The “Psychopathology” of Conservatism

by | Mar 31, 2012

Not a Liberal? The APA Says You're Crazy

Liberals complain that psychologists and psychotherapists should not talk about politics — even though what politicians do contributes to about half (or more) of the stress and trauma people are experiencing in today’s declining economy and society.

Interestingly, in graduate school I was repeatedly exposed to classes on politics and mental health/psychology. The problem is that these courses were, without exception, taught from a pro-Big Government, pro-liberal, pro-Democratic Party point-of-view. No other point-of-view was ever even acknowledged.

Interestingly, I hear no cries from liberals about the American Psychological Association’s statements that conservatism (or any form of non-liberalism) represents “psychopathology.”

I kid you not: The American Psychological Association not too long ago published a study characterizing political conservatism (i.e., adherence to the values of capitalism, individualism, or objectivity) as a form of mental disorder. Interestingly, the whole study serves as an exercise in psychological projection—whereby the accuser sees in others qualities that actually apply to himself.

“At the core of political conservatism,” according to the study, “is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality.” I won’t try to defend conservatives here, because conservatism has its own examples of self-contradiction and moral compromise. But I will offer evidence that contemporary liberals exhibit the very traits they accuse conservatives of having.


Resistance to Change: Examples in Liberalism

Refusal to ever consider partial privatization of Medicare or Social Security (not that conservatives would ever dare propose it), despite the fact that taxes will have to seize more than half (and ultimately

all) of private wealth in coming years if the programs are to survive; Refusal to consider, at any time, for any reason, decreased funding (much less the elimination of) any Cabinet Department or government agency (other than the Pentagon, of course).

Refusal to reconsider any alternatives whatsoever to public education, such as school vouchers (which I personally don’t support); liberalizing laws in favor of home schooling; leaving education to states and local governments (a preferable alternative to federal control of education, which has made public schools much worse); or total privatization of education consisting of substantial tax reductions for everyone, including parents who choose to educate their children with the money returned to them (my vote’s for this one).

None of these alternatives to public education will ever be met with so much as a hearing by any liberal at any time, for any reason. It’s public schools or nothing. As public schools continue to flounder, the liberals simply throw more tax money at them. See the pattern?

Refusal to consider the overwhelming evidence that socialism fails every time and every place it’s tried, at least if economic progress and human well being represent the standards of success.

Refusal to reconsider the moral code that states (as liberalism advocates implicitly) “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”–in short, the moral code of the welfare state that has reduced economic activity in the larger economy (because of high taxation) and, as any visitor to any American city can plainly see, has both morally and materially destroyed inner cities dependent on the welfare state.

Resistance to change? This is the hallmark of liberalism.


Tolerance for Inequality: Examples in Liberalism

Tolerance of first-rate health care and health insurance for government employees, especially elected and appointed officials at the top of government—while medical care gradually deteriorates for everyone else.

A double standard in which most federal regulations and edicts imposed on businesses and individuals are not imposed on members of Congress or government officials.

A federally imposed policy of affirmative action that offers additional opportunity because of a factor one cannot control (membership in a politically favored race) while someone in a non-favored group (e.g., a white or a male) will lose out even if he has objectively superior skills or abilities.

A policy of “progressive” taxation in which the harder you work and the more money you make, the more the government will take from you.

The United Nations’ policy of “equal” treatment of nations, even though some nations (Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria) are totalitarian or terrorist-sponsoring dictatorships while others, most notably the USA, are democratic republics. What kind of “equality” is this?

On the subject of inequality, it’s interesting that the American Psychological Association didn’t offer to do a study on the psychology of liberals. Doesn’t this itself suggest a bias against one group in favor of another?

They take for granted that conservatism is a disorder, selecting facts they see as supporting this view, and refuse to even consider that liberalism might have its own contradictions and flaws. How scientific is this?

The study also claimed that President Ronald Reagan and conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh are in the same essential category as fascists Hitler and Mussolini. Why? Because all “preached a return to an idealized past and condoned equality in some form.”

In other words, the essence of freedom is hating the past and hating all forms of inequality—even when the inequality is valid, as in the case of a hard worker earning more money than a lazy slob, or a more competent swimmer getting the gold medal while the untalented swimmer can’t even get into the competition.

If conservatives are guilty of sacrificing objectivity to nostalgia about the past, as liberal psychological researchers claim, then liberals are equally guilty of sacrificing objectivity—in their case, to the incompetent, the parasitical, and those who refuse to change social policies which are clearly unjust and clearly don’t work.

Liberals who work at the American Psychological Association are living back in the 1940’s; a time during which liberals tried to convince Americans that the only alternative to the welfare state/democratic socialism was a regime based upon enforced racism or nationalism (i.e., Hitler or Mussolini). Clearly, the alternative to both approaches is freedom from coercion altogether (be it concentration camps or welfare rolls). Although far from perfect (or consistent), Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh made strides in convincing more Americans to favor freedom, individualism and capitalism—values completely at odds with fascism, socialism or Communism.

It sounds to me like these liberal psychologists are, themselves, guilty of trying to turn back the clock—thus proving my point that they’re merely projecting their own neuroses onto today’s conservatives.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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