“Liberals climb up the ladder and help those less fortunate also climb up the ladder. Conservatives pull the ladder up so that no one can follow them.”
– comment from Laci the Dog.
Last evening, as my wife and I were attending a graduation ceremony, that thought came to me once again. I watched the 8th graders as the speeches were given on behalf of their class and wondered whether the ideals and platitudes that were spoken were a description of all of the members of the class or only most of them.
During my own years in school, there were always the punks- the guys with a large chip on their shoulder, who’d just as soon deck you as look at you. Some got that way, I suspect, through a miserable home life, but others may have been born that way– a personality disorder of some kind.
I wonder if those who pitch their tent on the far-right side of the political spectrum do have, in fact, a personality disorder. A disorder that leads to the mindset of ‘pulling up the ladder.’ For years, I have been trying to wrap my mind around that clutch of people to figure out why it is that they seem to be so..so stingy- for lack of a better word. Does egalitarianism never enter their psyche? Why the ‘I got mine and the hell with you!’ approach to life? I still can’t figure them out. Is there a psychologist in the audience?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists 10 personality disorders which have been identified as ‘abnormal.’ They get my attention because the titles themselves seem to define their anti-social distress:
Paranoid personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.0): characterized by irrational suspicions and mistrust of others.
Schizoid personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.20): lack of interest in social relationships, seeing no point in sharing time with others, anhedonia, introspection.
Schizotypal personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.22):characterized by odd behavior or thinking.
How about that 3rd one and Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? And the Tea Party in number one?
In Cluster B, Borderline personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.83): extreme “black and white” thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior.
I have been told that this one, borderline personality disorder, is one of the scariest disorders because the patient appears, as the title suggests, ‘sort of ‘ normal and often goes though life undiagnosed. It is, I am told, the most difficult of the disorders to treat because the patient does not ‘believe’ that anything is wrong with their behaviors.
Narcissistic personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.81): a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.
Of course, the word, narcissistic, says it all. Lack of empathy. Ladder-puller, for sure!
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.4): characterized by rigid conformity to rules, moral codes and excessive orderliness.
This is one of my favorite topics, especially when I visit the fundamentalist [c]hristian blogs. This disorder is also a very difficult one to treat because the patient is in denial of the illness and, further, cannot be convinced that the obsessive compulsions are, in fact, just that. Life outside of the compulsive tasks cannot easily be realized. Those ‘moral codes’ to which they adhere lead to ladder-pulling, especially leaving the ‘non believers’ behind and condemned to Hell. I have, in fact, been so-judged and will ‘burn in Hell’ for some of my thoughts and challenges to these religious moralists. No ladder for me unless I ‘repent’ of my satanic ways.
America is replete with people suffering some degree of personality disorders; fortunately many are locked-up or in mental institutions for the greater benefit of society. Yet, there are many undiagnosed who grumble through society, making it difficult for many to lift themselves up because the ladders have been pulled up, out of their reach. Those with personality disorders like it like that and show up at the polls to keep it that way.