Reactionary Syndrome Pandemic
Reactionary Syndrome Pandemic
Reactionary Syndrome Pandemic

  Mental diseases--psychoses--can be contagious. A psychosis can be super-infectious since infection doesn't require physical exposure, only mental or emotional access or influence. Today, even though it is of stupendous importance to control and then eradicate the coronavirus pandemic, it is of even more importance, in the long run, to identify and eradicate the reactionary syndrome pandemic because the reactionary syndrome is highly contagious, is spreading worldwide, and destroys the ability of its victims to understand its presence and lethal nature. It now appears that the Covid-19 pandemic has effectively been brought under control through the application of new vaccines, whereas the reactionary syndrome will only be eradicated within a number of years, if at all.

  Of the 450 domestic terrorists being charged by federal prosecutors and facing possible jail time for the December 6, 2021 domestic terrorist insusrrection on the U.S. Capitol, many of these stupid, insane supporters of former President Donald Trump are now blaming him for their actions that day. This is now called "the Trump Defense." A lawyer for one rioter who allegedly attacked police officers with a baseball bat said he was "inspired" by Trump's incendiary speech at a rally beforehand. The so-called QAnon shaman, whose horned bearskin headdress made him go viral, now claims he was "duped" by Trump, his lawyer said.

  Recently, US Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio's lawyer told a DC court : "Antonio became hooked with what I call 'Foxitis' or 'Foxmania' and started believing what was being fed to him." According to the lawyer, "Fox brainwashed Antonio into believing Trump wanted him to march on Washington as part of a patriotic movement." Now Antonio is facing five charges over his role in the January riot. The new name for Reactionary Syndrome is Foxitis or Foxmania.

  "Reactionary" 1 is a political-economic descriptive term originally applied in the context of the French Revolution to counter-revolutionaries who wished to restore the real or imagined conditions of the monarchical Ancien Regime. Through the 19th century, reactionism was used to refer to those who wished to preserve feudalism or aristocratic privilege against industrialism, republicanism, liberalism, and in some cases socialism. Beginning in the 20th century, the term also came to describe those favoring a stronger role of the Catholic Church in society or those ascribing to the rule of society by capitalist leaders and policies. In this essay, we are using the term to refer to opponents of progress or liberalism, "reaction" to any attempt to move a society away from its fascist or faux-democratic base to a more progressive, democratic one. In this era of the Trump cult/Republican Party, "reactionary" has also come to refer to those who are deliberately destroying all democratic institutions or safeguards, such as voting.

  A syndrome is a pattern of symptoms indicative of a physical or psychological disease. In medicine and psychology, the term syndrome refers to the association of several clinically recognizable features: signs (discovered by physicians, psychiatrists or other experts), symptoms, phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts us to the presence of the others. The term syndrome derives from the Greek and means literally "run together," as the features do. It is most often used when the reason that the features occur together (the pathophysiology of the syndrome) has not yet been discovered.

  The reactionary syndrome (RS) has been present in the human species for many centuries. Outbreaks of this mental disease into world-wide pandemics occurred during the French Revolution (1789-1799), during the American Civil War (1861-1865), and in the 20th century during the two World Wars (1914-1945). The reactionary syndrome appeared in the cabal which implemented the plan to place eight trained sharpshooters in Dallas in 1963 to carry out the psychotic assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The reactionary syndrome has been highly active during the time of the subsequent pathocratic American presidents (1963-2020). The most recent reactionary syndrome pandemic started in the United States with the election of Donald J. Trump as President in 2016.

  To understand the reactionary syndrome, it's necessary to pay particular attention to the "case" of Donald J. Trump, since he has been the primary "carrier" of the syndrome most recently and his specific type of personality disorder defines the current type of the reactionary syndrome, just as Adolph Hitler was the primary "carrier" of the syndrome in the 1930s.

"Every authoritarian regime has seen a crucial alliance between big business and the dictator, from Putin and his oligarchs to Hitler and German industrialists and Trump and the Wall Street elite. The German businessman Ernst von Hanfstaengl, Ben-Ghiat writes, introduced a 'cleaned-up Hitler to the moneyed social circles that mattered'--just as Blackstone chief executive Stephen Schwarzman helped legitimize Trump with tens of millions in campaign contributions to him and his Republican allies."

