May 17 • 31M

The Left's Incurable Munchausen by Proxy

It's time for an escape plan

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Sasha Stone
The podcast version of Sasha Stone's Substack essays.
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As I began my drive across this big, beautiful country of ours, I saw real life going on. RVs filled with families hitched to trucks making their way somewhere. Lights turning on at grocery stores. Workers high atop utility poles fixing electrical lines. I drove through cities and pastures, across state lines, and on an interstate conceived and built by President Eisenhower.

Then I tried to square it all with Joe Biden’s commencement speech at Howard University. With an angry face and hate in his heart, Biden filled up their empty cups with fear and helplessness, warning them that they will always be judged in this country because of the color of their skin, not the content of their character. “White supremacy,” he insisted, was their biggest threat.

But Biden’s speech wasn’t for them. It was for his re-election bid in 2024 now that his support among Black voters is slipping.

From TIME:

But, quietly, there have been some rumblings inside Democratic circles that Biden needs to do more to shore up his position with Black voters…Biden’s favorability ratings among Black voters have shifted from 84% right after he took office in 2021 to 74% at the end of March 2023, according to YouGov/Economist polling.

With low approval numbers and a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats overall, what option does Biden have but to ensure they remain broken and in need of rescuing by him?

Who put Ketanji Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court? Who made history with Kamala Harris as the first female of color Vice President? He did. It’s his success, not theirs. They could not get there on their own, was the message Biden sent when he assured his supporters he would pick “a Black woman.”

His intense focus on both the Black community and the transgender community is how he defines his presidency, but it also explains why his approval numbers are sinking with the majority. The country I am driving across remains mostly untouched by the fanaticism that has overtaken Biden and our government.

But more worrisome is the idea that Biden felt the need to burden these young graduates with the heavy load of trying to make their way into a country that, according to Biden, hasn’t changed since the 1960s, and if anything, has gotten worse. He lays all of this at the feet of Trump and MAGA because it’s his only play, but it’s a play that works.

Keep them scared, keep them broken, keep them compliant.

Contrast Biden’s speech with President Obama’s just seven years ago. It was May of 2016, and Obama thought that Hillary, not Trump, would be president. Maybe that explains, at least partly, why his speech was so optimistic.

He first tells the students how much better things are now than they used to be. He said:

We’re no longer only entertainers, we’re producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners -- we’re CEOs, we’re mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States.

And then he said:

So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that -- no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths.

By contrast, Joe Biden’s speech seemed to echo the new ideology of the Left: fear and hopelessness in a broken country that can only be fixed if we keep electing Democrats. So you can see the game, right? We break the toy and then tell you only we can fix it.

Here’s Ben Shapiro:

How could things have become so dire just 7 years after Obama’s message of hope? How can we not value what we have? How can we be stuck with a leader and an administration that wants us to be perpetually unwell?

The question we should all be asking ourselves right now, is what’s wrong with the Left? What happened? How did it get this bad? How did we become so afraid of the other half of the country? So afraid of everything, from the food we eat to the stoves we use to cook, our own genetics, our instincts, our weather, our biology? Each other?

How can we possibly function as a society with leaders like Biden, who seem to want to perpetuate this rather than drag us out of the darkness and back into the light? Why is this a problem that has mostly consumed the Left, and especially white females on the Left?

According to Pew:

Nearly half of young white liberals (46 percent) reported being diagnosed with a mental health condition. That was significantly higher than the percentage of young white moderates (26 percent) and young white conservatives (21 percent) who reported a mental health diagnosis. Young white people who identified as "very liberal" were considerably more likely to report mental health problems, even compared with their peers who identified as liberal.

Across all demographics, young white females who identified as liberal or very liberal were by far the most likely to report a mental health diagnosis. In fact, a majority of young white liberal women (56 percent) said they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, compared with 28 percent of young moderate women and 27 percent of young conservative women.

At least part of the problem seems to be obvious. Most Conservatives are also religious and can give up much of their worrying to God. It isn’t a burden they carry on their shoulders every day because they can pray and ask for help from a higher power. On the Left, we mostly abandoned God long ago, especially white liberals like me.

We valued our atheism and believed religion was dangerous and too limiting. Perhaps that might have been true once long ago, but clearly, there is a reason we need it, and some of that reason might have to do with our fragile brains trying to parse or make sense of a world that is full of chaos, war, starvation, genocide and whatever other problems we’ve heaped on to that.

Not to mention an internet and a news media that dumps catastrophe after catastrophe in our laps for clicks. No wonder we're so distraught if it’s all up to us. That’s part of it, though that’s not all of it.

It also has to do with what we’ve turned to instead of God, how we’ve decided that we could have a religion but one based not on forgiveness, not on prayer but on scolds, a judgmental eye, and harsh punishments. Religious fundamentalism.

It shouldn’t be that surprising that this demographic and Joe Biden’s demographic are the same. He focuses on the same marginalized groups that they do within the new “woke” religion. Here is Saagar Enjeti:

One day when my daughter was in high school at a progressive magnet in Los Angeles, she came home and said, “I feel bad that there’s nothing wrong with me.” What do you mean, I asked. She said, “My classmates all have something wrong with them, and I don’t.”

