From The Other McCain and in full.
Posted on | April 22, 2020 | 42 Comments
Zach Goldberg . . . has analysed the latest dataset released by the reputable Pew Research Center. This is the Pew Research Panel, Wave 64, which interviewed a representative sample of 11,537 American adults between March 19th and March 24th. . . .
Among those aged 18 to 29, some 20.9% of those who described themselves as “Conservative” answered “Yes” to the question “Has a doctor or healthcare provider ever told you that you have a mental health condition?” For those in this age group who were political “Moderates,” 26.3% answered “Yes.” But among those who self-classified as “Liberal” those answering “Yes” jumped up to an astonishing 45.9%.
So, to be clear, almost half of young white American Leftists have been diagnosed with a mental illness. . . .
In general, females are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions than males, because one of the most common of these conditions is depression. According to psychologist Daniel Nettle in his 2007 book Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are, females, being more prone to worry and anxiety, are more prone to depression than males. So Jonathan Haidt, known for his Moral Foundations Theory of political preferences whereby Liberals and Conservatives have a fundamentally different system of morality, asked Goldberg if he had broken down the data by sex.
And Goldberg — who is doing a PhD in Political Science at Georgia State University — analysed the data again, breaking it down by gender. The results were as predicted and were all the more striking for it. According to Pew Research Center data, 56% of Liberal females aged 18 to 29 have been diagnosed with a mental health condition . . .
The obvious question is, “Why?” And the most obvious answer, supplied by Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute, is “locus of control”:
Part of the reason liberals and conservatives disagree about the causes of poverty and wealth is that they disagree about the extent to which personal choices or external forces directs people’s lives. In other words: they disagree about the role of personal agency.
This idea is related to a concept in psychology called the locus of control. People who tend to believe events in their lives are within the control of the individual are described as having an internal locus of control. Those who tend to believe events in their lives are outside of a person’s control are described as having an external locus of control. While in reality both external forces and personal choices play a role, the question is what individuals emphasize. . . .
The [2019 Cato] survey finds that liberals emphasize external forces and that conservatives emphasize personal choices in explaining personal outcomes in their own lives. . . .
These data demonstrate that liberals and conservatives emphasize the impact of personal agency on outcomes differently. Conservatives are more likely to believe that people are responsible for their situations and use their agency to direct their lives, and liberals are more likely to believe that people’s situations are shaped by their environment and other external factors.
Modern liberalism (or “progressivism”) is obsessed with inequality, claiming that all disparities in outcomes are a result of systemic oppression, which must be ended in the name of “social justice.” Everything is interpreted through the lenses of identity politics, where racism, sexism, homophobia and other biases are believed to define the axes of oppression. Because vast social and historic forces are involved in this worldview, it is easy to see why it tends to breed an attitude of helplessness. If the “patriarchy” has been oppressing all women for the past 6,000 years — a core claim of feminist ideology — a young woman who buys into this worldview must see herself engaged in a desperate struggle, even though she herself might be highly privileged, by any objective standard. Feminist activism, I would argue, is a chief cause of the epidemic of insanity that prevails among girls at elite universities.
Think about this: You’re an upper-middle-class suburban white girl whose parents can afford the tuition at Oberlin, Stanford or Yale. Given your advantageous socioeconomic background, your success in life is almost guaranteed — or it would be, were it not for a curriculum that teaches you deranged nonsense, e.g., “gender is a social construct,” in a campus climate where becoming an “activist” is considered a smart career move. The path of progressive activism is unlikely to lead to personal happiness in life, because this sort of activism is all about grievance-mongering around claims of oppression.
Correlation should not be confused with causation, of course. Does liberalism create insanity, or does it merely attract insane people? A political movement based upon policy ideas that are obsolete, discredited and harmful will not attract the best people to its banner. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the core belief of leftism — equality through economic redistribution imposed by an all-powerful government — has been entirely discredited. No honest and intelligent person could endorse the crypto-Marxist policy agenda of the Democratic Party, which is why Democrats attract so many stupid and dishonest people.
Young people have no memory of the Cold War. They do not remember the failure of LBJ’s “Great Society” programs (about which Amity Schlaes has written a new book). Academia is now so dominated by the Democratic Party that Republicans can never be hired to the faculty at elite universities. Students thus never encounter a professor who will explain them that “progressive” policies are doomed to failure, and are instead encouraged to devote themselves to the politics of futility.