"Almost everything Trump has done has come straight from the authoritarian playbook. Every dictator, for example, has built on the accomplishments of his predecessors. 'Just as Hitler watched Mussolini's actions carefully," Ben-Ghiat writes, 'so did Gaddafi learn from Lt Col Gamal Abdul Nasser's 1952 overthrow of the monarchy in Egypt. Then in the 1980s and 90s, Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich served as models for Europeans looking for 'a more radical form of conservatism.' Gingrich's 1994 Contract with America was echoed a year later by the Front National, with its 'contract for France with the French.' Berlusconi's Contract with Italians followed six years later." In Egypt, Nasser hired 'former Nazi propagandists for their expertise in antisemitic messaging'. In Zaire, from 1965, Mobutu Sese Seko's media handlers reimagined Leni Riefenstahl's image of Hitler descending from the sky by opening the television news each night with a picture of the dictator's face, hovering up in the clouds."

Charles Kaiser, "Donald Trump Strongmen review: a chilling history for one nation no longer under Trump," Guardian, 11/26/2020

  From the moment Donald Trump, with the assistance of American, British, and Russian cybercriminals, stole the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and was inaugurated, we knew that we were dealing with an insane President who had tapped into the thoughts and feelings of an American psychotic sub-population--later to be known as Trump's Base. Trump's claim that his inauguration "crowd size" was the largest in history, made it clear that he was delusional. And then the creation of the reactionary syndrome cult began in earnest and the reactionary psychoses began to manifest in Trump for the world to see.

"Donald Trump has a 'dangerous mental illness' and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.

"Mental health experts claimed the President was 'paranoid and delusional', and said it was their 'ethical responsibility' to warn the American public about the 'dangers Mr Trump's psychological state poses to the country.'"
Source: 4/21/2017

  These factors help to explain the occurrence of the reactionary syndrome while also making the eradication of the reactionary syndrome much more difficult:
  • Trump won more votes in 2020 than any incumbent president in American history.
  • A mere 3% of voters for President Donald Trump think President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election, while 73% think the incumbent was the victor, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll.
  • Nationally Trump is estimated to have won about 57% of white votes.
  • In 2020, 51% of voters aged 65 and older voted for Trump.
  • Among White women, 43 percent supported Biden and 56 percent supported Trump. About 91 percent of Black women supported Biden and 8 percent supported Trump. Roughly 70 percent of Latina women supported Biden and 28 percent supported Trump.
  • The reactionary syndrome is not recognized by the American people--or even a sub-section of the people--as a reality.
  • Until the reactionary syndrome has been identified and defined it will be impossible to overcome this plague. 2
  • Most Americans are so mentally and intellectually deficient that they are incapable of understanding that there is a reactionary syndrome, what is the nature of this lethal syndrome, and the necessity of eradicating the syndrome before it destroys America and other nations.
  One of the first jobs we must tackle in defeating the reactionary syndrome is to identify its recognizable features: essential characteristics of the psychosis that occur together, so that the presence of one characteristic alerts us to the presence of the others. One of the methods used by medical specialists to identify a disease or a syndrome is to follow what are known as Koch's postulates. The first of these postulates is: "The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy organisms." We can revise this to identify the reactionary syndrome in this way: the syndrome must be found in abundance in all persons suffering from the syndrome, but not found in mentally healthy persons. By "mentally healthy" we mean:
  • Intellectually sound: exercising good judgment, discerning and weighing factors without emotional bias
  • Informed: aware of current reality and truth, seeking truth and understanding on an ongoing basis
  • Discerning: capable of distinguishing between what is real and true and what is phantasy or untruth
  • Self-aware: capable of discerning and acknowledging one's own capabilities and lack of capabilities
  • Competent: capable of functioning in society, meeting the ordinary demands of everyday life, capable of sustaining genuine relationships

  In identifying and defining the reactionary syndrome we can begin by indicating that persons suffering from this psychotic pattern lack all characteristics of a mentally healthy person.

  Persons who suffer from the reactionary syndrome evince an unusual type of narcissistic personality disorder characterized by pathological self-interest, aggression, instability, lying, stealing, cheating, impulsivity, acting out, and grandiosity. This syndrome has a deteriorating course; the victim tends to become progressively debilitated by the syndrome.

  The American Psychiatric Association, outlines nine characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). If an individual has five out of the nine they have a confirmed diagnosis of this illness. Many individuals have "traits" of narcissism but only about 1% of the population has clinical NPD.

