First there was a study showing that liberals are more likely than conservatives to exhibit “psychotic” traits. Now there’s more research that may indicate the Left has left sanity, with a new study of nationwide psychoticism finding that liberal states top the list.
The study is titled “Psychopathy by U.S. State,” by Professor Ryan H. Murphy at Southern Methodist University. It’s worth noting, mind you, “that Murphy’s research is not politically motivated, like Rossiter’s book The Liberal Mind,” writes American Thinker, which reported on the professor’s findings.
The site continues, “Without going into the details of Professor Murphy’s research methodology, we note that Connecticut is at the top of the psychopathic pyramid in America. It is followed by the states of California, New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Maine, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Illinois. Virginia closes the top ten most ‘psychopathic states,’ whose populations show personality characteristics of antisocial behavior.”
Strikingly, eight of these 10 states voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Wisconsin did not, but is a relatively liberal state that had gone Democrat seven elections in a row, 1988 through 2012. The only outlier is solidly Republican Wyoming.
In contrast, “At the bottom of the psychopathic pyramid of America is the state of West Virginia,” writes American Thinker. “It is followed by Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Montana, Mississippi, and Indiana. Oregon closes the top ten least psychopathic states.”
Seven of these 10 states supported Donald Trump in 2016. Vermont, New Mexico, and Oregon did not.
So what does this mean? Psychology Today provides an in-depth exposition on psychopathy here, but Dictionary.com tells us in summary that it is “a mental disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.” Also note that psychopaths are generally bereft of a conscience.
Whether or not this sounds like anyone, or any group, you know (or wish you didn’t), writer Peter Schweizer may say it does. In his 2008 piece “Don’t listen to the liberals — Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows,” he reported on studies showing that leftists manifest many attitudes that correlate with psychopathy. For example, they’re more likely than conservatives to agree with the statement that “there are no right or wrong ways to make money” (mostly because they don’t believe in right and wrong to begin with).
As mentioned earlier, Professor Murphy’s research reflects a previous study, a 2012 paper in The American Journal of Political Science. It showed that liberals exhibit more authoritarian traits and “psychoticism” and thus are more “uncooperative, hostile, troublesome … socially withdrawn, [and] manipulative,” as the paper puts it.
But is it really true that leftists are more psychotic? And why would this be? Actually, the explanation is found in their own pronouncements.
To say leftists are skeptical about morality is an understatement. Their typical argument when hearing moral positions they don’t like — or put another way, when hearing moral positions — is one of a number of related refrains: “That’s your ‘truth”; someone else’s may be different,” “Who’s to judge?” “Everything is a matter of perspective,” and “Don’t impose your values on me!” This reflects what epitomizes leftists and, sadly, to an extent our age: moral relativism. This is the notion that what we call “morality” changes based on time and place because it’s determined by man.
Translated, however, what this really means is that morality, properly understood, doesn’t exist. To present my standard explanation:
After all, imagine we learned that 90 percent of the world loved vanilla but hated chocolate. Would this make chocolate “bad” or “wrong”? It would just be a matter of whatever flavor works for you. But then how does it make any more sense to say that murder is “bad” or “wrong” if the only reason we do so is that the vast majority of the world prefers that we not kill other humans in a manner the vast majority considers “unjust”? If consensus preference is all it is, it then falls into the same category as flavors: taste [or preference].
And taste isn’t Truth, preference isn’t principle.
This is why intelligent people who’ve thought these matters through — but come to the wrong conclusion — will essentially say what occultist Aleister Crowley did: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
Here’s how this relates to psychopathy. Many people just adopt moral relativism as an intellectual position — perhaps out of convenience — but don’t feel it in their hearts. They may, for instance, parrot the “Don’t’ impose values on me” line to justify themselves; or, like an elderly gentleman with whom I once had a philosophical debate, they may say “The other possibility is that there is no right or wrong,” driven by a desire to play Devil’s advocate or to be intellectually consistent.
But what if they didn’t just say there was no right or wrong (explicitly or in so many words), but had actually incorporated the idea into themselves on an emotional level?
They’d be psychopaths. They’d have to be. How can you have a conscience if you not only think, but also feel, that there’s nothing to be conscientious about (Moral Truth)?
The claim here isn’t that every leftist is a full-blown psychopath. Professor Murphy apparently says that psychopathy is a spectrum, and this is likely true. But is this a psychological phenomenon, as social scientists say, or a philosophical one? It does make sense that insofar as moral relativism permeates your heart, you’ll descend into psychopathy.
Put another way, if you don’t feel any sense of right or wrong with respect to one issue — let’s say, adultery or prenatal infanticide — can it perhaps be said that you’re psychopathic regarding that issue? Of course, though, you could also feel no sense of right or wrong vis-à-vis two issues, three, seven, or nine.
What, however, if you feel no such sense regarding any matter? This would be full-blown psychopathy.
This is yet another reason why we must stop the relativistic talk. First, repeatedly espousing something year after year, and perhaps living it more and more, can cause it to permeate your heart. Of even greater significance, what happens to children raised in a morally relativistic/nihilistic environment, hearing (in so many words) “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”? “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree” and “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man,” the sayings go. Twist a babe’s moral compass, and he may never recover.
And that’s how you create a tomorrow in which people, yearning for utopia but not knowing right from wrong because they don’t even believe in it, unwittingly vote for hell on Earth.