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The Thin Line Between Mental Illness and Politics in America
As politics has become less and less about reaching out to the middle and more and more about identifying tiny slivers of the population that can be brought into your tribe or turned into wedge issues for political advantage, we’ve increasingly seen things previous generations would have described as mental illness become political issues.
Granted, it’s not unusual that people with mental issues would want to have their personal problems solved via politics. After all, this is something Thoreau pointed out long ago:
The thing that’s changed is normal people on both sides of the aisle used to recognize this as a terrible idea for a variety of reasons. Instead of helping people get over their mental illnesses, it normalizes their delusions and neuroses. Worse yet, politicizing these issues often leads to the societal promotion of these mental illnesses. It creates all sorts of unintended consequences. The logical inconsistencies it fathers can be used to justify other bad behavior. It corrupts institutions that should be helping people with their mental disorders and causes them to enable that bad behavior instead. It just goes on and on and on.
The most obvious one is with transsexuals. You can’t change genders and if you believe you can, you are mentally ill. Pretending this isn’t true has led to countless people mutilating themselves, promoting transsexuality to children, an enormous number of suicides, women and men in the same locker rooms and prisons, women and men competing against each other in sports, ludicrous claims that there are no physical differences between men and women, demands that everyone else lie and pretend that this is normal – it’s a never-ending, intolerable cavalcade of insanity that in the end, makes us question who’s crazier, the guy who believes he’s a woman just because he decided that he is one or the society that enables this delusion.
Similarly, let’s just note up front that men who feel compelled to dress up in women’s clothes are not healthy, normal, admirable, or sane people. If you came up with a list of professions/hobbies 1,000 deep of people that belong around children at all, much less that should be held up as role models, drag queens would not be on that list. They shouldn’t be reading to kids; they should be working out their compulsion to dress up in women’s clothes with a therapist.
Would it be a healthier, happier world if somehow, some way no one was allowed to be a drag queen or transsexual? Absolutely and among the healthier and happier people would be the vast majority of people that are currently transsexuals or drag queens.
We hear a lot of talk about sensitive “snowflakes” at colleges today. However, it’s hard to know whether these kids are really this psychologically fragile when they arrive or whether colleges are teaching and enabling that behavior instead of promoting free speech and exploring new ideas. If you need a “safe space” away from ideas you don’t agree with to make it, you can be broken down to tears by a “microaggression” most people wouldn’t even notice, or if you can’t tolerate the idea that somewhere else on campus, someone you disagree with is sharing their opinion, you have a psychological problem you need to address with a therapist. People who believe this kind of behavior is okay inevitably turn into weak, intolerable crybabies who screw up everything they touch because they’re incapable of interacting like normal human beings.
How does this attitude play out in the real world?
When you hear about places where the students get so upset and terrified about seeing a banana peel in a tree that they have to call off school, it’s a sign that things have gotten way out of hand. When Felicia Sonmez at the Washington Post thinks it’s fine to go on a week-long Twitter tirade because she didn’t like a joke that had nothing to do with her, it’s a sign she’s not stable enough for the real world (she was fired for that, by the way). When you have large numbers of people demanding that Netflix never have Dave Chappelle back on because he made very gentle jokes about transsexuals, that’s not mentally healthy behavior. As a white, conservative, Christian, Republican, do you know many mean-spirited jokes and public attacks have been made against people like me in the last few years? It’s an everyday thing. At a minimum, it’s in the thousands, maybe even in the tens of thousands. Unfortunately, that’s the society we live in and at a certain point, if you are several orders of magnitude more sensitive than everyone else, you have a mental problem that you need to address.
It's also worth noting that there was a time, not so long ago on the Internet, where trolls were thought of as maladjusted losers trying to get a rise out of people for mentally unhealthy reasons. What does it say about our society today that there’s incessant trolling in politics, not just from people on Twitter, but at the highest levels of politics? Donald Trump is a famous troll, but so are some of the best-known members of Congress. AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene all play the exact same game. There are people on the Right saying anything to try to get those “liberal tears” and there are even more people targeting conservatives the same way on the Left. Does this strike anyone as a mentally healthy thing to do or are we encouraging unhappy, angry people to unleash their venom at others just because they can?
It’s also pretty clear that the self-esteem movement that swept through American schools and convinced every angry, mediocre, and dysfunctional child that they actually should have sky-high self-esteem has created a generation of narcissists who don’t see any further than me, me, me! Look at the riots of 2020 for a great example of that. You had liberals in Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA rioting, looting, and burning liberal cities. They didn’t care who got hurt. They didn’t care about the people that spent a lifetime building up a small business that they were tearing down. They didn’t even care that many of the people they were hurting were probably on their side politically. Instead, they behaved like narcissistic babies who just want what they want and are going to raise holy hell until they get it. The fact that what they wanted, which ultimately seemed to be that the police never shoot another black man again under any circumstances, was completely impossible didn’t seem to faze them. Baby wants what baby wants and he’s going to throw a tantrum until he gets it, or you stop rewarding him for his bad behavior.
Similarly, could there be anything more narcissistic than wanting your own personal pronouns? “How dare the WHOLE WORLD not know that I wish to be addressed as fish/ultra-squirrel/Ultra-fish squirrel. This injustice must not stand! I’m making a TikTok video!” These weirdos need to spend less time on TikTok and more time in a therapist’s office learning that they’re not the center of the universe.
Last but not least, there’s a level of paranoia running through modern politics, especially around race, that’s almost beyond belief. Remember this comment from Joe Biden, who incidentally, even a decade ago sounded orders of magnitude clearer and less senile as he said this nonsense?
How about this recent quote from Yale Professor Kim Sue?
Working while sick is “white supremacy urgency?” That’s apparently the weird paranoia they’re feeding college kids at Yale these days. Nobody is making interracial marriage illegal, putting anyone back in chains, and there are probably, God-help-us-all, 10 furries in the United States for every white supremacist. We live in a majority white nation that voted for a black man as president twice and just voted for a ticket that had one of the least charismatic black women in America as VP. How racist can we be? The Left’s obsession with race is so out of accord with reality that it seems like an obsessive-compulsive tic. At this point, calling someone racist in politics usually has no more to do with actual racism than someone in an insane asylum claiming to be Napoleon has to do with the governing of France.
Reverend William Anderson Scott once wrote that "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad." We better hope that turns out to be wrong because mental illness and politics in America are becoming so seamlessly intertwined that it’s increasingly hard to tell the difference.