Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 17, 2001
Even paranoids have enemies
My right-wing dreams are pleasant; it's reality that scares me
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
A study by American dream researcher and author Dr. Kelly Bulkeley, which purports to have found that political right-wingers have nearly three times as many nightmares as supporters of left-leaning policies.
Bulkeley also says rightists' nightmares are scarier, filled with aggression, misfortune, fears and physical danger, while left-wingers' nightmares are purportedly mitigated by "friendly characters and elements of hope and power."
Bulkeley observes: "My speculation is that people on the right are very attuned to the dangers in the world, and they're seeking ways to defend themselves against those threats. . . . They're drawn to a political ideology that favours things like a strong military and traditional moral values.
"People on the left tend to be more utopian and open to the possibility of going beyond the way things are now to how things could be made better."
On the other hand, his research shows that left-wingers' dreams are often more "bizarre" and less true to life than those of their right-wing counterparts.
I'm pretty far to the right; and politically I expect I am right in the middle of the demographic constituency this report characterizes as nightmare prone. However, to the contrary, I quite enjoy my dream life, and actually relish my sleep time for the entertainment value - sort of like interactive movies in which I'm a participant. I rarely have scary dreams that could be categorized as nightmares.
Indeed, I find waking life in postmodern, politically-correct Canada much more nightmarish than anything I routinely encounter in the preconscious world of my dreams: 100,000+ unborn children slaughtered annually; people legally persecuted and fined for quoting the Bible; children forcibly removed by police raiding squads because their parents refuse to renounce traditional methods of discipline; two (male) friends of mine recently forced out of work by affirmative-action.
I only wish the stuff of those examples (and a lot more) were a bad dream.
Which is, I suspect, what the dream study is really getting at. Liberal/leftists love to caricature conservatives as "fearful" and negative," and in a limited respect they are correct. Right-wingers do fear what the juggernaut of left-liberal lunacy is doing to society, and their commentary on these matters is essentially negative.
No doubt being on the losing end of this onslaught most of the time does give one some of us nightmares. But that doesn't mean we are wrong.
As somebody once observed, paranoia amounts to having an inkling of what is really going on. Or put another way, realism, especially in a dysfunctional culture like ours, leads to a jaundiced critique of affairs, as opposed to the liberal's utopian optimism, the doctrine, as the inimitable Ambrose Bierce described it: "that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly; everything good, especially the bad; and everything right that is wrong."
In short, an optimist, declared Bierce, is "a proponent of the doctrine that black is white." Pessimism, on the other hand, is "a philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disturbing prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile."
Now, some might consider that a bleak outlook that might well lead to nightmares, and perhaps it does for some folks. Bierce was not a Christian, and I don't gainsay that right-wing realism uninformed by Christian faith could potentially lead to a somewhat despairing and troubled outlook.
Unfortunately, many nominal Christians have been consequently inclined to adopt the panglossian liberal perspective, and I've been chided many times that my "negative" outlook is "unChristian." I think not.
As Jesus warned, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." All through the New Testament, the message is: the present world is a vale of tears, persecution of virtue and sin; anything but the "best of all possible worlds" construct cherished by liberals and leftists.
Genuine Christian hope is in the world to come. As St. Paul counselled, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable."
And, at least in my humble opinion, Christian hope is the key to mounting a lucid critique of what the Bible calls the "filth" and "pollution" of this sinful present world without lapsing into despair. We are not to capitulate to evil in this life, and are indeed exhorted, in the words of the Book of Common Prayer, to stay on a war footing against "the world, the flesh and the devil."
But we are also to remain cognizant that here "we have no abiding city." That assurance is what helps keep my dream life pleasurable.
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