The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson

Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

The Liberal Mind Overview

The book “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness” by Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr. M.D. is about the psychological basis of the Progressives/Leftists mindset, and human nature and human freedom. Although the book was published in 2006, the Liberal Agenda has become more pronounced and easily understood by the words and deeds of today's “Progressives/Leftists”. All should read this book to understand the liberal mindset and its psychological basis. The following are excerpts from this book:


“This book is about human nature and human freedom, and the relationship between them. Its contents are an outgrowth of my life-long interest in how the mind works. That interest, beginning at about age twelve, eventually led me to careers in clinical and forensic psychiatry and to the particular access these disciplines provide to human psychology. Disorders of personality have been a special focus of this interest. First in clinical practice and then in forensic evaluations, I have had the opportunity to study the nature of personality and the factors which affect its development. The practice of forensic psychiatry has permitted an especially close look at the manner in which all mental illnesses, including personality disorders, interact with society's rules for acceptable conduct. These rules, both civil and criminal, largely define the domains of human freedom and the conditions that ground social order.

Historically, of course, western ideas about freedom and social order have come from fields quite distant from psychiatry: philosophy, ethics, jurisprudence, history, theology, economics, anthropology, sociology, art and literature, among others. But the workings of the human mind as understood by psychiatry and psychology are necessarily relevant to these disciplines and to the social institutions that arise from them. This book is an attempt to connect mechanisms of the mind to certain economic, social and political conditions, those under which freedom and order may flourish. Although I have made strenuous efforts to follow where reason leads, I have not written this book out of intellectual interest alone. My intent has been more "generative" than that, to use one of Erik Erikson's terms. It has, in fact, grown out of a deep concern for the future of ordered liberty. In their efforts "to form a more perfect Union," America's founding fathers intended, as the Preamble tells us, to establish justice, insure peace, provide for the nation's defense, promote its general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. But the entire twentieth century, and the dawn of the twenty-first, have witnessed modern liberalism's relentless attacks on all of these goals and on all of the principles on which individual liberty and rational social order rest. Although they are strikingly deficient in political substance, these attacks have nevertheless been successful in exploiting the psychological nature of man for socialist purposes. To counter the destructiveness of these attacks requires a clear understanding of the relationship between human psychology and social process. It is my hope that this book makes at least a small contribution to that purpose.”

Preface to Part I:

“This book offers a broad conception of human nature and explores its implications for individual liberty. The exploration begins with the fact of man’s bipolar nature: a human being is an autonomous source of action, on the one hand, but thoroughly embedded in relationships with others through economic, social and political processes, on the other hand. His ability to act independently emerges inevitably from his ability to perceive his environment and respond to it by choice. His relatedness to others emerges with equal inevitability from his development as an inherently social animal.

Within this bipolar conception I distinguish the biological, psychological and social elements of human nature. All three elements give rise to independent initiative and joint cooperation. The biological nature of man requires independent and joint action to produce the material needs and comforts of life. His psychological and social natures require independent and joint action to satisfy his personal and relational needs and comforts. To ensure physical safety and promote social order in these efforts, human beings create certain rules to govern their economic, social and political behavior. These rules become the infrastructure of human society.

My purpose in this work is to establish a biological, psychological and social basis for a particular form of human society, that of ordered liberty. I seek a theory of freedom grounded in human nature and the realities of the human condition. From this theory, I attack the dominant socialist paradigm, the modern liberal agenda’s welfare statism and moral relativism, as pathological distortions of normal social instincts. In the course of this effort, I note that all healthy developmental influences from infancy to maturity enhance both individual autonomy and mutuality with others. Acquiring occupational and social skills in preparation for adult living in a free society is central to that development. Competence in these areas permits the achievement of individual self-responsibility as a necessary basis for voluntary economic and social cooperation. I observe, by contrast, that the liberal agenda’s invasive social policies foster economic irresponsibility, pathological dependency and social conflict. The reasons for these destructive effects are noted throughout the book.”

Summary of Part I

“The first ten chapters of this work have touched on a number of matters connected with human nature, individual liberty and the liberal agenda. Relying on the reader’s intuitive understanding of relevant ideas, I have remarked on some broad implications of the biological and psychological nature of man as it manifests itself in the economic, social and political realms of human action. Here is a recap of some basic ideas.

