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Is “Extreme Bias” against Gays a Mental Disorder?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:03 pm - December 10, 2005.
Filed under: Conservative Discrimination,Gay America

Glenn Reynolds has a fascinating post referencing an article in the Washington Post about mental health professionals questioning “whether pathological bias ought to be an official psychiatric diagnosis.” This diagnosis would include bias against gay people. As Glenn puts it, “when homosexuality was unpopular, it was a mental disorder. Now that it’s popular, not liking it is a mental disorder.

After reading a number of the cases of such “pathological bias” in the Post article, I’m not sure I agree that they could create a new “official diagnosis,” but should instead recognize that these individuals are merely projecting their own demons onto other groups.

As a gay conservative, I have experienced pathological hatred from two distinct groups, anti-gay zealots and left-wing “moonbats.” And from my experience, extreme bias of those zealots against gays is pretty much the same thing as extreme bias of those moonbats against conservatives, the same obsession, but with different manifestations. I’ve seen people whipped up into a frenzy because I come out as gay and getting their panties all in a bundle because I express conservative political viewpoints. In both cases, it’s just people projecting their own anxieties onto someone whose difference they have demonized.

And I’ve seen a few cases of conservatives whipped into a lather at the mere mention of those dread liberals. If pathological hatred of one social group is a mental disorder, then shouldn’t we also consider pathological hatred of one’s political adversaries as a similar disorder? That type of hatred seems to be on the rise in recent years.

As blogger Reader_IAM at Either End of the Curve (whom Glenn links) puts it:

Now, obviously, there are people in the world afflicted with intense, fixed delusions to the point of their lives being seriously compromised. But isn’t it the “intense, fixed” part that constitutes the pathology, not the delusion itself? Do we really want to single out a particular type of belief as an illness?

Exactly. I might take those who advocate a new diagnosis more seriously if they included hatred of conservatives as another example of pathological bias. But, even then, it’s the individual’s intense hatred that’s the real “disorder” — regardless of its object.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):

UPDATE: Picking up on Glenn’s post (and this one), the ever adorable Robbie at Malcontent writes “that ‘extreme bias’ is an increasingly politicized construct,” noting that extremists of both sides “rely less on thoughtful consideration and logic, than a visceral, deeply imbedded hatred and suspicion of those who are different.” Exactly. Now, as Glenn would say, just read the whole thing!

UP-UPDATE: Paul at Right Side of the Rainbow offers his thoughts here.

UP-UP-UPDATE: Robbie has since updated his post to quote an excellent point that Homomojo makes:

I think it’s VERY dangerous to classify homophobia as a mental disorder. It’ll only lead to criminals getting off due to their “unfortunate condition”. We already have too many hate crimes being excused by so-called “gay panic”.

UP-UP-UP-UPDATE: In reading Joseph Campbell’s Thou Art That for class this morning, I discovered a passage which contributes to this discussion:

An ego talking to a thou is different from an ego talking to an it. Whenever we emphasize otherness or out-groups, we are making persons into “it.” The Gentile, the Jew, the enemy–they all become the same.



  1. Thanks for the link!

    And it really is an outrage, isn’t it? I hope this one gets nipped in the bud … but I’m not entirely optimistic.

    Comment by reader_iam — December 10, 2005 @ 4:31 pm - December 10, 2005

  2. Politicized Psychology

    Instapundit recently linked to an article about the slippery categorizations currently being considered in psychiatry . . . It seems – like their intelligent Design counterparts on the Right – some individuals on the Left have no scruples over using sc…

    Trackback by The Malcontent — December 10, 2005 @ 4:37 pm - December 10, 2005

  3. also comments on this.

    Good thoughts on it too, of course with the standard pointless jabbing of no minorities vs. other minorities. “But there’s not one example of a gay, black, Jew or Asian with enmity toward others. How very … politically correct.” How very disappointing, good thoughts otherwise. (For the record, white people outnumber other people are and normally raised in a more mainstream enviroment where running into other types is rarer. But yes, minority vs. other minority DOES exist). But other than the pointless jab, good thoughts over there.

    Comment by Joey — December 10, 2005 @ 5:37 pm - December 10, 2005

  4. Does anyone ever suspect that the reason the number of “disorders” continues to proliferate is primarily to provide a source of income to the mental health profession? Our ancestors would have just told people to suck it up and get over it.

