Every now and then, we get a clear glimpse inside the American conscience. This time around, it’s Thomas Friedman, writing for The New York Times:
Former President George W. Bush’s gut instinct that this region craved and needed democracy was always right. It should have and could have been pursued with much better planning and execution. This war has been extraordinarily painful and costly. But democracy was never going to have a virgin birth in a place like Iraq, which has never known any such thing.
Maybe it’s Friedman, and maybe it’s me, but given some of the rhetoric we’ve heard over the last seven years, it’s a macabre choice of words, because—
Democracy in Iraq can only come about after we have ______ the country.
Then again, maybe I’m not the one to ask. After all, I’m a Freudian.
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Excerpt: Life Against Death, by Norman O. Brown
… it is a Freudian theorem that each individual neurosis is not static but dynamic. It is a historical process with its own internal logic. Because of the basically unsatisfactory nature of the neurotic compromise, tension between the repressed and repressing factors persists and produces a constant series of new symptom-formations. And the series of symptom-formations is not a shapeless series of mere changes; it exhibits a regressive pattern, which Freud calls the slow return of the repressed, “It is a law of neurotic diseases that these obsessive acts serve the impulse more and more and come nearer and nearer the original and forbidden act.” The doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind, if we take it seriously, therefore compels us to entertain the hypothesis that the pattern of history exhibits a dialectic not hitherto recognized by historians, the dialectic of neurosis.
Brown, Norman O. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1959.