My daughter’s generation had already begun to define themselves by what afflicted them because that’s what we, as parents, did to ourselves and, eventually, to them.

Anxiety, depression, self-harm, gender dysphoria. The problem, they were told, was chemical and inside their own bodies, and only something medication and treatment could fix.

For hundreds of thousands of years at least, the role of the female was carved out. We were mostly mothers. The feminist movement separated us from what we on the Left believed was a “burden.” I grew up with this ideology baked in. I thought it was the right path toward empowerment, a great career, and eventually a happy life.

Happiness, though, turns out not to be a state of mind. It is rooted in service, what we do for others and for society. It is natural, then, that so many young women would turn to activism for happiness. They need to feel needed, which is what drives so much of motherhood.

But of course, the Left has eradicated the empowerment that comes from motherhood in their obsession with abortion now, and their obsession with eliminating gender norms.

Young women are conditioned to believe that pregnancies don’t matter and that they, as women, aren’t special and that their ability to give birth isn’t a miracle and that bringing a child into this world isn’t an enormous responsibility. The new ideology tells them anyone can become a mother and pregnancies are something to get rid of because pregnancies are oppressive.

I’m not saying I think abortion should be illegal. But I am noting that it is abnormal to separate women from their essential role as mothers and child bearers.

Young women still have a desire to be needed and chase happiness, they want to push aside those needs to make way for those our culture told them matter more. But if you’re always being told you don’t matter, what is the final result of that? Hopelessness, despair, futility.

A recent column in the Atlantic about an abortion doctor reveals that he once aborted a baby who was eight months along because the mother did not want to have a girl.

In general, he aborts babies with “fetal abnormalities” and has performed thousands of these, especially now in the wake of Roe. The desperation among a certain class of women - the same women who are depressed, the same women who coddled their children, and the same women that voted for Joe Biden — to condition women to not care, even a little bit, about aborting their babies is odd.

A helpless society is a compliant society

So where is this all going? Why does Joe Biden feel the need to “re-infect” young Black graduates with crippling fear about their future? Why are we, as parents now, so eager to indoctrinate our very young children in the gender ideology madness? Why, all of a sudden, is talk of overtly sexual things being normalized and introduced at too early of an age?

A column in the Free Press today by Lisa Selin Davis talks about the marriage of activism with the mental health industry, and concludes what many of us have already figured out, that “woke therapy” is actually doing the opposite of what therapy is for - it isn’t make them better, it’s making them worse:

The point of therapy is for clients to “develop more insight into what is troubling them and be able to live more resourcefully,” says UK-based psychotherapist Thomas. “The problem with critical social justice–driven therapy is that there’s only one way of understanding the client’s difficulties. And that understanding is: you are operating in a sort of nexus of oppressed or oppressor groups in society.” 

As Thomas put it: “Woke therapy weakens the client.”

Andrew Hartz, a clinical psychologist in New York, points out that when a therapist injects a specific political worldview into the therapy room, many patients are left feeling it isn’t “safe to ask questions.” This population includes, he says, conservatives, liberals, and moderates who feel stifled and censored; people of color who are concerned about racism yet object to anti-racism ideology; gay people alienated by the LGBT culture wars; cops vilified by communities they serve; and more. 

Slowly but surely, many of us are waking up to a movement that is not making any of us better, not making our kids better, not making our country better, not making our culture better - but one that is perpetuating trauma, re-creating it, celebrating it and centering it in our lives.

Is it just widespread “Munchausen by Proxy”? Is it an ongoing need to create a sick society that needs constant administrations? Do we need for there to be “something wrong” with all of us so that we can then also be the cure?

Any victim of Munchausen by Proxy had to find the courage to confront their caregiver and eventually escape their grasp. They find that once they do, the world wasn’t as dangerous as they were conditioned to believe. There weren’t threats everywhere. People weren’t out to get them or hurt them or kill them.

It’s time for all of us, especially those of us who come from the Left, to stand up to our cultural and political leaders, not to mention our own peers, and strengthen, not weaken, our citizenry.

The hard part is going up against groupthink, as Konstantin Kisin explains:

This has all worked out well for the Democrats. They have raised an entire generation that sees voting as a matter of life or death. They see it as an oppressive force that must be reckoned with, and they are aware of their own power, as opposed to generations past — like mine — who were far too anti-establishment to care about voting.

If they have brought the entire movement full circle, then it is for them very much a part of turning this country into Tumblr, Circa 2013, and they have a whole class of women and mothers who are encouraging them, and are activists right alongside them.

Without a similar sense of urgency on the Right, the Left — awash in Munchausen by Proxy — will never get the wake-up call they so desperately need.

And yes, that means voting for leaders who will put an end to so much of this ongoing push for brokenness that has infected so many of our institutions. It means voting for leaders who believe in merit over equity.

Joe Biden might want the Howard graduates to believe that only he can give them the success they desire, but we know that isn’t true. And we need leaders who will tell them that.

We need them for the future of the country, the future of the world, and the future of our children. What could possibly be more urgent than that?

This doesn’t mean abandoning mental health, or necessary treatment. It doesn’t even mean abandoning the issues we most care about. It’s that we’ve reached the moment where we’re onto the big fake, and it’s time to rescue the patient from the grips of madness.

Lincoln, Nebraska
9:54am