The always thoughtful E.J. Dionne:
I don’t view conservatism as a form of psychosis.
I don't either, and rather logically, because conservatism is not a form of psychosis. Modern conservatism is as old as modern Europe, whose birthday is generally marked by the French Revolution, at which historical point the Irishman and Member of British Parliament Edmund Burke freaked out over ill-advised ideology and recommended the steadier course of pragmatic incrementalism. And that, in a word or two, is conservatism.
What predominantly slithers and stalks in contemporary America as "conservatism" is, however, decidedly not. At best, it's a kind of pseudoconservatism; at worst--linguistically--a cryptofascism. I appreciate that such language invites yet more freaking out, but by "cryptofascism" I don't intend an ideological comparison to the genocidal extremes of Germany's National Socialists. There is however a fundamental though purely political resemblance in pseudoconservatism's fixations on one-party rule, the delegitimization of all opposition, a profound anti-intellectualism, ethnic emphases, and certain authoritarian-personality traits.
And all that, taken together, is, I would argue, a form of psychosis.