"Summary : A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Believe that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes"
  The reactionary syndrome can be identified as possessing all nine of these characteristics. In addition, a person suffering from RS can also be identified as suffering from the Dunning-Kruger Effect (D-KE). The effect is a type of cognitive bias, in which people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don't have enough knowledge to know they don't have enough knowledge. Or, stated more harshly, they are "too dumb to know they are dumb." This "effect" has been demonstrated in a variety of well-controlled psychological studies. Two centuries ago, Plato identified this malady as "double ignorance: the state of being ignorant that you are ignorant." Persons not only don't know what they are and what the world is, but they're unaware that they are ignorant of themselves and reality. They presume that they fully know themselves and external reality.

   In identifying the full gamut of characteristics of the reactionary syndrome we can add that sufferers of this syndrome:

  • Have deliberately allowed themselves to become victims of their debilitating self.

  • Have deliberately allowed themselves to become victims of Egomania.

  • Lack the capability to apprehend and comprehend true reality.

  • Are unaware of Humankind's Unfolding Civilizational Cataclysm

  • Suffer from arrested development.

  • Embrace ignorance.

  • Are suicidal.

  • Suffer from normalcy bias.

  • Are parasitical: feed off the substance of others and contribute nothing (or little) of their own. Persons embracing the reactionary syndrome are often those who leech off other persons and other institutions for their physical, intellectual, and social being, unable and unwilling to support themselves. The Republican Party, for example, is now doing nothing to contribute to society, but feeds off the institutions and traditions of democracy and reason.

  That persons suffering from the reactionary syndrome are suicidal is evidenced by:
  • the success of Trump's denialist, open-everything-up non-response to the pandemic--the fact that forty-nine percent of Americans voted to keep him (and his death-dealing policies) in office is evidence of their suicidal psychotic state
  • their continuing refusal to follow CDC guidlines: refusing to wear masks, refusing to social-distance, refusing to avoid super-spreader environments, refusing to get the vaccine
  That persons suffering from the reactionary syndrome embrace ignorance is evidenced by:
  • their refusal to acknowledge the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic:
    • 180,575,037 humans have contracted the coronavirus
    • 3,911,369 humans have died because of contracting Covid-19
    • 165,263,399 humans have recovered after contracting Covid-19
    • The daily number of new cases of Covid-19 is no longer at an all-time high but has plateaued
    • The daily number of persons hospitalized with Covid-19 is no longer at an all-time high but has plateaued

  • their trafficking in (searching for, studying, sending to supposed friends) social-media, youtube, and reactionary-site propaganda and misinformation; most of the misinformation features fake-experts declaiming that Covid-19 is a hoax, that statistics are falsified to create large numbers and profits, that preventive guidelines are for the sole purpose of enslaving the masses, and that there is no real danger from Covid-19 and that no one should take the vaccine
  Persons who deliberately infect themselves with the Reactionary Syndrome become comatose (in a state of deep and usually prolonged depression and unconsciousness; unable to respond to external stimuli). In this comatose (zombie) state persons are largely unable and unwilling to listen to reason of any kind and deliberately deny facts and embrace untruth. The deadly (death-dealing) aspect of this comatose, zombie state is that this makes them completely suicidal and dangerous to others. Persons who infect themselves with the Reactionary Syndrome allow their depressed state to make them totally stupid about a number of essential aspects of their existence, including a deadly pandemic that has thus far killed hundreds of thousands of humans. They allow themselves to be stupid about this threat to their lives to the point of doing nothing to protect themselves so that they contract Covid-19. If they are fortunate enough not to die from this, when hundreds of thousands of others have, they add to their stupidity by allowing the fact that they did not die from Covid-19 to delude them into thinking that they are now safe from danger. (Thousands have died when contracting Covid-19 for the second time.) Intelligent persons understand that they protect themselves from a deadly disease, through vaccination, while also protecting others--by not getting Covid-19 and infecting others.

  The Trump presidency awakened discerning Americans--some for the first time, others in a more profound and disturbing manner--to the reality and current presence of the reactionary syndrome in a majority of Americans. All members within the Trump Base suffer from the reactionary syndrome.

  Persons within the Trump Base are not the only victims of the reactionary syndrome; a majority of Americans evince characteristics of this psychosis to some degree, especially the inability to apprehend or comprehend true reality. Whatever their tactical or minor political-economic differences with Trump, the capitalist Democrats represent the interests of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus.

  Along with studying the Trump Base for clues as to the nature of the reactionary syndrome, it is significanly instructive to study the case of Nazi Germany. One of the lethal legacies Trump is going to leave America, is the false belief that the 2020 election was fraudulent. This is very similar to the 1918 Military officers, monarchists and right-wingers spread the myth that if it had not been for political sabotage by Social Democrats and Jews back home in the Nazi homeland, the army would never have had to give in.

"...Amid the implosions of Imperial Germany, powerful conservatives who led the country into war refused to accept that they had lost. Their denial gave birth to arguably the most potent and disastrous political lie of the 20th century--the Dolchstosslegende, or stab-in-the-back myth.

"Its core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I. Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but not warranted. It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation--a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation. That the claim was palpably false didn't matter. Among a sizable number of Germans, it stirred resentment, humiliation and anger. And the one figure who knew best how to exploit their frustration was Adolf Hitler."

"The startling aspect about the Dolchstosslegende is this: It did not grow weaker after 1918 but stronger. In the face of humiliation and unable or unwilling to cope with the truth, many Germans embarked on a disastrous self-delusion: The nation had been betrayed, but its honor and greatness could never be lost. And those without a sense of national duty and righteousness--the left and even the elected government of the new republic--could never be legitimate custodians of the country.

"In this way, the myth was not just the sharp wedge that drove the Weimar Republic apart. It was also at the heart of Nazi propaganda, and instrumental in justifying violence against opponents. The key to Hitler's success was that, by 1933, a considerable part of the German electorate had put the ideas embodied in the myth-- honor, greatness, national pride--above democracy.

"The Germans were so worn down by the lost war, unemployment and international humiliation that they fell prey to the promises of a 'Fuhrer' who cracked down hard on anyone perceived as 'traitors,' leftists and Jews above all. The stab-in-the-back myth was central to it all. When Hitler became chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933, the Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachter wrote that 'irrepressible pride goes through the millions' who fought so long to 'undo the shame of 9 November 1918.'

"Germany's first democracy fell. Without a basic consensus built on a shared reality, society split into groups of ardent, uncompromising partisans. And in an atmosphere of mistrust and paranoia, the notion that dissenters were threats to the nation steadily took hold."

"Alarmingly, that seems to be exactly what is happening in the United States today. According to the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of Trump supporters believe that a Joe Biden presidency would do 'lasting harm to the U.S.,' while 90 percent of Biden supporters think the reverse. And while the question of which news media to trust has long split America, now even the largely unmoderated Twitter is regarded as partisan. Since the election, millions of Trump supporters have installed the alternative social media app Parler. Filter bubbles are turning into filter networks.

"In such a landscape of social fragmentation, Mr. Trump's baseless accusations about electoral fraud could do serious harm. A staggering 88 percent of Trump voters believe that the election result is illegitimate, according to a YouGov poll. A myth of betrayal and injustice is well underway.

"It took another war and decades of reappraisal for the Dolchstosslegende to be exposed as a disastrous, fatal fallacy. If it has any worth today, it is in the lessons it can teach other nations. First among them: Beware the beginnings."

Jochen Bittner, "1918 Germany Has a Warning for America: Donald Trump's 'Stop the Steal' campaign recalls one of the most disastrous political lies of the 20th century,"
New York Times, 11/30/20

  Similar to the 1930s German "stab-in-the-back" psychosis, in the case of Donald Trump and other persons suffering from the reactionary syndrome, this mental disease often takes the form of grievance- and revenge-addiction: obsession with delusional grievances and the psychotic attempt (sometimes successful) at revenge.

  Americans must count themselves fortunate that they did not become the victim of a more competent and sensible dictator than Donald Trump. We may not be so lucky the next time. And the festering reactionary syndrome pandemic, degrading the minds of a majority of Americans' brains and emotions, could, within a few short years, find a home in a new American Hitler-like leader. Thus the absolute necessity to understand and obliterate the reactionary syndrome in American brains and psyches.

  Persons evincing the Reactionary Syndrome are what is called low-information voters: those persons who have little or no interest in or understanding of political affairs, rarely watch the news, and can't name major political figures or national events and still make voting decisions on this extremely limited knowledge basis.

