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By Joshua Dietz
You’ve heard of the left-wing bias in media. You’re probably aware of the profound liberal influence in Hollywood. By now you might even know about the creeping Leftism in higher education. In fact, a recent study gives us a quantitative insight into that community. Voter registration records of faculty members at 40 major American universities shows a staggering ratio of 11.5:1 Democrats to Republicans, most significantly in the areas of History and Journalism. Interestingly, Psychology showed a ratio of 17.4:1, formally introducing us to yet another influential America institution populated by people whose politics are left of center. Over the next few paragraphs, I would like to explain why this is something to be concerned with.
Given the response of the psychological and psychiatric communities to Donald Trump since he announced his Presidential campaign, this information may not be all that surprising. Academic and Clinical practitioners from all over the country broke The Goldwater Rule in order to question President Trump’s mental health. Before we continue, let’s provide a little context: Senator Barry Goldwater ran in 1964 against then Vice President Lyndon Johnson for the country’s highest office. His campaign was marred by scathing and irrational attacks such as the now infamous “Daisy” commercial, which depicted a young girl in the moments just before a nuclear explosion. Like The Donald, Goldwater was labeled an “extremist”, a “narcissist”, and an “existential threat to America”, in a similarly baseless and hysterical fashion. Much like the thoroughly laughable Citizen Therapists for Democracy movement, aimed at thwarting “Trumpism”, Goldwater was the target of nearly 1,200 psychiatrists who had determined that the Senator from Arizona was “mentally unfit”. The audacious malpractice on the part of the psychiatric community resulted in the Goldwater Rule, setting the precedent that clinicians were forbidden from practicing armchair psychotherapy.
This blind spot has seriously compromised the credibility (and competency) of the institution of psychology, and individual practitioners alike. Aside from lacking the ability to evaluate information in a dispassionate and rational manner, many of these individuals are in effect breaking the law with their slanderous and libelous comments. One may be excused for questioning the entire notion of “mental health”, given the complete and utter debasing of the term. Such a liberal (pardon the pun) usage of this concept harms individuals with actual mental health issues, and distorts the average person’s understanding of mental health. How can we expect the psychologically lay to navigate the world in healthful and adaptive ways, when the professional class is busy muddying the water in the name of ‘humanitarianism’? Moreover, this conduct is dangerous, and has placed the country in serious peril. If leading mental health professionals agree that the President is insane, does this not lend legitimacy to the recent outbreak 0f violent protests? Psychology is the discipline best equipped to understand attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and motivations, and yet in the face of Donald Trump, has morphed into a crude caricature of Freudian hysterics.
Ultimately the psychological institutions across America have failed to meaningfully carry the traditions of the discipline forward, and instead have fallen into a static and lethargic, feel-good, solution-averse form of disrepair. Consider the following article, detailing the struggle of psychotherapists to aid their clients (and themselves) in coping with the political turmoil of the last eighteen months. While it is certainly true that Trump’s political entry has altered the prevailing cultural, political, and social paradigms, leading intellectuals in the psychological community have done little to offer guidance. For many, this dizzying turn of events has resulted in a complete inversion of reality. Considering that a politically-left identity is highly correlated with psychoticism, there is quite a bit to be disturbed over.
The tradition within psychotherapy has been to push back against the irrationality of others. Therapists are not meant to be inert in this regard; the responsibility of the clinician is to correct the inaccurate and harmful attitudes of the client. At the same time, this must be achieved without merely dictating orders. The irrationality of Americans has been permitted to foment, particularly during the Obama years. Trump’s campaign has reintroduced some vestige of objective reality into the lives of many, and like Nosferatu recoils from sunlight, so too are millions of Americans wincing in the presence of truth. This is not necessarily a bad thing; the byproduct of such intense strife is growth. It is my hope that while President Trump is busy “Making America Great Again,” that we can also “Make Psychology Great Again.”
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