"Lemming suicide is fiction," according to snopes.com. The myth that the Arctic rodents threatened by competition for food periodically hurl themselves off cliffs into the sea was launched by the Disney film White Wilderness, where "captive lemmings were herded over a cliff into a river." In the manner of "consumers" of the trendy "false-but-accurate" news report, "generations of TV-watching schoolchildren grew up on the Disney nature films, and the myth of lemming suicide persists to this day." The jury is still out on suicidal behavior among human populations threatened by competition in the marketplace of ideas. (www.fauna illustration of the Arctic Lemming, Dicrostonyx torquatus, in winter and summer colors)
"Success is anathema to the Left because it puts an end to victimhood; without victims the Left has no reason to exist," writes retired neuroscientist Brian Wimborne in The Australian [via Western Defense] in a most exhilarating and enlightening explication of "why they [the Left] hate us [We're all Israelis now]":
Designated a victim-state by the Left, Israel did not live up to expectations. To begin with (and despite being under constant Arab attacks from the day of its foundation in 1948), Israel has been internally stable and politically mature. Unlike most post-war emerging states that followed decolonisation, it did not experience widespread corruption, dictatorship or military takeover. From the beginning it was the only democracy in the Middle East, and through hard work, planning and foreign aid its people built a thriving economy.
"From the Left's rigidly dialectical viewpoint, the world is made up solely of victims and oppressors, and if Israel is no longer a victim it has to be an oppressor," notes Wimborne. "The Sanity Squad" at Pajamas Media's PoliticsCentral expands upon the theme in their first weekly Podcast session at Pajamas Media's Politics Central this morning, with our own dear blogfriend Neo hosting:
ShrinkWrapped: If all you know about what's going on in the Middle East is from the media -- the mainstream media, whom many of us like to take to task -- you see a story where this mighty war machine, the Israelis, is wantonly killing innocent children for no apparent reason . . . and this story is being repeated time and again. I think an awful lot of the press is very lazy . . . they've been taught in journalism school that their job is to present a story, not to tell the truth or find out what the facts are. And their storyline is that there's a victim and an aggressor -- also known as an oppressor -- and they will fit everything into that storyline.
Siggy: The real problem is that the media will present them as moral equals . . . to the Israelis or to the West.
Dr. Sanity: It's a deification of victimhood, and whoever is the biggest victim has the most moral points.
What else comes to mind when blogging therapists get together? Why, therapy itself, of course. Let's listen in:
Neo: When we talk about victimhood, it seems to me that the practice of therapy and the mainstreaming of therapeutic ideas and stances might somehow have played into this phenomenon.
ShrinkWrapped: I think it's actually a misapplication of therapeutic concepts . . . Originally, therapy was designed to help people become aware of . . . their own unconscious motives . . . so that they would have more control over their behavior, and when they were placing themselves in the role of victim, they would be able to stop doing that . . . The other place where the ideas of therapy were misapplied was as soon as someone became a victim, they became resolved of all responsibility for their own behavior.
Speaking of resolving oneself of responsibility, the ultimate "victims" may be the lemminglike members of the media themselves and their fellow travelers, victims of "erroneous and destructive ideas," to use James Piereson's words describing Hayek's critique of "the collectivist doctrines [that] had captured the imagination of intellectuals" last century.
Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom puts all the pieces together:
Modern wars are as much about propaganda as they are about battles being fought in the trenches. Which is why an ideological media that believes themselves to be part of the story -- and that believes themselves responsible for revealing “larger truths” (which, naturally, they decide upon, and which flow conveniently from their ideology) -- is so very dangerous to a democracy, particularly when they pose as objective or neutral observers but are not, in fact, constrained by any sense of journalistic ethics redounding to that pose. Which is problematic precisely because when the information from which the people are being asked to form their judgments is being massaged and finessed through a front-ended ideological filter in an effort to help us reach the “correct” conclusion, then democracy becomes nothing more than the righteous mask placed over a sham in order to disguise its ugliness beneath a veneer of moral authority.
Sometimes "false but accurate" is just bad news.