James Brody, Ph.D.
“Paranoid Schizophrenia” may be applied to individuals with strongly-held, culturally atypical beliefs. This form of schizophrenia is not characterized by word salad, confusion, bizarre costumes, ambivalence, and blatant, bizarre emotional displays but by unusual persistence in very specific thoughts. These people become angry, strident, and sometimes violent when contradicted. They often have a strongly moral coloring to their concerns and get into creative religions, rebellious political organizations, and novel diets. Mr. Gore comes to mind as well as people you know next door, your “quirky” relatives, and people who call Coast to Coast during long nights.
And so does Barack Hussein Obama…
“The single bullet theory was about me, not John Kennedy. I worked three jobs where I heard a rifle shot and, later, found brass shells on the floor. I tried to get protection from Senator Specter but he didn’t believe me.”
So I was informed by a young black male whose father had a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.
Craziness occurs in varied mixes and strengths but many paranoids mix in general society, hiding their thoughts because it can be hard – especially without the Internet – to find people who share your quirky thoughts. John Price, a British psychiatrist, suggested that schizophrenia has an adaptive value – that is, schizophrenics attract followers into new groups that are centered on a novel belief or set of traditions (Stevens and Price, 2000). The group fissions and a new culture appears and competes with the old one.
There is no surprise, therefore, when people remark that Obama is incapable of thinking outside of his ideology (Levin, 2010), that he needs a “Special Assistant for Reality” (Noonan, 2010), or that he is “dangerously delusional” (Steyn, 2010)
The Formal Wear for a Paranoid
First, I am biased. I have shaken “Impeach and Remove” signs at Obama as he rode past me. Further, I do not make clinical diagnoses of individuals whom I have not personally examined. Therefore, the following essay has a large “maybe” that dangles from nearly every sentence.
Second, “schizophrenia” occurs in different degrees and may be an easy thing to miss during casual interactions. The clue might be a sudden, odd change in emotions or an island of thought where at the person is rigid, self-important, indignant, angry, or unusual. (Think about Al Gore when global warming is criticized!)
Third, there is a one percent incidence of schizophrenia in the United States (Kaplan and Sadock, 1998). Often the diagnosis applies to someone who has confused thoughts, feelings, and actions. Indeed, schizophrenia was once viewed as the disorder with disturbances in four As ― ambivalence, associations, affect, and autism. Such people can have difficulty even deciding to move through a doorway, thoughts appear to be disconnected or linked in an unusual manner, the mood of a sentence does not fit its content (e.g., snickering when discussing a funeral), and particular subjects may have extraordinary personal relevance but the powerful dramas in the lives of friends or popular figures have little or no impact.
The paranoid, however, may be less easily noticed because the peculiar behaviors are absent until he advertises on a web site, smokes some pot or coke, gets a cabin in Oregon, or mails a bomb to a federal building. He may be privately preoccupied with one or more exaggerated beliefs and there sometimes will be sounds that only he or she hears. “Patients are typically tense, suspicious, guarded, reserved and sometimes hostile or aggressive, but they can occasionally conduct themselves adequately in social situations. Their intelligence in areas not invaded by their psychosis tends to remain intact.”
The self-organization of paranoid patients tends to be greater than those of patients with other forms of schizophrenia. Accordingly, that paranoid type shows less regression of mental faculties, emotional responses, and behavior. The first “episode” may smolder for decades but become noticeable at an older age. People in their late 20s or 30s have usually established a social life that helps them through their illness.
It is almost as if paranoids have a disorder that was cached with “schizophrenia” because there was no other place to put it!
According to the APA, 295.30 Paranoid Type (on p. 275),
“The distinction between a delusion and a strongly held idea is sometimes difficult to make and depends on the degree of conviction with which the belief is held despite clear contradictory evidence. (emph added, jb)
“Delusions are deemed bizarre if they are clearly implausible and not understandable and do not derive from ordinary life experiences…An example of a nonbizarre delusion is a person’s false belief that he is under surveillance by the police.
“Delusions are typically persecutory or grandiose, or both, but delusions with other themes (e.g., jealousy, religiosity, or somatization) may also occur. The delusions may be multiple but are usually organized around a coherent theme….Associated features may include anxiety, anger, aloofness, and argumentativeness. The individual may have a superior or patronizing attitude and either a stilted, formal quality or extreme intensity in interpersonal interactions…the combination of persecutory and grandiose delusion with anger may predispose the individual to violence. (emph added, jb)
“…These individuals usually show little or no impairment on neuropsychological or other cognitive testing. Some evidence suggests that the prognosis of the Paranoid Type may be considerably better than for the other types of Schizophrenia, particularly with regard to occupational functioning and capacity for independent living.” (287)
“What a president should ideally have, and what I think we all agree Mr. Obama badly needs, is an assistant whose sole job it is to explain and interpret the American people to him. Presidents already have special assistants for domestic policy, for congressional relations and national security. Why not a special assistant for reality? Someone to translate the views of the people, and explain how they think. An advocate for the average, a representative for the normal, to the extent America does normal.” Peggy Noonan
“I don’t mind the president being mad so long as he is mad about the right things.” Governor Bobby Jindal
Jindal commented further about Obama’s peculiar social behavior during a meeting several weeks after the Gulf Spill. President Obama lectured Jindal about a letter Jindal had just sent to the Department of Agriculture but Obama had few ideas about blocking, vacuuming, or dispersing oil slicks. Obama often referred to himself in the third person, traveled in a separate car from Jindal, and insisted on a drilling moratorium that would do nothing for the spill but would cost Louisiana’s residents dearly. In return, Hannity shared backdoor remarks from White House staff that Obama got along with neither Biden, the Clintons, nor with most of the other staff. Mr. President was described as impatient, irritable, aloof, and distracted unless he was on a golf course.
