by Doctor Science
Speaking as someone with a mental illness, I'm getting really tired of people saying that the Tea Party wing of the GOP is "crazy" (e.g. the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek). In the same vein, I'm pretty damn irritated by invocation of the Crazification Factor.
Just, no. You don't get to mock and dismiss the opinions of 27% (or so) of the population on the grounds that they're mentally ill or non-neurotypical. In the first place, they aren't all mentally ill. In the second place, those of us who *are* mentally ill or non-neurotypical will start to think, not unreasonably, that you're prepared to dismiss *us* out of hand, too.
Tea Party Congresspeople aren't "crazy", they're market-driven performers whose job is to act out reactionary conservatism. Their core constituents aren't "crazy", either, they're responding to the information they've been given, inside their media hall of mirrors -- and that information's context is "politics is an exciting, existential struggle between Good and Evil", not "politics is sausage-making and compromise".
The Crazification Factor posits that, for about 27% of the population:
Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification -- either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy.The trouble with this formulation is that it assumes a non-crazy "you" who makes decisions largely on a rational basis. But that is not how human psychology works. Indeed, I would say that a person who uses *only* reason to make political decisions is probably not neurotypical -- many seem to fall along the Asperger's-autism spectrum.
Face it, even people who *are* on the spectrum aren't totally rational. Humans *all* use emotions and values to make our political judgments. In the case of the Barack Obama-Alan Keyes contest from which the CF was deduced, I suspect most of the 27% are people who voted for Keyes on a tribal or party basis. Not just for emotional, my-party-right-or-wrong, reasons. But it's rational to expect that a Senator's votes are going to be party-line, so the personal qualities of the candidate matter a lot less than what the party will dictate. The question is whether you're going to be embarrassed by the person who's supposed to be representing you, during the times they're not just doing what the party tells them to do. This is a judgment call, not insanity.
There are really serious problems in US politics today, and calling people "crazy" because you can't understand what they're thinking is the opposite of helpful. Leave "crazy" for quilts.
[1.] I have depression the same way I have high blood pressure: I have no *symptoms*, because I am taking appropriate medication. But the illness or disorder is still *there*, it's still something I can't ignore or say has been "cured" or gone away.
[2.] That's a joke, son.