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Toxic Insanity

A woman files a sexual-harassment suit against a man for wearing spandex shorts.  A black college student tacks racist notes on his own door to try to start a campus outcry against racism.  Howard Schwartz has tried to explain these and other examples of political correctness in psychological terms in The Revolt of the Primitive.  For his purposes, Schwartz establishes a hypothetical American family to illustrate the findings he has taken from his source material.

He presents an elaborate model of psychological roles within this imaginary suburban family that, unfortunately, is so exaggerated that it is difficult to imagine that it represents anything in reality.  Schwartz’s family consists of the “toxic man,” the “primordial mother,” a son, and a daughter who is a spoiled, power-hungry monster.  The mother is the only parent to whom the children seem to relate in any natural way.  They use her to gain power over their disconnected father, who is away from home between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. daily in order to provide for the family.  Schwartz predicts that the son will grow up to be a replica of his cold, distant father.  The family’s only hope lies with the spoiled daughter, and we might assume that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps.  In fact, Schwartz suggests that the life of the suburban housewife is the girl’s worst...

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