America and the rest of the world may not be ready for this book. After all, as a society and a culture, we have grown way too attached to polarity, to woolgathering, to firing off righteously indignant replies to the posted opinions of others on social networks. Well, choose your side and come out fighting! May the smartest, most forward-thinking persons – or group of persons – win. According to Dr. Daniel Brubaker, the winner is guaranteed.
The author claims it won’t be the Republican Party. Seriously folks, Dr. Brubaker has taken great pains to inform us, with largesse and in armchair-style, about the storm of rhetoric and bitter sectarianism that is going on ‘out there’ among the amber waves of grain, “To my mind, this book should be required reading for every voter in America.” Because regardless of where you stand, Dr. Brubaker’s book draws upon cold facts and canny reason to cut through the miasma of mis- and disinformation all around.
Psychosocial Political Dysfunction of the Republican Party actually cuts through the fog and tells it like it is, explaining in simple terms the origins of the G.O.P., the origins intellectual and otherwise of American conservatism, and the psychopathology-ridden wraiths of recent history including Donald Trump, Pat Robertson, various conspiracy theorists. Psychopathology? Dr. Brubaker is talking about narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, for starters.
Brubaker is not alone in his analysis; not by any means. In a 2022 volume of Connecticut Medicine, Dr. Harold Schwartz examines the possible psychopathological roots of conspiracy theorists and groups such as QAnon.
The observations in the sections ‘Psychoanalysis of Republicans’, and the examples of ‘obvious psychological disorders’ in the Republican Party are priceless as both clinical narratives and as character studies.
Here’s Brubaker at his best and most mordant: “Many believe that Jesus most likely existed, but Aristotle, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Newton definitely existed. Nefariousism is our theory about creating the greatest bad for the greatest number of people.
The bridge between conspiracy theories and propaganda is the illusory truth effect. This effect occurs when repeating a statement increases the belief that it’s true even when the statement is actually false.”
Dr. Brubaker, to his credit and to the rest of our benefit, is enormously widely read, a healthcare scientist and scholar whose compass, pointed robustly toward readers and towards widening readers’ consciousness, swings wisely and widely between politics, psychology, philosophy, and wit. Psychosocial Political Dysfunction of the Republican Party is a book which will appeal to a defined group in our society, but should be read by all.
- Susan Brown, Pacific Book Review