Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I think some liberals, fewer conservatives and most Muslims are pathological.

Editors note: The political entities that affect the national consciousness the most are Conservatism, Liberalism, and Islam. This article examines the pathological aspects of all of these paradigms. This a very important article and I encourage all people to read it. Yes, it is long by today's standards, but the subject matter influences all of us every day. Please give me feedback, 

Why I think some liberals, fewer conservatives and most Muslims are pathological.

Personality Disorders and True Believers

My purpose here is not to persuade or debate, but to make clear my own thinking on this subject.  The very nature of the pathology I write about precludes listening to opposing views or being rational.  Another name for the pathology I describe is “true believer”.

For a philosophical perspective on group pathology, please familiarize your self with Eric Hoffer and his book “The True Believer”. If you have any familiarity with the story of Jim Jones and his Jonestown Kool-Aid mass suicide, or of the group suicide of the members of the cult who found new meaning in the passage of the Hale Bop comet, or of the mental make up of those who bought into the seven seals dogma of David Koresh in the fatal Waco fiasco, then you will recognize that which Hoffer describes. Read this book for further insight into the fanaticism of the holy warriors of Islam, and perhaps it will steel your resolve for the long struggle.

I hop around the internet forums quite a bit.  In fact I have taken to deliberately provoking debates and keeping track of the irrational responses, personal attacks, ad hominem arguments, logical absurdities, hyperbole, extreme examples (would everybody please quit comparing your favorite villain to Hitler,) and hard-headed, narrow-mindedness in general.

I have been collecting on-line responses to illustrate the premise that members of “movements” have certain predictable responses to information that contradicts their “faith” or “party line.”  In almost any “faith group” there are beliefs that are irrational and will not stand up to logical examination.  It is amazing how  political parties, special interest groups, advocacy groups, religions, doctors, nationalists, philosophical schools of thought, and even scientists, are so narrow minded about information that contradicts their particular paradigm. 

If you want to see this kind of pathology rear up in front of your own eyes, try some of the following experiments:

1.       With black forums: present conclusive historical documentation that the American slave trade depended on Black African chieftains who either sold their own tribe members into slavery or captured other tribe members and sold them as slaves to the Arabs who controlled the slave trade.  I add the historical fact that it was white abolitionists who ran the “underground railroads” and fought slavery in America and a Republican President ended slavery over the objection of a majority of Democrats.  This brief history of slavery in American provoked death threats against me and my family:
Of all 1,515,605 families in the 15 slave states in 1860, nearly 400,000 held slaves (roughly one in four),[3] amounting to 8% of all American families.  So at the apex of slavery in the United States only 8% of American families owned staves and some of those slaves were owned by black Americans.  

So why do modern day blacks blame the entire white race for slavery when in fact it was white Americans who stopped slavery?  Gee, maybe they have been brainwashed by liberal politicians for political advantage.  

Black chieftains sold black slaves to Arabs. Arabs sold those slaves to slave traders. Slavery was a fact of life. Even free black Americans owned black slaves. Black Africans and Arabs made slavery possible. White Americans stopped slavery. Where is the gratitude on the part of blacks toward white abolitionists?

2.    With fundamentalist Christians: present solid evidence that the Bible is not literally true.

3.    With the NRA members: present several of the solid studies which support the premise that having a gun in the house is more dangerous than remaining unarmed.  Statistically, the gun in your home is more likely to shoot a family member than an intruder.

4.    With law enforcement officers and law and order advocates: I present many studies which reveal that almost any alternative sentencing program results in less recidivism than imprisonment or punishment.

5.    With MDs: present very well researched studies which show that orthomolecular medicine achieves superior results over traditional medical treatments in several areas of pathology.

6.      With mathematicians: present evidence that math is not really connected to reality in a predictable way, but functions as a kind of “virtual reality.” “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Albert Einstein

7.    With homosexuals: present evidence that “gayness” is not genetic and that Dean Hamer, a homosexual and molecular biologist, was investigated by the federal Office of Research Integrity for fraud connected with his highly touted “gay gene” study.  I also document the mental and physical health risks associated with homosexuality and provide evidence that homosexual couples are the highest risk category for partner violence.  Homosexual parenting results in significant problems for their children.

