Sunday, January 31, 2016

A psycho-libertarian opinion: Our good president (see brief update footnote, 7/25/2016)

Right psychology, as I understand it, sees that one person’s power over another conscious and rationally volitional person is sick.*  This is an area where human psychological health and the moral good are identical.  Deliberate force, whether it is emotional, cognitive or physical, is destructive to the autonomous and "free" workings of the human mind (free will is a phenomenon where appearance is the reality at the behavioral level).  It is, of course, not the only harm that happens to the holistic self.  Trauma can be unintentional force that overwhelms the brain.  Emotional neglect and absence of empathy starve the psyche, which needs experiential, cognitive and emotional stimulation, most especially love.  Deliberate force is not a different category of harm.  It is unique, however, in humankind's assumption that it is right and good.

If I were to force, at the point of a gun or a blackmail letter, someone with only $10 to give most of it to someone who has $100, this would strike us as illegitimate power.  But if I compel someone with a million dollars to give one percent of it to someone who has only five dollars, this would be considered by most people to be a humanitarian and moral act.  The principle involved would be based on emotion, and the emotion would – I will bet any number of paychecks – be informed much less by goodwill toward the poor person than by forcible anger at the rich one.  I propose that as a people, we believe in force because society's individuals – most of us embody pain and anger.

Force is institutionalized in cultures because its roots in unhealed pain – in "emotional injustice" are internalized in the individual from early childhood.  And because of this psycho-destined process and our long tradition of it, we have come to see the good society as founded on force against the free mind.  The ideological liberal can be benevolent and “humanitarian,” as in the above example, only because he has a gun and the paper form of it, a law.  The principled conservative can criminalize victimless acts (smoking certain substances, sexual relations) because he has a gun.  Remove the instruments of force, and these lofty ideals would evaporate with the dew.

This is the basis of my argument that the office of president – ultimate enforcer to the nation and the world – is sick, and therefore can never be held by a psychologically sound person.  Anyone aspiring to the position must a priori see individuals, groups, entire populations as the natural objects of coercion.  She must have a principle in her mind based actively or like a buried splinter or vestigial organ in neurotic anger and the callousness that forms from it, where it can capriciously ratify force against the heroin addict but not the alcoholic, the prostitute but not the porn star, the head of a private monopoly but not a government monopoly, against oil dictators but not third-world despots, against blacks but not whites.  And, she must so deeply wish to practice this violence and the essential depersonalization of the free spirit, that she seeks the largest possible medium, outside of genocide, for its performance.

This is why I don’t vote.**

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* This is admittedly a purist idea.  Society, very likely, could never be without some legally sanctioned and codified force against some or all of its citizens.  An anarcho-libertarian society is destined to be impossible.  Nevertheless, the concept that force is injurious to the human mind does, I believe, make sense when applied to child-rearing, and underlies Dr. Thomas Gordon's classic Parent Effectiveness Training, which I believe is one of the best guides to parenting.  Respecting the child's mental and emotional processes is the theme behind Gordon's key ideas, which include the well-known "I statement," active listening, "who owns the problem" (adjuring the parent not to interfere in the child's capacity to solve his own problems), and more.

** If you are starving in the wilderness, you may have to eat a pregnant wasp or a pantsuit-wearing caterpillar ( I see the upcoming presidential election in this spirit. The thought of contributing, by inaction, to the triumph of an entirely pathological botch, Donald Trump, causes me to compromise my principle of non-involvement. I will be voting.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.