A team of Exploratory Depth Psychologists in the Mt. Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health Research is announcing the discovery of a highly conniving and destructive fourth component of the right-wing psyche.
Said team leader Dr. Margaret Thomas, “Something was quite clearly amiss in the minds of our conservative subjects. We just could no longer explain the antisocial behaviors of our study’s partisan Republicans using the standard id/superego/ego model.
“In trial after trial we kept finding the superego’s stamp of moral approval all over even the most brutish, selfish, sociopathic, bloodthirsty impulses of the id. At the same time, the superego seemed to have virtuously turned its bent for censure on its own championing of the virtues of compassion and honesty and humility.
“It was like the conservative ego had lost all control of the situation.”
Explained Dr. Nolan Roberts from the Thomas team, “Our first working hypothesis was that in these anti-Enlightenment times in the conservative world the primitive id had gained sufficient ascendancy to shift the balance of power—to drag the superego as if by the hair into a pre-civilized state.
“The problem, of course, was that if anything, relative to the id the superego was more robust than ever, plenty powerful enough even to lend the cover of civilized rightness to the id’s dragging of her into a place where lying and cheating and stealing and killing and maiming are the order of the day.
“So we began looking into the possibility that the ego was the source of all the distortions, reasoning that perhaps in its frustration with the direction in which the right-wing psyche was heading it had called it quits and some other less adept entity had taken its place in arbitrating between the id and the superego.
“We were even ready to begin referring to this disorder as Replacement Ref Syndrome when in our experiments we started picking up a shadow, a relentlessly skulking something that was tirelessly playing all ends of the traditional psychic triangle against the middle.”
Said Dr. Thomas, “We knew pretty much immediately what we’d discovered—a pot-stirring, water-muddying new player in the psychic mix. What we didn’t at first know is where it came from.
“Given its seeming mission to warp the survival instinct into an implacable will to win at all costs at everything at all times, the team assumed this new factor in the age-old Freudian equation was perhaps a broken off fragment of the death wish.
“What we have learned, however, is that it’s most closely related to the human instinct to feel victimized. More specifically, it is associated with what appears to be the long hypothesized fourth “F” in the well known human instinct that includes the fight, flight, and freeze responses to feelings of persecution.
“This fourth response, foment, thought to have been spawned in a fever swamp of hard feelings stirred up in the place in the brain where revenge fantasies over slights sustained in junior high or high school are stored, seems to be the perpetually overzealous animating force behind the sneaky new mental entity we’ve caught throwing monkey wrenches right and left into the works of the conservative moral compass.