OUR Liberals and Mental Disorder

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Not every liberal idiot is the same kind of idiot, and some "liberals" (I'll duck from Jack's and Jacob's crossfire while I say this) are not idiots at all.

The issue arises because in a bunch of our recent discussions here the idea has been floated that "liberalism is a mental disorder." While many Americans might be nodding along with this line of reasoning I am compelled to point out that the reality of the situation is not so simple.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Kevin are without question "liberals" - in the sense that they seem to support the tried and true liberal positions on abortion, illegal immigration, gay marriage and a few other issues - but they are also open to suggestion on seemingly every issue. We've all been able to discuss these subjects with a fair amount of give and take. I think I've conceded some points and I know they have as well. Stay Puft, aka General Gozer, has steered me toward enlightening data about gay marriage, for instance, and I like to think I might have painted for the General a realistic picture about the local effects of illegal immigration that he would not otherwise have seen up there in the U of M ivory tower.

Having spent a day with Kevin here in Sterling (and looking forward to spending an outing on the Chesapeake next month) I can say with certainty he is a "liberal" who nonetheless has common sense and an open mind. He brews good beer, which covers a LOT of other potential shortcomings. We might butt heads over the top level, general controversies, but when the conversation turns to specifics - such as who is committing actual crimes and what should be done about it - we often find ourselves in agreement.

Zimzo, on the other hand, is more of a rock solid ideologue who does not converse so much as hold forth. As far as I've seen, he gives no quarter in our discussions here. It might be suggested, in fact, that Zimzo has no interest in seeking common ground but simply wishes to screw with the heads of those he disagrees with, launching ad hominem attacks and non sequitors into the conversation with the aim of short circuiting any positive outcome to the discussion.

Yes, they are all "liberals," but they certainly are not the same kind of liberals.

To the question of whether liberalism is a mental disorder, then, the additional question must be asked: What type of "liberalism" do you mean?

I am going to posit the existence of a strand of liberal thought which might be called "paranoid liberalism."

As the historian Richard Hofstadter observed in his masterful essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, the "paranoid style" is characterized as "overheated, oversuspicious, overaggressive, grandiose, and apocalyptic in expression," and marked by belief in "the existence of a vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character." It is a form of liberalism which rates its opposition not on the basis of what the actual opponents have said or done, but on supposed insidious motivations and inclinations discerned by the paranoiac.

Sound familiar? Yes, it does. Mr. Zimzo, come on down!

Paranoid liberalism does not seek common ground in debate, because it views its opponents as purely evil. The object of discussion is therefore NOT to arrive at rational points of agreement or disagreement, but rather to unmask the enemy and quash the opponents' desired goals.

This explains, I believe, why Zimzo is such a pain in the ass.

So, back to the original question of "mental disorders:" I think it should be clearly noted that "liberalism" is too broad a term to be useful when the conversation includes a variety of participants who differ both in doctrine and temperment. "Conservative" is certainly not a useful blanket description, nowadays. Bill Kristol and Lindsay Graham and I are all "conservative" on some issues, but we are far apart on other issues, including those involving the illegal immigrants who rake the sand traps and serve our poolside beverages. I don't golf and I don't have a pool. By the same token, some "liberals" are quite reasonable and may only differ from "conservatives" on any given topic in a matter of degrees. These are normal folks whom we should not condemn as mentally disordered, at least insofar as the kegs not having been tapped on any given evening - alcohol being the great leveler, mental disorder-wise.

But in regard to the paranoids, it is a different story. Paranoid liberalism, we can safely say, IS a mental disorder, on display here in spades.

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28 Comments

stay puft said:

hmmm, I was looking at immigration at the international level, and not so much at the local level, true true. You have shown that the situation is more complex than I first thought.

I agree that paranoia has for a long time been a driving force of American politics. I don't think it's accurate to say that it's a only liberal thing. If anything, it's an American thing... and it's kind of unfortunate, I think.

In all honesty, it's interesting that you'd relate paranoia and liberalism, because I've always seen a connection between conservatism and paranoia.

...sort of the "red scare" McCarthyism kind of paranoia. The, "if we loose the war in _____ the whole world will fall to the _____" paranoia.

the "liberals want to destroy christmas" paranoia

or "Democrats are working to maintain high levels of poverty in the inner cities"

or "we should round up Arabs like we did to the Japanese during WWII"

or "Immigrants are seeking to reconquer America in the name of some ancient Inca god."

