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Please Take Me Off Your List of Hate

My response to someone shilling a book claiming Tea Partiers are akin to Nazis and Maoists.

Helen Smith


January 15, 2014 - 11:48 am


So I received this press release about a recently released book by psychologist Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D:


Lorna Garano


A Psychologist Diagnoses the Tea Party-and other extremists threatening our world. In “The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do about It,” Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D., calls for a new and deeper psychological understanding of our greatest political and social conflicts and those who drive them.

It’s easy for liberals to snicker at the misspelled signs and misplaced anger of the Tea Party, but psychologist Kirk J. Schneider says that we dismiss or diminish groups like this at our own peril. Schneider, the author of THE POLARIZED MIND: WHY IT’S KILLING US AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT (University Professor Press, 2013, paperback), has done an exhaustive study of extremist movements throughout history and he says it’s time for us to look more seriously at what he calls “the polarized mind.” In “The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do about It,” Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D., calls for a new and deeper psychological understanding of our greatest political and social conflicts and those who drive them.

“You can see gradations of the ‘polarized mind’ at work in virtually all destructive political movements from Nazi Germany to Maoist China to our very own Tea Party. In fact, it is the pervasive malady of the 20 and 21st Centuries,” says Schneider.

How does the Tea Party fit in? Many among its ranks have seen their lives profoundly upended by economic, social, and political trends beyond their control. They tend to be middle class people who are mired in debt and have seen a sharp decline in their living standard due to the shift to a service-industry economy. They often face stiff competition for low-wage jobs and when they land them they may be confined to dull, meaningless work day after day. They resent any government help for people who are even less fortunate and train their anger on those who are the least responsible for their plight. And it’s not just an empty wallet that drives them. It’s also a sense of social dislocation. “I think many in this movement are embittered over the increasing complexity of contemporary life. They look at the 9/11 attack-which once would have seemed unthinkable-the decrease in church attendance in many places, the loss of two-parent households, gender equality, the lack of simple ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ presentations of the U.S. vs. the rest of the world, and they feel profound existential anxiety-as if the ground beneath them is giving way,” says Schneider.

Although you won’t find “polarized mind” in any official diagnostic manual, for Schneider it’s crucial that the psychological community and the world at large rethink our ideas about mental illness if we are to understand the forces at play in the world. “When we think of mental illness, we think of a discrete and politically powerless group of people who have received a diagnosis, but if you look at the key criteria for diagnoses it’s abundantly clear that they describe vast swaths of the population, not a marginalized group,” says Schneider. Look, for example, at some of the traits of narcissistic personality disorder or psychopathy: A callous disregard for the feelings of others, the reckless disregard for the safety of others, a sense of entitlement, arrogance, a grandiose sense of self-importance. These traits are readily seen in the Tea Party and other extremist groups.

“No one can or should deny the historical forces that have shaped movements like the Tea Party, but to overlook or dismiss the psychological factors that are linked to them is to have less than a full understanding of what makes extremism tick-and how we can defuse it,” says Schneider. Recognizing the polarized mind when we see it is the first step.

Here is the reply I sent back to Lorna Garano:

How DARE YOU send me this trash associating law abiding American citizens with Nazi Germany and Maoist China. I am a psychologist who has sympathy for my fellow Americans who are so “extremist” that they believe in lower taxes and the Second Amendment. Horrors!

What is “killing us” are polarized minds like Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D who is so narrow-minded that he thinks those who have different political beliefs than himself are the enemy and seeks to assign them with a “diagnosis.” What is truly extremist and scary to those of a more conservative or libertarian persuasion is that so many psychologists such as the one below are such political hacks for the Democratic Party. Please take me off your list of hate.

Helen Smith, PhD


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog – visit for additional comments and discussion

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Dr. Smith ( I don't know, I always think of the Robot and Will Robinson),

Thanks for holding up a mirror to Lorna Garano's missive. Hope she enjoys it.
I would not expect less from someone at PJ's.

It's funny to me that we all heard the word 'framed' long before we started using the word 'framing.' They both point in the same direction as in 'framing members of the Tea Party.' Then there is 'being framed,' as in 'set up.'

This book will serve its use among True Believers. It's also going to be (my, my, a Ph.D wrote it), an unimpeachable text on the college campus. Its function is to be taken seriously by people who don't know any better and who would be put on the defensive if they did...and penalized if they let on that they did.

The Constitution, Values...a spine...all = polarizing. At least they're saving us time poorly spent wondering about common ground.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This repulsive spew of ignorance and propaganda from someone (Schneider, PhD) who is undoubtedly an unabashed supporter of a political party that has created a virtual plantation of hopelessness, drug addiction, illiteracy, single parenthood, cultural degradation, and dependency for generations of black Americans in order to assure their guaranteed vote.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So a Marxist walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, "what's the diagnosis?"

And the psychiatrist says, "yours or mine?"