There are many peculiar things about our President:
– His repetitive speaking style and use of teleprompters are unusual for an experienced teacher. So were the stylized eagle and columns that Obama used as a stage for his acceptance speech in Chicago.
– His social and academic history at Columbia University are shrouded and his biographers either admit their ignorance or draw inferences (Klein, 2010; Kurtz, 2010).
– While a teacher in a Chicago law school, he wrote many newspaper columns but no scholarly articles.
– Jack Cashill assembled a case that Dreams from My Father was “ghosted” by Bill Ayers and a different “ghost” pinned together Audacity of Hope.
– He is famous for often voting “present” during his short time in the Illinois Senate.
– He has appointed without congressional approval multiple “czars” to write policy and opinions but Obama seldom meets with members of his cabinet.
– He regularly spends exorbitant sums – Air Force One drinks $181,000 per hour – on vacations or on taking several hundred staff when he travels.
– There are 300 pictures of him on White House walls. They are changed every week.
– He quickly changed his slogans but not his goals after Democrats experienced massive losses in the 2010 election. His “liberal” followers are enraged, he is blasé. He lectures Egypt’s president on the need for rights, openness, and orderly transitions but neglects them himself.
– There is a positive association between schizophrenia and smoking cigarettes and experimentation with drugs such as cocaine. And withdrawal from cocaine is sometimes easier if there are outrageous social opportunities available (Solinas et al, 2008). He is thin and often goes away for a weekend…what is he doing besides golf?
Heritability and Heritage
Obama had a relatively privileged rearing in Hawaii, Indonesia, and again, Hawaii before coming to the mainland United States when he was about seventeen years old. His father and grandfather were anti-colonialist rebels in Kenya and his mother, Stanley Duncan (named after her father, she much later changed her first name to “Ann”), was also an anti-colonialist before she met Barack’s father.
As an American college student, Obama was drawn to anti-colonialists such as Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Roberto Unger, and William Ayers-Bernadine Dohrn.
His curriculum and life at Columbia University, about which he remains secretive, could have provided a foundation for his perspectives on taxes, regulations, American business, our access to fuel, and American roles in international affairs. (Kurtz, 2010)
No surprise, Obama’s goals for America involve concentrating power in Washington, encouraging energy development in Asia and in the southern hemisphere (including Mexico and Brazil) while interfering with domestic production in the United States, disarming America’s military, imposing competitive handicaps on American business, and weakening our traditional alliances with Europe, South Korea, Japan, and Israel, and a non-committal war and subsequent withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is also a theme of disarming our traditional allies such as Great Britain, Germany, Poland, or the Czech Republic.
“Colonialist” is usually applied to Europeans and Americans who take labor and resources from underdeveloped countries, typically in Africa and Asia and is seen as a “boot-to the-throat” of developing nations. For example, the Dutch, Germans, French, and English disrupted traditional African cultures in ways that profited Europeans but not the Africans.
Obama may be an American citizen but was reared in Hawaii and Indonesia. Hawaii, a state, however, was added to our union about three years before Obama was born. And Hawaii, according to D’Souza, was not particularly enthused about its American status and Obama was educated in schools that taught anti-colonialism.
Straaaaange Dreams from His Mother
Even schizophrenics collect, build, and arrange their environments. Furthermore, for humans and for most traits that have been investigated, heritability increases from conception to death. We find friends, mates, and properties that align with our biology. The environments that we make, protect, and grow make ever-closer fits between what we are and what we build. We each become more unique and live within self-chosen, ever-more-defined islands of objects and people who are similar to us.
The biological influences of natural parents remain strong even if we are separated from them early and never see them again! (Scarr & McCartney, 1983; Rowe, 1994; Cohen, 1999) Obama’s natural father was a Kenyan political activist, writer, socialist, and anti-colonialist. Dad, labeled as “straaaaange” by one of Ann’s relatives, was also a polygamist (eight children from three wives plus a fourth wife-to-be), an almost political success, an alcoholic, an erratic driver who died when drunk and colliding with a tree trunk, and who called himself “Doctor” when he had no degrees. Obama, in elementary school, remembers a talk that Dad gave a talk to one of Obama’s classes. Everyone, teachers and students and especially Obama, were inspired by that presentation. Another contact occurred when Obama was 26 and visited the man’s grave in Kenya.
