OUR Liberals and Mental Disorder
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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