Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Utopian politics right and left: The Age of Hysteria

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 10/03/09

The Red Book, magnum opus of the pioneering Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung has for the first time appeared in print, thanks to the Rubin Museum in NY and a tenacious Philadelphia psychiatrist. Before he died in 1961 Jung predicted what might be called an age of hysteria ahead as we approached the millennium year 2000. Time will bear him out. As we know from ancient Egyptian history, he wrote in 1959, psychic changes like UFO sightings always appear at the end of one Platonic Month and at the beginning of another. “We are now nearing that expected when the springpoint enters Aquarius.” Most everybody today associates the Sixties with Aquarius and sees maybe John Lennon as the Aquarian. But the new cycle technically started around the year 2001. Maybe George W. Bush is the Aquarian.

Utopianism is a symptom or a by product of this. It is a way of seeing the world not as it is, but as we wish it could be so as to solve a difficult or unsolvable problem which plagues us. It is a willful delusion. At worse, it is a possession, even a collective possession. Here where I live just below the Canadian border in New Hampshire, there are two, common viral forms: Canada-ism and Swiss-ism. If we were only like the Swiss or the Canadians, it goes, everything would be good.

During this long healthcare debate not a week goes by without someone talking about the wisdom of these people – Scandinavians too – and their wonderful social networks. These people are nice. And when they open the books at the Swiss banks I can assure you that all those secret billions did not go up the nose as they did on Wall Street and in Bernie Madoff’s office. Canadians are nice. They are so nice that last year when I went to Quebec City with a bunch of kids for a high school orchestra competition and our credit cards didn’t work at the gas pump, they said don’t worry about it. Just send the $85 when you get it.

But the reality is that we as a people are not that nice, although most people in Vermont are kind of like that. In Montreal there were two murders per 100,000 people in 2008. In Detroit, forty. There are 209 murders so far this year in Los Angeles. There were 304 in 2008. To extrapololate, it might cost a little more in health care to treat 40 gunshot wounds in Detroit or 304 in the LA emergency room than it would 2 in Montreal. I tried to find the current number of murders in Berne, Switzerland, this year but nothing came up. Recently, a popular LA Times columnist sallied abroad to study good health care systems. Where did he go? Switzerland.

Utopianism may be the curse of our age. The least among us Americans desire to “ . . . save the world,” a wish which Jung colleague Barbara Hannah called, “ . . . just childish.” Globalism is one aspect of utopianism. In this state of mind we are not individuals bonded to our own place and culture like the Swiss or the Quebecois. We are a horde seeking a god king. A horde of penguins. Clearly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sees her husband as a world god king – everything would just be great if Bill were just king of the world again – and Elvis did as well. And for a time they were. But not now. That’s why nobody listens to Hillary anymore.

Obama has better sense and by any standard or observation, he – unlike Bill Clinton and Elvis – is anchored to reality by family, mother, grandparents, a sense of place and his own sense of balance. He, unlike Clinton and Elvis, doesn’t really believe he is a god king although others do. He can make adjustments and I believe he will soon, particularly in that most recent utopian voyage, the millennial “war of Armageddon” in the Middle East.

He better watch out. Ted Danton sees him as king and Sting sees him as world god-king. But I really began to worry when a friend sent a clipping claiming an official announcement by the Obama administration disclosing the reality of extraterrestrial life is imminent. President Obama will figure prominently. The disclosure will follow upon a year of greater government openness on UFOs in accord with a policy secretly developed at the United Nations. If extraterrestrial disclosure does occur at the end of 2009 or early 2010, President Obama will lead an unprecedented effort to promote global governance through the United Nations. What they’re talking about here if I have this right is actually intergalactic government with Obama as king – king of the universe.