The swamp's paranoid tendencies

After 35 years, I retired my license to diagnose and treat individuals and families for behavioral health issues.  As a retired clinical psychologist tracking news and social media, I believe that, since the 2020 election, our federal government is now officially insane.  It suffers from what one might call Mass Paranoid Disorder of Psychotic Proportions.  This is not an official psychiatric disorder, but if it were, primary symptoms would be similar to those of individual paranoid disorders, but on a massive collective group level, and include:

a) pervasive suspiciousness and distrust of others' motives;

b) delusions of grandiosity and, because of their "specialness," delusions of persecution;

c) misinterpretation of innocuous behavior as major insults or attacks;

d) rigid inability to forgive with a tendency to hold grudges;

e) heightened vigilance and scanning for real or imagined threats; and

f) use of projection as the primary defense mechanism (e.g., "We're not the angry, dangerous ones with hate and hostile intent; that's all of you who are out to get us.").

What else can explain these?

a) the recent establishment of security fences, razor wire, and tens of thousands of troops surrounding our Capitol

b) the obsession with boogeymen like alleged white supremacists, so-called right wing "domestic terrorists," the shadowy "QAnon" entity, everyday Trump-supporters, and even Trump himself

c) the need to keep middle-class Americans locked down, isolated, separated, and silenced to "cancel" and neutralize the threat they imagine that we represent

d) the astounding level of arrogance and unjustified moral superiority evident in the message that the government knows better and is, therefore, in true communist form, entitled to override our constitutional rights

Clearly, this is mob psychology run amok and unwittingly supported by otherwise good people who are being manipulated like subjects in the Milgram experiments of the 1960s.

While it might be tempting to write all of this off as a passing political phenomenon that will end with upcoming elections or as nothing to really worry about, we may want to reconsider and take it seriously as an existential threat to our and our nation's future.  Although it's a mistaken myth that people with psychiatric disorders are dangerous to others, the main exception to that rule is with people who exhibit paranoid symptom patterns.  The reason is that paranoid thinking sometimes provokes people to attack their perceived "enemies" before they themselves are attacked.  There's no reason to think the same pre-emptive strategy isn't already brewing with the paranoid culture that has consumed much of Washington, D.C. and is being fed to the masses via our educational system and mainstream media.

For Americans who find themselves confused and doubting their own judgment because they can't understand the recent increasingly radical and irrational actions of our federal government, it's important to reframe the problem as resting mainly within the out-of-touch-with-reality culture of the ruling elite, not that of the majority of Americans.   In other words, it's not us; it's them!  The sad irony is that, once we're tagged by those in power as the "enemy," we're placed in a position where we need to be prepared to defend ourselves from what is a real, not an imagined, threat.

Image: Mike H.

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