8.    With feminists: present over 100 social science research studies on domestic violence showing that women are at least as violent, if not more violent, than men in domestic settings.

9.  With Republicans: talk about the very real accomplishments of the Clinton administration.

10. With Democrats: point out that it was the Republican policy and Republican leadership that won the cold war.

In our little informal study we check for 10 standard responses and rank the willingness to accept conflicting information accordingly. 

Typically, people have very low evidence standards for accepting the validity of things with which they agree, and very high evidence standards for accepting things with which they disagree.  An example: Feminists seem perfectly willing to accept law enforcement statistics as an accurate description of the domestic violence problem (low standards for accepting.)   Scientific studies are far more reliable in presenting an accurate view of the problem.  However, the scientific studies clearly show that domestic violence is a two-way street.  Therefore, feminists clutch onto misleading Justice Department statistics with the same obsession that Silas Marner clings to his gold, while at the same time denying the validity of statistical evidence with the same narrow minded belligerence of a religious fundamentalist who is confronted with evolutionary science (high standards for accepting.) 

Another example of narrow-mindedness is a comparison of scientific thinking skills between a group of PhD scientists and a group of Protestant Ministers.  These men were advised that “science” had already determined the “four correct” (there were actually more than four) solutions to a given problem.   Both groups were given an ample amount of time to construct rules governing the behavior of certain variables.  The Ministers conducted three times as many experiments before they offered an answer. The ministers were only half as likely to return an answer that had already been disproved.  The ministers were three times slower in venturing to offer their first hypothesis.  The ministers found twice as many acceptable solutions to the problem as the scientists.  In other words, the Ministers were far more “scientific” in their thinking than the PhD scientists.  It seems the scientists were more indoctrinated with their brand of dogma than the ministers.

The American public is beset by a plethora of irrational delusions which are widely believed.  There is a very serious problem in this country with “advocacy research” and “True Believers.”  The public needs to be educated to know that fanaticism and propaganda is all around us, and it is very dangerous. 

To date the most pathological group I have yet discovered is a web site called “Democratic Underground.”
I see modern liberals as far more influenced by “true believer” type pathologies than traditional Democrats and conservatives. 

Now on to the pathology of some liberals.

There is much discussion by political sages of the Right about the roots of liberalism being entwined with human weakness and pathology. 
Some of the issues being raised are:
1.   Guilt and self-loathing are woven into liberal philosophy and policy
2.   Dependant personality types are drawn to liberalism
3.   Marginalized groups and dysfunctional individuals are drawn to liberalism
4.   Histrionic personality types are drawn to liberalism
5.   Liberal values discourage people from acting in their own self interest
6.   Liberals think of them selves as intellectually and ethically superior to conservatives

These are just a few of the indicators of “character disorders” seen in liberal thinking, feeling, and behaving.  It is fascinating to me to look at “collective personality traits” and then diagnose them as if they were individuals.  Buy yourself a DSM-IV (Diagnostic Service Manual) and have some fun.  Another excellent book on pathological personality traits is “New Personality Self-Portrait” by John Oldham, M.D. who wrote the Personality Disorder section of the DSM-IV and V.

Personality disorders are different from other mental health problems.  Personality disorders are extreme examples of traits we all have.  For instance, if I carefully planned every detail of a trip I was taking and packed my suitcase in an orderly and through manner; I would just be a conscientious person.  If I took so much time planning and packing that I missed my plane, I would be diagnosed as having obsessive/compulsive disorder.

Those drawn to definable political philosophies might also exhibit personality traits that become so extreme they could be called pathologies
In general the Liberals would represent the “weak” disorders.  Liberals may be dependant, self-defeating, avoidant or passive-aggressive. 

For those of you who care to further familiarize yourself with the “weak” disorders that characterize liberal pathologies, here are the names and a link for more information:

Dependent Personality Disorder –

Avoidant Personality Disorder -

Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder -

One of the significant indicators of pathology of personality is an inability to act in one’s own self interests.  This also has to do with self loathing.  You can see this manifested in liberal “hate.”  A good example is the left’s attitude toward President G. W. Bush.  It seems to me that if one hates with that much venom one must have self hatred first.  I may not be fond of the likes of Michael Moore or John Kerry, but I sure can't be bothered working up the energy to hate them like liberals hate “W.”