  1. In their abilities to choose and act independently, it is in the nature of competent human beings to run their own lives and pursue self-fulfillment through responsible self-direction.
  2. As social animals, human beings are embedded in multiple relationships with others and are mutually interdependent with them. These
  3. An individual isolated on a desert island has complete freedom to do as he wishes. But if his actions encroach on the persons or property of others, then he does not have complete freedom to do as he wishes.
  4. The ability to choose is inherent in the operation of the human psyche, appearing spontaneously and early in the child’s behavior as a natural response to his environment.
  5. A society’s messages to its people about what matters, its attitudes and sentiments about what is right or just at every level of social interaction, must, in fact, influence the citizen’s moral choices in economic, social and political arenas at any moment.
  6. As practical moral agents, men agree to a fundamental social (moral) contract that says among other things: do not do to others what you do not want done to you.
  7. From a state of complete helplessness at birth, the thrust of all human growth is the achievement of adult competence.
  8. Morally and ethically competent individuals can establish by agreement and cooperative effort, and by appeal to the wisdom of history, all of the economic, social and political arrangements required for material and relational needs and the maintenance of social order.
  9. Developmental influences in childhood affect the behavior of adult citizens who create and implement the economic, social and political institutions of society.
  10. The child’s early conceptions of human relationships determine his later readiness to live under certain economic, social and political arrangements.
  11. The egalitarianism and welfarism of modern liberal government are incompatible with the facts of human nature and the human condition.
  12. Under the liberal agenda, governments at all levels have assumed control over economic, social and political functions previously entrusted to individuals or groups at community levels. Modern liberalism’s socialization of these functions has altered
  13. Liberal government consistently arrogates to itself the status of guardian over able and sovereign citizens, then dominates and exploits them through its regulations and taxes despite the fact that the people have not been adjudicated incompetent.
  14. All forms of the liberal agenda interfere with the rational relationship between human action and the conditions of life by disconnecting outcomes from adaptive behavior.”

Preface to Part II

“Part II of The Liberal Mind examines more closely the relationship between personality and the rules that govern social process. Because psychological concepts figure prominently in this analysis, their scientific status is reviewed in some detail. Two conclusions follow from this review: first, that explanation in the psychological sciences is a systematic extension of the mind’s ordinary capacity for observation and inference in everyday life, and second, that conclusions reached by this process may constitute legitimate knowledge provided they are verified by methods that separate genuine understanding from mere folklore.

The discussion then turns to early childhood development with emphasis on the role of such psychobiological drives as sexuality, aggression, acquisitiveness and narcissism as givens in human nature, and on the role of the child’s early attachments in determining his later behavior. Special attention is given to the significance of pathological dependency. Subsequent chapters contain a more explicit discussion of certain dichotomies of development, leaning heavily on the ideas of Erik Erikson and expanding on their significance for social process. The analysis then returns to earlier ideas of maturity and relates them to a particular example of modern personality theory, that of Cloninger and Svrakic. Underlying this analysis is an assumption that psychological explanation is only as good as the factual and logical foundations on which it rests.

These efforts are intended to strengthen the argument that human personality development is reciprocally related to social institutions in ways that profoundly affect individual liberty and social order. It becomes apparent, again, that under appropriate child rearing conditions, certain innate behavioral dispositions emerge in normal human development that support individual liberty and voluntary social order. It becomes equally apparent that the modern liberal agenda systematically undermines these dispositions.”

Preface to Part III

“Organized around the first seven of Erikson’s developmental phases, Part II elaborated extensively on the individual’s growth to adult competence and then reviewed certain institutions critical to ordered liberty. Part III turns to a psychodynamic analysis of the liberal mind itself. Benign liberalism’s erroneous urgings for a welfare state are seen as a reflection of human nurturing instincts and the natural inclinations toward altruism that make human beings social creatures. This form of liberalism naively assumes that individual freedoms can be preserved as society is made more “caring,” even under the heavy hand of government.

