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The Identity Crisis of the American Left

February 26, 2018

In psychology, the term "identity crisis" refers to a personal, psychosocial conflict involving confusion about one's social role and personality. Not exclusive to teenagers, the internal strife can occur in adults and organizations.

From Eric Erikson's (1963) "stages of psychosocial development" through Engler's (2006) observation on role confusion ("the inability to conceive oneself as a productive member of one's own society"), researchers have learned to classify individuals into four categories depending on their "identity status." Identity achieved people have thought profoundly about their beliefs and have no problem identifying themselves. Individuals in a status of moratorium are trying to determine what their life choices are. Those classified into the foreclosure category took an identity, copycat-style, and people who didn't bother to think about their personal choices are stuck inside identity diffusion box.

Many supporters of leftist leaders are clearly in a state of confusion regarding the nature and direction of the dangerously morphing Democratic Party. The "militants" change their slogans as often as teens swap subcultures, and they come up with new names quicker than a snake can shed its skin.

The title "Democrats" is still in use, but forget Adams' "Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people" or JFK's "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." The donkey brays: "Love trumps hate!"

Some "militants" show off Palestinian scarves and yell that Trump is an anti-Semite. The opponents of "the racist wall" are sporting Che Guevara t-shirts. If you quote Che's words – "Mexicans are a band of illiterate Indians," or "the black is indolent and a dreamer, spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink" – they will escape in denial. They are "for freedom of speech" but will ransack your car or...bite your ear if you have a different opinion.

In terms of an identity crisis, foreclosure and identity diffusion categories dominate in a frenzied crowd. They know that "Trump is a Nazi" but can't explain why. If you disagree with them, you are "a Nazi," too.

The "militants" fancy themselves a revolutionary movement but are unwilling to use logical thinking; they hope to "acquire personality" in a rioting crowd and resolve identity conflict through flag-burning. They want to be the "Resistance," as if they had the courage of the Europeans who fought the National Socialists of Germany and their puppet regimes. It's interesting to observe that in their quest for a label, the leftists avoid associating themselves with true communist and socialist symbols such as Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot.

And let's not forget the "Antifa." Well, an Italian historian, and an expert on the ideology of fascism, Emilio Gentile, described fascism as a mass movement:

"... organized as a party militia, that bases its identity not on social hierarchy or class origin but on a sense of comradeship, believes itself invested with a mission of national regeneration, considers itself in a state of war against political adversaries and aims at conquering a monopoly of political power by using terror, parliamentary politics, and deals with leading groups, to create a new regime that destroys parliamentary democracy."

Who is inciting hatred and unleashing violence? Well, some F-bomb- and S-grenade-throwers like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and DNC chairman Tom Perez certainly encourage rage. Some "militants" will parrot demagogues such as Maine's Democrat Rep. Scott Hamann, who called the president "a joke, a rapist, a racist, a liar, and un-American."  (He apologized when confronted.)  Others may whine that "it's a shame that more Republicans weren't shot."

But, quite ironically for those who claim to "fight for people," the real drivers of the botched revolution are oligarchs who like to use crowds as a tool in order to keep power – for themselves only. True autocrats love their "folks" ignorant and confused. As observed by Alexis de Tocqueville, "[d]emocracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

Meanwhile, Democrats who won't address their political identity crisis and hubristic rage have only themselves to blame for dragging their own party to the bottom of political culture.

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Joanna Rosamond's main areas of interest: Countering coercive diplomacy and psychological warfare. She works odd jobs (as a coach, teacher, and consultant for PTSD Burnout), in order to be an independent Veterans' Rights advocate.