Many liberals seem to be unable to act in a clear path of self-interest, even the interest of their own country.  Guilt contains some of the main elements of the "liberal" self loathing. I have had many clients raised in an atmosphere heavy on guilt; they had tremendous amounts of fear (fear of failing, fear of being found wanting, etc.) always a sort of low-level, non-specific sense of guilt. These are the perfect specimens to become card-carrying "liberals."  I should feel guilty because there are others in need, I should feel guilty because my country is so much more prosperous than anyone else's, I should feel guilty because my army can beat up their army, etc. (The CIA sucks, we are stupid, we are evil, we are greedy.) 

The liberals are a good example of insular thinking.  They reinforce each other constantly, and instantly crush any idea competing with their “party line.”  All “movements” do this, including the extreme right wing.  This is another symptom of the “True Believers” pathology.  This is one of the things that make political groups so dangerous.  “All movements go too far.” Bertrand Russell.  There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Now for the pathology of conservatives

Conservatives would represent the “strong” disorders. Conservatives may be paranoid, anti-social, narcissistic or sadistic. For those of you who care to further familiarize yourself with the “strong” disorders that characterize conservative pathologies, here are the names and a link for more information:

Paranoid Personality Disorder -

Anti-social Personality Disorder -

Narcissistic Personality Disorder -

Sadistic Personality Disorder -

Please keep in mind that these diagnostic criteria represent the extreme ends of the spectrum for both liberal and conservative pathologies.  Also, it is important to remember that these two types of pathologies represent the opposite ends of the spectrum, one being “weak” and the other being “strong.”

One way of illustrating these opposite natures is to compare attitudes toward national defense as expressed by two very different leaders. George McGovern, ultra–liberal, failed Presidential candidate, when asked in 1972 how he would get our POWs back after withdrawing our troops, replied, "I would go to Hanoi on my knees."  Compare that to General Curtis LeMay, whose critics have characterized him as a belligerent, warmonger (even nicknaming him "Bombs Away LeMay".)   General LeMay was cold warrior, who was portrayed in the satirical film Dr. Strangelove in the dual roles as the trigger-happy General Jack D. Ripper, played by sterling Hayden and Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson played by George C. Scott, who also played another “strong” man, General George Patton.  General LeMay is credited with coining the phrase “Nuke ‘em ‘til they glow.”

All these conditions for extreme liberals and conservatives have specific definitions in the DSM-IV and usually occur in clusters; if you have one you probably have several.  Most, if not all of them, are available on the internet, so please don’t start making comments or disagreeing with me until you familiarize yourself with the actual diagnostic protocol.

It is important to remember that we all have traits that tend toward disorders.  It is only when the traits become extreme that it is accurate to think of them as pathologies.  Without being so technical, most of us can discern the difference between an ordinary liberal and an extreme liberal. This is likewise true for conservatives. 

However, I will dare to conclude that liberals in general will err on the side of weakness, and conservatives will err on the side of strength.

Pathological Islam

No matter how pathological American liberals and conservatives become, I doubt they will ever be as dangerous to mankind as the radical Islamic sect. I believe that the majority expression of today’s Islam is pathological.  There are also notable and noble exceptions to that majority.  Muslims are people.  Islam is a multifaceted thought paradigm. Individual Muslim people exposed to the larger religious pathology are not all going to get sick, any more than everyone in an epidemic dies.  In fact, one of the most important fields of research in epidemiology, the study of disease, is to study those who do not get sick when exposed.  Maybe there is a clue there for us in dealing with Islam.

Next, it isn’t just Islam.  Those of us who study religion as a sociological phenomenon see religions as divided into different categories than do the practitioners of religion.  For instance Confucianism and Judaism are both “wisdom” religions.  Old Testament Judaism was a ritualistic/legalistic religion.  When the temple was destroyed, it was impossible to observe temple rituals, so ritualistic Judaism morphed into a wisdom religion.  Today’s leaders of Judaism have the title Rabbi, “teacher” rather than “priest.”

“Fundamentalism” is a specific sect that shows up from time to time in all the major religions. 

The main characteristics of fundamentalism are:

1.      Selective/Narrow - Fundamentalist religions are very selective about what they embrace and accept from the main stream of their religion.   Christian fundamentalists are ignorant of most Christian tradition, and are very selective about which scriptures they read or quote.  Trained theologians call this “proof-texting,” meaning they find a text to “prove” what they already believe.  Non-fundamentalist Christians use a different yardstick for scriptural interpretation.  Intellectually-honest Christians will ask, “What is the full testimony of the scriptures?” What is the message of the entire body of scripture verses relevant to a particular subject?  Islamic fundamentalists ignore classical Islam and the traditions of Islam.  They focus on those passages in the Koran that talk about infidels, and ignore the passages about compassion.

2.      Static/Entropic - Fundamentalist religions are very reactive to change.  They want things to stay the same.  They fear modernity and they can not be comfortable with ambiguity.  They must slow the world down and simplify thinking to the point where it will fit on a bumper sticker.  Fundamentalists are not sophisticated thinkers.  They have primal anxiety reactions to change and to complicated, uncertain thinking.  By contrast, Paul Tillich, the preeminent protestant theologian of the twentieth century, became known as the ‘Apostle to the Intellectuals’ because his intellectual quest was to communicate the Christian faith to humanistically educated skeptics. To quote Paul Tillich, “Doubt is not the antithesis of faith.  Doubt is an essential element of faith.  Without doubt there is no faith, there is only dogma.”  That describes a living faith, and is the opposite of an entropic religion.

3.      Supramoral/Anti-social – This is the aspect of fundamentalism that is criminal and psychotic.  The fundamentalist Christian who decides his “morality” is so important and right that it is ok to kill abortion doctors is close kin to the guys who flew airliners into the WTC.  Entropy is just another name for death.  Fundamentalists are anti-life.  Wait, you say, fundamentalists are opposed to abortion.  Yes, but they are praying for the end of time when all mankind will die and a select few will become spiritual beings, very similar to Islamic fundamentalists.  This anti-materialism is a left-over heresy from the early church.  Main stream Christians are more likely to say “It is more important to be loving than it is to be right.”  Maybe they would say, “People are more important than ideas.”

So here is the gist of my thinking. Islam is a “Poster Child” for a desperately-needed, twelve-step program called “Fundamentalist’s Anonymous.”  The big problem is that Islam is about one thousand years behind the development of other world religions.  Hundreds of years ago Christians were doing the same things that Islam is doing now. When any selective/narrow, static/entropic, supramoral/anti-social group is so sure that their idea is so important that they are willing to kill everybody who does not agree, they are of mortal danger to our planet. The Islam of today is dangerously fundamentalist. Most people do not understand the high degree of danger the world is exposed to by Islam. 
When the practitioners of Islam start cleaning up their own religion, I will believe that Islam has turned the corner and is reversing its destructive trend toward pathology.

That is a perfect segue to my next major point.  I find it predictable that Dr Wafa Sultan, a psychiatrist from the Middle East would accurately see the symptoms of a sick Islamic religion. 

Keep in mind that a diagnosis does not require that the person be completely sick.  When it comes to individual humans, they only need to be “significantly” dysfunctional to accurately be assigned a diagnostic code.  “The murderer, when he is not a murdering, walks through the meadow with his daughter and picks flowers for her.”  Hitler was kind to his dogs.  What?  Am I supposed to believe that Hamas is moral because they do charity work?  As I understand it, Ted Bundy was charming, socially appropriate, and had many friends.

So, we do not need to decide that all Islam is sick.  We need to determine if Islam is significantly dysfunctional.  My definitive diagnosis is:  Islam is significantly dysfunctional to an extreme degree and is a danger to all mankind. 

My next door neighbor who lives in this “up-scale” neighborhood was stabbed in the stomach and his wife was slashed in the breast by a person with the same mind set as fundamentalism.  “Whatever I want is more important than you and yours.”  How would you respond to a psychotic invading your bedroom? 

I wish I could remember the spiritual teacher’s name who, after a long sermon on non-violence and peace, was asked how he would respond to a robber in his home.  He responded, “I would beat the crap out of him and call 911. If that didn’t work I would kill him, if I could.” 

Well said!  I suggest the same policy toward Islamic fundamentalism, before it is too late.

Sam Sewell

Rev. Sam Sewell is an ordained Christian clergyman, a psychotherapist, a member of Mensa, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.  He is a frequent commentator on religious and political issues.

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