- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Freud’s fraud

“Freud’s reputation remains as great today as it was in my youth, when the Kleinians, the Jungians and the Adlerians were disputing his legacy. The idea of sexual repression has entered the culture, as has the doctrine (not one of Freud’s) that repression is harmful. It is almost universally assumed that the mind has a large unconscious component, that the sex drive (the ‘libido’) is the motive of our primary attachments, and that we all have ‘complexes’ instilled in childhood according to the archetypal patterns proposed by Freud. And every now and then some commentator will tell us that these assumptions are not merely true but also the proven results of a genuine science.

“Freud, who assumed the mask of the objective observer, who presented his results as the inescapable conclusions of arduous empirical study, who repeatedly claimed that his psychological discoveries would one day be grounded in biology, is now widely accepted at mask-value. …

“What evidence does Freud adduce for the existence of the Oedipus complex? … What evidence does he adduce for the theory of infant sexuality? … At every point where scientific method might impose its logic on the argument, Freud stepped sideways into metaphor, asserting with dogmatic intransigence that this is how things are because this is how they must be.”

— Roger Scruton, writing on “Sigmund Fraud,” in the May 6 issue of the British magazine the Spectator

Ghastly madness

“On the way home from work … I found myself idling behind a car featuring a bumper sticker … that instantly aroused my contempt. It read: ‘Stop breeding.’ …

“To eliminate the possibility of procreation from human sexuality requires a settled violence against things as they are: against, in short, the nature of man. To hate the ends and worship the means is a very special sort of madness and fraud. …

“In all this broken world, there are few mountebanks as detestable as the Apostle of Barrenness. Or as ghastly.”

— Paul J. Cella III, writing on “Birth Patrol,” in the May issue of Touchstone

Film fireworks

“‘Mission: Impossible 3’ is a movie powered entirely by blockbuster gusto. Narrative essentials like plot, character, background detail and story resolution are all secondary to the frenzied movement from one action sequence to the next. It is a film that exists entirely in the current moment, the only concern being how to escape the immediate peril, no matter what has happened before or what might happen after.

“Spy films, it seems, are the perfect place in which to explore the dynamics of a marital relationship. After all, if marriages are built on trust and the lives of spies are carved out of lies, then the combination of the two ought to be a recipe for delicious dramatic tension. … [T]he fact that we are seeing this conflict with increasing regularity suggests a prevailing modern anxiety about how to reconcile the necessary secrecy of the business world with the need for honesty at home.

“Of course, as with most movies of this type, relationships are merely a diversion from the parade of extravagant action set pieces. True to form, the movie is loaded with dazzling disasters; it’s as fine a fireworks show as your local multiplex is likely to see this summer.”

— Peter Suderman, writing on “Cruisin’ For a Bruisin’,” Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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