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Tuesday’s Elections Reveal That Many Americans Are Suffering From a Mental Disorder

a stack of stickers reading "I voted" with American flags.

In Tuesday’s local and state elections, freedom took a hit. Socialists, more socialistsanti-culture warriors, and Big Brother enthusiasts supported by the Democratic Socialists won elections. These victories aren’t just the result of dissatisfaction with Donald Trump or the ineptitude of the Republican Party — though these were certainly factors — they’re a commentary on the psychological state of many people in America.

We would be remiss if we looked at these elections only through political lenses. The fact is there is a sickness in the hearts and minds of Americans that is at the core of these victories, and we must name it, understand it, and try to address it if we’re to bring our country back from the brink of tyranny.

I don’t use that word lightly, but the fact is socialism is a political philosophy that stands opposed to the principles of freedom America once valued. These have changed over time due to the influence of Marxism and materialistic, nihilistic German philosophies, which have subverted our education system for decades. It’s also due to the rejection of Judeo-Christian ethics and the Enlightenment philosophies of John Locke, Adam Smith, and Montesquieu that work together to ensure liberty.

To be sure, with the election of Trump, some have hoped this trend was beginning to reverse, but it would be a mistake to think that a reactionary election was a principled one. Additionally, the undercurrents of anti-American thought are still alive and well in culture, poked and prodded into a backlash of anger by a Trump win. Now, with culture roiling, politics — ever downstream from culture — is following those movements.

But why have these currents of anti-freedom gained strength in America? The causes I stated above are only means of change. What made these anti-American philosophies so appealing when they were once consciously shunned? How do they remain appealing despite being so bankrupt? And most of all, what can we do about it?

Alexis de Tocqueville answered this in part when he wrote that it is natural for people to prefer equality of outcomes even to their own liberty; it’s the result of “me, me, me” hyper-individualistic thinking. “Social justice” — making everyone the same in the name of fairness — is more important to people than freedom. Like children, they’d rather no one have candy as a reward for performance if some children are going to have less — this is the essence of the socialist mindset.

But why do grown-ups who should know better think this way? Why haven’t they matured beyond this juvenile, selfish, and self-destructive (as well as socially destructive) thinking? Why do they want equality before liberty? I believe economist Ludwig von Mises answers this best in his great work on classical liberalism, simply called “Liberalism.” Mises uses this term to mean what it should mean — the philosophy of liberty, not the liberalism of today, which embraces the opposite.