Until I read Andrew Ferguson’s piece on it in the New York Sun, I had missed New York magazine’s “Bush on the Couch,” in which the president is psychoanalyzed by the likes of Newsweek’s Jon Alter, historian Alan Brinkley, Dr. Peter D. “Listening to Prozac” Kramer, and our old pal Dahlia Lithwick, whose incoherence in the face of being criticized by Charlotte Allen (see below) makes us wonder if she should be listening to Peter D (see righties can put people on the couch too!).

Andy says these folks are pseuds and offers some helpful insights on how to identify a pseudo:

“There are lots of ways to identify a pseud, that over-schooled, undereducated poser who places the highest value on appearing sophisticated rather than on sophistication itself.

“One mark is his belief that whoever disagrees with him must be intellectually deficient somehow – the owner of a mind far punier than the finely tuned organ the pseud is fortunate to enjoy.

“But assuming the stupidity of other people gets boring, and pseuds have short attention spans. And sometimes one’s political opponent seems too crafty to be merely dumb.

“That’s when the pseud calls in the heavy artillery of bogus psychologizing. The fellow with whom you disagree is not merely a dope, he’s a nut. And the surest evidence of his psychopathology is that he disagrees with you.

“Psychologizing disagreements accomplishes several goals at once.

“The circularity of the argument makes the pseud’s position seem impenetrable. He gets to maintain his customary pose of detached sophistication even as he exercises the crassest kind of ideological opportunism.

“And best of all, the trick forecloses the possibility of genuine debate. What could be more pointless than engaging the ideas of crazy people? Pseuds hate ideas.”

I think the inability on the part of people in cushy intellectual jobs to see Iraq as an important front on an existentialist battle for our very existence, seeing it instead as a personal psychological drama, does not bode well for the 400-year-old American project.