Evolutionary Entertainment

Exploring the evolutionary foundations of popular culture.

Conservatism as a Mental Illness

Republican pols have recently exhibited 10 telltale signs of mental illness.
This post is a response to Creationism as a mental illness by Robert Rowland Smith

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 biased brown) 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 Behaviortoward 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) Paranoiapretty 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. 

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Copyright © 2012 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.

Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.

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