Confused Joe Biden

Magical Thinking: Why No Amount of Evidence or Reason Can Stop Our Leaders From Implementing Their Delusional Ideas

(LewRockwell)—In 2005, Joan Didion published “The Year of Magical Thinking” that about grieving the loss of her husband, the unavoidable instant reduction of a rich marriage to aimless solitude.

Beyond the obvious arena of modern imperial foreign policy, magical thinking is a well-known psychological concept. It is “the belief that wishes can impose their own order on the material world.” It is driven by human goals of fulfillment “without consideration of the constraints of the external world.”

We’ve been reminded of this concept in many different ways over the past few weeks. The befuddled fumbling old man in the White House insulting reporters who ask him about his memory lapses, then demonstrating his disability several times later in the press conference.

He wishes to remain President, yet he is incapable of being President. He wants that particular fulfillment regardless of its fundamental impossibility.

We see the same in many modern political leaders, no doubt Canada’s Trudeau, who was upset that Putin, in a wide ranging interview last week, mentioned the Canadian Parliament’s celebration of World War II Ukrainian Nazi Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old surviving member of the Waffen SS Galicia Division. Zelensky had just spoken, and all present sincerely wished that killing Russians was great Western tradition, habitual and just. Instead we saw the impossibility of wishes making their own reality, their own order; the impossibility of changing fact to fantasy, and fantasy to fact.

Access to the most casual and shallow history of World War II should have revealed to any one of the hundreds of educated and cosmopolitan MPs, and the media covering the event, that those killing Russians in WWII were either part of Nazi Germany, or allied with Nazi Germany. It is modern Russian intolerance for Nazis that we find to be traditional, habitual and just. The propagandized West seeks a better world through magical thinking, not through the embrace of reality.

We see magical thinking in Kiev, but somehow I suspect Ukrainians have a far better understanding of reality than do Zelensky’s American and British advisors – who seem permanently afflicted with lies becoming truth if only we all wished for it hard enough. The best example of this is our puppet in Kiev who insists on no negotiations with Russia until the popular and extremely rational “history buff” President Putin, steps down to face the Ukrainian music for his war crimes.

Yet when Tucker Carlson asked Putin what it was all about – we found simply that the protection of Russia and Russian people are a cause for which Putin is willing to fight. It is a concept that shocks the Western empire circa 2024.

We also learned that years of western actions, like withdrawing from nuclear treaties and pursuing first strike capabilities, drove Russian development of hypersonic missiles and a whole range of capabilities to survive and defeat such extreme threats coming from an increasingly unpredictable West. Meanwhile, US and NATO naval capability is underwhelming, recruitment abysmal, technology plateaued and inappropriate for offense or defense, and funds are dwindling.

We learned that while politicians and academics continue to push for ever more massive sanctions against Russia – new markets materialized and Russia’s economy adapted and thrived, as the economy of the western allies shrank and struggled.

We learned that western cultural fetishes of magic energy replacing hydrocarbons, 72 genders, modern monetary theory and unlimited immigration without cultural integration have all been rejected – rationally and straightforwardly – by Russia. The former Communist empire has become a sanctuary for Orthodox Christianity, while the West bans and abandons Christian churches and principles in Ukraine, in Gaza, in Europe and in America. It sounds unbelievable, unpredictable, a rabbit from a hat and a lady cut in half all in one show – but it’s true.

A key advisor to Zelensky on US-UK-EU proxy war, and former UK PM Boris Johnson is an exemplar of magical thinking. He was outraged that Putin explained with evidence how the last 18 months of war in Ukraine could have been prevented, and the ended peacefully, as peace talks in Turkey produced a draft treaty acceptable to both Ukrainian and Russian teams. This was abruptly canned after Boris rushed to Kiev, where he demanded the Ukrainians reject the nascent agreement. Boris, bobbing in the flotsam of magical thinking, is a liar, and yet, one marvels at the power of believing that your desires and wishes can create a new world order.

We see this in the US, in both its obsession with Julian Assange despite the utter irrationality of its pursuit of a man who exposed US lawbreaking and evil – something top politicians in the US should always be eager to correct in the name of American heroism and honor.

We see this in the continued fantasy of electoral honesty in the US, in the imperial two-tiered system of law, in the incomprehensible funding and moral support provided to Israel as it directly and systematically exterminates 2 million people, destroys their homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses, and takes their land. We see it in Israel, as it imagines what it is doing will save rather than destroy her. Magical thinking.

Joan Didion popularized the term, documenting her grief at the sudden end of a life, marriage, meaning, and purpose. Magical thinking may be part of a process by which people and institutions cope with the innate realization of irretrievable loss.

The US government, and its very federalism, is undergoing an imperial metamorphosis from rapacious caterpillar, to life in a rapidly decaying cocoon, to something entirely different and unrecognizable – life in the air, with little baggage, free, vulnerable and alive. It will own nothing and be happy. Dissolution and death of empire is a story told many times, a pattern of nature, and it cannot be stopped. Magical thinking is simultaneously necessary and futile, and Washington and many of the European capitols are deeply engaged in this phase. They are ending, ungracefully, ungratefully, undeniably.

But for the people, who live with feet on the ground, and eyes wide open, who bear the costs of the magical thinking of their governments, and the lies of their propagandists, and the waste of their wars, and the contamination of everything that was good – for us the only value is seeing the reality of things. Recognizing reality, acting upon it, rejecting even the most subtle suggestions of magical thinking and fantasy and imaginations of world orders – in this way imperial error can be stopped, and reversed.

Peace, transparency, prosperity, exchanges of goods, ideas, and many charming conversations with partners and friends around the planet – none of this is fantasy, and it doesn’t require magic. Let’s get on with it.

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