When the Democrat Support Group ended, I felt as lonely and bewildered as at any other time in my life. Instead of giving me approval for my solidly progressive views, the group had scolded me for my supposed “refusal to take responsibility.” And then to make matters worse, the doctor, obviously an educated man, sided with the other patients! Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to my time on the couch with Dr. Paul Alethia, the rigid shrink who ran the hospital psychiatric ward.
The nurse wheeled me into the doc’s private office straight after the support group meeting. As I entered the room, I took a few mental notes about the man who would be picking my brain for the next hour. The wheelchair slowed as we ran onto the verdant green luxuriant carpet. To my right, glossy trophies and plaque were presented neatly in the corner of the room. Before me, a gorgeous mahogany desk, and upon it, an emerald pen holder and writing pen. A yellow pad of paper sat haphazardly cast on the reflective surface leading up to a dark brown leather chair.
Rachel, the charming and mysterious nurse, pushed me towards the leather couch near the window. She deftly parted the curtains to let a stream of milky white light into the room. She leaned over to set the brakes, and then came closer in order to place her long thin arms around me. Her reddish brown hair brushed against my face. It smelled like cheap, clean VO5 shampoo, but in my mind, it was heavenly.
After Rachel laid me onto the couch, she departed while leaving the door open for the doctor. After the young lady’s flowing white image receded, my mind searched out the reasons for my predicament. Staring at the wooden lines running parallel on the ceiling, stretching away from me like the contours of my thoughts, I felt an unexpected sense of peace wash over me. I felt like giving in, or more accurately, letting my demons go. Who was torturing me so, and how could I vanquish him?
The busy rustle of a business suit entering the room broke my daydream. It was followed by the airy swing and heavy thunk of an oaken door. Finally, the click of a brass door handle.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Carter,” the silver-bearded doctor said with a warm, but professional tone. “I’m so glad you can join me this afternoon.”
The psychiatrist moved briskly over to his desk, placed his leather binder into a drawer and locked it, and then snatched up the yellow notepad and pen. Sitting down upon a classically upholstered leather chair, he remained with his eyes fixed on his notepad while he spoke.
“So, Mr. Carter,” the doctor said nonchalantly and cleared his throat. “Why do you think you’re here?”
“Well,” I began, “I fell down at my college faculty lounge…”
‘Tuh-tuh-tuh,’ the doctor clicked his tongue and began furiously jotting notes on his pad.
“I was having a conversation with two of my colleagues…” I continued on, unsure of myself.
“Yes,” the doctor interjected with an approving tone that caused the word to hang in the air, prodding me in the right direction.
“We were talking about the war…”
“A-ha!” the doctor exclaimed with a volume that was inappropriately loud, yet not shockingly so.
“The subject of the Patriot Act and the president is the last thing I remember before passing out…”
“Right, right,” the psychiatrist said in a strangely satisfied tone of voice.
“What do you mean, right?” I finally mustered the courage to ask, increasingly annoyed by the odd little man’s antics.
“Well, it appears you have a classic case of BDS – Bush Derangement Syndrome.”
“Excuse me,” I reacted in shock, “But that’s not an actual clinical diagnosis. That’s just a right-wing talking point.”
“No, no, no,” the doctor reassured me. “There is a valid underlying pathology to it, I assure you.”
“Well, I have all the time in the world for you to explain it to me.”
“Very good,” the doctor said, setting down his pen on the lamp stand. “You are interested in recovering. That is a crucial first step. What you have done is you have conflated all the evils of the world with the actions of real people – conservatives, or Republicans, more accurately. You have personified the evils of the world in your mind, and in your constellation of evil people, Bush is the devil who rules them all.”
“Doctor, you’ll have to forgive me,” I said dismissively, not believing my ears. “But I’m not religious.”
“Oh, on the contrary,” the doctor said in a corrective tone. “You are quite religious. Your God is the state and the path to redemption for you lay in altruism or self-sacrifice. The sins of your religion are greed, selfishness, individuality. For you, any limits that people place on the state – which you call ‘society’ – is an act of immorality. In your mind, these people are preventing the community from coming together and building a better world.”
“And what’s wrong with that?” I asked, befuddled. “Who could be opposed to such a thing?”
“No one is opposed to such a goal, except for a few social recluses,” the doctor said sympathetically. “What you refuse to acknowledge are the limits of the world. Objective reality. Scarcity. Human nature. True evil. It’s not that conservatives are against helping the poor, it’s that they’re against stealing from working people and harming producers and productivity to do so. It’s not that conservatives are for war because they are bloodthirsty and cruel, it is that they appreciate there are evil people who do seek to harm others. It’s not that they are against people having enough, it is that they believe everyone should chip in and do his fair share of real work.”
“And inequality?” I responded angrily. “What about inequality?”
“Inequality is an aspect of reality. The way to address it is not to lay the successful low, but to lift those who are struggling up. In psychology, there is a process called learning, which comes primarily from operant conditioning, associations of pleasantness with reward and unpleasantness with failure…”
“Yes, Pavlov’s dog,” I mumbled.
“Not exactly,” the doctor said with a laugh. “But say you have a society of people outsourcing their failures to the state. The means are simple – state-financed debt, for example. What do you think is the end result of such a society?”
“Umm, failure?” I responded, unsure of how else to answer.
“So, Mr. Carter, you aren’t a solipsist after all!” the doctor said with a cheery sparkle in his voice.
“Let me get this straight,” I plucked up the courage to speak straightaway on my own. “What makes someone a Democrat is the belief that it is compassionate to remove all penalties for failures and believe that they can be supernaturally absorbed by the state?”
“Go on…” the doctor gently pushed me.
“And this is false compassion because the state cannot succeed when people become weaker and more dependent on others through a lack of learning…”
“Well, the state cannot succeed,” the doctor corrected me. “But political rulers do.”
“You mean when the state subsidizes weakness, the government becomes stronger and the citizens become weaker?”
“That’s right,” the doctor said with a sound of satisfaction in his voice.
“Then how do people help themselves and others?” I asked, intrigued at this way of looking at things.
“People should learn from their mistakes, focus on responsibility and self-government. And the hard-and-fast rule for helping others is that it always should be based on voluntarism and charity. Never through coercion. Never through force. Never by punishing the successful and the productive in order to lift up the poor and the weak. It ultimately doesn’t help them. It harms all of us in the long run.”
“Thank you, doctor,” was all I could make out. Tremendously humbled by the experience, the only thing I could do now was mull the doctor’s words and plan how to start my new life.
Author’s note: This is the fourth installment of a five-part series. The following links contain the first, second, and third installments. The above is satire. It is a fictionalized account intended to elucidate certain ideas and principles by taking them to absurd lengths. It is not intended to be taken literally.
Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.