by Bill Simon
This particular issue of the Political Vine was inspired by one guy making, perhaps, the most astute observation that I’ve ever heard in consideration of trying to understand what happens to cause the melee of political personality clashes between “Ron Paul People” and “Every Other Republican.”
Everyone in the GOP is aware of these clashes, whether you are “Old Guard,” “New Guard,” or “RP supporters.” RP people cannot understand, for the life of them, why their arguments about the rules, the Constitution, the Bible, etc. do not penetrate the conscious minds of longtime GOP members (i.e., the GOP Establishment).
Furthermore, the “old timers” in the GOP also don’t quite get why a lot of the RP supporters just don’t ease their way into the GOP stream, and “learn the ropes” in a quieter, less argumentative manner.
Well…perhaps there is a bit of a scientific explanation (beyond the quick-thought of “those other guys are ******* nuts!”) that can explain this clash…and, in presenting this theory, it is my hope that some of you in the various leadership positions on all sides of the GOP will read this, consider it to possibly be an accurate explanation, and hopefully, come around to gaining a little better understanding of the other person’s point of view.
Because, with just the tiniest of better understanding about what’s going on in the other person’s head, the fear you feel will begin to dissipate…and you might realize the other person is not your true enemy.
And, yes, a lot of the clashes amongst people (especially in the powder-keg world of politics) is due to a “fear” that one or both parties to an argument have, whether of losing power, losing control, losing political position, losing their sense of self-worth, losing…whatever someone feels they own and they view their adversary as someone else who wants to take that away from them.
Though you may not believe it, all I wish for the political world is peace, harmony, and happiness (at least until college football season rolls around and I can ramp-up my annual war on Dawgs…:-)
Some time ago, either in high school or in college, I went through an exercise of taking tests that determined my “personality type.” There are several different types of personality tests out there, but the one in particular that I took, and that I accept to be the most “correct,” is called the “Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.”
There are actually 16 different personality types in the Myers-Briggs construct. Your personality type is something you were basically born with, and it doesn’t change too much from one of the Myers-Briggs 16 types to any other MB type. If you’ve never heard of this type of test, here is an online version that is pretty good (and free) that you can take and figure out something about yourself…as well get an understanding of why you process information and analyze things the way you do, and why someone else processes information the way they do.
My personality type is INTJ, and we are a type that is about 1% of the population. We are quite the rarity.
If you wish to know the more realistic, practicing view of what an INTJ type is, read this Website. As a self-appointed leader of the INTJ Caucus Type, I freely invite and encourage the 99% of the general population to read this latter description so you may get a better understanding of what I’m going to discuss regarding GOP politics.
The INTJ In The Wild
Now, my friend who inspired this discussion is Todd Rehm, who blogs on his Website called GaPundit.com. Todd is an INTP. His personality type is something on the order of 5% of the general population.
It is amazing how we are so close in personality types (hey, we’re just one alphabetical letter off from each other), and yet, we have incredibly different views of the world around us. I used to think he was just deliberately being a royal pain in the ass to just piss me off.
Then, when we discussed personality types, it clicked in my mind as to why we don’t always see things the same way. He perceives while I judge. BIG difference in how the two of us interpret the world, events, and other people.
People who come to conclusions based on “perception” are people who suck-in information through the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste), and then organize and analyze based on what they perceive through what has touched them.
People who analyze based primarily on judging do so by exclusively examining the evidence, and organizing and analyzing based on that evidence…either rock-solid law, rules, and standards, or on rare occasion, from opinions (if that is all we have to go on…but, of course, we INTJs hate making decisions based on mushy, mealy-mouthed, fluffy opinions).
The INTJ personality type generally possesses these basic characteristics:
– We like truth and facts more than dealing with people’s feelings (touchy-feely Republicans piss us off the most because…really…if we wanted to be around huggy-wuggy, touchy-feely people, we would join the Democrats)
– We have very…very…verrrry low tolerance for bullshit from liars (such as the type of double-speak uttered from most politicians, anyone with MAVEN, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, Bert Brantley, Lawyers of all types, Barack Obama, the Council for Quality Growth, and the like)
– We can, at times, sound quite dogmatic (though that does not mean we’re wrong)
– We may appear aloof in dealing with others (when really, we’re just pretty reserved introverts not wishing to intrude on you extroverts spending your time trying to demonstrate to everyone how smart you may think you are.)