    Comment by V the K — December 10, 2005 @ 8:05 pm - December 10, 2005

  5. Although I recognize that there are those whose hatreds and prejudices that are truly pathological – Fred Phelps for instance – I find this proposal truly frightening because the abuses in diagnosing such conditions will almost certainly swamp the true pathological cases. For instance, John Aravosis has already endorsed Soviet-style pathologizing of culture war opponents here.
    What, then, would prevent him from being placed involuntarily in the “mental health system” as a result of his “extreme” bias against religious conservatives if the political/cultural winds changed? He should be careful of what he asks for, because he just might get it.

    Comment by Patrick Rothwell — December 10, 2005 @ 8:33 pm - December 10, 2005

  6. #4

    But they’re scientists. You don’t DARE question scientists.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 10, 2005 @ 8:59 pm - December 10, 2005

  7. oh no here it comes…intelligent design

    Comment by hank — December 10, 2005 @ 9:36 pm - December 10, 2005

  8. With respect, I think that your argumant falls apart for a few reasons. One is that one is probably born homosexual according to some studies. Environment may play a role, but only a secondary role if that. Thus hating someone for being gay is akin to hating someone for their skin color. Conversely, being a conservative is a conscience choice that one makes. Its also a strawman argument to assume that liberals hate conservatives, when what liberals don’t like is conservatism. Modern conservatism, post Esienhower is really not Republicanism, but social-darwinism. Social-darwinism, even in its modern “lite” form is a truly repugnant political point of view. Modern conservatism is not compatible with a humane egalitarian democracy ( in other words a Jeffersonian democracy) . Which brings us to ask how a gay person can support a political movement that is mostly based on a social agenda that is vehemently opposed to that person’s right to full personhood, full citizenship, and the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. When the “hated” become enablers of the “haters” by their activism, vote, and contribution one can’t help but consider the possibility of self-hatred at work and a web of rationalizations.

    Comment by Grace U — December 11, 2005 @ 1:28 am - December 11, 2005

  9. No, Grace, my argument doesn’t fall apart in the least.

    If you read the piece, particularly the passage which Instapundit quoted, you would see that I’m talking about the haters — and their irrational attitudes. So, it doesn’t matter how they determine whom to hate (whether they hate someone who can’t control his sexuality or someone who rationally arrives at his political beliefs), what I’m talking about is their hatred.

    And you, like so many critics of gay Republicans, trot out the notion of self-hatred to dismiss our arguments, but that’s just a silly slogan and not an accurate description of our psyches.

    I don’t support — nor do any gay conservatives I know for that matter — support a political movement “mostly based,” as you put it, on the social agenda that you describe. I support a political movement whose ideals were first articulated by the Greeks long ago and well articulated in American history by such great men as Abraham Lincoln, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

    I’m sorry you attempt to so facilely dismiss our ideas and their vision. Please visit our blog on a regular basis and read our posts. Or just go through our archives and you will find an articulation of a broad philosophy at odds with your narrow interpretation.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — December 11, 2005 @ 2:27 am - December 11, 2005

  10. No intelligent design advocate would favor putting atheism into the DSM.

    I do consider people who are so filled with hatred for George W. Bush that they talk like Fred Phelps about him, to have a few gear teeth missing. But I would describe it as an obsession, not Democratism.

    I see this as an extension of the political correctness which has gone from academia to the bureaucracy and the media. Would excessive worry that one might offend certain people qualify as mental illness?

    Comment by AST — December 11, 2005 @ 3:09 am - December 11, 2005

  11. Well put, AST. And good question.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — December 11, 2005 @ 3:17 am - December 11, 2005

  12. #7

    The intelligent part eludes you, don’t it?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 11, 2005 @ 4:46 am - December 11, 2005

  13. #8

    Another fine example of how libs don’t understand conservatism and apparently never will.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 11, 2005 @ 4:49 am - December 11, 2005

  14. #6 — Question scientists? Of course not. Scientists are always right. Even the ones in the 1970s who were predicting a new Ice Age, and said that we would exhaust all petroleum deposits by 1997.

