Sunday, April 12, 2009

Social Phobias

I'm reading some little books about Freudian psychoanalytic theory and now I am obsessed.
Check this out:
"Periods of social transition or fragmentation are ideal conditions for the spewing forth of phobic objects. Witches cavorting with the Devil and bringing every misfortune into their communities; Jews killing innocent children and drinking their blood; Reds under the bed plotting to brainwash your neighbors: the language of disgust and horror is used for political ends to subjugate, disenfranchise, incarcerate and destroy. Closer to our own time, single mothers, homosexuals, beggars, and foreigners have all been used by governments to help maintain the status quo or provide a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis. ...Inchoate fears could conveniently coalesce around the main templates of racism".
Ivan Ward, Ideas in Psychoanalysis -- Phobias.
In short, when I read the hysterical comments against the legalization of immigrants in the New York Times, with accusations about these people taking American jobs and destroying the fabric of society and other paranoid complaints, this is what it reminds me of. The outrage at their illegality seems quite disproportionate, considering that most of the illegal immigrants are just trying to make a living. People like Lou Dobbs just help demonize and dehumanize the immigrants. Families are being incarcerated in former privatized maximum security prisons while their cases are pending. Someone profits from putting children in jail. This is happening in this here country. It is appalling.

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