The waters are murky where the study of psychology and politics run together. Let’s start with some bad news.
I wish I didn’t have to report the following but I have to. Evidence for what works best in public policy doesn’t necessarily carry the day. Our political opponents are very committed to the delusion that socialism and the advancement of radical left-wing social policy will bring a better life for all.
So there is no escape from the enormous political fight ahead. None. If you’re a conservative who is a sensitive type that prefers tranquility, peace, love and gentleness—you might want to avoid the political arena. We need fighters.
Searching for more clues into the minds of our so-called conservative political leaders, I followed the links from the conservative website townhall.com to the page of contributor Lyle Rossiter, M.D. who is board-certified in general and forensic psychiatry.
On his web page titled “The Nature and Scope of Forensic Psychiatry,” Dr. Rossiter’s notes the need in certain law cases to discover more “about the mental states of parties involved.”
For activists wondering why their conservative political leaders don’t lead, they might want to have them interviewed by Dr. Rossiter who writes (emphasis added),
Human actions result from choices made by individuals who are assumed to act freely in their own interests. The effects of such actions on other persons impose limits on what we may and may not do. The competent adult knows that his freedom to act requires him to exercise certain responsibilities toward others. Broadly speaking, these responsibilities have to do with respect for property rights and contractual obligations, and the duty to act non-negligently in certain situations.
In essence, the forensic psychiatrist evaluates the competencies of certain persons to understand and accommodate lawful obligations to others. Although the potential for acquiring such competency is innate in human nature, achieving it and maintaining it is not inevitable in a given individual’s personal development. One’s ability to act responsibly as an adult may be derailed by many influences, including symptomatic mental illness, maladaptive personality traits, problematic relationships, and extraordinary circumstances.
The justification for psychiatry’s intervention into the legal system thus follows immediately from the fact that the individual’s capacity to relate to others is affected by his mental and emotional state.
That’s heady stuff—and the parallels are obvious. In fact, a few weeks ago Daniel Hannan, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, stood up in that chamber and forcefully addressed Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
I have long accepted that you’re pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for these things.
His three-minute speech was a YouTube sensation that received a lot of web and cable news coverage.
Such a harsh confrontation is needed across the American domestic political landscape as well. The reason we don’t see these confrontations more often is probably due to the fact that too many of those we elect, in the words of Richard Berry writing at AmericanThinker.com, have an aversion to combat.
Instead of confrontation, our leaders have “tacked hard away from the battlefields” because they believed—
—such a course is necessary to maintain the social peace against even higher volume assaults from the Left.
The agenda of the political left has driven the size of government—albeit it with an assist from too many elected “Republicans.” The political left is also responsible for the unsustainable entitlement programs. Likewise the failed public school system. The demand for ever higher and more oppressive taxation originates with the political left.
The same is true on the social issues front. Legalized abortion was forced upon Americans by a liberal activist court. So-called “homosexual rights” and its immature view of human sexuality is being advanced in large part by a very small group of people with psychological issues of their own.
Richard Berry wrote that conservative leaders are wrong—
—to think that a conclusive fight with the Left over first principles can be indefinitely avoided. The battle must be waged.
I wish I could say I disagree—but Patrick Henry was right: If we wish to be free, we must fight.