– We are pretty-darned self-confident (well, actually, that’s being tactful) in our opinions when we argue.
Now, what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China? Probably nothing.
What might it have to do with in the world of Ron Paulers and the rest of the GOP? Plenty, if my friend Todd’s perception is accurate.
While I am not one of the Ron Paul supporters who can zip-off quotes from the Bible or the Constitution, or debate the Fed, I did vote for Ron Paul for President. And, I’m an INTJ. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Why did someone who has generally been an “establishment” member of the GOP for 15 years choose to support Ron Paul over ALL the other “rock star” Republicans? Well, let’s go over the “rock star” list:
1) Newt Gingrich: Any man who does not get his personal shit/oats together until he turns 60 years old (he turned that around 2003) has not, apparently, lived his life in a mature reality for long enough for me to want to trust his judgment as President. Late bloomers are fine people to be around as friends…but, as politicians, you never really can know if their minds have fully developed if they didn’t get their libido under control until well after they turned 35.
2) Herman Cain: My 2nd choice, actually.
3) Michelle Bachmann: Wow…2 years as a Member of the US House, and we’re supposed to think she’s mature enough? Also…she appeared to “try” too hard to sound like a candidate.
4) Rick Perry: Hahahahahaha!!!! Sorry, I have this rule that forbids me from supporting complete buffoons.
5) Tim Pawlenty: WHO?
6) Rick Santorum: If I wanted to live under a theocracy, I would move to one already established, because they likely have the kinks all worked out of it by now.
7) Mitt Romney: He was my 3rd choice, and now’s he’s my first choice…unless, by some chance, the rest of the GOP wakes-up and decides “Hey! Maybe after the two frigging Bush morons we had as President screwed over the country bad enough, maybe we should go with someone that doesn’t talk out of both sides of their mouth and their rear-end at the same time” and chooses Ron Paul as our candidate.
Todd’s theory is that it is likely that most (maybe even all) of the people who support Ron Paul are INTJ personality types who operate best off of a world of facts, rules, and laws…and, most of the other people in the GOP who support other candidates are not INTJ personality types.
Now, considering that the world of politics is nothing other than a huge melting pot of all kinds of different people from all walks of life, different races, different education backgrounds, different genders…all with no required “order” to whom you should associate with except by political philosophy (i.e., Republican vs. Democrat vs. Libertarian, etc.), the personality type theory could be the key to explaining why there is a wide gulf in understanding by the Ron Paul supporters of why the GOP establishment doesn’t get what they’re trying to communicate.
Because it’s like an American (i.e., English-speaking raised) trying to talk to someone from Thailand who doesn’t speak a lick of English. If you do not understand the language and the customs by which messages are best communicated to people who do not perceive the world the way you do, then frustration on all sides is experienced, and lots of people get angry and lose their cool…all because they do not realize the other person doesn’t analyze and make decisions the way you do.
Now, just by chance, I happen to know a few other Ron Paul supporters. And, just by chance, they happen to be INTJ personality types. But, to prove a theory, we’re gonna need a bit larger sample to see if INTJ is way more prevalent in Paul supporters than any other candidate’s supporters.
I bring this story out now to you because this Saturday, there will be district conventions going on. And, in each of these conventions, there will be a mix of Ron Paul supporters and, everyone else.
As an INTJ myself, I honestly have no idea how to advise other INTJers how to best communicate with other people in these conventions, nor do I have any idea how to advise non-INTJers how to best get INTJ folks to see your point of view. Except, maybe adhere to a few rules that, literally, were taught in kindergarten:
Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Don’t act like a horse’s ass. Don’t claim something is true when you know it to be an absolute lie. Don’t make up rules that don’t exist. Be fair in your dealings according to the rules of the convention, and (dare I suggest this) be fair because you’re dealing with fellow human beings.
And, BEFORE you launch into any kind of public tirade…stop yourself and consider the possibility that the other person may have made an innocent error in the procedures.
Of course, after you’ve tried being the nice girl or nice guy and that doesn’t work? Well, as the line goes in the movie Risky Business, “Sometimes you just gotta say ‘What the ______?'”
And, take whatever action you deem necessary. (Try not to make the 6 o’clock news, though…or, the 11:00 o’clock news, for that matter).