"Gay marriage will destroy our way of life"

"Global Warming is a conspiratorial ploy by liberal climate scientists to take over the world/get more research grants"

let's break that quote of yours down:

"overheated - Ann Coulter
oversuspicious - Security moms, Jack
overaggressive - attacking Iraq in response to the actions of a handful of saudis
grandiose - "we're doing God's work be spreading freedom"
and apocalyptic - "If we pull out of iraq, terrorists will nuke Americain"
and marked by belief in "the existence of a vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character." - Al Qaeda: Terrorism Inc.? "Don't trust the pizza guy, he might be a terrorist on a recon mission!"

Kevin said:

Stay Puft, "In all honesty, it's interesting that you'd relate paranoia and liberalism, because I've always seen a connection between conservatism and paranoia." Here here! *raises glass*

And to all the rest of your comment, really. Also, I think Had Enough can be included in here somewhere too.

Joe, I too look forward to the open waters. And I wouldn't be so sure about the abortion issue, necessarily. In fact I'm not so sure about it. That's why I rarely comment on it other than to say, the argument can't be won. Because it can't.

eileen said:

Nice write-up, Joe! I am a proud liberal and that VV post really hurt. I can't stop thinking about how there are fellow bloggers out there that think I'm to blame for the tragedy at VT.

Bottomline is just be very very careful with the labels. Remember that for 99% of us we have our patriotism in common. And it is with that we can help each other heal.

zimzo said:

And so we come full circle. Here was my very first comment on your wee blog nearly a year ago when you were then also speculating that liberalism was a mental disorder:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/06/carnival_of_wijf_ace_on_progre.php

"It's fascinating that you seem to need to believe that liberals don't just have a different opinion from you, but actually suffer from some sort of intellectual deficiency or psychological malady. I wonder if this answers some deep-seated psychological need on your part, Joe, a twinge of self doubt that you have suppressed deep in your psyche. Perhaps to feel good about yourself and your ideas, you need to believe that there is something wrong with those who disagree with you. Of course, it's not possible that liberals and conservatives both care about this country but have different ideas about what's best for it. No, you need to believe that you care just a little more. Then again, psychoanalyzing people over the Internet is a pretty inexact science no matter how well you think you know the other person."

As Puffy pointed out those adjectives could describe any number of conservatives. As for me I don't believe that conservatives are all evil or arrayed in "international conspiratorial network." I think Oswald acted alone and that the Trilateral Commission is as insidious as a frat. But if you need to believe that I believe that go right ahead, Joe.
Apparently we can't expect anything new from you since the great tape loop inside your brain has wound back to the beginning again. And so it goes.

Jack said:

The insanity of the left is evident in their refusal to deal with facts. For instance, puffalump's insistance that more money is necessary for "underfunded inner-city schools," when those schools get far more money than other school districts that do much better.

A second example is their insistance that gun control will reduce crime, when the results of gun control in England and Australia show the opposite. The following comment was posted over at the Virginia Progressive: "although there has admittedly been a steep rise in gun crime in the UK, at least the problem is being tackled in a positive, socially responsible way, rather than suggesting everyone take up arms." http://vaprogressive.com/?p=1954

My response was: "So restricting one's right to self-defense and putting your citizens in greater danger for a solution that admittedly does not work is positive and socially responsible?"

Unable to make a coherent argument, Virginia Progressive simply deleted my comment, twice.

He also deleted (four times) my comment that pointed out that the White murder rate was on par with Canada's, while Canada's violent crime rate is three times as high as ours.

He had no argument, so he deleted my comment.

Is that sane behavior?

Eileen, if this blog cannot serve as a focal point for seeking common ground and societal healing, then it should not exist at all. I'm certainly thinking of you along with our resident non-paranoid liberals.

Zimzo, I did not think of you as paranoid or crazy then. Now, I do.

Jack, I think you are mixing up "insanity" with "misinformation."

Jacob, they have reading glasses at Costco for like $10. Good investment!

Jack said:

I am sure that I am not, Joe. Some may consider it not insanity but willful ignorance (as is, "ignoring facts").

I consider willful ignorance on important matters -- matters of life and death in some cases -- a sign of insanity.

Brian said:

Liberal censorship should not be surprising. Just look at any lineup on any of the Sunday morning talk shows on any week and you'll notice more liberals than conservatives. And not because the talking heads' opinions are necessarily representative of the American people.

That said, there are good-hearted people on both sides of any issue. Its worth trying to converse with those one disagrees with even if they refuse to afford you the opportunity to express your viewpoint, (though perhaps not 4 times).

