while back, a guy named Lyle Rossiter wrote a book, The
Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.
I haven’t read the book, so this is one of those posts that
is less than fully authoritative. Perhaps someone who has
read it can point out any errors I might have made.
The book was published by Free World Books, LLC, which is not exactly a
marketing powerhouse. In fact, as far as I can tell, it is
the only book put out by that particular publisher. So I am
guessing that I won’t get any corrections from people who read it,
because hardly anyone even knows about it.
Someone pointed it out to me, though, based upon a link to a post on 15
February, 2008, at World Net Daily. I searched a bit and
found some excerpts from the book.
There are excerpts at Townhall.com, such as this
His neurosis is evident in his ideals and fantasies;
in his self-righteousness, arrogance and grandiosity; in his self-pity;
in his demands for indulgence and exemption from accountability; in his
claims to entitlements; in what he gives and withholds; and in his
protests that nothing done voluntarily is enough to satisfy him. Most
notably, the radical liberal’s neurosis is evident in his extravagant
political demands, in his furious protests against economic freedom, in
his arrogant contempt for morality, in his angry defiance of civility,
in his bitter attacks on freedom of association, in his aggressive
assault on individual liberty. And in the final analysis, the
irrationality of the radical liberal is most apparent in his ruthless
use of force to control the lives of others.
He goes on, at great length. His argument starts with a straw
man: he takes everything he doesn’t like about some liberals, and
weaves these together to create a caricature, then criticizes the
caricature as though it fairly represents all liberals.
In doing so, he manages to conflate the concept of liberalism with that
The liberal cure for this endless malaise is a very
large authoritarian government that regulates and manages society
through a cradle to grave agenda of redistributive caretaking.
They are hardly the same: there are authoritarian liberals, such as
Stalin (who, by the way, made of point of calling his opponents
mentally ill), and libertarian liberals, such as the Dalai Lama.
After constructing the straw man, he forges his argument with bad
psychology. From his own
The Liberal Mind reveals the madness of the modern
liberal for what it is: a massive transference neurosis acted out in
the world’s political arenas, with devastating effects on the
institutions of liberty.
Rossiter is a Forensic Psychiatrist. His CV makes no mention
of analytic training, so I suppose I won’t fault him to badly for not
really understanding what transference is. What I will fault
him for is his use of a concept that he clearly does not understand.
Transference is a psychological process is which a person takes
characteristics of one person, and attributes those characteristics to
another person. Transference takes place in the context of a
relationship between two people. The term usually is
understood to refer to a process that takes place within the context of
a psychotherapeutic relationship. It does not make sense to
say that all liberals, collectively, have a transference to a set of
I suppose he could refer to this as a “transference-like phenomenon,”
but that is not what he said.
He concludes that liberals are, collectively, mentally ill.
My biggest objection to this is that it is completely
pointless. Even if his arguments were valid, they would serve
The reason to define an illness is so that it can be treated.
If he has no intention of developing or offering treatment,
then his arguments serve no purpose. For example, one could
make a case that left-handedness is a illness. You could
study it, understand the pathophysiology, compile incidence data and
mortality statistics, etc. But there would be no point.
Imagine that he is correct: liberals are mentally ill. So