Friday, April 9, 2010

A further revision for the DSM IV

I need to interrupt my series on the Great God debates to give a shout out to my friend Bruce.

Bruce is a friend from the BYU debate team. While he and I never debated either as partners or against each other at any tournaments, we did always debate fiercely controversial topics on the car rides to every tournament. Although we were very much on different poles of the spectrum on almost every issue when we first met, we’ve both become more pragmatic and moderate as we’ve gotten older, and we actually agree on most things now, and for the same reasons.

Yesterday, however, he pulled off masterfully what I’ve been trying and failing to do for months. I still can’t say whether he’s done it on purpose, or if this was similar to inventing penicillin, but if his method turns out to be reproducible, he may go down in history as the discoverer of the cure for a very serious mental disease.

To make a long story short, he may have cured Obama Derangement Syndrome.

For those of you who have been paying attention to any conservatives or their news sources, you may have been under the impression that the Second Coming of Christ is only days away. Democracy is dead. Capitalism is dead. The American dollar is worth less than the Zimbabwe dollar. Socialism has triumphed. Your freedoms have all been revoked. Obama has single-handedly turned the well-oiled machine of an economy that Bush built and turned it into Russia’s economy circa 1988. Obama needlessly destroyed our government-interference-free utopia of a health care system and replaced it with U.N.-led death panels. In fifteen short months, America has been transformed from an Emersonian paradise into an Orwellian nightmare.

Some of you may not have heard that America is in its final death throes. You might not even believe that others are being so dramatic about it as I am implying. If this is you, I’d urge you to listen to Glenn Beck tonight. Turn on Rush Limbaugh. Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll copy and paste dozens of Facebook status updates from the past week.

So what is this magical cure? How can you convince your friends and loved ones to unload their guns and step away from the brink of an aneurysm? The technique is quite brilliant, actually. Send them to this link. In this piece, an American ex-patriot regales you with dozens of foolish reasons why America is worthless. The author urges you to immediately flee the sinking ship that is America for better countries, of which there are apparently scores.

Suddenly, and without warning, the same people who have been decrying America and Obama will begin to defend him. They will take back all of the apocalyptic and unsupportable pessimism in order to rebuff the unsupported and apocalyptic claims made by an America-hater.

And it will make you smile.

And so, Bruce, I congratulate you on curing our Republican friends of their temporary hatred of America. If your technique works just as well on lefties who blame Bush for 9/11, I might seriously consider nominating you for a Nobel Peace Prize (although apparently that award doesn’t have any cachet anymore either). If nothing else, I award you an honorary degree in civil psychology. Congratulations.


Anonymous said...

i had to laugh about ODS
for the obvious humor in naming it as disease and giving it an acronym
but more importantly
this is an exact paste from the top center of the from TODAY
GINGRICH: Obama 'most radical president ever'...

LIMBAUGH: Obama 'inflicting untold damage on this great country'...

MARK LEVIN: Civil disobedience is coming...

PALIN: Obama's Nuke Stance Like Kid Who Says 'Punch Me in Face'...

LIZ CHENEY: Obama Putting America on 'Path to Decline'...

HANNITY: Obama 'Is a Socialist'...

SAVAGE: 'Obama The Destroyer'...

What's my point? I check on the drudge report a couple times a week, but before i read your post and checked it i thought- that's not exactly news worthy...
then your post drove it home.

let me ask 2 questions
well let me question one thing and ask a second question.
I challenge that decrying the current MOVEMENT, and direction is the important part here, is the same as decrying the country. The reasoning I have is purely historical. The agenda exercised by Obama has been the most radically left since LBJ. Period. Maybe that is refutable, but not intelligently. I think that there is a line between, "We have gone to hell in a handbasket carried by a man who's middle name is HUSSEIN!!!" and "The Direction we are heading leads straight to hell, aka France!!!"
Now a question. I like the term ODS, I hope you coined it. And its particularly humorous coming on the heels of the fanaticism that was Obamaism circa 2008, and how annoying that was for us present sufferers of ODS.
Is there a way to vehemently protest drastic actions in our federal government (and my point here is based on the assumptions that the obama agenda has been radically different from the previous 3 decades, and that big changes require big responses) without suffering from ODS?
For example, I would have preferred someone other then Sotomayor to be on the court, but I took it as the regular politics of Supreme Court appointments. I won with Alito and Roberts, I lose with Obama's nominees. There is nothing drastic, and no reason to lose it.
But with healthcare I was passionately involved in debate here at BYU, and it even spilled over to Facebook, where I am required to keep a low profile. Call it what you will, two facts are irrefutable, it was historically large, and for legislation of that size it was historically undemocratic. I literally fear the outcomes of it, both legislatively, when the Reps are back in charge and looking for payback; and societally, because we just changed the entire incentive (in economics terms) structure of healthcare in our country, without changing the payment structures.
Can you be opposed, even vehemently, without succumbing to ODS?

daine said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the comment. I think I can answer your questions fairly quickly, rather than (as I often do) waiting to do a new post clarifying my positions.

I did not (unfortunately) coin ODS. I first heard this phrase from Jon Avlon's book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. I'd highly recommend the book. Also, Bush Derangement Syndrome was also a thing. Avlon may or may not have coined that phrase.

I accept your point that there is a difference between a country and its policies. That said, the dramatic notes I see on FB don't read "American's health care system is doomed," they read "America is doomed." It's the melodrama and exaggeration that I take issue with. American isn't doomed, even if we have some bad policies.

I disagree that Obama's the most leftist regime we've had since LBJ. In terms of fiscal lack of discipline, I'd put him second (behind George W. Bush). He might be the most socially liberal president we've ever had, but that's not saying much, now is it?

In answer to your most important question--whether it's possible to strongly disagree with Obama's policies without falling prey to my definition of ODS--the quick answer is YES. I actually disagree with much of what the democrats and Obama have done in the past year. I want us to pull out of Afghanistan, for example, rather than doubling down on a war that's not worth winning (not that we can't win it). I'll give some examples:
ODS: Obama is the anti-Christ!
not ODS: Obama is an ineffectual president!

ODS: Obama is a socialist dictator who wants to control the entire economy!
not ODS: Obama has allowed too much government control in the market system. I would have preferred that he let GM fail, rather than using tax-payer dollars to bail them out.

ODS: We're all going to die under this crippling tax burden.
not ODS: Not only is more government bail out not effective, the long-term costs associated with borrowing money for our stimulus will pose a greater threat to America's finances than the depression (that may have arisen from the 2007 crash, had we not intervened) would have done.

In closing, I'd like to challenge you on one thing you said (which may imply a latent form of ODS). Can you explain how the passage of Obama's health care reform was in any way undemocratic? Would you be willing to make his methods into a generalizable rule--it is never justified for a president to pass a bill that does X through Y methods where Z is true?

Petra said...

On a lighter note than Anonymous, what syndrome do I have if I (almost) totally agree with the viewpoint of that link?

daine said...


I think your syndrome is living-in-the-wrong-country-itis. I will admit that I quite enjoy much about the European lifestyle, and I think I would be very happy there. After I get my MD here in America, I wouldn't necessarily be averse to going elsewhere, if Amanda could find a job too.

While I disagree with a lot of what those post says about America (it's based on an irrational paranoia, let alone his unscientific fears of HFCS and GMOs), I am glad for him that he's happy elsewhere. It's no skin off my nose to have everybody who's not happy here living elsewhere. Just don't collect Social Security, please.

Amber said...

haha... i actually understood this post. :) and appreciated it.