    Comment by V the K — December 11, 2005 @ 9:15 am - December 11, 2005

  15. Aren’t those very scientists who once predicted an Ice Age now advocating global warming?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — December 11, 2005 @ 12:58 pm - December 11, 2005

  16. Dan, if you are going to refer to liberals as “moonbats”, perhaps you are expressing the same sort of hatred you are preaching against.

    I’d suggest making the point with gays from the far left.

    Comment by Eva Young — December 11, 2005 @ 2:46 pm - December 11, 2005

  17. Yes, ubermench liberals can certainly get in one’s face and spue vitriol. But then, “conservative” used to mean things talked about by Burke, Hayek, Oakshott, etc. Conservatism under this appellation is highly respectable, even if and when people do disagree.

    But once the religious reich came to dominate the so-called “conservative” party, several things became immediately apparent. First, they have no ties to traditional conservatism. They tend to be as big, if not bigger, spenders as liberals. Second, the rights enshrined in the Constitution became subordinate to the duties prescribed in the Bible. Third, they didn’t give a hoot about economics, free trade, small government, etc. Instead, they wanted their moral agenda imposed on everybody, and that agenda just happens to coincide with the duties prescribed in the Bible. Indeed, historical conservatives like Barry Goldwater publicly denounced the religious reich as being antithetical to everything HE stood for. That’s saying something from perhaps the most conservative politician ever.

    There are literally hundreds of examples of this “new” conservative agenda. Terri Schiavo, for example. Cutting aid to PWA. Demand second-class citizenship of GLBT (maybe even deport them to camps). Teach “Intelligent Design” as opposed to Darwinian science. No abortions. No freedom of association. Blur the State/Church dichotomy. Ah, the list is too long.

    Now, what does anything in the third paragraph have do to with that in the second? Factually, nothing. These “new”conservatives aren’t the slightest bit conservative, they’re religious zealots, who want “America to return to its Christian roots.” Never mind that many, if not most, of the Framers were NOT even Christian. Never mind that ours is a religion-neutral country, and that religion and state are NOT to be mixed. But of course, that’s what the Constitution says. The Bible apparently tells them otherwise, and so they go with what they know — the Bible. They really don’t want to “return to American values,” which are espoused in the Constitution, they want to make America biblical.

    Barry Goldwater, coincidently, was a Christian (Episcopalian to be exact). He was witness to the take-over of the conservative movement by the theocrats and rebuked it vociferously. GWB, on the other hand, is one of THEM. He’s a born-againer, who seriously thinks gawd has called him to duty in the Middle East and elsewhere (see Seymour Hersch’s article in the “New Yorker.” It’s scary.) GWB has his authority from ABOVE that the mess he’s created in Iraq is gawd’s will for the nation. He really thinks he’s on a divine mission! Even WH staff have to walk a fine line not to tread against this personal revelation from gawd.

    Which brings me back to you two dudes. IF you were conservatives, i.e., in the mold of Burke, Oakshott, Hayek, Goldwater, etc., there would be disagreements, but definitely not so much hostility. Yes, many looney Left will be hostile no matter what. But if you were genuinely conservative, then I think most people could understand that two queers do prefer smaller government, freedom of association, full rights for GLBT, end of racism, balanced budgets, war only as a last resort, and other such things that conservatives “used” to believe. BUT, GWB, who you defend against all reason, hasn’t shown himself to be a “conservative” of this stripe. Indeed, GWB is the very antithesis of conservatism.

    Look at Stephen Miller, Dale Carpenter, Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bawer, etc. These queers are “conservative,” but definitely NOT apologists for GWB. That’s because they are “Goldwater” types of conservative, not theocratic types. Sullivan, for example, is still working out his sexuality and Roman Catholicism to the respect of many people who are neither conservative nor catholic. He also makes the compelling case that GWB is NO conservative. GWB isn’t even close.

    So when two gay dudes DEFEND GWB vis-a-vis conservatism, red flags appear everywhere. One CANNOT defend GWB AND be a conservative. It’s an oxymoron. Since A and not-A can’t both be true at the same time (known as the principle of non-contradiction), when you defend GWB, you are showing yourself hostile to conservatism, GLBT, constitutionalism, and reason.

