I argued before that the thinking of post-modernist atheists is rooted in Freud’s notion of the Id. Yet psychiatrist Dr. Tanveer Ahmed argues that their thinking is actually rooted in the super-ego. What is the super-ego?
The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one’s parents and others…… The superego’s function is to control the id’s impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.
Here is the video of Ahmed making his case (HT: TFBW)
At first glance, it seems Ahmed has a point, as the self-righteous moralizing of the postmodernists would appear as if the superego is in control (and out of control). But a closer look tells another story.
As mentioned in the link above, the function of the superego is to control the id’s impulses. But I would argue that is not what is happening with your social justice activists. What has occurred is some type of Freudian mutation, where the Id has learned how to control, and thus enslave, the super-ego. While it may sound like social justice activists are moralizing when they speak, could it be that their Id is using their superego like a sockpuppet?
Keep in mind the Id’s basic impulses are sexual and aggression. Now, notice how the social justice activists are using the superego to defend and advocate for these impulses. When it comes to the sexual drive, it’s rather obvious. We’re talking about a movement that treats one’s sexual identity as some type of moral accomplishment. And apart from the issue of rape, which is used to bash white heterosexual men, all forms of sexual expression are treated as something akin to a moral good. What’s more, the Id is using the superego to insist those who stand in the way of its impulses are bad. Thus, we see stories trying to shame teen heterosexual boys for not wanting to date trans-girls. We read scholarly papers arguing that the only reason heterosexual men don’t have anal sex is because they cling to a homophobic taboo and we need to help eliminate that taboo in high school sex ed courses. We also see the polyamory crowd not merely rationalizing their swinging lifestyle, but actually begin to argue that monogamy is bad and the cause of various social ills. The Id’s sexual drive is becoming part of the superego.
As for the aggression instinct, that too is being propped up by the social justice activists’ superego. The obvious example here is their “Punch a Nazi” campaign. Clearly, their superego is hard at work trying to morally justify the Id’s aggressive impulses. That’s also why shutting down public talks with aggressive actions, even those that might include violence, are viewed as something that is morally good.
So the postmodernists do not represents a superego that is out of control; they represent an Id that is in control of the superego.
And how did they get to this dysfunctional state? I would propose this is where atheism comes into the picture. If you take away the existence of God, this will weaken the superego for most. For it is a belief in God’s existence that confers some form of authority to the superego, an authority strong enough to control the Id when no one is looking. Thus, by denying the existence of God, the superego can become so weak that it is eventually hijacked by the Id. While I am not saying this is the case for all atheists, it does help explain how atheism gave birth to postmodernism and today’s social justice warriors.