Your Politics Are Pathological

…and so are mine.

We all have a tendency to take our own personality pathologies and impose them on our political views to one degree or another.  For example, many conservatives apply their change-averse pathology to their political views. Many progressives apply their pro-change pathology to their political views. Many authoritarians apply their pathological desire for social stability to their political views. Many libertarians apply their pathological desire for independence to their political views. Many egalitarians apply their pathological desire for feeling as if no one’s better than they are to their political views. Many elitists apply their pathological desire to feel as if they are superior to others to their political views.

This is not to say that our political views exclusively operate out of a single pathology, because it is often the case that multiple pathologies influence our political views. For example, Josef Stalin might have been laboring under both the egalitarian and authoritarian pathologies.  Ron Paul might be laboring under both the egalitarian and libertarian pathologies.

I would also be very suspicious of the claim that our political views are merely a product of our pathologies.  I tend to think that there are also healthy and adaptive cognitive strategies that influence our political views along with our pathologies.  We almost always have several pathologies tugging us toward our political views, but with maturity and effort we can mitigate that problem somewhat.  Hopefully as we grow into ourselves over the course of life, our political views will increasingly be rooted more in our healthy and adaptive cognitive strategies.

Related:  Are Centrists Pathological?

It might be tempting for us to think that we unique individuals have managed to transcend our pathologies and find the true center of the political spectrum using only our healthy and adaptive cognitive strategies.  But the person who only acts out of their healthy and adaptive cognitive strategies doesn’t exist; even those of us who would be described as normal and healthy by the American Psychological Association are suffering under a collection of common pathologies that aren’t recognized as such simply because we all share them and find it difficult to imagine that we are being pathological.

It’s quite possible to be radically committed to centrism, for example. I was when I was a sophomore in college getting my 1st degree. And I think that aversion to the two-party system is probably part of the motivation for a fair number of centrists in the United States. But for the rest, it’s likely a case of taking one’s own pathology and applying it across the board to one’s political views.

The pathology that tends to be present in centrists is something called central tendency in survey methodology. People take the middle road when answering the questions because they have an intuition that the truth lies in the middle, that the best solutions are somewhere between what the parties disputing the issue are proposing. It’s an intuition I’ve come to reject because there is no logical or empirical necessity to the connection between the center and the truth, but I understand the appeal.

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2 Responses to Your Politics Are Pathological

  1. Pingback: My Political Principles: Methods & Madness | Isorropia

  2. Pingback: Fair Questions: Why are people authoritarian? | Isorropia

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