Alexander's Column

Pathology of the Left

By Mark Alexander · Feb. 25, 2005

Recently, the American Psychological Association published a study by a few “academicians” from Cal-Berkeley and the University of Maryland. The study, entitled “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” purported to have identified some determinants that are common to those holding a “conservative” worldview.

As one reads the report, it becomes readily apparent that their “norm” – that is, their control group – was somewhere to the left of Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi and her Ya Ya sisters, Babs Boxer and Di Feinstein – but then, what are we to expect from Cal-Berkeley and UM, or just about any of our nation’s “leading academic institutions”?

The authors received more than 1.2 million of your hard-earned tax dollars from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation in order to, by their own account, “consider evidence for and against the hypotheses that political conservatism is significantly associated with (1) mental rigidity and closed-mindedness; (2) lowered self-esteem; (3) fear, anger, and aggression; (4) pessimism, disgust, and contempt; (5) loss prevention; (6) fear of death; (7) threat arising from social and economic deprivation; and (8) threat to the stability of the social system.”

In other words, if you (1) have an opinion; and are (2) humble; (3) assertive; (4) a realist; (5) a conservationist; (6) not suicidal; (7) from modest means; and (8) a constitutional constructionist, or worse, a Christian, then you’re probably a wacky conservative.

Actually, what taxpayers got was re-warmed 1950-vintage rhetoric on what the authors call “authoritarianism and the fascist potential in personality.” They assert that “one is justified in referring to Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan, and Limbaugh as right-wing conservatives…” (Is it just us, or is that a rather tendentious juxtaposition of murderous tyrants and conservative icons?) All in all, this research stands as a sterling example of academic twaddle, providing “an integrative, meta-analytic review of research on epistemic, existential, and ideological bases of conservatism.” The authors' ultimate finding – for what it’s worth – is that conservatives tend to “arrive at premature conclusions and impose simplistic cliche’s and stereotypes,” which, ironically, is precisely what the authors have done.

I waited for conservative behaviorist academicians to respond to this farcical pseudo-scholarly diatribe with a brief essay outlining the pathology of liberalism (contemporary, not classical). However, most conservative behaviorist left the academy a long time ago. That being the case, what follows is a rebuttal to this Leftist invective, in the most general terms – sans the $1.2 million in confiscated wages and a forest of pulp for reprinting in “scholarly journals.”

Now then, what, in the broadest terms, constitutes a contemporary liberal – and why?

Liberals are uniformly defined by their hypocrisy and dissociation from reality. For example, the wealthiest U.S. senators – Democrats – fancy themselves as defenders of the poor and advocate the redistribution of wealth, but they hoard enormous wealth for themselves and have never missed a meal. They have always been far more dedicated to their country clubs than our country.

Liberals speak of unity, but they seed foment, appealing to the worst in human nature by dividing Americans into dependent constituencies. What constitutes these liberal constituencies? They support freedom of thought, unless your thoughts don’t comport with theirs. They feign tolerance while practicing intolerance. They resist open discussion and debate of their views, yet seek to silence dissenters. They insist that they care more about protecting habitat than those who hunt and fish, and protest for the preservation of natural order while advocating homosexuality. They denounce capital punishment for the most heinous of criminals, while ardently supporting the killing of the most innocent among us – children prior to birth. They loathe individual responsibility, and advocate for statism. They eschew private initiative and enterprise while promoting all manner of government control and regulation.

Liberals constantly assert their First Amendment rights, except, of course, when it comes to religion or speech that does not agree with their own. Here, they firmly impose the doctrines of secular atheism on everyone else. They hate the idea of self reliance, and Second Amendment rights cause them much consternation. They believe that second-hand smoke is more dangerous than marijuana and crack smoke. They believe that one nut accused of bombing an abortion clinic deserves far more law-enforcement attention than Jihadi cells planning the 9/11 attacks. They call 9/11 victims “Hitlerian” while calling their murderers “oppressed.” They hate SUVs, unless imported and driven by their soccer mom constituents. They advocate mass transit but commute on private jets. They are earth-worshippers and see themselves as the ultimate arbiters of [“climate change” |]. They believe trial lawyers save lives and doctors kill people. They believe the solution to racism is to treat people differently on the basis of the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. They deride moral clarity because they can’t survive its scrutiny. They promote peace but foment division and hate.

