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The last few years, in particular, have demonstrated the increasing polarization between the Left and Right. Demonstrations on college campuses, attacks on Donald Trump and his administration, far-reaching demands for others to succumb to their demands are endless. Many of us have tried to figure out ways to deal with these perpetual attacks: we’ve focused on how to speak to the Left, how to ignore their outrageous behavior, how to ridicule them, ways to fight back, and even how to change them. I think, however, we’ve been going about these efforts in the wrong way.
For the most part, the Right has offered solutions to deal with the demands of the Left, particularly with efforts to communicate with them or to use reason to show them the errors of their ways. Instead of solutions, I suggest we identify the source of their actions. Broadly speaking, they are trapped in Perpetual Childhood and are either unwilling or unable to find their way out. Let me provide an explanation of Perpetual Childhood, suggestions for its domination of so many on the Left, and general suggestions about where we can begin to deal with it. I’d like to begin with a practical list of attributes that I discovered. Think about people on the Left whom you know: do you think that any of these describe their thinking processes or behavior?
- Emotional escalations—think of the temper tantrums you have seen on college campuses, at demonstrations, in Congressional elevators (as in the attacks on Senators Flake and Graham).
- Blaming—it’s always someone else’s fault: conservatives, the government, and efforts to be successful, described as greed, setting limits and rules, simply saying no, or cutting back on what the Left describes as “necessary” resources. Accepting reality or taking responsibility are not concepts they understand.
- Lies—most of these lies are generated by people who’ve accepted the Leftist propaganda and have no desire to seek the truth. Confirmation bias is always important. (Looking for information that confirms their pre-existing views.) If they’ve heard it on the TV news they watch, read it on the internet or seen it in the newspaper, it must be true.
- Name–Calling—greedy, bigoted, hateful, homophobic, Nazis are some favorites used against their “enemies.” The flavor of the day and all-encompassing term is “racist.”
- Impulsivity—acting out without considering the possible consequences or the needs of others, often jeopardizing safety and compromising free speech.
- Need to be the center of attention—this might involve individual attention, but being part of a group protest against other hateful people might be very satisfying and empowering.
- Bullying—this behavior not only happens on college campuses, but in businesses, and especially on social media.
- Budding narcissism—this happens when people see themselves as the center of the world, when everyone—parents, teachers, coaches, and even peers–repeatedly defer to them. They don’t think that others have anything worthwhile to offer them.
- Immature defenses—shouting others down, degrading their ideas, and rejecting their input provide emotional barriers to protect themselves against others who may want to engage with them. Denial of having said something, in particular, is another strategy.
- Inability to learn from their mistakes—they are unable to self-reflect on their actions to determine if they were helpful or appropriate.
Now the Leftists you know may not have all of these characteristics; in fact, those who are less belligerent may not seem so out-of-control. I have a good friend who is a Leftist who is not very outspoken, but if you dig under the surface, she shows a number of these characteristics.