Are left wingers and right wingers mentally ill?

Recently I have read articles that left wingers in politics are mentally disturbed. I have been asked that question with many twists over the years since I earned my Masters Degree in psychology in 1971 from CSUN using the California F-Scale.  Are communists leftist losers? Do fascists turn peaceful demonstrations into street violence? My thesis was on the authoritarian personality of the right and the left. Today is August 16, 2014 and I am retired, but since more people asked me those questions recently than during my working years (!) I decided to clear up the fascinating confusion about this topic for my readers. Are liberals progressive or regressive? Was Nabile Chamberlain, the British PM a liberal? Is that why he said he could peace with Hitler? Who is the liberal leader today who will try to make peace with ISIS? Do leftists live in reality or in illusion?

As my readers know I went on to get a PhD from USC in 1975. Today I consider myself an expert on the subject of left and right personalities. Are they just different or there is more to it? Let’s start with 2 psychological rules about the left-right dichotomy in perceptions about life predicaments:

Rule 1: Left wingers and right wingers are 2 distinct personalities with distinct thinking processes. The “L” personality represses and displaces fear responses  and the “R” personality supresses and sublimates anger responses. These diametrically opposing programmed mental software in the head since chilhood are intense and they spill over later into politics, economics (business deals, market place), religion, the military, history, philosophy, language, the workplace, home, you name it. For example, in politics the continuum start from left to right and goes through communist, socialist, liberal, democrat, centrist, republican, conservative, ultra conservative and fascist (most terrorists are fascists by personality). And, like any branch the continuum has many offshoots. In economics, for example, the Chicago school epitomizes the differences between Milton Friedman and Adam Smith (abundance orientation) on the right vs. John Galbraith and John Kinase (austerity, scarcity orientation) on the left, what behavioral economists today call Smithsonian vs. Keynesian thinking (if you want to pursue this topic deeper read the papers I presented at UCLA, 2011, University of Valencia, 2012, and University of Rome, 2013).

Rule 2: Extreme left wingers and extreme right wingers are not mentally ill and have never been diagnosed clinically in any of the 5 editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. However, their thinking process exhibit certain mental deficiencies constituting a borderline personality disorder (BPD). Specifically, manifesting itself as a faulty belief system that displaces emotional aspects of reality, i.e., “Believing becomes seeing instead of seeing becoming believing.” They feel so protective (defensive) of the faulty ways they assess reality… that the Socrates dictum, life without reflection is not worth living never occur to them as something they can use for personal growth. They never change. To me the interesting thing is why these extreme personalities cannot be diagnosed as clinically mentally ill. Distorted perceptions of reality, although interfering with rational processing of information, can be diagnosed as mental illness only if the distortion reaches a threshold level of perception that interferes with having a relationship and holding a job.

T, F and B: The differences in feeling, thinking and behaving (verbal and nonverbal) between the “L” and “R” personality types is the prima fascia reason for the discord in human interaction. The world has conflicts, wars, crimes, divorce and poverty because “L” and “R” interpret reality in opposite ways. The “L” says “it’s a head, the “R” says it’s a tail,’ the “L” says it’s a choice, the “R’ says I’m pro-life, and so on. I am a moderate “R” personality and I once I shared an office with an “L” personality psychologist. A hungry young patient came in for an interview, I said, “I suggest you get a job at McDonald’s while enrolling at a community college and learning a trade.” My “L” office partner said, “I suggest you see a social worker first and go on welfare for 6 months to get your mind-set ready for school while looking for a part-time work later.” The patient got a good job and  called in, “My friend suggested that I join a trade union,” he said.  I responded, ‘Don’t, you don’t need one right now.” My leftist partner said, “Do it, you need protection, and make sure the local union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.”

Over the years I assembled a list of Paired adjectives that describe the differences between the “L” Personality vs. “R” Personality:

*US: Democrats vs. Republicans. UK: Liberals vs. conservatives. Canada: NDP vs. Conservatives. Israel: Labor vs. Likud. Russia: Yeltsin’s liberals vs. Putin’s nationalists.

*LeftBig government (paternalistic, bureaucratic, welfare oriented, scarcity oriented, affirmative action, ideological, pro-abortion, anti capital punishment, internationalist, loose borders, flag burning is consitutional, permissive on crimes and pornography, likes to explain things, mental, gay rights is a political issue, multiculturalism, minorities don’t need to integrate, a country can have 2-3 main languages, diversity, heterogeneous population is good) vs. Right: Small government (big private sector, entrepreneurial, capitalist, helpful but not paternalistic, likes to describe things, behavioral, integrate minorities, one main language, punitive on crimes and pornography, nationalist, flag burning a crime, capital punishment, anti-abortion, closed borders, promote homogeneous population).

*”L” personality beliefs (mental, paternalistic, home is not sacred, absorb illegal immigrants, likes to distribute the wealth by grants, minorities don’t need to integrate, restrict markets but not regulate them, love Clinton’s submissiveness, like unregulated trade unions, guided by social ideology, sees racism where non exists, family less importance, loyalty less important, friends more important, less religious, critical of police, dislike submitting to authority, dislike packing order, less law and order policies, Freudian, more antisemitic, more rehabilitating terrorists, diversity, more permissive,  fear orientated (Stockholm syndrome), gay behavior is a political movement, abortion is acceptable, eliminate capital punishment, forgive (don’t enforce consequences), Covert racism, see grey (in between) a lot, belief placed before fact, physical appearance less important, does’t like uniforms, porno OK, see gay as a civil rights issue, “Right makes might,” more Jews than Christians (ratio), permissive values lead to chaos, tolerant about rigged elections.

*”R” personality beliefs (behavioral, libertarian, home is sacred, rejects illegal immigrants, values loyalty, minorities must integrate, accepts legal immigration only, tax everyone progressively, free markets (regulated), Loves Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, regulate trade unions, guided by pragmatism, religious, supports police, legislate gun control responsively, submit to authority, law and order, sees things as black or white, personality is not fear oriented (unaffected by the Stockholm syndrome), personality is anger oriented, psychologist Skinner is a model, less antisemitic, more Christians than Jews (ratio), gay behavior is a personal choice, physical appearance is important, likes uniforms, restrict abortion, limit porno, instate capital punishment, fight rigged elections, “might makes right.”

To be continued,



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