Ad infinitum…

Why do liberals believe what they believe – and act the way they act? Psychopathology dictates, or frames, worldview, and worldview manifests in such things as political affiliation. Liberal pathology is very transparent and, thus, well defined.

Generally, liberals tend to be mentally rigid and closed-minded because they are insecure, the result of low self-esteem and arrested emotional development associated, predominantly, with fatherless households or critically dysfunctional families in which they were not adequately affirmed. They exhibit fear, anger, and aggression – the behavioral consequences of arrested emotional development associated with childhood trauma (primarily rejection by a significant family member of origin as noted above). They display pessimism, disgust, and contempt for those who are self sufficient for much the same reason. They believe that conforming to a code of non-conformity is a sign of individualism, when it is nothing more than an extreme form of conformism for those who are truly insecure.

Liberals fear loss because most have suffered significant loss. Liberal personality disorders are the result of broken families. They fear death because they have little or no meaningful connection with their Heavenly Father – often the result of the disconnect with their earthly fathers. They often come from socially and/or economically deprived homes, the result of fatherless homes, but those who are inheritance-welfare trust-babies (see Kennedy, et al.) manifest similar insecurities about being helpless without external sustenance. Liberals reject individual responsibility and social stability because these were not modeled for them as children – the generational implications of pathology.

Sound familiar? And I suspect the profs at Cal-Berkeley and Maryland attributed their own pathological traits to their opposition. It’s called projection – or, yes indeed, hypocrisy.

While the aforementioned environmental and behavioral factors are not universally causal in the emergence of a liberal worldview, they certainly are predominant. Close examination of the early childhood of most liberals will reveal they were “victims” of many of these circumstances, which is, in part, the basis for their “victim mentality.”

Medically speaking, there is a diagnosis for Leftist over-achievers like Bill Clinton, Albert Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, et al. They are pathological case studies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the standard reference used for psychiatric evaluation.

The diagnostic criteria for NPD includes a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts,” which manifests as “a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);” “a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; and a belief that he or she is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions),” and the subject “lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others…shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”

Dr. Henry Miller, a 20-year veteran of the National Institutes of Health, notes, “People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are tough to be around. They make terrible bosses, unbearable in-laws and insufferable neighbors. That’s why I don’t want Al Gore to be president – or to live next door to me.”

Of course, there are many conservatives who were raised by a single parent or in critically dysfunctional and/or impoverished homes. However, somewhere along the way, they were lifted out of their misery by the grace of God – often in the form of a significant mentor who modeled individual responsibility and character. As a result, they have the courage to internalize their locus of responsibility, unlike liberals, who externalize responsibility for problems and solutions, holding others (read “conservatives”) to blame for their ills, and bestowing upon the state the duty for arbitrating proper conduct – even proper thought.

And a footnote: It’s no coincidence that conservative political bases tend to be suburban or rural, while liberal political bases tend to be urban. The social, cultural and economic blight in many urban settings are the catalysts for producing generations of liberals. Many urbanites no longer have a connection with “the land” (self-sufficiency) and, thus, tend to be largely dependent on the state for all manner of their welfare, protection and sustenance – “It Takes a Village” after all.

View all comments


Sewing Susie said:

"one is justified in referring to Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan, and Limbaugh as right-wing conservatives..."Wait a minute. You left out a couple. Lenin, Stalin, Kruschev, Brezhnev....Oh, but they were left-wing extremists. Really?Interesting, how they lump Hitler's National Socialism in with Reagan Conservatism, while Soviet Socialism is considered to be something different.The left seems to have a continuum of communist totalitarianism on the left, and "fascist" totalitarianism on the right, and themselves "in the middle".I see it differently. Communism/Socialism, at one extreme, is complete, total, absolute government control over the lives of its subjects. At the other extreme is no government control at all, which is anarchy. Somewhere in the middle, is personal and societal liberty, balanced by the rule of law. That, to me, is Conservatism, and is also the hallmark of the Creator's rule over us--He does not control us as puppets on strings, but does govern with laws and commandments.We need to right this linguistic error in our discourse, that Hitler and Mussolini were "right-wing" dictators. All dictators are left-wing.

