Ladders

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.

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9 thoughts on “Ladders

  1. Hello Muddy,
    There is the aspect that someone who has been taught their whole life that another segment of the population is inferior to the group you belong to. Should a person of the perceived lesser status segment achieve the same or greater status as yourself, there is the feeling that you are falling in social status and not providing properly for your family.

    As example I will pass on the “Old Southern Parable” of a poor white southern share cropper who saw the poor black southern share cropper neighbor afford to purchase a mule to help him plow his fields. One night the white share cropper went to the black share cropper’s place and poisoned the mule killing it.

    When the son of the white share cropper found out what his father had done, the boy asked him why he had done such an un-Christian deed. The father’s reply was that he could not afford a mule and if the black share cropper could….then he and his family was lower than a “N” word.

    This is a fact that many still cannot live with today. Let’s take a black President of the United States, and the many white men who have been out of work for over a year or now have an under employed pay scale because their skills were in the manufacturing industry that has been sent to China. There are many who have been raised and attitudes embedded since childhood, now are feeling that they are loosing social status and economic stratification…..and it must be that Black President’s fault.

    Instead of doing what they have to do to re-invent themselves to keep up with the Capitalist changes of our economy….it is easy to just blame someone else for their problems.

  2. You forgot sociopath or Antisocial Personality Disorder:

    # Glibness and Superficial Charm

    # Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    # Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    # Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    # Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    # Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    # Incapacity for Love

    # Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    # Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    # Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

    # Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

    # Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

    # Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

    # Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

    # Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

    I think that goes a long way to explain some of the behaviours I’ve seen.

  3. Wonderful addition to the list! With all of these added ‘types’ of people, it is no wonder that the rabid right-wing is making its mindless noise.

    I note that the # Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity seems to have its home in the GOP.

  4. Many who live comfortable lives fail to understand that not all have been raised by caring, loving parents.

  5. Tim- in my post above I said, Some got that way, I suspect, through a miserable home life, We all know about this situation and most on the liberal end of the spectrum offer these people a ladder up by working for and voting for social programs that offer children assistance in their struggle upwards.

    There is another crowd who tell them, ‘Pick yourselves up by the bootstraps!’ Trouble is, many don’t have boots.

  6. Kurt Vonnegut referred to most politicians as psychopathic personalities.
    Unable to have empathy for others, or more extrememly to not be able to regard others as real….

    It’s just a basic truth to me, that by raising the lowest among us, we only enoble ourselves.
    Of course, consevatives shoot that down. If you start giving stuff away, then everyone wants to come and freeload. If you are poor, it’s your problem.
    Sure, Randian Capitalism is like the wild west, an immature self centered violence prone society.
    A mature society knows that problems have causes and solving them makes all of our lives better.

  7. A mature society knows that problems have causes and solving them makes all of our lives better.

    A mature society as in most of Europe to which the right-wingers cry, “Socialism!” Oh well, that ‘wild west’ mentality apparently is still smoldering. When oh when will it be extinguished? And, can America survive whilst we wait?

  8. “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.”

    LOL! No, muddy, LIBERALS see people who have trouble climbing the ladder, deem them as helpless victims and then excuse them from ever having to try climbing it on their own…then try to force everyone else to GIVE them an elevator instead.

    True conservatism shows people how to use the ladder and allows for personal innovation / responsibility / self reliance to get them up the rungs on their own merits and motivation to succeed.

    Liberalism flat out says that not everyone is bright enough to climb the ladder.
    And while the motivated do the legwork to succeed up the ladder, liberals send the unmotivated up an elevator…and pass it off as “leveling the playing field” or a warped sense of “equality” even though getting to the destination is in no way equal.

    Teach a man to fish, and he can feed himself for life
    …give a man a fish…and he’ll be back everyday expecting his free fish!

    “Help up the ladder” indeed! 45 years of liberal “help up the ladder” has created an entire culture of people expecting others to carry them up the ladder and provide something for them.
    Why learn to fend for yourself when you have plenty of liberals willing to do the fending for you…and make all the excuses as to why you can’t do anything for yourself?
    Provide the opportunity to succeed but, allow the person to learn from personal failure!
    The opportunity to pick up the pieces and succeed are still in place…as well as the lesson in failure!
    Wow…what an unliberal concept…learning from mistakes as opposed to having successes built into people’s lives as a given!
    And you wonder how people became so stupid?
    Think about it.

    In liberal world, life is a tee-ball game with no bad pitches, no scores being kept and everyone gets a trophy…pure fantasy!

    Sorry guys, life IS about learning lessons and dealing with personal failures and setbacks. You are either motivated to succeed or you’re not.

    Having another person bear my burdens doesen’t make me equal…it makes me dependent!
    And dependent people aren’t free people. Take away their benefactor and they are dead since they know nothing to survive via their own wits that have been bleached from them.

  9. Sepp,

    I am not going to disagree w/ everything you said, just most of it, by pointing out two foibles in your argument.

    Initially, you speak of “true conservatives” but alas these are few and far between. Unfortunately, it seems that many who consider themselves conservatives and most who trumpet the cause most loudly, seem to lack compassion for those less well off than they. The poster boys and girls for the movement (see Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin) seem to exude a philosophy of “I got mine, how are you fixed?”

    Meanwhile, your characterization of liberals is equally inaccurate. Do the proponents of “all the children get a prize for just showing up” exist? Certainly. Do they constitute a majority of liberals? Not.

    Regards.

    The Loop Garoo Kid

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