During the final years of the Soviet Union many political dissidents weren't sent to slave labor camps as happened in the bad old Stalin era if they weren't outright liquidated. Instead, their divergence from the official party line was viewed as some sort of mental disorder that must be treated, usually with forced confinement in mental institutions which were little more than prisons. And now we have a Marxist blogger for Psychology Today who proposes that Tea Party participants suffer from a mental disorder. The funniest thing is that when one reads the rantings of Michael Bader, he appears like Captain Queeg on the witness stand. The more he writes, the less rational he sounds. Take a look at just the first sentence of Bader's extended rant and guess who comes off as sanity challenged. BTW, the word "f---ers" in his primal scream article is fully spelled out:
These tea-party folks seem to most liberals-well, to most of us who live in the "reality community," or, as I like to call it, "reality"-like crazy f---ers.
Bader doesn't hide his outright hate for the tea party folks:
I hate these folks but I also understand them. And, well, uh, I also empathize with them. They share the same psychology as the paranoid patients I treat every day. The only difference is that the paranoid beliefs of the tea-party movement are political while those in my consulting room are of a more personal nature.
So it's all just a mental disorder, just like what the Soviet dissidents suffered from. Bader then proposes to "understand" the tea partiers...so as to fight them:
I have come to have empathy for the tea-party'ers, even as I despise their influence and work hard to defeat their ideology. It's crucial that progressives do likewise because if we don't understand the ways that decent, god-fearing, and victimized people can come to espouse such a dangerous ideology, we won't be able to fight them effectively.
And now a paranoid theory about tea parties put forward by one Michael Bader:
For new tea-party members, however, the drift toward paranoia is facilitated by the right-wing media machine that offers several ready-made narratives perfectly designed to help its consumers clear up their confusion, understand their helplessness, absolve them of any blame, and offer a way out. The conspiratorial alliance of business and government, a growing tyranny intended to disenfranchise, disarm, and exploit ordinary citizens, secret pacts to overthrow the constitution, etc. all currently led by an un-American, godless, colored, elitist, contemptuous, foreigner--Barack Hussein Obama. A grim and frightening picture of the world to be sure.
Yeah, a "right-wing media machine." Now who is being paranoid, Mr. Bader?
A few final swings with the butterfly net by Bader:
The "problem" is that tea-party activists move from legitimate feelings and normal longings to paranoid political positions that are dangerous and cruel. But because these positions serve an important psychological function, because they resolve an emotional dilemma, they can't be changed by rational argument.
...Perhaps the progressive movement shouldn't waste its time dealing with the tea-party movement except as a spur to get our own house-and movement-in order. A legitimate argument can be made that these people are, simply, the enemy and that our challenge is to build progressive majorities immune to their sabotage and interference. But I would argue that to the extent we want to reach people who are drawn to tea-party, patriot, libertarian, and other right wing movements but are not yet hard-line ideologues, or prevent others from becoming so, we have to begin with empathy. We have to get inside their heads, figure out how their choices are reasonable from their point of view.
As for the claim by your humble correspondent that Bader is a Marxist, is that some sort of scurrilous "McCarthyite" charge? Nope. The person who claims that Michael Bader is a Marxist is...Michael Bader as you can read in his biography:
I was always a lefty. My father was the only liberal in a family and community of racist republicans. My older brother went to U.C. Santa Barbara in 1967 and gave an adoring younger brother regular reports from “the front.’ And I went to Berkeley from 1970 to 1976. ‘Nuff said.
At first, politics for me was all about the New Left, Marxism, and political economy. I was “out-there,” active in various extremist groups, and fully engaged at the same time with the counter-culture. Eventually, with the decline of the New Left, I gave up being active in the public political world and chose a profession—psychology. I never gave up my sentiments or beliefs, but couldn’t figure out how to blend them with my work, since I don’t believe that good therapy should have a political agenda in any way.
Got that? Bader still clings the the stale economic beliefs of a discredited 19th century deadbeat who never held a regular job and spent his days jotting down impractical rantings in a London library reading room while hitting up his friends for money. And yet Bader, who claims to be based in reality, continues to cling to those same beliefs as subscribed to by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, and Hugo Chavez.
For further proof of Bader's complete divorce from reality, check out his Why We Should Stop Demonizing John Edwards.