Friday, January 8, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Robert Martin in Santa Rosa, California replied:

It is about time that we put a stop to the academic inteligentsia/elitist in corrupting our language. Their definitions are outright revisionism that has been totally dictated by the Progressive Humanist Socialists/Democrats, as the most highly evolved among us - and we let them get away with this sense the days of Woodward Wilson - he himself an academic moron to say the least. The week link of America has been lose of our education from being controled by the local communities as a state responsiblity. The federalization of the Schools by Washington is Unconstitutional. For the Consitution does not give the Federal Government the power over the education. The political spectrum is RIGHT = ANARCHY : CENTRALISTS = lIMITED GOVERNMENT/REPUBLICANISM; LEFT = SOCIALISM/ TOTALITARIANISM/ FASCISM - NAZISM OR COMMUNISM
The American People need to be taught American History without the revisionism promoted by the government schools which must be elimated!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 3:45 AM

Antone in Norther Kentucky replied:

Excellent comments... but actually, Hitler was a left wing radicals as well. There was very little diffrerence between Hitler's philosophy and that of communism in Russia.

Friday, July 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

JustJudi said:

I am reading this, almost 5 yrs later and the irony (as to what is going on right now in the White House) is ASTOUNDING. Mark Alexander is a prophet and described (5 yrs ago) the absolute pathological mess we now see culminating (and yes, thank God, that is now imploding), with the liberal faction of the United States of America under our current pathological narcissistic leadership. AND at the hands of these so-called liberal/"progressives"/socialist such as: Pelosi, Reid, and Barney Frank - who are nothing more than modern day communists covered in a cloak of altruism. Excellent article, I wish I had seen and read 5 yrs ago. This should have been mandatory reading material for all Americans - then (Feb 05) and now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Shovel Ready said:

Great article! You should update it and get it circulating in the Conservative blogosphere.

Friday, January 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Rachel Welch said:

Having had first hand experience with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) with my first husband, and I'm serious folks, this article is astoundingly eye-opening as to how this disorder affects peoples political proclivity. After 3 years with a husband (now ex) who displayed these traits, I spent another 2 years researching NPD and I concur whole-heartedly that our President Obama, indeed suffers with this disorder. I'm also well versed in politics, but this is a new psychological profile I"ve heard...and an interesting read into why these NPD politicians, typically liberals, become who they do. Next, I'm going to check this out with Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Dodd, etc. concerning their early childhood. My ex was fatherless in the sense that his parents were older, weren't expecting a child in their early 40's, therefore shipped him off to Catholic boarding school. He only came home on holidays and summers. This is fascinating, thank you Mark Alexander.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 12:41 AM

Adam Cassidy said:

I can concur with this analysis, having grown up amongst this inane group of people, who I have concluded truly DO represent a collective psychosis of cultish proportions.In one generation, foundational spiritual beliefs, gender identities, even the very idea of 'moral' conduct itself have all been dismantled and discarded, replaced with nothing better or worse.More crucially, the very idea that one DOES think for oneself is under fire from modern secularism - there are a significant and growing number of people whose underlying belief system is that life is a series of finite, pre-determinable chemical reactions.This places us all in a third party role in our own existence - but it is being taught to children in the schools, and they are even being forcibly medicated based upon these 'scientific' assumptions.As 'cold' is simply the absence of 'heat', so does an absence of God leave only Satan in its stead. Sometimes I look at traffic jams and wonder if this is the 'Lake of Fire' spoken of?

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 5:38 AM

Ted Huss in colfax, CA replied:

That this group of Liberals had their origins in "The Greatest Generation" is a real conundrum. Perhaps TGG were to successful in ensuring their progeny didn't have to go through what they did.
On the other hand, I also suspect it was the post-War II politicians who set the stage for the debacles of Korea and Viet Nam..both having a disasterous effect on the national psyche.

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Ted Huss in colfax, CA replied:

make that "too successful". Typo, my error

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 2:52 PM

T.Walt said:

Thank you. Beautifully written. Explains why the left doesn't get it. They have a psychological aversion to "getting it". Often it takes maturity and real life experiences(something not available in universities) to break through the aversion.

Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

allmhuran said:

I think it would be safe to say children of alcoholics and/or addicts tend to be liberal more often than not, and would certainly fit the dysfunctional family criteria described. I am a rock ribbed Goldwater conservative among 4 siblings who are ultra left. Perhaps the distinction is based on the fact that I'm the only one in the family who sought extensive professional treatment for children of alcoholics. It works. Even to this day they still play the same roles they did when we were growing up. It's amazing to watch this. They all have varying degrees of arrested development. Unfortunately, like alcoholics, children of alcoholics are tyrants and bullies. And they're running the country now. I did some number crunching to discover that the percentage of people who describe themselves as liberal is just about equal to the number of untreated children of alcoholics in the United states. This country is in serious trouble.

Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 7:33 AM

The Frayed! said:

Has anyone noticed that euphimisms have replaced reality? They used to be leftist liberals, now they are socially progressive. Same wolf, different name.There used to be illegal immigrants, now they are undocumented workers, same wolf, different name.My biggest fear is that Palin and the Tea Party split the conservative vote and we are eaten whole by the wolves at the door. Can someone who walked away from the governorship be trusted when the chips are down?

Friday, August 20, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Paulo said:

Well to be fair, this is just the kind of reaction that the study seems to anticipate. Nobody expects conservatives to understand or agree with a dissection of their own pathology - no matter how accurate it may seem.I imagine liberals would react similarly to such a study if liberals weren't so gosh dang open-minded and secure about themselves.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM

David Sayers said:

this is by far the best, most complete and concise definition of liberals I have ever seen in print. It should be required reading and kept in every home. Thank YouDavid

Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

One other thing all the liberal leaders named have in common--they are all SOBs.

Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 11:11 AM

mtman2 in al said:

At the end of WWI the German people's economic + monetary system completely collapsed because of Government policies of monetizing the debt [causing hyperinflation]. There was high unemployment, homelessness + even starvation [emanating from the North Atlantic blockade during the war by the British]. Communist infiltrators were armed + rampant, murder + home invasions common, they also were politically strong + popular. These people had choice between nation socialism OR communism -for any hope for the future! Had Hitler -not- come in to end up invading Stalin's USSR- we in the west would have ended up @ war with a greatly expanded Soviet Union literally overrunning Europe [what was left of it]. We are now @ the crossroads of direction, but our momentum is toward socialism + divorcing the Constitution -w/the Bill of rights; thereby crushing the values of the Declaration + the Gettysburg Address along with the countless lives given for "American Liberty". We must turn this immense ship in this coming year's elections or anarchy beyond anything we can imagine will emerge to wipe out our "REPUBLIC', to be replaced with -?- "progressive utopia". -Welcome comrades to the new proletariat!- 'U don't know what you've got until it's gone' JOHN ADAMS SAID "a CONSTITUTION of GOVERNMENT once changed from Freedom, can never be restored . LIBERTY, once lost, is lost forever." We are now close to economic + moral bankruptcy, without any guarantees except Patriots stepping up to help others who want to understand, -to stand-. Together with only 37% support we freed ourselves from British tyranny [really a MIRACLE]. However we had one of a kind GREAT leadership + written plans of purpose -[ w/Providential guidance + Intervention]. This country is no accident + wasn't cheap. Remember -"love it or leave it"-, seems to take on new meaning these day's. Only "they" won't leave. The Founders gave us a revolution every 2-4+6 years, it should be enough, if we took it seriously. What more could we ask for???

Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 11:38 PM

Jon Roland in Austin, Texas said:

As I have often said, a political system may be characterized by the kinds of people it elevates to positions of authority.

Unfortunately, we have erected a system that tends to elevate narcissists and sociopaths. The problem is not that "leftists" tend to mental pathology, because so can "rightists". The problem is the system that promotes such people, and, also unfortunately, that is any system that uses popular elections. It was to avoid elevating such persons to the position of president that the Framers adopted the electoral college system, but that has been subverted by using popular election to select slates of anonymous electors pledged to a candidate. We need to move to a different method, and that method is called "sortition", which involves random selection at various phases. Do a web search on the term. The Venetians used it for 529 years to select their chief executive officer, called a Doge. A similar system could be used to select members of Congress and judges.

Sometimes the best reforms are not something new but something old that has been proved to work.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 1:03 PM

dale in columbus ohio said:

FDR "suffered",besides,NPD,a malady that one of the Roman Ceasars,suffered
from (can't think of the name,but it starts with the letter C) is that he thought
he could live forever ,this after he took a third term,and soon died in April
of 45. If you will notice other black dictators have NPD,Idi Amin,Robert Mugbe,
and Nelson Mandella.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Mar in MN said:

..great article, it could not be more ascertain when psychology is applied to current political divisiveness.... thanks you!

Monday, July 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM