Is Leftism a personality disorder?

The following italicized paragraph started out as an observation I made about some ardent liberals of my acquaintance, but I’ve since decided that it applies well to the politics of the Left and the Right or, more accurately, the statist versus the individualist:

Conservatives find people to be a source of pleasure and objects to be a utilitarian resource.  Conversely, Leftists find objects to be a source of pleasure and people to be a utilitarian resource. 

The above started with something I learned long ago about autistic children.  One of the earliest indicators of autism is that autistic children don’t point to things.  Your average pre-verbal or early verbal child will point to a cup with the expectation that you, the parent, will understand that the child wants milk.  An autistic child will not make this “mind-to-mind” connection.  Instead, the child will take the parent’s hand (an object) and guide it to the cup (another object) in an effort to make the two objects work together.  (In autistic children, or at least in some autistic children, this seems to be an inability to understand communication, rather than a failure to recognize shared humanity.  Once the autistic child is given a means to communicate, he or she is fully capable of engaging at an emotional or spiritual level.)

Here’s another something I learned that also gave rise to the same thought about recognizing a shared humanity (or canine-inity) versus a utilitarian view of other life forms:  Dogs are different from monkeys when it comes to interactions with humans.  Although monkeys are genetically much closer to humans, they share no kindred feelings with us.  Dogs, however, do.  It turns out that dogs are born with the knowledge that they can communicate non-verbally with humans.  When they are puppies, they already know how to track a human’s eye movements or pointing hand in order to gather information.  And as all of us who have dogs know, dogs have incredibly high emotional intelligence.  They may be non-verbal, but they read us well, and communicate beautifully using their body language.

Monkeys, however, although they are our genetic cousins, do not see humans in a communicative way, and therefore ignore humans entirely.  If a human stands before two boxes, one of which has a treat, and then points to the box with the treat, the monkey will ignore that gesture entirely, while a dog will soon be munching happily away on the goodie.

(Cats, of course, are God-like creatures.  They can read us just fine, but they think that cat-to-human communication is demeaning, and that human-to-cat communication is unnecessary.)

And then there are people with personality disorders (narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy, etc.).  Some years ago, I read a wonderful book called Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend, which concerned itself with the nature of personality disorders. One of my takeaways from the book was that people with personality disorders do not recognize other people’s humanity. Instead, for someone suffering from a personality disorder, other people are simply objects to be manipulated, in order to benefit the disordered person.

With all of that in mind, think about the way in which Leftists view people:  people are “interest groups,” “victim classes,” “identity groups,” “racial groups,” etc.  There are no individuals in liberal-land.  There are political classes that can be manipulated to achieve Leftist goals.  Those who refuse to be objectified in this way (usually conservative minorities) are savagely attacked for leaving the object group.  That’s not how conservatives roll.

Likewise, Leftists are convinced that salvation lies in objects:  electric cars, solar panels, smart grids, etc.  Objects become objects of worship, shrines before which we lay our wealth, while de-personalized groups of humans are co-opted to serve these Gods.

Am I nuts or am I on to something?

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  • Marica

    I think you are onto something. Here’s an example. My husband will soon venture off the farm and into Liberal Land. As has happened before when he’s done this (which isn’t as often as it used to be) he will talk about the farm and about rural Mississippi. And he will be asked repeatedly, “But what do you talk to people there about?” (And that’s how they’ll phrase it while they look down their noses at people who speak ungrammatically. Note also that it’s talk “to” not “with.”)

    They are monkeys– they can’t conceive the idea that a philosopher/neuroscientist has anything to chat about with a bunch of God fearing, gun totting… . You know the rest. 

  • Charles Martel

    On paper, the niece of an old friend of mine is wonderfully gifted and privileged—she attended Rice University on a full scholarship, did post-grad work at Oxford, and studied for her law degree at Duke. The last time I spoke with her was while she was at Duke. I asked her what she thought of Duke’s town, Durham. Had she started exploring it? Was she discovering some favorite places and enjoying its charm? 
    Her answer was very disquieting. She sneered when she said she had no interest in the town. By implication, because by this time she was developing a full-blown Obama-like attitude of superiority and entitlement, the dirty little Southerners in some Podunk North Carolina town were not worth her time. Why would a princess step through the cold muddy streets of the village when there was the splendor of the castle’s vast rooms and roaring fireplaces?
    She’s now a tax attorney in Washington, DC. A brilliant mind reduced to dismissiveness and tapewormism.

  • MacG

    “Cats, of course, are God-like creatures. They can read us just fine, but they think that cat-to-human communication is demeaning, and that human-to-cat communication is unnecessary.)”

