I was surprised to see the results of the Fox News Poll showing Ron Paul leading in who the pollsters thought would win the Iowa caucus vote. While, I consider myself a conservative and lean more towards libertarianism, I am nonetheless, quite frankly concerned about the possibility of Ron Paul winning the primaries and--God forbid--possibly becoming president of the United States. My concern comes as a fellow physician who believes that Dr. Paul suffers from a real psychological disorder characterized by megalomania, narcissism, delusional thinking, paranoia, antisocial characteristics, and (abnormal) feelings of persecution. Now, I am not a psychiatrist, but I did minor in psychology as an undergraduate and most physicians have been educated in the behavioral sciences and have been trained to diagnose common psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, it is estimated that the incidence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder occurs 34 times more often in medical doctors than in the general population.
Over the last several weeks, I have been studying Dr. Paul as well as his followers through his television appearances, his letters (and Newsletters), social media, and video clips from You-tube and have noted a very disturbing pattern of Dr. Paul showing all of the psycopathological characteristics of a genuine "cult leader" and his followers showing all of the characteristics of a cult.
I have studied cults and their leaders and have outlined the "five basic
rules" of being a cult leader. I have also indicated the psychopathology associated with cult leaders as they form their cults:
The number one rule of a cult leader is to polish and cultivate a persona that you--and only you--have been chosen, anointed, or have achieved spiritual, political, or intellectual enlightenment above all others. This shows features of megalomania, delusions of grandeur, as well as narcissism.
1. Dr. Paul has tried to cultivate this persona for over 30 years as the “outsider” and enlightened one within the “Washington establishment”.
2. Dr. Paul has publicly stated that while he believes in term limits, they do not apply to him because (paraphrasing) “there is no one good enough to bring in to replace him”.
3. In 2010, Dr. Paul commented to his wife that he would run for President in 2012 “if things were happening so quickly and fast in our country and we were in a crisis period…and needed somebody…with the knowledge he as, he would do it”.
4. Dr. Paul presents in interviews as haughty and stern and seems to be lecturing rather than engaging in conversation.
The next rule is to appeal to the disconnected, disenchanted, and disaffected in society who are often intellectually, politically, and emotionally immature (i.e., younger people)and convince them that while you have been “chosen” (or more likely self-selected) you are (almost) human just like them and can empathize with their disenchantment and discontent. This shows more tendencies of narcissism and ego-feeding by someone who sees them self as inherently better than others, but with a need to surround one’s self with those less fortunate or less “enlightened”—a “savior complex”, if you will. Often times, the empathy and compassion shown to the acolytes is not genuine (which is a feature of antisocial personality) and is only used for the ulterior motive of personal gain in sex, money, or power (or sense of superiority) or combination thereof.
1. Dr. Paul has always had a relatively small number of fanatical followers who have mostly been drawn from younger people in society. He routinely targets schools,
colleges, and other events where younger people tend to be.
2. His “populist” message today resonates with many, besides young people as social, geopolitical, and economic turmoil are perceived to be worsening and more and more people become disenfranchised, disenchanted, and discontent.
3. Dr. Paul’s ploy of not accepting Medicare payment for his Medicare services or a congressional pension—while on the surface seem like noble gestures—are really means to portray himself as “one of us” and morally higher than his colleagues.
The third step is through indoctrination, coercion, repetition, and/or isolation to exercise mind control over your flock of followers by relieving them of their ability to think rationally (usually by not allowing them to test your theories or have access to “the outside”)—but not emotionally—while simultaneously convincing them that your ideas—while plausible (but generally at the far fringes of mainstream thought) are the “light and the truth”. This shows more elements of antisocial ego-building in that the leader is now getting others to surrender their will and rational thought against deep seated norms of the self and/or society while they align their thinking towards that of the leader.
Furthermore, this shows the disordered or delusional thinking of the leader who generally has delusional thinking of the world and how it operates and he or she is the only one with the power to fix it.
1.Dr. Paul plays on the emotions of his followers by carefully crafting plausible—and easy to understand-- (but highly improbable and at the fringes of mainstream thought)scenarios out of complex geopolitical, political, social and economic issues
that are at “top of mind” of our society and that tug at some of our most basic
interests (individual freedom, economic freedom, nationalism, sanctity of life,
torture, and war) and evoke very basic human responses such as fear, anxiety,
anger, disgust, and etc.
2. Dr. Paul’s views on national defense, monetary policy, isolationism, and constitutionalism are considered by most to be outside of the mainstream of rational political, social, and governmental philosophy.
3. Dr. Paul has consistently repeated his messages over 30 years and as noted above, tends to target younger followers who are easier to indoctrinate.
The fourth rule is to proselytize not only your “enlightened philosophy or beliefs, but also to spread forth the word that while you and your followers are “the enlightened or chosen ones”, there will be naysayers and those that will persecute you and the movement. This clearly shows the elements of paranoia and persecution by the non-believers.
1. Dr. Paul and his followers are very defensive when challenged on the issues and their beliefs. Instead of engaging in earnest discourse, they tend to attack and accuse the “non-believer” as persecuting them for their beliefs or of being ignorant and unenlightened in their philosophy.
2. Dr. Paul and his followers display a common paranoia and decry a “conspiracy” of the right, the political elite, and the left against them and their “lofty ideas that will save America”.
3. Dr. Paul has consistently offered the explanation that others are simply “out to get him” by taking “tongue-in-cheek comments out of context” and things that were written in his newsletters (but purportedly not authorized or written by him).
4. Dr. Paul comes off as defensive and angry when challenged in interviews and becomes condescending.
The fifth and last rule is to convince your followers that it is only through blind faith and rigid adherence to your philosophy—no matter how foreign it may be to self or to society—that that blind adherence or “loyalty” is the only path to salvation, redemption, or the reparation of the “perceived” ills of society. This is more antisocial ego-building and the tightening of control over the flock.
1. Dr. Paul and his followers play the same monotonous drum beat about “smaller government”, defense of our borders,monetary reform and fiscal responsibility, “stop the wars”, and national isolationism over and over again like a Gregorian chant and mantra in a blind and stubborn adherence to their fringe philosophy that is the only path to saving America despite practical, rational, philosophical, and real world
evidence against and “common sense” opposition to their “zany” ideas, Messianic
messages, and Utopian philosophies.
Some authors would add another step which is to construct a “doomsday scenario” for your followers, such as “the end of the world, World War III, or economic collapse as the great incentive to motivate the followers to adhere to and spread your
teachings. This, again, would show delusional thinking as well as narcissistic thinking, especially if the leader and his or her followers will be the only ones saved from the impending calamity.
1. Of course we are all aware of the “doomsday” prophecies of Dr. Paul considering our economy and its impending collapse with hyperinflation if we don’t get rid of the Fed.
After considering this, and seeing Dr. Paul’s rise in the Iowa polls, it makes me
wonder what they are doing out there in Iowa. It seems to me that maybe they are mixing a little Ron Paul Kool-Aid with some fermented corn!