    Comment by Stephen — December 11, 2005 @ 4:39 pm - December 11, 2005

  18. TGC. If you can’t make a cogent argument without resorting to insults, why say anything? Go ahead and climb up on your orange crate for a diatribe on intelligent design.
    It just makes look like the fool you are.

    Comment by hank — December 11, 2005 @ 4:40 pm - December 11, 2005

  19. By the way Stephen, thanks. I wish I could have said it as clearly.

    [Perhaps he expressed himself clearly, but his criticisms have nothing to do with the post to which he comments nor to the opinions of the men who post on this blog. — Ed.]

    Comment by hank — December 11, 2005 @ 5:09 pm - December 11, 2005

  20. Eva, in #16, let me assure you that when I use the term moonbats, I do not refer it to all liberals, only the most extreme ones, basically those who, in their rhetoric, regularly demonize the president (& the GOP). I offered a eulogy this morning for a liberal, Eugene McCarthy whom I very much respect. He is anything but a moonbat. In many ways, moonbats to liberalism are what the crazy Pats (Buchanan and Robertson) are to conservatism.

    Thank you, Stephen (#17) for putting a smile on my face on a hectic Sunday. While I certainly agree that Dale Carpenter is a conservative, Stephen Miller seems a bit more libertarian to me, but Andrew Sullivan is clearly an ex-conservative.

    You rant on and on about whatever you rant on about and your words have little to do with the post to which you attach them. It seems your every comment (to whatever post I offer) is the same angry diatribe. You repeat the notion that we’re apologists for the president, yet we have criticized him on occasion. And you insist we’re not conservatives while misrepresenting our arguments.

    We do not defend the president “against all reason” as you put it and have faulted him on a number of occasions. And while you insist that no conservative could defend the president, nearly all significant American conservatives today have offered some sort of qualified defense of this good man, yet, like us, also criticize him from time to time. (And a few have been more enthusiastic in their endorsements.)

    You claim that if we were true conservatives, “there would be disagreements, but definitely not so much hostility,” yet you fail to acknowledge that we have expressed such disagreement and fail to show the hostility in our posts (while manifesting it in your own unsubstantiated allegations).

    Let’s see, I favor smaller government, freedom of association, balanced budgets and freedom for gay and lesbian individuals. Since you contend I don’t support these noble goals, could you please cite posts where I have opposed them?

    But, in your diatribes, you don’t cite me (nor my co-blogger), you just attack us and the words you use to accuse us (e.g., spewing vitriol) more accurately describe your comments than our posts.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — December 11, 2005 @ 5:10 pm - December 11, 2005

  21. What about hatred toward ex-gay conservatives? I was openly until I was 24 and paid the price for it (thrown out, beat up…all that). However the “pathalogical” hatred I get from the gay community for my self-determined path out of that community is unparalleled.

    Just a thought from one human being to another.

    Comment by Randy — December 11, 2005 @ 5:21 pm - December 11, 2005

  22. that should have said “openly gay” … sorry about that. Oh, I just found this blog too. I may disagree on some things but you are a good writer.

    Comment by Randy — December 11, 2005 @ 5:29 pm - December 11, 2005

  23. Once again, Stephen goes into a long-winded rant about how everyone should hate Bush because Bush isn’t a “real” conservative. One could, at this point, ask Stephen, yet again, why the far-left Democrats are therefore preferable, but Stephen has never answered this before, and it is doubtful he will this time. Deranged, paranoid rants are easy. Answering direct questions is hard.

    Comment by V the K — December 11, 2005 @ 5:38 pm - December 11, 2005

  24. this place is through the looking glass

    Comment by hank — December 11, 2005 @ 8:09 pm - December 11, 2005

  25. How any of you supposed “Gay Repugs” can seriously back a President who wants to WRITE DISCRIMINATION against you – IN the VERY Document that Defines OUR Nation is beyond me….its utterly indescribable. I’d stand up against ANY dsicrimination put into the Constitution – PERIOD! (no matter what grp it was against, gay or not)

    Comment by JRC — December 12, 2005 @ 9:56 am - December 12, 2005

  26. No you wouldn’t, JRC; you and the rest of the gay left made it very clear that writing discrimination into state constitutions and the FMA was “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive” when Democrats supported it.