  In the mind of a person suffering from reactionary syndrome, reality itself becomes contested and verifiable facts turn into hot-button controversies. Any person can become a Master Manipulator of those under the spell of RS who possesses a knack for leveraging the animosities of polarized partisanship to isolate his or her supporters from sources of credible information and inflame them with vilifying lies. Whether such mind-manipulators of those suffering from RS rise to positions of political-economic-social power remains to be seen. Certainly, Trump will try to remain a major presence in the political world for the foreseeable future, if he can somehow escape from federal and state criminal charges, for which he should go to prison.

  At present, the reactionary syndrome can be mapped in the United States as at epidemic proportions in all states controlled by the Republican party. One of the most destructive elements of the grievance- and revenge-addiction aspect of this psychosis is that the Republican party will gerrymander (as usual) the states it controls so that they will enjoy unfair advantage in the next several elections, resulting in a dangerous continuation of the reactionary syndrome pandemic.

"At this moment we're confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before–and that is a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic," Cheney said from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
An outspoken Trump critic, Cheney chided GOP members she said have made themselves "willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man." Now, she said, they face a choice.
"Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution."

  It is a major question whether the miniscule number of Americans in touch with true reality and truth will be able to dispel the mind-bending RS spell of polarization, misinformation, and civil war. One of the major difficulties in overcoming the reactionary syndrome pandemic is that persons suffering from this debilitating psychosis are not aware of or in denial of this fact. Therefore they do not see any need for remediation.

Remediation of Reactionary Syndrome

  As with any mental disease, reactionary syndrome requires remediation. Such remediation is available through:
  • Personal work on oneself in sessions within Consulting Philosophy

      We must join with discerning leaders such as Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, who has explained our present plight in these terms: November, 2020, will historically be remembered as the time when democracy was deliberately and intentionally poisoned by an organized conspiracy to maintain power for political self-interest and the self-interest of its capitalist supporters.

      All over the world in the 1930's, fascism, extremism, and nationalism were rising as an accompaniment to economic depression. The same has happened today. Trump has brought together an anti-democracy, fascist coalition composed of extremest groups: conspiracy theorists, militia gangs, white nationalists, terrorist thugs like the Proud Boys, and spineless, seditious Republican party leaders and members.

      We must organize and act as a new coalition to destroy Trumpist-Republican Party fascism, which will not be the Obama coalition, or the progressive coalition that elected Joe Biden to the presidency. It will be a coalition of conservative and progressive forces to bring to submission the forces that Trump has let loose and destroy this anti-democracy, fascist group utterly.

      The protection of Americans from the forces of domestic terrorism that the reactionary syndrome has unleashed on our nation will be a major project in the coming years. We must also find means to overcome this pandemic of insanity. This will not be easy because this form of psychosis is immune to facts or reality or reason. For example, even after the heinous public spectacle of Trump inciting the domestic terrorist attack on the nation's Capitol on January 6, 2021, 66% of Republicans believe (42% strongly agreeing) that the party is better with Donald Trump in it and 57% believe he should be the candidate in 2024. In the same poll, 62% of republicans said they disapproved of Senator Mitt Romney's behavior, after he called out Trump publicly and voted to count the electoral votes of both Pennsylvania and Arizona. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was firmly in the "approve" camp, with 61% of Republicans voting in favor of the fascist Senator who continues to support Trump's lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Biden.

      The Senate voted down Cruz's first objection to the Electoral College certification process, lodged against Arizona. While over a dozen senators had pledged to object, just six ended up voting yes following the terrorist violence in the U.S. Capitol; Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Marshall (R-KS.) and John Kennedy (R-LA) joined Cruz in objecting according to Axios.

    "The purpose here [the right-wing media's "propaganda"attack on democracy] is not for communicating information. It's to break the consensus of reality so that people can be manipulated and radicalized."
    Chris Hayes, MSNBC

    References and Updates: Notes:

    1 "Reactionary" comes from the French word reactionnaire, coined in the early 19th century. It was the first of the two words coined (the other being conservative, from the French word conservateur) for the opposition to the French Revolution. The monarchists were commonly referred to as the Right, although they were often called Reactionaries. "Reactionary" has come to mean a movement towards the reversal of an existing tendency or state or a return to a previous condition of affairs, an opponent of progress or liberalism.

    2 Plague: any epidemic or pandemic disease with a high death rate; pestilence