Paul Derangement Syndrome

on Sunday, 02 October 2011. Posted in Kerwick, Jack

First detected during the previous presidential election cycle, Paul Derangement Syndrome is characterized by an irrational fear of Congressman Ron Paul.

Paul Derangement Syndrome

Paul Derangement Syndrome (PDS) is a mental condition that, though it was first detected during the 2008 Republican Presidential primaries, has only now been identified for the dangerous disorder that it is. Also known as “Paulophobia,” those suffering from it find themselves tortured by their fear of Texas congressman and three time presidential candidate Ron Paul.

PDS is peculiar in that in spite of its being a contagion, there is but one segment of the general population that it is known to afflict. Even more curious is the fact that this segment consists of Ron Paul’s fellow partisans in the Republican Party. More specifically, it is neoconservative men and women, especially those with a particularly powerful proclivity for “conservative” talk radio and Fox News, who are most susceptible to contracting PDS.

PDS is known to ravage the rationality of its hosts. While this disorder indeed promises to reduce its victims’ thoughts on Congressman Paul to textbook cases of illogic, it would be a mistake to infer from this that every Paulophobe was a clear thinker prior to falling prey to PDS: in a not inconsiderable number of instances, Paulophobia hasn’t so much as caused the wild irrationality that is the most salient characteristic of all PDS victims as exacerbated the general unreasonableness with which they already lived.

Unlike many other illnesses, PDS isn’t at all difficult to identify. The Paulophobe’s discourse on all matters pertaining to Ron Paul, or at least to Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy, is replete with, not just inconsistencies, but glaring inconsistencies, contradictions that are so profound that even a college freshman enrolled in an introductory logic course couldn’t help but to be pained by them. To anyone remotely attuned to reality or possessed of a modicum of reason, the Paulophobe’s utterances can’t but sound like the babblings of a baby: indecipherable noises intending to signify we know not what.

At one and the same time that he loudly and proudly affirms “limited government,” “liberty,” “individualism,” “fiscal sanity,” “the Constitution,” and “the Founders,” the Paulophobe will just as loudly and unabashedly repudiate Ron Paul. Although the latter has proven to be, by far, both more committed and more consistently committed to these values than any political actor of our generation—although, that is, he is an incomparable champion of the very ideals that the Paulophobe claims to cherish—the Paulophobe insists upon treating Ron Paul as an enemy.  

This in and of itself is sufficient to convict the Paulophobe of invincible irrationality. Yet this unreason runs deeply, manifesting itself in other ways.

Obsessed with erasing altogether the distinction between his perception of reality and reality itself, the Paulophobe will stop at nothing to deny the latter. Of the nine GOP presidential contenders, Ron Paul is more or less consistently in third place in those polls taken among likely Republican voters. When Michele Bachmann held that same distinction, the Paulophobe repeatedly, and excitedly, declared this a “three way race.”  Now that Paul has usurped Bachmann’s standing, the Paulophobe characterizes the primaries as a contest between two frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry—two candidates whose commitment to the Paulophobe’s self-professed ideals even he questions.  But what’s worst, he episodically regards as a viable candidate virtually every other contestant in this race—from Tim Pawlenty, who terminated his candidacy after being crushed in the Iowa Ames Straw Poll by Ron Paul, to Herman Cain, from Jon Huntsman to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum—while either failing to mention Paul at all or mentioning him just long enough to assure the rest of us that Paul is not a serious candidate. This, the Paulophobe does, in spite of the fact that not one of Paul’s second-tier competitors has overall performed nearly as impressively as has he.  

Some victims of PDS, like nationally syndicated talk radio host Michael Medved, argue that Republican primary voters should nominate, not the most conservative of candidates, but the most conservative of candidates who also happens to be the most electable of candidates. That is, only that person who can dominate Obama among “independents” and “moderates” should receive his or her party’s nomination.  

Now, Medved suffers from an especially acute case of PDS. Indeed, Medved is a classic illustration of the depths of irrationality to which the mind will sink when Paulophobia is permitted to go untreated, a depth that appears to be beyond the point of no return.  Polls, including a Harris Poll that was conducted on September 28, show that among the Republican candidates, there are but two who will defeat Obama among independents and moderates: Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Yet Medved continues to dismiss Paul when he isn’t insulting the latter and his followers.  

And this brings us to another observation: PDS warps what powers of rationality the Paulophobe once had, it is true, but at the same time, it severely weakens his character.  

The Paulophobe’s inability to follow the simplest of arguments that Ron Paul has articulated to substantiate his positions is rivaled only by his inability to resist casting one unfounded aspersion after the other against the twelve term Texas congressman.  Within no time, at the mere mention of Ron Paul’s name, the Paulophobe’s last vestiges of reason become forever lost in a mountainous pile of straw man fallacies, non sequiturs, and ad hominem attacks.

The Paul Derangement Syndrome is a serious condition.  Once it is identified, clear thinking should be sought immediately. 

 

Jack KerwickJack Kerwick, Ph.D. blogs at The Philosopher's Fortress:  www.jackkerwick.com; and “At the Intersection of Faith and Culture” through Beliefnet.com. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and “friend” him on Facebook.

Copyright © 2011 Jack Kerwick and The New American. Used with Permission.

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