This is not a crude pejorative, I’m not just searching for a way to dismiss Tea Partiers as inferior and brain damaged (they do a good enough job of that on their own). I just happened to refer to the Mayo Clinic’s definition of Antisocial Personality Disorder which is the proper medical term for sociopathy.
Let’s begin by looking at that definition. As you review this, ask yourself how many of these traits are dominant in the stars of the Tea Party, such as Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as well as many of the rank and file. Also consider how many of these traits were apparent in the GOP’s 2012 nominee for President, Mitt Romney. Here we go:
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
By Mayo Clinic staff
Antisocial personality disorder signs and symptoms may include:
- Disregard for right and wrong
- Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
- Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure
- Intense egocentrism, sense of superiority and exhibitionism
- Recurring difficulties with the law
- Repeatedly violating the rights of others by the use of intimidation, dishonesty and misrepresentation
- Child abuse or neglect
- Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, impulsiveness, aggression or violence
- Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behaviors
- Poor or abusive relationships
- Irresponsible work behavior
- Failure to learn from the negative consequences of behavior
Should it even be an option to have people who can be clinically defined as having Antisocial Personality Disorder…having power over the lives of others? The cliche about the inmates running the asylum comes to mind because in a literal way, the asylum inmates are running part of our government.
There’s no reasoning with a sociopath. They are devoid of the ability to empathize or reason. They are purely focused on self-satisfaction and the sad thing about Tea Partiers is that their satisfaction comes from the acting out the pain and fear they carry inside against those they have deemed as deserving targets. Or more accurately, deserving victims.
They exhibit the same belligerence and aggressive ignorance as their ancestors who burned women at the stake who were too independently minded as “witches” and lynched black men for the having been born with a skin color that frightened them.
The sociopathic hatred of women and minorities has been a tradition passed down through the years to them and their hatred of the U.S. government comes of course from their Confederate ancestors who went to war to maintain their society that enslaved black people and enshrined the second class and subservient status of women.
I’ve said this before but it’s something I have to often repeat to myself when I feel the urge to debate with such people, someone who didn’t use reason to arrive at an opinion can’t be reasoned out of it. There may be some exceptions but as hard as it is for people who value reason to accept, they are mostly a lost cause.
Can you reason a 9/11 Truther out of their conspiracy theories? I’ve never seen it happen. Or a Birther?
These people need to believe the way they do, they have to choose denial over truth because having such beliefs are a pillar of their understanding of existence. To let anyone pull those out from under them would cause their insecurities and fears to collapse in on them, the world as they depend on it to be, would vanish. And that’s frightening, As long as their delusions remain righteous and true in their minds, that women and minorities (especially black people) are inferior, they can feel superior even though their lives are in shambles. As long as they can blame the poor or immigrants for being the reason they feel they’ve failed in their own lives, they aren’t responsible for that. As long as they can hate, they don’t have to feel afraid.
So what are we doing with such mentally unhealthy people in a position of power in our government? They have mostly been put there by many people suffering similar problems. Mental illness is an invisible plague, there are so many people out there with real mental illnesses that go unaddressed and untreated because of the stigma associated with it and the denial over it.
For every mentally ill person who attacks innocent people in a mass shooting or bombing, there are many who don’t act out on that impulse but still sit around harboring the same feelings and thoughts. For every Tea Party member who espouses lies, racism and blind hatred, there are many more who don’t voice their similar thoughts.
This is not to say that America is overrun with people suffering from mental illnesses but it is true to say that there is a meaningful number of people walking around us every day who are suffering in one way or another from such issues and they are mostly untreated.
A number of Tea Partiers enclose themselves in thick bubbles of denial and hatred, to protect their mental deviations, because of the fear and insecurity that stems from race and class. The question is often asked, why do poor white people who depend on Social Security Disability, Welfare, Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid and/or Medicare, let alone a bevy of other social programs, vote against their own interests and elect Republicans who want to take much of that away from them? While there are those who do so because of their extremist religious beliefs that Republicans exploit, many of these people are willing to have their lives ruined as long as they can keep blacks and women from getting what they have been getting.
This is the very definition of the old phrase coined long ago, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The power of spite can’t be underestimated and it does drive people to become mentally imbalanced. Would any sane person be willing to destroy their own lives including their children’s and spouse’s just to get satisfaction that black people’s lives would also be destroyed?
Spite has poisoned the minds of many of these Tea Partiers and made them mentally ill as the clinical description above illustrates. They are spiteful because a black man is President, they are spiteful of women being able to do their jobs (and often better), they are spiteful of other people being helped by our society, they are spiteful of other people being able to realize their aspirations, they are spiteful of people with better educations…the list goes on and on.
The truth of course is, they have been screwed by the same Plutocratic class that has screwed most Americans but they have gotten some of the worst of it. They have been deprived of opportunity, of the American Dream, of the life they imagined they’d be living when they were kids, of upward mobility, of a good job and a substantial retirement nest egg. The irony is that many Americans share the frustration of these Tea Partiers but the impact of having a lower quality education and lower standard of living has made them easier prey for the Plutocrats to manipulate into their marching army (since the Plutocrats are so few, it is necessary that they find a zombie army to mindlessly fight for their interests or they would be so easily defeated in elections).
So while I’d venture that many in this generation of Tea Partiers are too mentally troubled to ever be straightened out since their condition only makes them more adamant about their hateful and ignorant beliefs the more they’re questioned (and such people would never accept that they have mental problems), their kids might be reachable and that might not be a bad investment to make. This group may be too far gone but if we can turn our education standards around, especially in poorer areas and make some headway on economic equality and justice for the 99%, we might at least be able to put a dent in the next crop of Tea Partiers that come up. Who knows, the ACA (Obamacare) that they are fighting against so viciously, might turn out to be one of the most important developments that helps their kids climb out of the despair they’re born into.
In all societies, there will always be sociopaths and there will always be altruistic people. We should do what we can to reduce the number of sociopaths but we should resolve ourselves to do everything possible to keep such people safely away from where they can harm others, especially near the levers of our government since that’s exactly where a sociopath would want to be.
Christopher Hitchens VS John And Tom Metzger
A real insight to today’s Tea party.
There was another country whose society whose society whose society had crumbled in the aftermath of a war they did not win. in the aftermath of all those broken dreams, they elected an extremist leader who promised to elevate them by destroying another group in their society. That country was 1930’s Germany and the leader they elected was Adolf Hitler. Compare the early Nazis to the current Tea Party.
Actually jj, Hitler was never elected.
Fair point, Killgore – Hitler was appointed Chancellor then became dictator through fear, intimidation, and worse. We like to think that can’t happen today, but then I hear the lies and hatred coming the Tea Party and their ilk, I have to wonder. With gerrymandering, fixed elections and voter intimidation, The Tea Party have made it this far.
Hey jj. I would never say it’s impossible, but there were certain conditions that allowed a monster like Hitler to come to power. Mainly the horrible conditions Germany found itself in after WWI. Extreme poverty and hunger and joblessness contributed quite a bit.
The US does have a working balance of power between our three branches of government. It would be extraordinary for a dictator to arise here. Again I would never say it would be impossible, but very unlikely. We should always be vigilant to see that something like that never happens here, or anywhere else in the world.
jjgravitas, it is very enlightening to see how a small group of radical zealots can worm their way into power and scare others into being to fearful to stand up to them.
People often say they don’t understand how fascists and tyrants can gain enough support to rise out of democracies, as with Hitler’s rise in Germany but seeing how the majority of Repubs have ceded power to the extremists out of political fears, it really is much more understandable now.
Thank goodness that has no chance now of happening here but it could have!
One does not need to go across an ocean to find the ideological ancestry of these people; it’s right here at home.
They are neo-Confederates, continuing the war they started in 1860.
Hi Ivan and welcome to The Planet!
True, the Tea Party appears actually to be an amalgam of the new-Confederates and Fundamentalist Christian extremists, the remnants of the Moral Majority. So you have a lot in common between the two, bigotry and a drive to force their extreme religious beliefs on the majority.
It’s an ebb and flow, for years these throwbacks to previous decades get pandered to and whipped up by a cynical GOP that exploits their fear and hatred to milk them for votes and winning elections, Eventually, all that fear and hatred in them consumes them and they become so aggressive the GOP can’t control them anymore and they eventually take over the party,
Happened in the 1960’s with Goldwater, with the Moral Majority in the 1980’s/1990’s and now it’s happening again.
As always, once the radicalized Frankenstein minority in the GOP takes over, they abuse their power and alienate a strong majority of Americans over to the Democratic Party for a while to come.
Then, the Tea Party will follow the pattern, be consumed and cowed by their failure and retreat from power for a while…until they are re-agitated again by the GOP to rise up as the party is further threatened to fall into the role of a permanent minority party…which is only a matter of time for a Straight, Fundamentalist, Whites Only party.
Adlib you nailed it. Repubs, Tea partiers are antisocial, sociopathic. It is ironic that they are even in politics in the first place, as political office is supposed to be about public service (paid public service but still), and yet their policies seem to be mostly about denying service to the public rather than improving peoples’ lives. What would a psychiatrist say about that paradox? Schizophrenia?
I don’t know that it’s so odd that the Tea Partiers are in politics because though it represents public service and serving the nation to us, to them it represents power.
And such delusional sociopaths crave the power to inflict their egocentric world upon the majority.
That’s not going to happen now, they’ve showed their true insanity to the public and voters don’t like what they’ve seen. I am growing more confident each week that we can take The House away from them next year. They lack any rational argument to stay in power.
Among TPers, all politics are yokel!
I wish I could claim that as mine, by I borrowed it from Christopher Hitchens. 😉
The term that I’ve always felt applies to Tea Partiers is “Nihilists.”
And what I mean about that is that they are so utterly consumed with rage toward the idea of a black guy in the White House, they will destroy this country in order to destroy him and his “ilk.” They literally would. They don’t care. They just want to destroy Obama and if that means dragging the entire country down, so be it.
Haruko, I agree, they sure fit that definition and I too have referred to them as such.
But I wonder if that’s giving them too much of a compliment. After all, when you compare their disregard for others’ lives, their hatred of America, their single minded zealotry, their willingness to destroy their own lives in the pursuit of their exacting vengeance, doesn’t the term “terrorist” define them more fully?
As destructive as they can be, nihlists do have a philosophy. Do Baggers even think that much? Do they have any philosophy or just a mindless hatred that could drive them in any direction?
They are mentally deranged, they don’t exhibit the traits of well adjusted people. They need to be seen for who they really are, no political correctness or false equivilencies any more in the media.
No dealing with terrorists and no rationalizing them away.
Bundy WAS a republican.
So is Lex Luthor.
Ha! But really, Bundy worked for the RNC in Washington State.
Low info supporters are easily manipulated. They don’t do any research on their own, and readily accept what their TP talking heads and politicians tell them. They are spoon-fed disinformation and flat out lies.They actually want to believe the worst about their opponents. No matter what the facts are, TPers will believe their authority figures because their extreme prejudice against “the others,” allows them to.
Religion and patriotism are the two biggest weapons at their disposal. The emo-progs are almost as bad, and the RW powers that be know this all too well. Emo-progs are, I think, more informed than the TPers, but their passion for any one issue makes them ignore all the other issues. If there is one issue that their president or party doesn’t support or deliberates a little too long on, the emos would withhold their votes, effectively giving votes to their obvious opponents.
KT, they are identical to religious extremists in conformity and blind allegiance to whatever their leaders tell them to believe…because many of them are also religious extremists.
As a minority of the population, the wealthy and powerful always need to prey on the poor and ignorant to recruit them as their mindless army, using their fears to manipulate them into their service.
As we’ve seen throughout history, including on 9/11, such fanatics are the perfect disposable pawns for the agendas of others.
I don’t know that they can be convinced out of their mindsets so they need to be firewalled off from having any power or impact over the lives of others.
I have encountered more than a few like that. They are far from pleasant people; selfish, self centered professional victims.
And, they are easily fooled and easily used by others a great deal smarter than they are.
Those who know the least, obey the best!
agrippa, I’d have to assume that the ultimate responsibility for this are the parents who raised them. These are core behavioral traits, the ability to reason, use critical thinking, be self-critical, being able to communicate constructively and have a respect for truth and what is just.
The cycle needs to be broken. This ignorance and belligerence seems inherited by upbringing (not biological, many of these people could have been insightful and thoughtful if not raised into this stagnated mindset).
AdLib, you’ve put your finger on exactly what is so tremendously frustrating about dealing with these people — or worse yet, being allegedly “represented” by them. They have what psychiatrists refer to as “zero insight.” Meaning they have no idea that there’s anything wrong with them at all. Everything is always someone else’s fault. And you cannot have a rational conversation with them.
You can show them rock-solid evidence. You can have a very incriminating thing done by one of their heroes on actual video for them to look at, and they will still deny that it’s true.
I think back to Romney’s taped comments about the 47% of the American public whom he dubbed “takers.” When I had conversations with RWers about that, I asked who these 47% actually were. Are they the children who are in Head Start? “Oh no, he didn’t mean them.” Are they eighty year olds on SS? Should they be out working? “Well, no he didn’t say that.” Are they schizophrenics? Quadriplegics? “He didn’t mean them.”
Then I would ask: So — when you eliminate children, the elderly and the disabled — he is saying that one half of the able bodied adults in the U.S. who could work, are simply refusing to because they want to live off the government? How does that line up with the unemployment figures we have then? Why isn’t the unemployment rate over 40%? “They rig the statistics.” That would be the answer.
Now that is nuts.
At that point I was speechless. How do you argue with that? You can’t.
Frank Schaeffer also has an interesting take on this whole non-rational phenomenon. He blames it in part on fundamentalist religious beliefs:
I’m truly hoping that this last near-death experience (financially speaking at least) has sobered up a few people. Unfortunately, the RWers I know are still spouting the party line. That this was in reality a great victory. That they are the noble freedom-fighters engaged in an epic battle against the forces of evil. That the Democrats — the President in particular — are the ones responsible for the shutdown. And that Obamacare is going to totally bankrupt the country. They’re even still saying — and this is the one that I personally have the hardest time with — that if we just give more money to the wealthy, they will create jobs for us.
That is beyond pathetic. Decades of bitter first-hand experience haven’t knocked that one out of their poor, delusional heads. As you say, our only hope is to get out the vote in huge numbers in 2014.
Otherwise these same people will be calling the shots indefinitely. And to me, that feels a lot like being locked in a closet with Ted Bundy.
Here is the breakdown of the 47%–or at least at the time romney spoke of the 47%:
* 28.3% are working and have payroll taxes deducted from their pay checks,
* 10.3% pay no taxes because they are retired and living on social security benefits they paid for throughout their working lives,
*6.9% earn less than $20,000 annually, and
*thousands of soldiers in combat zones are exempt from income taxes.
What I never understood about romney’s statement is that the teapartiers kept saying that THEY didn’t want to pay taxes. So, by that reasoning, shouldn’t those people who don’t pay taxes be hailed as heroes by the tp?
Also, the IRS so-called scandal is another complete contradiction for teapartiers. Shouldn’t the IRS be going after those people who don’t pay taxes, be they corporations, PACS, or any other entity? After all, wasn’t romney complaining about the 47% who don’t pay taxes?
And, with these latest shenanigans, all of the republican/tp hypocrisy, or as AdLib points out, the republican/tp sociopathy, is finally being exposed. Or, more precisely, the American people have finally stopped accepting their sociopathy.
I read on HP today that MoveOn.org has put a petition online asking the DOJ to bring sedition charges against all those who voted for the shutdown. Here is the definition of sedition:
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
I have mixed feelings about this; it strikes me as vindictive, and not really solving any problems. On one hand, it pisses me off that r/tps keep getting away with more and more outrageous behavior, with no consequences. On the other hand, I think we as Democrats have to try to set an example, rather than play the r/tps game of spite, vindictiveness, and complete partisanship. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that if it had been the Democrats who had shut down the government, you could be sure that r/tps would be screaming for sedition charges. After all, they’re already calling for impeachment of the President over their shutdown of the government.
I know Americans have short memories, especially the tp crowd, but I’m hoping that every Democrat running for Congress in 2014 reminds his/her voters of these shenanigans at every campaign stop.
I also read today where cruz has not “ruled out” another shutdown come Jan. or Feb. If the tp pulls this stunt again, memories will not be so short, hopefully. Or “sane” republicans (if there are such beasts) will NOT vote with the tp again.
We have an election in two weeks in GA to replace Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. The daughter of Sam Nunn, Michelle Nunn, is running as the Democratic candidate, and I hope to be first in line to vote for her. I am probably fighting a losing battle here in GA, where the tp is strong and stupid, but I will never sit out a local, state, or midterm election again.
To quote St. Ronnie, glenn: “There you go again…” citing those pesky facts. And using that godless logic.
Good for you.
As the numbers you noted demonstrate, a pretty good percentage of Baggers themselves rank among the 47% that Romney scorned and they don’t even recognize it.
That’s an excellent point, too, about the fact that not paying taxes is a large part of what the Tea Party is all about (well, that and racism) and yet they have contempt for “people who don’t pay taxes.” Consistency has never been their strong suit, though.
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they pull the same stunts again after the first of the year. After all, among those traits that the Mayo Clinic lists for sociopathy, isn’t the “inability to learn from experience” one of them?
I do hope that Michelle Nunn wins that election in GA, and “good on ya” (as the Aussies say) for planning to be first to open the polling station doors on election day!
Kes, never heard the term before but it perfectly applies, “zero insight”.
These Tea Party types have no ability to reason, instead they use the same unquestionable, absolutist, faith-based mentality they have in following their religion.
Going down the same road as that excellent article you posted from Frank Schaffer, is this a result of the more aggressive, fundamentalist churches hammering into their followers nowadays that being a good Christian is inseparable from being a Republican? After all, if they are intertwined in the eyes of their church and one has to believe in both to be “good”, is it so unlikely that belief in Repubs and their agendas is just as much an issue of faith as their religion?
We know that many of these Tea Partiers were followers of the Moral Majority in the 1990’s. There seems to be little difference between the blind convictions and willingness to believe in even the most preposterous delusions by the religious extremists as it is with the Tea Party crowd.
Considering all of that, wouldn’t it make it just as difficult to convince any of them out of their wacko conspiracy theories and beliefs about Obama and his policies as it would to convince them not to believe in their religion.
I think many if not most of these people are too far gone to be deprogrammed. As I mentioned before, it would be a great strategy to really try to help their kids to steer them away from following that self-destructive path, by improving education and opportunities for them.
OK, AdLib. Now I’m totally creeped out. Not only do the words fit the patterns of behavior we see, the photo of Ted Bundy looks remarkably like some of Cruz.
Shudder. You have identified some pretty scary things.
When psychologist Robert Coles, author of many books about children living under various conditions, identified the unexpected class, “Children of Privilege”, he honed in on their too-frequent detachment from people around them. They saw others as objects to serve or gratify them, not as whole people with rights and feelings.
We discussed this in terms of Mitt, but it seems to exist within the frame of any person who thinks they are the center of the universe. Remember “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fischer? She wasn’t especially wealthy but WAS raised as an entitled child. She thought she’d been abused because her father would not buy her a Ferrari. I am NOT making that up. She shot her lover’s wife in cold blood because she though she was entitled to him just because she wanted him.
That same determination to ‘have it all and have it NOW’ runs through Sarah Palin’s veins as well as all the others’.
Someone once made a simplistic but telling warning to women in the dating world – if he is nasty to the server, look out.
The Baggers do embrace the gamut of pathologies, and perhaps they appeal to only those who share the trait – fellow feeling and all that. It might explain why too many Emos, also children of privilege, seem more comfortable with the Bagger leaders than with our President and with anyone who has a sense of the common good.
Others matter? Don’t be ridiculous!
CL – I wrote a related post a while back and when I went back to look at the clinical symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder and as I read each one, I too was amazed to see how nearly every one hit the nail on the head with Baggers/Republicans.
It’s so inconceivable that it’s hard to accept but how can such evidence be fully refuted? Many of these people in positions of power in our government are suffering from mental illnesses that lead them to endanger the nation and the world.
Ted Cruz and Ted Bundy, twins separated at birth?
Excellent point that the Baggers get most of their support from those who share their mental illnesses. The entitled, self-centered, unempathetic, angry and scared people. And the level of delusion is shared as well, they genuinely seem to believe 100% in their righteousness no matter how awful their words or actions are.
For Baggers, when it comes to getting what would gratify themselves, the ends always justify the means and being dishonest about all of it to others is nothing to ever feel guilty about.
Hmm…I should do a search of quotes from famous psychopaths and shuffle in quotes from Baggers and see if anyone can tell the difference!
LOl!!! It could be a connect the dots contest – who said this famous thing.
The problem might be historical relevance (I think we all know ‘sic semper tyrannus’), but it would be an interesting exercise to see if we can indeed tell the difference between psychopaths and, well, other psychopaths!
I eagerly await the Pop Quiz on American Nut Jobs with great eagerness!
I wonder if Cruz and Bundy are related or if that glazed gleam of snide superiority is jus a hallmark of their dementia? All the shooters recently have looked alike. Perhaps the crazy just pops out at the end?
Ad–Great minds think alike. Just today on HP they have this quiz: “Are These Quotes From An Alien Invasion Movie, Or From A Republican Describing Obamacare?”
Ad, the truth is the TP is both a sociopath and psychopath. The shutdown cost America 24 billion dollars according to the S&P. TP has no conscience or common sense or any sense.
Nirek, there is nothing so dangerous as a fanatic with power. I think all of America has gotten a good schooling on that this week. We can only hope it is a lesson learned because the final exam will be in November 2014.