Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dopamine-Junkie Politics

James Delingpole and Iain Martin both wrote despairing articles in yesterday's Telegraph, asking why on Earth David Cameron is prioritising gay marriage now, risking seriously damaging his party at a time when so many other issues need his attention, not least our huge economic problems, the Euro-implosion and the ominous moves towards a proto-fascist European dictatorship only 21 miles across the channel. You could, of course, write much the same on a whole host of issues, from the madness of wind farms to international aid.

Some see this all as classic displacement activity: the issues facing the country being so overwhelming that the government has given up trying to solve them, and instead engages in fripperies. Others see a more cynical motive, suggesting that engineering a row over, say, gay marriage conveniently redirects the public's attention from areas the government would rather we don't concentrate on. Still others, the kind who see Bilderbergers under every bed, see it all as some vast conspiracy.

But I have another explanation. To my mind David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the entire Liberal elite are severely chemically addicted, and their addiction impairs their judgment to such an extent it renders them unfit for public office.

I am not suggesting that Cameron spends his evenings in some seedy crack den, or Clegg his "chasing the dragon", although both images have a certain grisly appeal.

No. The substance to which they are addicted is the naturally occurring hormone dopamine. Dopamine controls pleasure sensations in the brain and is linked to feelings such as high self-esteem. Not surprisingly, given their insufferably smug sense of superiority, studies have suggested that liberals have higher concentrations of dopamine in their bodies compared to conservatives. Probably this is because most such people have known nothing but easy success their entire lives, and thus think rather highly of themselves: anyone who has had the dubious pleasure of working in elite liberal circles can attest to the endless mutual ego-masturbation and self-validation that passes for discourse within them. Read the Guardian and you'll get the idea immediately.

It's narcissism, in other words, a psychological condition that has afflicted increasing numbers of people from the 1960s baby-boomers onwards in our post-Christian age. But any such high, natural or otherwise, can to some extent become addictive, and the classic symptom of the Dopamine-Junkie is the inability to confront situations that do not make you feel good about yourself.

Dopamine addiction affects our politics in countless ways, all of them malign. For instance, Nick Clegg was recently berated for confusing the budget deficit with the national debt. Many thought he was being deliberately disingenuous, but a far more likely explanation is that he just didn't care. To him and his fellow Dopamine-Junkies, questions of logic are just boring, sterile and dry: they don't supply the necessary emotional "hit", and therefore have no appeal.

On a far more grotesque level, yesterday's award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, at the same time as violence, despair and neo-Nazi movements once again stalk the continent, is perhaps the ultimate sign of advanced dopamine addiction amongst the political elites.

And those political elites exhibit other signs of advanced addiction too. Namely the tendency to mix only with other addicts, a growing lack of curiosity in the outside world and not least an aggressive denial that you have any form of problem.

The rise of our dopamine-addled liberal elites is of course a tragedy of enormous proportions for our country, Europe and the world, resulting as it has in endlessly mad policy priorities. However, it does give UKIP enormous advantages we may otherwise not have: namely the widespread refusal of those addicted to believe we form any kind of serious threat. Like all addicts, they simply can not imagine a world where their highs are one day denied them. But as life gets progressively meaner and poorer for most people, there is less and less toleration for the self-indulgences of our masters, hence UKIP's rise in the polls.

And all highs must end eventually.

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