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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Non compos mentis is all the rage

You would think those icons of Texas intellect Louie Gohmert and Ted Cruz came out of the same school.  Actually, their incoherent, schizophrenic representations of the world make one wonder if they went to school.  But both have gone to law school.  Gohmert went to Texas A. & M. and Baylor.  Cruz went to Princeton and Harvard.  They have both held high positions in jurisprudence, Gohmert as a judge and Cruz as a solicitor general and a specialist before the Supreme Court.  Cruz was called brilliant by one of his most left-leaning professors at Harvard.  But from the recent things these men have said and done, one wonders if they are strays from the farm (or in the case of Texas, the ranch) for the mentally unsound. 

The loony alarm bells are not set off by their political leanings, but by the anti-social and destructive things they say and do to define their political beliefs.  One wonders further if they are  beliefs or mental aberrations.  The fact is that people of brilliance in some areas of mental workings can be idiots.  Idiot savants, who cannot function in society, are known to be able to do mathematical computations at the speed of computers or be able to play music at the level of virtuosos, but they cannot otherwise function without intervention and supervision.  In such cases, one must look beyond the areas of brilliance for symptoms of mental dysfunction.  They can be dangerous. 

Professors do not have to be teaching for very long before they are confronted with a student who shows promise and brilliance but proves dysfunctional and incompetent outside of  isolated areas of talent.   The task of professors is to encourage and help such students build lives on and around their talents, to help them construct a sound foundation and framework to complement and integrate their talents so that they may utilize them.  That is the  ingenuity of the general, liberal arts education.  For the most part, it works.  But there are those who are defeated by the task of dealing with all the aspects of human society or who  cannot or do not want to surmount some sociopathologies that threaten to take possession of them.  Sociopaths have problems with the principle of cause-and-effect   In the fog of narcissism that gathers around them, they cannot consider who will be affected by their actions and how they will be affected.

Ted Cruz is example of a person whose personality is possessed by a sociopathic streak.  It was something that became apparent when he was in law school.  An article in CQ quotes his former roommate that Cruz had a snobbish streak and would study only with classmates from other elite Ivy League schools.  He would not even consort academically with those from Brown or the University of Pennsylvania.  Such extreme selectiveness reveals a social ambition that reverts to a medieval notion of class and refutes the premise of equality, the first self-evident truth cited when we announced our separation from the feudal world of class rankings and the system of oppression.  And, as experienced professors know, extreme snobbishness in students generally expresses itself in racism and other forms of class discrimination.  It is a prime characteristic of the fascist mentality.

When Cruz was elected senator, he saw that the power and status of his ambition was within reach, and the discriminations that drove him were fully unleashed.  The trappings of power most often produce a full revelation of personality of those in the process of attaining it,  and the sociopathic elements of Cruz's character threw off all restraints as he mounted his opposition against Barack Obama and the Affordable Healthcare Act.  For one who could dismiss even the graduates of Brown and the U. of Pennsylvania as unequals who were of no consequence to him, the 46 million Americans who do not have healthcare insurance were not given a thought.  Cruz's ambition was to unleash a legislative insurgency that could bring down the country, if necessary, and give him the power he so craved.  And he gave no thought as to the consequences his ploy for power would produce in other people.  He and his cohorts shut down the government and cost the struggling economy $24 billion under the premise of saving the country from the effects of the Affordable Care Act.  But true to the sociopath's mentality, they cannot acknowledge the irreparable damage they have inflicted on the country.  And they cannot be called into account for what they will not acknowledge.  Rather, they congratulate themselves on their show of strength.

Cruz's defect is shown in his oblivion to the effects on the country of what he has done.  His House crony finds a way to place the blame for something he does on others: "The President and Harry Reid should not have shut this government down," he said.  The workings of his mind are incomprehensible, but he seems to think he is being crafty and clever. 

The 1012 presidential election campaign, particularly the Republican primary, was filled with words of mental derangement from Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, and the like. Ignorance combined with the irrational may be entertaining, but when minds such as this are directing and affecting the affairs of the nation, grim disaster is in the making. 

Despite Cruz's display of unsound mind, he has a solid backing from his constituents in Texas, and he earned $800,000 for his campaign fund from avid donors.  This is what is the most portentous about the Cruz and cronies actions.  There is a very large constituency that finds that the unhinged and incoherent words and deeds emanating from disordered minds represents their interests.  Like their representatives in Congress, they have absolutely no concern for the damage they have inflicted on the nation.  They are quite willing to take destructive action against their fellow citizens.

When irrational. unconscionable, malicious action becomes a standard of a large segment of the citizenry, the processes of government cannot deal with it.  Mental chaos precedes physical chaos.  The government shutdown has made the cultural divide in the country more pronounced, more menacing, and chaos more certain. 



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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States