    I blame the Egyptians for this :)

    “With all of that in mind, think about the way in which Leftists view people:  people are “interest groups,” “victim classes,” “identity groups,” “racial groups,” etc.  There are no individuals in liberal-land.”

    Except for the occaisonal Trayvon or Tawana us to catyalize the groups.  They do like to ‘manage’ and groups are far easier than individuals.  Trying to manage individuals is the proverbial herding of cats.  Better to train them like dogs are trainable to sit roll over and sic ’em.

  • Marica

    Charles, this cracked me up: “the dirty little Southerners in some Podunk North Carolina town were not worth her time.” That Podunk town has a reputation among dirty little Southerners as being a bastion of Liberalism. The parking spaces at Duke aren’t even big enough for a pickup truck!

  • Earl

    NO!  It’s definitely NOT a “personality disorder”…..
    I suspect that this is a holdover from your days as a liberal, BW…..
    Because it appears to me that liberals view religion as a personality disorder, and Leftism is most certainly a form of religion.  Having banished G-d, they make little gods of themselves, the earth, etc.
    I refuse to call anyone’s religion a personality disorder – ‘way to much danger in that.


  • Libby

    Yes. Next question?

  • lee

    I moved to South Carolina from Marin last fall. Before I moved here, Marinites (Mariners? Marinistas?) would say, “I here it’s lovely there, especially the research triangle area. Will you be anywhere near Duke?” Gotta give ’em credit for at least having heard of “the reasearch triangle” even if they didn’t know the difference between North and Soth Carolina…

    And now that I have lived in the South for a few months I have discovered that Southerners sneer at places like Durham because almost no one living there is from the South.  

  • lee

    Oops! “Hear” not “here.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Am I nuts or am I on to something?

    I think you just said the Left is evil. Which is what I have said, of course.

  • Charles Martel

    My turn to crack up, thanks to Marica and Lee. The little snot I described above couldn’t even be bothered to find out that instead of having to mingle with knuckle walkers she would have been safely cocooned among cootie-free clone kin.

  • Mike Devx

    Nah, I don’t think it’s a personality disorder.  However, your philosophy on living (whether you believe you have one or not, you do), and your worldview have a definite effect on how you treat other people.  Perhaps the most important characteristic of Leftists is that they have placed their faith upon Government, and are hostile towards the idea of a loving God.  Man institutes government, the State, for one purpose only: to compel all of the citizenry to follow a certain set of rules.  Government is solely about Power.  To place all of your faith in the State, and then use it – and demand that the State grows and grows, and intrudes ever more into the lives of its citizens… what does that mean about how you will necessarily view your fellow Americans?

    I won’t call it a personality disorder, but I will call it extremely ugly.

  • JKB

    Leftist have a very materialistic view of the world. They are just like the Wall Streeters but seek a different means of gaining material wealth since they lack the honest ability to create or gain it.

    Their view of people is as a group to be manipulated for the Leftists own ends.  They don’t view individuals, for if you do, you may see that helping others to gain self sufficiency is far better than enslaving them to a handout.  

    “Throughout socialistic literature there is the well-known insistence upon the materialistic interpretation of history – a conception based upon a hunger for things of material enjoyment, and for more and more of them. Fundamentally, they have as much centred their aim on an increase in material possessions as the veriest Napoleon of finance in Wall Street. An existence in which the acquisition of more material wealth is of very large – if not of chief – importance is in the thoughts of both. The ends sought for by the socialists are not, in effect, different from those of the mass of non-socialists who are striving to acquire wealth in order to have ease and leisure for enjoyment. Agreeing in their aims, their differences – which seem to most persons to place them as wide apart as the poles – really consist in choosing different means of accomplishing their ends. … On the other hand, the socialist proposes to overturn industrial competition and the institution of private property in the hope – vaguely outlined and not economically analyzed – of transferring the use of wealth from those who have to those who have not.”

  • David Foster

    Good post.

    “Leftists are convinced that salvation lies in objects”….more generally, they believe that *moral attributes*, good or bad, are attached to objects. An example of this could be seen in the debate, shortly after 9/11, about whether airline pilots should carry guns. It was clear that to many leftists, a GUN was an icon of such negative power that having one under the control of the Captain was more frightening than the prospect of a terrorist having control of the airplane.

  • Ymarsakar

    Obama told Americans that when they bring a knife to the fight, Obama will bring a gun.

  • Gringo

    It is not a personality disorder. I am reminded of some long-term child development research out of Berserkeley which claimed to prove that  one could prove that certain “negative” characteristics shown when children were  in kindergarten would predict that they would become “conservative” as an adult.