And the Marxist says, "what difference at this point does it make?"
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (46)
All Comments   (46)
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til I saw the check for <$7351>, I didn't believe mom in-law had been realie making money parttime at there labtop.. there uncles cousin had bean doing this 4 only 18 months and at present cleared the dept on there cottage and bourt a top of the range Infiniti. more information.....
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This piece of tripe will sell a few copies to liberals who like to think themselves so much smarter than the rest of us and who love to hate conservatives of any kind.

But to find it in your inbox is a disgusting and vile. Like finding one of those flaming bags of dog doo that kids once did on Halloween.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This "study" is probably every bit as useful as similar ones that preceded it
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have seen several articles on this site pertaining to the psychology of liberals. I do not recall anyone posting about how it is wrong to call your political opponents mentally ill. There is so much hypocrisy on this site. I think any attempt to label a political viewpoint as a mental illness is wrong.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sometimes laziness on our part.

It can be possible to distinguish Liberals from 'the left.' I still know a few honest libs who want to make the world a better place, which distinguishes them from leftists that want government to legislate utopia by telling you what to do, how to live, what to say...what to think...or else. The two terms are often interchanged much like 'republican' and 'conservative.' Leftists want control and believe that since their motives are of the highest order, all other priorities are subsumed by that. That's how they can comfortably state that 'the ends justify the means.' Their ends are, in their minds, the highest priority. When we're talking about leftists, we're talking about people who see your existence as the means to their ends. That qualifies, I think, as a psychological disorder and a destructive one at that.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The liberal cult walks in lockstep more akin to Nazi Germany than any group of tea partiers that I am aware of. They are so afraid of not towing the party line they go along with ANYTHING rather than question it. Disagreement within the party is severely frowned upon. (kind of like communism)
That is why they are banding together to support Obamacare, thinking along the lines of safety in numbers, and hoping against hope it all works out better in the future.
The fact that this supposed brilliant author does not realize that the "tea party" is more of a philosophy than an actual highly organized group pretty much sums up the liberal mantra: Trash what you fear. To heck with logic or facts.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Read: THE OPEN AND THE CLOSED MIND, by Milton Rokeach, et. al. Notice the Closed Mind’s enthusiasm for closed systems of reasoning. Recall that Deductive reasoning is a Godsend for the thinking person who is busy. Where does Deductive reasoning lurk? Its natural home is in the spiritual life. A lot of it can be in the home. In daily life and the World of Work, Inductive reasoning rules and especially when facing the laws of physics, arithmetic, and other reality-based things like economics.

For centuries, Inductive reasoning was replacing Deductive reasoning in little elements of daily life and the World of Work – and then catastrophe! In 1790, the Crown and the Church collapsed in France. The all-Deductive secular religions escaped from salon and bistro cabals and plague or pester us to this day. These leftist religions are masterpieces of Deductive reasoning which enhance the spread of living in Cloud-Cuckoo Land.

My guess is that a lot of money spent on highlighter markers would be saved by reading THE POLARIZED MIND and highlighting just the Inductive reasoning parts and not the Deductive reasoning parts.

Note that the only useful basic question relating to the Tea Party or any other non-Democrat is whether a person is using Inductive reasoning in political items in daily life and the World of Work.

“International relations are based on geography according to the laws of physics and ‘The Madness of Crowds.’ The only reason to have a country is defense against foreign and domestic enemies; all other reasons are gravy.”

Recall that the Fall of France in 1940 rested on Deductive reasoning actions done by the French government starting in the 1920s, fueled by enraged Deductive reasoning secular religious incontinence in politics and the Media in Paris during WWI.

France could not make up for their suicidal acts (when they were finally recognized as such) because of the US Neutrality Act as the US had followed the same Deductive reasoning secular religious principles. The US then had an army smaller than that of Portugal and a military-industrial capacity to match that tiny size. When finally able to buy things, there was nothing available in the present. In fact, the aircraft which could have destroyed the pontoon bridges over the Meuse were in packing crates on US docks about to be loaded on ships when France fell. However, the Allies were greatly helped in WWII by the ubiquitous use of Deductive Reasoning by the Axis Powers.

Awareness of Deductive versus Inductive Reasoning is a very amusing intellectual tool.

By the way, the crated planes were uncrated and used in 1942 at Guadalcanal for ground attack of Japanese forces. The Japanese Zero fighter planes at lower altitudes were not as maneuverable and were dog meat for them.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amazing how Kirk J. Schneider had to do so much research on something he could have studied by simply looking in a mirror.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well said, Dr. Smith.

This is the kind of "practitioner" who would gave gladly participated in consigning political dissidents to psychiatric facilities in the old USSR.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is part of the continuing attempt by those on the left to make the case that true conservatives are somehow mentally ill. Thus, if your opponents are mentally ill then you can dismiss them, take away their means to defend themselves (because they are a danger to themselves and others), AND, when all else fails, commit them to a special facility where they can be taken care of (like a N. Korean gulag).
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cue the gulag.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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