. “People are becoming openly cynical toward the left’s moral muscling with racism. Add to this liberalism’s monumental failure to come even close to realizing any of its beautiful idealisms, and the makings of a new conservative mandate become clearer. As idealism was the left’s political edge, shouldn’t realism now be the right’s? Reality as the informing vision – and no more wrestling with innocence.”

WB-guilt-tripGuilt and redemption

What are we looking at here? Shelby Steele sounds like he’s describing a religion.

“To be liberal was to be good,” he intones. “Liberals were free of the past. … Liberalism invited people to internalize innocence, to become synonymous with it.” Political correctness was “redemptive speech.”

The left’s ceaseless quest for redemption, restoration of lost innocence and a return to paradise (not to mention the raw political power to force their version of it on everyone else), as with so much else the left thinks, says and does, amounts to a rabid counterfeit of the real thing.

In earlier generations, most Americans saw fit to rely on a higher source than government for redemption, for moral laws on which to base a righteous society, and for the canceling of guilt and sin. Somehow the left determined it had found something better – and for the past century has attempted to coerce much of the world into embracing this strange religion, at great cost. Indeed, the just-passed 100th anniversary of the October 1917 communist revolution was largely ignored, even by the left. But then, 100 million deaths must be a difficult thing to celebrate.

Leftists perpetually strive to elevate government to the status of a god, just as they try desperately to perfect man by restructuring society by force, rather than through individual repentance and inner transformation. In the end, their angry and misguided pursuit of societal salvation is only a pitiful, perverse – and inevitably violent – imitation of the genuine freedom ever available to mankind from the true Redeemer and Forgiver of human sin.

The preceding is the introductory article in November’s issue of Whistleblower magazine, edited monthly by David Kupelian.

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