Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Really, fucking nuts. The news media and politicians of all stripes are struggling with how to respond to a "president" who is manifestly insane.

To be clear, I have absolutely no interest in this ridiculous debate over whether psychiatrists should apply a diagnostic label to him. The very idea that there are entities called "personality disorders" that constitute specific, identifiable diseases is nonsense, as far as I'm concerned. Some people behave in ways that create unnecessary difficulties for themselves and/or others. There is nothing to be gained by declaring that this person has "narcissistic personality disorder," or "psychopathy," or whatever word you care to sling.

But, he does what he does, which is to habitually assert preposterous falsehoods and then refuse to back down in the face of overwhelming evidence and reason; and order his flunkies to participate in his alternative reality. That is insane, in the vernacular use  of the word.

Here is one take from the estimable Josh Marshall. "The real story here is that the President, by force of his office and audacity, was able to inject into the national conversation a preposterous claim which the country has spent two weeks debating. . . . I would say that this ability - both the President's pathological lying and our institutions' inability to grapple with it - is the big, big story." He concludes that "this is a warning case of people in power deciding what's true and false which is a harbinger of free government dying." (I draw to your attention what I believe is the relatively new motto of the Washington Post: "Democracy dies in the dark.")

However, I am more inclined to Simon Malloy's view. The fact is that nobody except for Trump's equally deluded juggalos credits his fantasies. The spectacle of Republican politicians trying to evade forthright comment, or of reporters unable to find the letters l, i and e on the keyboard is disheartening, but none of this will lead to any sort of concrete result. In other words the Justice Department isn't about to prosecute Barack Obama and the U.S. isn't going to recall the British ambassador. (No doubt about that -- there isn't one.)

So for the immediate term, this is basically a distraction. The real danger is that we have a "president" who nobody with any sense will believe about anything. So what happens when there is a crisis of some sort and the nation, and the world, depend on presidential leadership? Congress doesn't have to pass the worst atrocities in his budget proposal, and they won't, but the time will come when a president with no  credibility will be catastrophic.


Anonymous said...

Just saw an article on yahoo! (which is a trashy site, granted) about the actor Tim Allen, who compared being a "conservative" in Hollywood in 2017 to "being in Germany in the 1930s." Now that's nuts! But the weird thing is, there were thousands of responses from readers praising him for being a "real man," and these thousands of readers were trashing "liberals" and "lefties."

It is shocking how many deluded people there are. So I'm glad there are psychiatrists around. But not sure how much good it will do since a large portion of my country seems to have lost its GD mind. If it ever had one.

Good ol' U S of A--settled by illegal aliens from Europe who killed the natives, then imported Africans to enslave, rape, murder and torture. Hell of a country.

Anonymous said...

PS Sorry, Cervantes. Narcissistic personality disorder sure as hell does exist. I had a relative with it and I happen to know you most likely did, too. People who have it make us all feel we're "crazy," when it is actually they who are.

Cervantes said...

I agree there is a pattern that fits the name. I just don't know that it's helpful, or even matters, to call it a "disease."

Cervantes said...

Agreed, BTW, Tim Allen does not risk ending up in a death camp. He just finds that people don't like his opinions. Not quite the same thing.

JenBob said...

"It is shocking how many deluded people there are. So I'm glad there are psychiatrists around. But not sure how much good it will do since a large portion of my country seems to have lost its GD mind.

Truly insane people think they're OK while it's the vast majority of those around them are the crazy ones.