AT’s latest great insight into Obama
Over at American Amateur Psychoanalyst (a.k.a. American Thinker) we have the latest in that website’s series of amateur psychological exercises purporting to “explain” Barack Obama. According to M. Catharine Evans, the reason for Obama’s disastrous course of conduct as president is that he suffers from the “Adult Child of an Alcoholic” (ACoA) syndrome. Thus, when he recently told an interviewer that his Agriculture Secretary’s precipitate firing of Shirley Sherrod was due to our “media culture where something goes up on Youtube or a blog and everybody scrambles,” he was, according to Evans, demonstrating the refusal to take responsibility which is typical of ACoAs.
A typical response for an ACoA is to blame others…. His inability to admit his character defects except when the din becomes so loud that he needs to shut people up is classic. He waited six weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion to answer critics’ charges that he wasn’t doing anything. Obama stated, “I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this thing down.”Evans gives more examples of Obama’s self-image as “the expert on everything,” and of his narcissistic blaming of others for his own mistakes, and she attributes all such attitudes and behaviors to Obama’s ACoA syndrome. It doesn’t seem to occur to this deep American thinker that our culture is filled with narcissists who think they are the expert on everything and who don’t take responsibility for their actions. Are all such individuals adult children of alcoholics? For that matter, does Evans take into account the simple fact that Obama never knew his father, except for one month he spent with him at age ten, after which he never had any contact with him and his alcoholic behavior again? Nope. (Ironically, she references that father-son history, but fails to see that it undermines her own theory.) Furthermore, Obama’s main mental picture of his father came from his mother, who idealized Obama Sr. and built up an image in young Barry’s mind of his father as a noble progressive crusader.
Finally, what useful political understandings and actions can arise from analysis such as Evans’? “Adult children of alcoholics are bad for society—keep them out of the White House”? Evans seems to have forgotten that the most effective and successful American president in the second half of the twentieth century was Ronald Reagan, whose father had been an alcoholic. Moreover, Ronald as a boy, unlike Barry as a boy, had to deal extensively with his father’s alcoholism.
The only true lesson provided by Evan’s article is this: If you want to get published at American Thinker, all you have to do is come up with some embarrassingly half-baked theory of Obama, and you’ve got it made. I’m not saying that all of AT’s articles are silly partisan trash. But such articles overwhelmingly set the tone of that site, and are typical of the ever-declining intellectual quality of the mainstream conservative Web.
I have a theory for the never ending, and ever more fabled, explanations for Obama’s behavior: they don’t want to face facts. People don’t want to consider the fact that Obama is in opposition to the traditional culture and government of the United States.LA replies:
I agree with everything you say about Obama’s real beliefs and agenda and about why many conservatives don’t want to see it. But I disagree with your underlying rationale. The simplest explanation is not necessarily the best; the best explanation is the best. Sometimes the simplest explanation will be the best; sometimes not. If you follow the reductionist approach, you end up pursuing the simplest explanation for its own sake, rather than pursuing the best and truest explanation. Conciseness is always welcome; but conciseness is not the same thing as reductionism. Any phenomenon consists of more than one component, more than one cause.July 31
Ken Hechtman writes:
I have a better explanation of the Shirley Sherrod affair. I don’t know if it’s the best one.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 29, 2010 08:29 PM | Send