Ann “Stanley” Duncan Obama Soetero was also “straaange” but not “straaaaange.” She wore a man’s name while growing up, was a political activist in Hawaii and Indonesia, thrived when she lived in primitive conditions in developing countries, and furiously denied that “whites were her people.” She took Obama away from the influence of her second husband, Lolo Soetero, because he, with time, became ever more pro-American. Obama’s anti-American skepticism is perhaps equally a gift from his mother’s nature and that of his father!
Too Much Self-Esteem?
Paranoids are rarely humble. They often have a sense of entitlement, of being the only one with access to hidden truths, or possessed with particular skills – talents that make them chieftains or targets.
“Patrick Gaspard, former community organizer, ex-lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union and now director of Obama’s Office of Political Affairs, is quoted in a 2008 New Yorker article describing what Obama said to him during his job interview: “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
“In his biography of Obama, “The Bridge,” David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, quotes White House senior adviser and longtime Obama friend Valerie Jarrett: “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.” (Reiland, 2010) (See also Paul Ryan, January 8, 2011, ObamaCare’s reality deficit. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576065723458609678.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_opinion )
Remember, the lens for Obama’s view is internationalist and most of the world’s poor would be happy to share the flat-screens, automobiles, fast foods – including deep-fried chicken and waffles – and stylish clothing enjoyed by many American blacks.
Also remember Stevens and Price: paranoids sometimes lead the founding of new groups. In this case, ninety-one percent of American blacks still care about Obama as if he cared about them. And, as we have seen, blacks not only have their own share of paranoia but will move in unison with him because of a misperceived common heritage. Further, expect that audience to be the especially angry if they find that he lied to them. Or that some white made him lie. Or to be angry with whites who demand his impeachment and removal!
Obama’s aloofness, alienation, love for power, and some of his exploits are consistent with his parents’ background – voting “present” in the legislature, the bird and columns he brought into his campaign, his speech in Berlin, frequent vacations, self-referential thinking, bending facts to fit his story, spending habits, teleprompters, and his collection of secretive, scheming associates who also were and are copies of socialists.
These traits can be aggravated by cocaine and one “cure” for cocaine addiction is involvement in grand accomplishments, perhaps as means to prolong a short attention span. Freud became famous through cocaine and Barack Obama may yet achieve a second term.
And like many mothers with an eccentric son, Michelle and Valerie are the sights on his gun as well as serving as his distracters, protectors, and rescuers….
American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (4th Ed.) Washington, D.C.
Brody, James (2010) Dreams from His Mother: A Review of D’Souza, Dinesh, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Washington, D.C. Regnery. http://www.deadcatsandclippings.com/?page_id=712
Cashill, Jack (June 4, 2010) Jack Cashill on William Ayers’ Writing, inside Barack Obama’s Books. There are links to 71 essays on this topic….
Cashill, Jack (January 15, 2009) Newly found article confirms Obama ‘Dreams’ fraud. World Net Daily, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=86138
D’Souza, Dinesh (2010) The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Washington, D.C., Regnery.
Hannity, Sean 11/15/10. Radio interview with Governor Bobby Jindal.
Kaplan, H. & Sadock, B. (1998) Synopsis of Psychiatry (8th Ed.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
Klein, Aaron (2010) The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists, and Other Anti-American Extremists. Washington, D.C.: World Net Daily.
Kurtz, Stanley (2010) Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Limbaugh, David (2010) Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama. Washington, D.C.: Regnery.
Noonan, Peggy (November 29, 2010): Special Assistant for Reality. The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703572404575634910388355000.html
Reiland, Patrick (November 15, 2010) Above all others. TribLive.com. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/reiland/s_709088.html
Rowe, David (1994) The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior. NY: Guilford.
Rushton, J. Philippe (2005) Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology, and Genetic Similarity Theory. Nations & Nationalism. 11(4), 489-507.
Scarr, Sandra & K. McCartney (1983) How people make their own environments: A theory of genotype–>environment effects. Child Development. 54, 424-435.
Solinas, Marcello, Claudia Chauvet, Nathalie Thiriet, Rana Rawas, & Mohamed Jaber (2008) “Reversal of cocaine addiction by environmental enrichment. Proceedings National Academy of Science. November 4, 2008 vol. 105 no. 44 17145-17150 http://www.pnas.org/content/105/44/17145.full.pdf+html
Stevens, A., & Price, J. (2000) Evolutionary Psychiatry: A New Beginning (2nd Ed.). NY: Routledge.
Steyn, Mark (2010) Obama’s Nuke Summit Dangerously Delusional. Orange County Register, April 16th,