This post over at Mad Melancholic Feminista hits on a subject near and dear (well, maybe not "dear" exactly...) to my heart; to wit, the uncanny ways in which a political wingnut's approach to "debate" will have to the ways in which your garden-variety personality-disordered person will interact. Regardless of the label, you end up walking away from the encounter feeling like *you're* the crazy one, not to mention drained and exhausted.
Really encourage you to go over there and read the whole thing, especially the techniques which wingnuts/PD'd will use with you ("projective identification" is the biggie).
Just a couple notes of my own here:
*As one of the commenters on MMF's site pointed out, yes, it's true, this sort of wingnuttish behavior is not limited to people on the right end of the spectrum. I can vouch that my last trip down the rabbit hole was with self-styled lefties.
However, there's a good argument to be made that the current administration, or most of it, falls squarely into the "wingnut" camp, and it isn't just about this issue or that issue. It's about a fundamental belief system. As Lakoff, among others, have pointed out, we all have one. What interests me, though, is where such belief systems come from, and how they manifest outside of the political sphere. Someday soon I'll have a longer post or twelve about all this, and what it might mean for a "sane society" (Erich Fromm). I feel strongly that it's going to be crucial for more of us to understand how this works, if we ever want to see a true sea change in the zeitgeist as well as the three branches of federal government.
*There are, I feel obliged to point out, some worthy human beings out there who have been diagnosed BPD (or, more rarely, as they tend to be less likely to seek therapy, NPD or APD/"sociopathy"), and are actively working on their stuff. Not to mention people who struggle with mood disorders and other chemical imbalances. I don't lump these folks in with the wingnut/frootbat brigade, myself. There's crazy and there's crazy and there's crazy.
And without getting too far into the sticky questions of "how much of the behavior is stuff the person can't help? nature/nurture?" and so on, the deal is: the personality disordered, particularly those of the antisocial/borderline/narcissistic cluster, project blame outward. Which means that by definition, if you've got this sort of personality, you will not take any responsibility for your own behavior. You won't think, consciously at least, that you have a problem at all. It's the rest of the world that has the problem. (Which is a great segue into "radical" political activism, for some). Which means that the chances of actual change are slim.
And, blame and labels aside, coming back full circle to MMF's point, the bottom line is that it's worse than useless to try to have a rational discussion/argument with such people. You think you're playing tennis; they're playing Calvinball. And then they'll whack you in the head with the racket and loudly complain about your cheating.