Radical liberalism, by contrast, intends far more than this: an authoritarian state organized on socialist principles and ruled by liberal elites. This utopian ideal sacrifices the tangible blessings of ordered liberty for the illusory benefits of the welfare state. The psychodynamics that drive the liberal mind to his irrational goals are then set out in a first-person-singular confession: expressed in his own words, as it were, developmental insights articulated in earlier chapters provide a clear, in-depth look into the madness of the liberal mind.

Part III continues with a review of the last of Erikson’s developmental phases, then reminds the reader once again of the abuses with which modern liberalism violates the principles of ordered liberty. A description of the liberal neurosis observes the signs and symptoms which qualify it as a personality disorder. The book closes with brief discussions of how modern liberalism can be eradicated, first in the afflicted individual, then in society.”


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More information about this book can be viewed at his website The Liberty Mind,. Although the book was published in 2006, the Liberal/Progressive/Leftist Agenda has become more pronounced and easily understood by the words and deeds of today's "Progressives/Leftists" and the Democrat Party. These political goals and policy agendas are antithetical to our American Ideals and should frighten any person who believes in “Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All”. This book inspired me to create articles that are extractions from this book. I would suggest that you read these articles in the following order to obtain the essence of this book:

  • The Liberal Mind Overview (this article) - This article is an overview of the three sections of this book, which I have titled: I – The Nature of Man, II – The Development to Adulthood, and III – The Adult Liberal.
  • The Liberal Mindset – This article is the author's selections from the book that highlight the major topics of the book.
  • The Two Liberal Minds Beliefs - This article defines two types of liberals: ‘The Benign Liberal’ and ‘The Radical Liberal’ and their different viewpoints and perspectives.
  • The Liberal Manifesto Major Principles - The section “The Liberal Manifesto: Major Principles” from Chapter 35 examines their political goals and policy agendas of today's Progressives/Leftists and the Democrat Party. I have excerpted this section of the book for your review and consideration.
  • The Liberal Integrity and Treatment - The Chapter 48 section, ‘Integrity and Treatment’, has the best explanation of the difference between the Liberal and Conservative mindset that I have ever encountered. I have excerpted four sections of this chapter of the book for your review and consideration, and as a basis for understanding the psychological nature of the political divides that are occurring in America today.
  • The Ideal and Reality in Radical Liberalism – The Chapter 47 sections, ‘The Liberal Agenda as an Evil’, and ‘Ideal and Reality in Radical Liberalism’ contradicts the claims of moral superiority and correctness that The Liberal Mind so often self-proclaims.

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For your information I have extracted The Liberal Mind Table of Contents as follows:

Table of Contents

Dedication vii

Acknowledgements viii

Preface ix

Part I

1 The Bipolar Nature of Man

2 Rules and Reason

3 Dependency and Competence in Community Life

4 Social Policy and Childhood Development

5 Altruism and The Competent Self

6 The Innate Character of Choice

7 Competence and Collectivism

8 Parenting and Culture

9 Ideals & Imperatives of Development

10 Signs of Decline

11 Recap of Part I


Part II

12 The Scientific Status of Behavioral Descriptions

13 Challenges of Development

14 The Dichotomies of Development

15 Child Development and Social Process

16 Attachment, Detachment, and Trust

17 Trust, Mistrust, and Social Process

18 Autonomy and Social Process

19 Biology and Autonomy

20 Autonomy and The Self

21 Autonomy, Individual, & Individualism

22 Cause, Effect and Will

23 Rules and The Child

24 Attachment Revisited

25 An Overview of Early Development

26 Initiative

27 The Failure of Initiative

28 The Foundations of Industry

29 Achievement in The Juvenile Era

30 Morality in The Juvenile Era

31 Adolescence and Identity

32 Adolescence and Freedom

33 Adolescence, Healthy and Unhealthy

34 Adolescence and Social Pathology

35 Adolescence and The Liberal Agenda

36 Young and Mature Adulthood 253

37 Freedom and Family 263

38 Family Functions & The Liberal Agenda

39 The Competent Society

40 The Force of Rules


Part III

41 The Benign Liberal Mind

42 The Fallacies of Positive Rights

43 The Radical Liberal Mind

44 The Radical Deficits of Infancy

45 Radical Deficits in Childhood

46 Radical Deficits in The Juvenile & Adolescent Eras

47 Ideal and Reality in Radical Liberalism

48 Integrity and Treatment



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