Monday, December 30, 2013

Conservatism And Creationism As Mental Illnesses

Somehow we missed a short article by Professor Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D. in Psychology Today last year, "Conservatism as a Mental Illness," written as "a response to Creationism as a mental illness, an article by Robert Rowland Smith," in the same magazine.

Kuhle's piece first:

"Republican pols have recently exhibited 10 telltale signs of mental illness.

"In Creationism as a Mental Illness, Robert Rowland Smith argues that creationists exhibit several signs of mental illness including denial, psychosis, and inability to grasp irony.

"The specter of mental illness does indeed loom large over creationists, but they are not alone. Signs of psychopathology can also be seen among their political bedfellows, conservative politicians, especially when you consider a wide range of illness indicators. In his award-winning 2005 book, Dr. James Whitney Hicks discusses 50 signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia. Now I'm no clinician, but in my (admittedly biasedbrown) eyes it seems that prominent Republicans have evidenced each of these ten telltale signs of mental illness over the past year:

"1) Denial: humans did not evolve; Obama is not a native-born American Christian

"2) Delusion: climate is not changing

"3) Hallucination: God ordained me to be President

"4) Disordered Thinking: being for small government that's huge in the bedroom; being anti-contraception and anti-abortion

"5) Anger: Newt Gingrich’s perpetual scowl

"6) Anti-social Behavior: toward women, gays, minorities, anyone without an umbilical cord or trust fund

"7) Sexual Preoccupation: a fervent compulsion to control when we can mate, with whom we can mate, and precisely how we are allowed to mate (which I lampoon in Why Do Politicians Want to Police Dick and Jane's Private Parts?)

"8) Grandiosity: even Rick Santorum recognizes Gingrich’s 'over the moon' grandiosity

"9) General Oddness: Ron Paul

"10) Paranoia: pretty much all of them, all of the time

"Even (the not necessarily dumb) Pope Francis appears to recognize that 'it is a serious illness, this of ideological [conservative] Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?'

"Regrettably, the Republican who least exhibits anti-science stances is the only one who (tongue-in-cheek) acknowledges his mental illness:

"Until Jon Huntsman becomes the sane voice of his insane party, maybe 'Republican Syndrome' should be added to the DSM-V so that crazy conservative pols can receive the mental health treatment they need. I bet 'Obamacare' would even cover it."

"Conservatism as a Mental Illness, Part II: Does the GOP Suffer from MSBP?

"In a previous post I mused—largely tongue-in-cheek—that prominent Republican pols were mentally ill. I identified myriad examples of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and other pillars of the GOP exhibiting telltale signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia.

"Now, I'm still no clinician, but it seems to my (admittedly biased, brown) eyes that the GOP’s recent (in)actions indicate that they’re collectively afflicted with yet another mental illness…One I had not before considered.

"With John Boehner and company shuttering the Federal Government and threatening to not raise the debt limit ceiling, the GOP are purposelyhurting We The People, as well as America's standing in the global marketplace. And for what? To draw attention to themselves andsympathy for their issues.

"That’s classic Münchausen syndrome by proxy!

"To appropriate Wikipedia’s MSBP definition, the Republican leadership (is) attempting to 'fulfill their need for positive attention by hurting their own child [government and citizenry], thereby assuming the sick role by proxy.'

"Moreover, with their calls for President Obama to 'negotiate' they are trying to "assume the hero role and garner still more positive attention by appearing to care for and save their child [government and citizenry].”

"So, to recap: The Grand Old Party is having a grand old time abusing their positions of power by hurting their constituents just to garner attention on how sick the GOP is over President Obama's sickness safety net. Nothing pathological about that. Nothing at all.

"I’ve long been fascinated by Münchausen syndrome by proxy and I've long thought that the only notable person to have it was Eminem’s mother (per his Cleanin' Out My Closet lyrics). But maybe I was wrong. Maybe the GOP collectively suffers from MSBP...and we from them.

"And maybe Eminem’s next single should be Cleanin' Out My Government."

(Copyright © 2013 Barry X. Kuhle. All rights reserved.  Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Psychology Today and the University of Scranton, or me, or my friends, family, probation officer, gut bacteria, darkest thoughts, and personal mohel.)

And on to the second piece, as the tongue in cheek "Psychologists At War" continues:
"Robert Rowland Smith asks if creationists are sane.

"Creationism as a mental illness

"In Cockney rhyming slang, the word ‘believe' is represented by ‘Adam and Eve'. When faced with something baffling, shocking or plain peculiar, you might use the rhetorical expression, ‘Would you Adam and Eve it?' It's ironic, then, that one of the great debates of the day is about the literal truth of the bible story; or in other words, the extent to which we should Adam and Eve in Adam and Eve.

"It's a question not just of belief but of denial. The phrase ‘in denial' has become so commonplace it's hard to still hear its power. In common with the ostrich which, as danger approaches, buries its head in the sand, those who are ‘in denial' prefer a false but subjective sense of security to a true but objectively scary reality. Denial brings short term, if illusory, comfort.

"Hence creationism, the theory/superstition that, contrary to massive scientific evidence, the world began exactly as described in the Book of Genesis. Instead of deriving from millions of years of patient evolution, Adam and Eve popped out, fully formed, like characters from a Swiss cuckoo clock. Would you Adam and Eve it? Of course not. It's a myth, but like many myths it serves a psychological purpose which is to provide a storybook sense of simple origins, which allays people's fears. Those who believe this myth to be the truth are in a state of denial.

"Along with denial, two other factors connect creationism with mental illness. The first is psychosis, which is an extension of denial. If psychosis is marked by the discrepancy between one's personal view of the world and the consensual view, creationism holds onto the personal view at all costs, refusing to accept what is abundantly clear. True, if creationism became the majority view, its psychotic character might be mitigated. Except that this majority view would have no more valence than the belief so widely held about the relationship between the sun and the earth before Copernicus proved how the latter orbits the former, and not vice versa.

"Finally, creationism shares with autism an alleged lack of ability for irony. Creationists take the bible story as literally true, unable to recognise that it might be working on those other, mythic levels.

"If tests for madness include talking to yourself and looking for hairs on the palm of your hand, then here's another: do you Adam and Eve in Adam and Eve?"

"Robert Rowland Smith is the author of 'Breakfast with Socrates: an Extraordinary (Philosophical) Journey Through your Ordinary Day' (Free Press)."


There's not much more to say other than to wonder that while Conservative leaders and their propagandists are criminally motivated, the Conservative Sheeplets are equal mixes of craziness and stupidity.

For even more on the subject, try peaking at our many, many articles with the theme "Conservatives Are Stupid," here --> (


“Mr. Nixon has, in the last seven days, called me an economic ignoramus, a Pied
Piper, and all the rest. I’ve just confined myself to calling him a Republican. But he
says that is getting low.”

John F. Kennedy.


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