This game was played against Richard Nixon, who was portrayed as terminally neurotic. Clearly paranoid, his assaults on liberals were thus wholly unjustified. Meanwhile, Barry Goldwater was “diagnosed” as outright psychotic. Probably schizophrenic, he obviously could not be allowed to have a finger on the nuclear trigger.
But turn-around is fair play. Whether decked out as amateur or professional therapists, liberals need not be allowed an uncontested claim to greater sanity. Indeed, there is reason to believe they too are capable of irrationality.
So are liberals mentally ill? Let us start with the psychoses. Are they, for instance, paranoid? Given the horrendous things they say about conservatives and the fear many harbor about the emergence of a Christian theocracy, this conclusion might seem justified. It must be dismissed, however, on the grounds that the extent to which this attitude is shared demonstrates that it is an ideological artifact rather than a personal flaw. The same verdict applies the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
The two primary indicators of schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusions. In this case, the former seem to be largely absent and therefore inapplicable, whereas the latter are demonstrably present, yet socially, as opposed to personally, generated.
Liberals are clearly delusional in assuming that Keynesian economics will work when evidence runs all the other way. They are also patently detached from reality when they argue “playing nice” with diehards like the Iranian ayatollahs will convert them into reasonable negotiators.
Even so, this refusal to perceive simple truths cannot serve as the symptom of a mental disorder. Because it too is a group phenomenon, it does not demonstrate that individuals who partake of it are intellectually defective. They are merely true believers who are captives of their faith.
No, we must look elsewhere to establish the lack of sanity exhibited by many liberals — especially those of the radical sort. In quest of a firmer base, we must turn away from medical diagnoses and toward legal definitions. More specifically, we must apply the McNaughton rule for determining mental competency.
In courts of law, defendants are deemed sane if they can tell the difference between good and evil. Only when they appreciate the depravity of their actions can they be found guilty and punished for their crimes.
Conversely, if they do not realize they have done wrong, they are treated as mad, i.e., as less than competently human. It is in this sense that contemporary liberals may be deemed to have lost their minds. Sadly, with each passing day, it becomes undeniable that many possess a defective moral compass. How else could some left-wing politicians continue to insist the Obama admiration is “transparent?” How else could others claim inquiries into IRS irregularities should be closed? Worse yet, how could some “blame the victims,” that is, those discriminated against by the IRS?
To disguise this, Obama and his cronies have engaged in massive cover-ups of the sort that during the Nixon era prompted liberals to howl in indignation at conduct they described as endangering the moral integrity of the Republic. So what has changed? Why don’t rock-ribbed Democrats see the parallels?
Does this, however, constitute proof of mental illness? I’m afraid not. Actually, I hope it is understood that I wrote the above with my tongue planted firmly in cheek. As I see it, politically inspired psychiatry is nonsense at best, disingenuous manipulation at worst.
So why did I raise the issue? The answer is that I wish to dramatize the moral sophistry of hard-core liberals. They are currently betraying even their own principles; hence they need to be shaken out of their hypocrisy.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.