Under extreme duress members of a particular political persuasion can succumb to what amounts to mass hysteria. A specific example of this phenomenon on the Conservative side is the set of conspiracy theories that swirled around the suicide of Vince Foster, Deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration.
My contention is that the behavior currently occurring in the Progressive camp is different in kind from simple hysteria. That is, prominent Progressives have entered the realm of conscious, unmediated hatred expressed as appalling, purposeful cruelty.
We have experienced nonstop hatred regarding Donald Trump (and his supporters) from the moment it became clear that he had won the 2016 Presidential Election. That’s now over two and one-half years and counting, with no sign that we are heading back to any sort of normalcy. The intensity of this hatred-fueled cruelty has been far beyond anything that I have observed in my four-plus decades of adulthood. The public displays of rage, fear and outright assault boggle the mind. The scope of this behavior is not limited to isolated members of the general public, but rather extends into the highest levels of the Progressive movement, including elected officials.
Although this extended bout of hatred manifests itself in many and sundry ways, the most prominent and revealing aspect can be understood as an extreme form of projection. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines this behavior as follows.
Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. A common form of projection occurs when an individual, threatened by his own angry feelings, accuses another of harboring hostile thoughts.
The principal example of this behavior is that while the Hillary Clinton campaign was using a foreign agent to concoct political dirt on candidate Donald Trump from sources in Russia, they simultaneously charged that Mr. Trump was colluding with the Russians to steal the election. Once Mr. Trump was elected high government officials who had corruptly (and likely illegally) used their unelected positions to spy on and then undermine the President spewed accusations that the Trump administration was a danger to our democracy.
These general comments, while necessary, don’t convey the actual intensity and scope of what is occurring in the Progressive movement. Thus, specific examples are required to explore this ongoing and troubling situation. As you will see, this deranged rage is not limited to President Trump and his administration. No, it has metastasized to virtually every area in which Progressives encounter disagreement with their beliefs.
I will not be generalizing these specific cases to the population of people holding Progressive views. However, to the extent that Progressives refuse to condemn this behavior (or even worse, affirm it) they do bear responsibility for its toxic impact on out culture and politics.