Jack said:

Good-hearted people? Certainly. It's their heads that have a problem.

That's why I have called the Democrats "The Ignorant lead by the Evil."

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

jacob said:

Brian,
Like I said earlier, we are better off with the likes of Marshmalow and Kevin and even our resident crazy aunt in the attic zimzo, than to not have them.

zimzo said:

Joe on April 12:

"As to the question about why our visitors are majority communist, I'd say it has to do with the consistently civil and cerebral level of debate here. Regardless of ideology, all good men appreciate an even-handed conversation."

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2007/04/what_do_you_think.php

Yeah, right.

Jack said:

Zimzo, you have never been civil nor cerebral.

Zimzo is also a tad slow when it comes to humor. A few weeks ago I wrote a comment in which I said liberals are bigoted against conservatives and aligned myself with Torquemada. Zimzo responded with an overwrought, melodramatic set up ending with "It was you, Joe: You called us bigots."

I am guessing no one else jumped on my case for the "majority communist" remark because THEY GOT THE JOKE along with the "civil and cerebral" description of the blog.

I guess what this means is either we need to begin using little ;) symbols all over the place or just settle for the fact that Zimzo will be always taking offense at what we write.

Hmm. After careful consideration I must vote for the latter.

zimzo said:

Maybe the problem is that you don't get that I do get your stupid jokes. If you would prefer, I'll put a "Ha Ha" every time I quote something you write that is "funny." But in the instance above, you were trying to make a serious point, I assume, which is that you pride yourself on providing a "civil and cerebral level of debate." My point, if I have to spell it out, is that accusing your opponents of having a "mental disorder" no matter how "ironic" your intent is at odds with this claim. I could not care less that you seem to feel the need to make my pseudonym the butt of your jokes, because, after all, it is just a pseudonym and one whose original intention was to screw with your head since you are the only one who knows the secret behind it, but I think you are a little disingenuous when you claim to want "civil and cerebral level of debate" and then stoop to adolescent name-calling, drive away commentors like David and Jonathan with truly reprehensible personal attacks and continue to refuse to say one word about Jack's egregious behavior, which is directed at everyone who disagrees with him.

Jack said:

I direct my egregious behavior at those who lie and ignore facts and logic. I have disgreed with Joe on occasion, and even with Jacob, who is my "good" twin.

I blast the like of David when he cannot answer a simple question such as, "You said 'churches' were desecrated, but only one was mentioned in the link. What other churches were desecrated?" Or like the simple question, "Would you rather have too many police present, or too few?"

He simply refuses to answer such questions, as do you, zimzo.

Jack said:

Speaking of disagreeing, I must say, Joe, that it is very easy to misinterpret humor without the auditory clues of speach. I know how my own voice sounds in my ears, and Jacob's, but I have never heard zimzo's voice or puffalump's, nor have they ever heard mine. A comment I make that would be an obvious joke to Jacob might come off as quite serious to zimzo or puffalump.

jacob said:

I am in agreement with Jack on this, I have missed cues and then realised, too late, that I took something seriously that was meant as a joke. Usually after I hit the send button on a flame.

No, Zimzo, you still don't get it, which is surprising considering how much time you've spent here.

While I am pretty easy to get along with and more libertarian than "conservative" in my personal beliefs, I would not consider this project "cerebral." THAT was a joke.

The reason I thought the joke would be obvious is that I recently penned the argument for calling John Edwards a faggot, along with the characterization of Ann Coulter as an angel, following my damning of the entire Virginia Republican establishment to hell, following an ever expanding repertoire here which should have established by now that "me" and "cerebral" are concepts which can only be linked via irony.

Civility is overrated, because as a guiding principle it can lead to sublimation of emotions and real disagreements which ought to be brought out into the open. But while I am certainly not a voice crying out for civility, as a matter of good manners I think we do practice it here most of the time.

Often, it takes a good measure of civility just to allow a serious, solid disagreement to come to fruition. So there's that.

As to how I "pride myself," let me spell it out for you: I don't. Sheesh, if anything was obvious about this sordid little endeavor, I'd have thought it would be that fact.

Finally, no one would be picking on your "pseudonym" if the person wearing it did not engage in such a sophomoric mode of discussion: obfuscating, changing the subject, basically what you do nearly all the time.

And don't hand me your sanctimonious, mock-horrified, self-pitying bullsh-t about how you are supposedly being mistreated here. You know exactly what you are doing.

Jack and Jacob, you make good points, but frankly I just can't do the emoticon thing. For some reason it does not mesh with my personality to indicate when I am serious and when I am joking.

