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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thanatos Party

It's been a while.

Here's just a random thought on the Tea Party 'movement,' culled from Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents.

One way of conceptualizing the 'anger' of the Tea Party folks is that they represent the aggressive side of the national psyche; at an individual level, they are lashing out, given the high level of integration, coordination, in contemporary American life. There is so little room for individual aggression--especially if you are old and don't play first-person shooter games.

In the Bush years, they could express their aggression against Muslims ('dead or alive,' 'I hear you'). But Obama is such a cool character, he doesn't provide that kind of national outlet for aggression.

So, domestically, they lash out. Internationally, too.

Love and strife, the two constant forces. Obama is love. The Tea Party is strife.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger Wilson said...

I'm not sure I agree. I seem to recall quite a bit of protesting, a lot of it very silly, when Bush was in office. When people feel dis-empowered they take to the streets. It's an American tradition.

The explanation I would give for why these guys are angrier is that the extremes of the "conservative" ideology--the ones who feel dis-empowered--are in many ways just about these things that are violent. They see radical Islam as a national enemy, a real existential threat. They want US hegemony. A lot of them are racists. I think that's just the way the party lines are drawn in this country.

Now maybe extreme conservatives are, themselves, an outlet for the anger in the way you describe. But I do not think the tea party itself is more of an amazing phenomenon than any extremists out protesting.


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