A Love of Hate: The Addiction of the New American Left
“No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!”.
Damning. Morally righteous. A call to arms against darkness. This is how the new American left views itself and its opposition to President Donald Trump: a bulwark against a perceived tide of evil, where only leftists’ pink hats and calls to #resist stand a chance to prevent a historic cataclysm from a caricature of an administration believed to embody all the elements necessary to be categorized as evil.
After all, didn’t senior counselor to the president Steve Bannon openly admit that “darkness is good”?
Reaction to Bannon’s quote exemplifies the emotional jockeying of Democrats and their supporters. Objectivity, reasoned analysis of source material, and primary research take a back seat when weighed against the desire to dislike someone if only to identify yourself to others as against what all normal people are against.
The former naval officer, who once served as an assistant to the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon, more fully stated:
Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they [the media] get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.
This simplification and eagerness to be outraged are enjoyed and have in large part become the hallmark of the current American left. There is a scientific neurological reason behind the propensity in politics to emotionally simplify the position of your opposition – or, in President Trump’s case, dehumanize him entirely as a symbol of what you fantasize about fighting.
In a study published by Neuroreport in 2010, Rajendra D. Badgaiyan from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Buffalo found evidence that “dopamine is released during processing of negative emotions.” How symptomatic is the current level of discourse in American politics, and the outrage culture on the left in particular, of a dopamine addiction fueled by the experience of negative emotions such as anger and excited outrage? Further, how actively is this outrage sought when presented with a draught of cherished anger? How willing is one with such an addiction to fabricate or manipulate statements and events to generate conditions wherein that satisfaction may be found?
We see this in the left’s interaction with Bannon’s quote. Or Kellyanne Conway’s exhausted interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press early in the morning after President Trump’s inauguration. Obviously, there is no such thing as an “alternative fact,” but there are alternative data and alternative sources of data. Rather than give the normally exceptionally articulate Conway the benefit of the doubt with her error, the media pounced. The left pounced. They loved it. They’re still loving it.
Where is the desire for objectivity? Balanced and nuanced thought? An observation of context before a leap for emotional satisfaction?