Let's just assume I am ALWAYS joking, ok? Then if I happen to say something serious, we'll all make note of it and nod sagely to one another.

If you guys want to start using emoticons, however, be my guests. Some people are quite skillful with it.

Jack said:

Well, Joe, I didn't get it either. Shame on me for taking you seriously. I will henceforth assume you are joking until you use the :-| emoticon, OK?

Jack, that is a pretty frickin' good idea, near genius, I must say. :-|

Well, you three are like peas in a pod, then aren't you. No wonder the strange unspoken affinity. I suppose I could set up two alternate views for the page, one for regular viewing, and one bedecked with "helper" signals to indicate where jokes and sarcasm begin and end.

We'll call the latter the "JJZ" view.

Hey, I strongly recommend Marx Brothers movies - every time Groucho wiggles his eyebrows you know you're supposed to laugh. It's very well constructed stuff.

Honestly, though: If in one sentence I refer to our liberal visitors as "majority communist" and then immediately afterwards refer to this blog as "civil and cerebral" - isn't the irony obvious? I.e. it's not very civil to call people communists. Is Mod 5-19 the only one who gets my jokes? Are the rest of you guys on your fifth beer by the time you visit this blog each day? :-|

Kevin said:

Could you also make the one with emoticons subscription only?

I, for one, am usually on my 7th beer. And that's not easy to do before 6AM. :-|

Ted said:

http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/228-2239477.smil

How about the Irish illegals?

Here is an interview that Bill O'Reilly did on Irish Television. In it, the interviewer mentions how the families of illegal Irish Immigrants are upset that these illegals can't visit home because if they do, they won't be let back in.

http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/228-2239477.smil

I wish O'Reilly had stated the obvious to that interviewer. Why should illegal Irish immigrants expect to be able to travel back and forth between Ireland and the United States when by definition they aren't supposed to be in the United States to begin with?

zimzo said:

Clever strategy, Joe. If I ever write anything idiotic and embarrassing, like your defense of Ann Coulter, I'm going to use this strategy and claim that it was really just a joke but that everyone else was too stupid to get it.

I also have another idea for how we can let people know that something we are writing is a joke so there won't be any misunderstandings in the future. From now on, let's make sure our jokes are actually funny. I think that would work better than emoticons.

Jack said:

I'm starting to think I need 5-7 to get your jokes.

No Zimzo, you STILL don't get it. Let me break this one down for you: Defending Ann Coulter is not a joke because as I've made clear I think Ann Coulter is wonderful and ends up catching flack she does not deserve.

Calling her an "angel" however is a joke because she certainly is "no angel" in any normal vernacular sense, nor is she any type of squeaky clean, perfect Mother Theresa-type individual. I believe I referred to her as a flamethrower of the right and as simply a columnist who is trying to get a rise out of people.

And since this is you I am speaking to, Zimzo, I will also explain I do not really think Ann Coulter is a higher being, intermediary between God and man, because I do understand she is only a normal human.

And believe me, you have written plenty of things idiotic and embarrassing - but since you seem a little light in the self awareness department I will grant that this is news to you.

Further news: If you don't get the jokes by now you are not going to, so unfortunately the jokes are not going to get any "funnier." For you, anyway.

zimzo said:

Now I get it. I can't believe it took me so long to catch on. All this time, Joe, you've been pretending to be a conservative like Stephen Colbert, except not as funny. Your whole persona is actually one big joke. I should have known that someone as intelligent as you can't really believe Ann Coulter is "wonderful." I probably should have caught on after the first few over-the-top outbursts expressing horror at the idea of gay people kissing (in front of children!) or one of your texts lifted from 19th-century Know Nothing pamphlets about crazed drunk criminal immigrants should have clued me in. The thing is, there are actually people who believe this stuff so you can understand why I didn't get it at first. I mean there are people who actually still believe Bush is competent and that we're on the verge of winning in Iraq so it's understandable why the satire went right past me. Now that I understand everything you say is a joke, it all makes perfect sense.

Jack said:

There are also people who, despite clear evidence to the contrary, think gun control reduces violent crime, that lack of money is the reason inner-city public schools are failing our children, and that socialism works.

We'll help you out from now on, Zimzo, don't worry. :-|

And my apologies for circulating that old 19th century Know Nothing canard about Virginia teenagers being killed by a drunk illegal alien driver. The whole thing is a ruse invented by Samuel Morse (who by the way also invented the telegraph).

More anti-Latino lies and fabrications here:

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55325

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