Does Liberalism Cause Mental Illness?


The great Zach Goldberg, the youngish Ph.D student who has been quantifying the explosion of “wokeness” in the news media and elsewhere over the last decade, has been looking through the raw data in the Pew Research Center’s latest American Trends Panel Survey, and unearthed some interesting findings, which you can see here. Top line: liberals are more than twice as likely as conservatives to be found to have a mental health condition.

Especially notable is the lower chart, which shows that “very liberal” whites are much more likely to have mental health problems than “very liberal” non-whites. I’d love to see this broken out further by income, as I suspect that problem is especially strong with rich white liberals.

Turns out this isn’t an isolated finding. There’s a preprint paper posted in February on ResearchGate from Emil O.W. Kirkegaard of the Ulster Institute for Social Research entitled “Mental Illness and the Left.” The entire paper is available for download, but here’s the abstract:

It has been claimed that left-wingers or liberals (US sense) tend to be more mentally ill than right-wingers or conservatives. This potential link was investigated using the General Social Survey. A search found 5 items measuring one’s own mental illness in different ways (e.g.”Do you have any emotional or mental disability?”). All of these items were associated with left-wing political ideology as measured by self-report. These results held up mostly in regressions that adjusted for age, sex, and race. For the variable with the most data, the difference in mental illness between “extremely liberal” and “extremely conservative” was 0.39 d. This finding is congruent with numerous findings based on related constructs.

And here’s a key chart:

I think we’ve finally nailed down an explanation for this famous photo from Trump’s inauguration day:



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