Sunday, March 04, 2012

Freud was Right

R.R. Reno in the current First Things
It seems not to have occurred to Freud that his wish to live without illusions may have been so powerful as to have clouded his reason and infected his arguments about wish fulfillment. After all, his strong desire to live without illusions will, according to his own theory, have the effect of conjuring illusions—illusions of illusions, if you will—that provide him with something to debunk and unmask.

The tendency of the New Atheists to conjure caricatures of Christianity that they can destroy with their arguments suggests that the same dynamic of wish fulfillment holds for them as well. And not just for them. Our postmodern [perhaps better: supermodern] professoriate manages to find racism, patriarchy, and oppression everywhere. They do so with such sure ease that I find myself wondering if they are in the end, as Freud warns, using the rhetoric of critical thinking to support their illusions—illusions in this case arising from an intense wish to be critically and morally superior.