A.J. DiCintio
Something very deep and dark
By A.J. DiCintio
May 2, 2009

"Since feeling is first," wrote e.e. cummings, one who "pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you."

As it turns out, modern science thoroughly supports the poet's insight; for studies show that from making moral judgments to sizing up a stranger, humans first utilize the part of the brain in which emotions arise.

This primacy of feeling also explains why psychology assigns a great deal of importance not just to the first emotion with which a person reacts to a "stimulus" but also to its intensity.

Now, not to worry; for this piece won't attempt to delve into a biological and psychological explanation of feelings.

However, it will make a few observations about the liberal outrage over the aggressive interrogation techniques the CIA used to extract information from maniacal terrorists who would love to kill every American.

First, as background information, this description of behavior that many of us have too often experienced:

In a discussion about a particularly heinous murder, a liberal curiously remains calm and reasonable as he falls into platitudes about the fact that crime has always been with us etc.

But upon hearing the opinion that the unspeakably vicious killer ought to be hung by the thumbs to die swinging in the wind, the equanimity suddenly vanishes as Mr. Reasonable explodes with booming, red-faced denunciations of "inhuman" behavior that not only debases us but also endangers our entire culture.

We think, as we walk away stunned, "What an insulting perversity it is to react to a horrendous crime with apparent reason but to an expression of outrage at it (even by one directly affected) with angry, lecturing fulminations."

With that background in mind, we may now turn to some facts about the current liberal anger and angst over "torture" and the punishment deserved by the "torturers."

. . . CIA administrators and interrogators accused of "torture" approved and employed aggressive interrogation techniques because in a post 9/11 world, they quite reasonably feared more attacks that could kill not just thousands but hundreds of thousands of American citizens.

. . . None of those techniques rise to the level of what ordinary Americans consider torture. For example, interrogators didn't cut off a detainee's fingers. Neither, to induce others to talk, did they cut off a detainee's head, say, before cameras that broadcast the murderous act to the world.

. . . Congressional Democratic leaders that included Nancy Pelosi were explicitly informed of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" and didn't object to them.

. . . In 2006, Ted Kennedy and other liberals proposed an amendment to the Military Commissions Act that would have equated waterboarding with torture (read Andrew C. McCarthy, "National Review"). The amendment failed, but its introduction tells us all we need to know about the falseness of the charge that "everybody knew waterboarding is illegal."

Those are the facts. Yet there is an emotional outcry from liberals.

. . . An outcry so powerful that it has caused Nancy Pelosi to lose some inconvenient truths from her admittedly very selective memory.

. . . An outcry so powerful that it has liberals screaming for criminal investigations of Bush administration officials. (How appropriate for liberals if the inquisition is carried out in their beloved Europe by a latter day Judge Torquemada — who else? — holding court in Spain — where else?)

. . . And an outcry so powerful that it has liberals wringing their hands over practices that are not "consistent with American security and its values."

"Inconsistent with the values of the majority of the American people?" Oh, really? Then why from Obama on down hasn't a single Democrat had the courage to tell the public in Plain English, "I'd rather a million Americans die from an attack in which madmen unleashed a nuclear or biological weapon than commit the sin of waterboarding a single terrorist."

(How interesting that Barack Obama doesn't consider that controversial judgment "above [his] pay scale." And how revealing that he believes in it so absolutely he would "force his religion" on the entire nation.)

Returning now to the implications of e. e. cummings' profound observation, we ask ourselves this question:

What perverse emotions so much consume liberals that they would condemn American children to death rather than discomfort a fascist, misogynist, wedding bombing, pilgrimage massacring psychopath?

Certainly the colossal, megalomanical pride that Shelley immortalized in "Ozymandias" must be at play. (We need to think no further than the hubris exhibited by Barack Obama, who claims he is endowed with a magical speech that has charms to suspend the laws of economics and soothe the savage breast of a Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

And then there is the insatiable love of power that is every politician's reason for being.

But those two formidable impulses alone cannot explain behavior so madly intent on "always [blaming] America first" that it always risks the lives of Americans first.

What might that other deep, dark emotion be? All of us are free to venture a thought.

Mine is that it is neurotic guilt.

That conclusion, by the way, is based upon careful listening to mouths that flush a constant flow of condemnations about Ugly America and learning this:

Too long festering in the depths of the human psyche, neurotic guilt will metamorphose into bubbles of self-hate that inevitably find a way to surface in the throat, roll off the tongue, and burst their stink as they pass by the lips.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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