    Meanwhile, Stephen, stand up and fight, rather than running away like a coward. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, you contradict yourself constantly. You bash Bush for spending too much on social welfare, then bash him for cutting social welfare. Same with defense, same with infrastructure, same with everything else. Nothing is consistent in your arguments other than your irrational hatred for Bush.

    And don’t EVER invoke the name of Barry Goldwater again as a shield for your hatemongering and bigotry; your moronic rants, driven by ignorance and stereotyping, are the best example of what he OPPOSED, not what he supported.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 12, 2005 @ 10:52 am - December 12, 2005

  27. Ahem.

    Comment by V the K — December 12, 2005 @ 11:34 am - December 12, 2005

  28. There are already some anti-gay partisans who use experiences like Randy Thomas’ nasty encounters with certain gays as a sign of mental illness (not to mention proof of the underlying homosexuality as mental illness in itself). It seems to me that confirmation bias – not a mental illness (normally) – is being used to diagnosis the bias of others as mental illness and this is done not just by liberals. And the vicious circle continues…

    Comment by Patrick Rothwell — December 12, 2005 @ 12:41 pm - December 12, 2005

  29. How any of you supposed “Gay Repugs” can seriously back a President who wants to WRITE DISCRIMINATION against you – IN the VERY Document that Defines OUR Nation is beyond me….its utterly indescribable.

    Comment by JRC — December 12, 2005 @ 1:05 pm - December 12, 2005

  30. I repeat myself, JRC; you and the rest of the gay left made it very clear that writing discrimination into state constitutions and the Federal Constitution via the FMA was “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive” when Democrats supported it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 12, 2005 @ 3:52 pm - December 12, 2005

  31. This place has become a liberal echo chamber. 🙂



    Comment by Frank IBC — December 12, 2005 @ 5:06 pm - December 12, 2005

  32. Grace-U wrote:

    “Modern conservatism is not compatible with a humane egalitarian democracy ( in other words a Jeffersonian democracy) .”

    If the theory would have been around in his day, Jefferson would have been as much a Social Darwinist as any one. He believed in the political elite, where those who had the higher intellect and more educated than the masses would naturaly rise above the others and be the ones to serve in political office. He was a huge proponent of self sufficiency with his vision of an agrerian society. And no, I am not calling him a racist or anything like that, but he did believe in the supiriority of the intellectual class, as do Democrats today. Don’t think he would be a big fan of affirmative action or the government welfare apparatus.

    OK. Thats going to start a flame war for shure.

    Stephen wrote:

    “Never mind that ours is a religion-neutral country, and that religion and state are NOT to be mixed. But of course, that’s what the Constitution says.”

    Uhm. No. That’s what the court says. This is the EXACT TEXT (it’s right in front of me as I type:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof;…

    It says that the FEDERAL government cannot declare any one religion as being the official religion of the country. There is no ban on spending money on things dealing with religious matters. There is no “wall of separation” clause anywhere to be found in the document. That is an interpretation by one version of the Supreme court, which is only binding as long as the succesive courts adhere to that particular view. The problem we have here is that vital, long term issues such as this are not dealt with in the appropriate fasion, i.e. the constitutional amendment. Instead we throw invectives about while letting the courts decide things of import, instead of truely making a convincing argument for our causes. We’re left with the proposal of frivolous amendments (FMA, flag burning, etc.) that, while popular in some sectors, do not have any real effect on the average citizen. Look at so many of the hot button issues; abortion, gay rights, the Patriot Act. The one thing these have in common is that they all deal with a concept of “right to privacy”, which doesn’t exist in the written text. I wonder how many of these issues would be marginalize, if not resolved, if there was an amendment that specifically declaired that right? .

    Comment by sonicfrog — December 12, 2005 @ 6:57 pm - December 12, 2005

  33. Actually the “wall of separation” does not originate with the Constitution, but with a Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice Hugo Black, a klansman and white supremacist, who used the “wall of separation” argument because he didn’t want Catholic schoolchildren riding on public school buses.

    So, basically, the foundation of the “wall of separation” is built on racism and religious hatred.

    Comment by V the K — December 13, 2005 @ 2:36 pm - December 13, 2005

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