Ask Dr. Helen: How Do You Deal With a Palin Hater?
When political passion becomes obsessive and unhealthy.
October 6, 2008 - 12:08 am
Instead, advice columnist Tennis makes excuses for “Hater,” fans the flames of her hate, and tries to psychoanalyze Palin when he is way out of his league:
I think what disturbs us about Sarah Palin is that she reminds us of the authoritarian personality. My guess is that she is also an ESFJ, or Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging type, with a strong preference for sensing. Such a person prefers to acquire her knowledge from concrete objects and places instead of from abstract ideas. This would explain why she thinks being geographically close to Russia is a form of foreign policy expertise. As an authoritarian type, she strikes us as a person who prefers power to reason. The people running John McCain’s campaign seem to instinctively understand the uses to which such an impression can be put. Perhaps they know better than we do how deeply the American people long to be done with the problem of democracy, to yield to a powerful father-mother pair of authoritarians. The very thing that appalls us about Sarah Palin — her discomfort in the realm of reason — is her main selling point. This is so mind-boggling that you have to take a minute to let it in. Take a deep breath. Read that sentence again. Face it: Sarah Palin represents what many people want: a retreat from reason; a regression to childhood.
Say what? This advice columnist states that Palin is an authoritarian personality and his superior reasoning is that a Myers-Briggs (a test used by organizational and industrial psychologists) would say that Sarah Palin is an ESFJ — and then interprets the non-existent test results as meaning that she is an authoritarian personality?
And he thinks that Palin can’t reason? This is what is mind-boggling, if you ask me. Perhaps Tennis’ interpretation of an “authoritarian personality” is anyone who disagrees with a liberal.
In fact, Theodore Adorno, one of the researchers who developed the term “authoritarian personality,” has an anti-capitalist bent, so it is no wonder he and his work is held in such high esteem by those who fear the free market, private industry, and personal responsibility. These ideals are abstract, intellectual, and require reasoning.
Those are the ideas that Sarah Palin aspires to, but that Tennis has no clue in understanding. Perhaps Tennis would have given better advice if he had told “Hater” about the studies of University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who found that while conservatives could put themselves in the mindset of liberals, liberals did not return the favor. In other words, like Hater, some scream, rant, and rave when someone does not agree with them, with no understanding of why people are different. Perhaps a little empathy is in order here for Hater’s friends and family.
At the very least, Tennis could have told her to back off from friends and co-workers with her rants and angry tantrums. For her behavior is nothing but the regression to a two-year-old: throwing a tantrum because she has no idea that other people have different opinions than one’s own and that those opinions may be just as valid or more so. And yes, perhaps a self-help group would help Hater to reflect on her ugly behavior.
What do you think, is Hater’s behavior to friends and family justified?
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