The Corpus Callosum

title="The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness"
alt="" src="http://www.worldnetdaily.com/images/misc/B1013.jpg"
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A
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 href="http://grampus.blogtownhall.com/2006/12/16/madness_of_liberalism.thtml">this
one:

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
of authoritarianism.  

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
site
:

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
social institutions.  

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
no purpose.  

I suspect that the real reason for this work is that he wants to create
controversy.  He is intentionally being provocative.
 It works, too, as illustrated by href="http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4610">these
href="http://www.lolife.com/blog/2008/02/dr-lyle-rossiter-is-incompeten.html">comment
href="http://www.jessicaswell.com/mt/archives/2008/04/the-liberal-mind.php">threads.

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
what?

Comments

  1. #1 Colugo
    April 21, 2008

    Have you read Coturnix’s posts on conservatism as mental illness? There is a literature on the psychological origins and diagnosis of conservatives and liberals. Which side is crazier? Depends on the paper. I’m generally not impressed with these studies, with are used by partisans to pathologize the other side rather than engaging their ideas. The same with the ‘religious belief as mental illness / mental wellness’ genre. Fanaticism and authoritarianism have both left wing and right wing, as well as religious and secular, variants.

  2. #2 stumpy
    April 21, 2008

    Say what you will about Dr. Rossiter’s thesis; at least he knows his way around a semicolon.

  3. #3 Left_Wing_Fox
    April 21, 2008

    They are hardly the same: there are authoritarian liberals, such as Stalin

    Ouch. Please understand that I’m not trying to be reflexive here in defending liberalism, but I certainly would not call Stalin “Liberal”.

    While both are variations of the egalitarian principal that generally defines “The Left”, radical Marxist/Leninist philosophy that gave rise to Stalin rejects liberal philosophies of representative government and the free market in favor of a temporary dictatorship that would abolish private ownership of property, then lay the groundwork for a completely classless society before obsoleting itself.

    It’s a pet peeve of mine that right-wing operatives continually and intentionally confuse “Liberalism”, “Socialism”, and “Communism”. While they all share a general commitment to ideological egalitarianism, they are distinct and different structures that can be evaluated independently, rather than this vague threat of the “Other”.

    Personally, if you want to give examples of Liberal authoritarianism, I would choose the likes of FDR, with court packing and the New Deal, while remaining within the framework of a liberal system. Hugo Chavez also comes to mind, as he’s pushing and extending the limits of his authority while still acting within a democratic system.

  4. #4 stumpy
    April 21, 2008

    Plus, I think the guy that runs this blog is originally from Croatia.

  5. #5 Laird Wilcox
    April 22, 2008

    This is a fairly typical name-calling book that seeks to delegitimize the author’s opponents. The same thing has been done even more frequently to conservatives. In each case it’s an attempt to avoid analyzing or debating points of view by utilizing ad hominem. I suspect this book will sell a thousand or so copies to people who already agree with it’s premises. Not to worry.

  6. #6 Michael O.
    May 29, 2008

    Don’t get lost in minutiae. You’ll spend your life blindly latched to endless symptomatic manifestations while remaining unconscious to the core issue.

    If you’re tied to emotion and prefer to deny facts, then stop reading HERE. Otherwise, read on.

    Liberalism… indeed any form of “-ism,” develops, exists within, and forcefully propagates the mental delusion of PROJECTION for the specific purpose of political and social manipulation and control.

    Emotional deniers, “true believers” and “the peeved” aside, the category of Liberalism per se ABSOLUTELY includes; Stalinism, Fascism, National Socialism, Communism, Socialism, Progressivism. Their only difference is one of degree, and that’s just a superficial and symptomatic DISTRACTION unworthy of argument.

    All “isms” of this form ultimately self-destruct because they’re based upon fatally flawed behavioral models, false assumptions and premises. As such, they can only survive through mass ignorance, denial, abdication and intimidation.

    Freud may have brought the term PROJECTION into the 20th century lexicon, but he simply extracted it from GENESIS. Fighting PROJECTION is what Judaic and Buddist theology (East & West) is all about, providing guidance to deal with mankind’s struggle between his true identity (eternal good) and false ego (temporal evil).

    A contemporary psychological definition of this conflict is defined as SCHIZOPHRENIA, which is a SEVERE mental disorder. Since the Liberal mind is dominated by the false ego, certain behaviors result;
    - fearful/habitual denial of facts/accountability,
    - self-hate and detachment from reality,
    - violent/fearful projection against any/all threats to the false ego,
    - rationalizing all forms of theft/violence in order to achieve transient goals of the moment…

    Now take a collective breath and release all those false attachments to temporal external forms….

  7. #7 Joe West
    May 8, 2009

    LOL..

    Liberals get all butthurt when someone writes a book that exposes their insanity..

    Conservatives have your number you yapping dogs…

    Rail on you metrosexuals…

  8. #8 salome
    May 15, 2009

    of course it’s a mind disorder.
    ex.–if you have kids attending your local fully integrated school system, ask another lib with kids there too,what’s their thinking about social promotions,scholarships for minorities only(nothing for whitie)and the BEST one : lower standards for them to acquire these scholarships as the kids ALL HAD the same teachers,classes,textbooks etc.,they sat side by side for 12 years.
    Then ask them about illegal aliens getting welfare,wic,foodstamps,section 8and medicaid all while working tax free.
    They’re 100% delusional even to the point of letting the unqualified get scholarships ahead of their own children,get admission to good schools on lower standards and eat better than their own families all at OUR expense.
    Now ,of course according to their libtard standards, I am a racist due to bringing up RACIAL preferential treatment.