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Old 17th July 2018, 09:32 AM   #322
Emily's Cat
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This is going to be a long post, addressing several items that have come up in this thread. It's an attempt to bring a pile of fractured arguments back together into a bigger picture that isn't one-dimensional or black-and-white.

1) Is Trump Normal?

No, he isn't. But neither am I, and neither are the majority of people on this whole board. There are many ways in which he's not normal:
  • He's the president, which is not normal all by itself
  • He was wealthy and powerful even before becoming president, which hardly represents normality compared to the average person
  • He is more arrogant and self-centered than most people, although I've met a handful of people whom I consider to be nearly as arrogant and self-centered, they just haven't had the benefit of wealth and power to go with it
  • He appears more petty and retaliatory than most people, but again I know other people who are as petty and retaliatory but who don't have the wealth and power to do much more than be a pain in the backside
  • His hair is stupid and he needs a better quality spray tan (this may be the most abnormal thing about him)

2) Is he dangerous?

No, I don't really think he is. I know, I know, he has the ability to cause negative consequences. That's not actually what a claim of dangerous to oneself and others means in the context of mental health. And yes, I know... OMG the button! As much as there's been fear-mongering on this point, I don't think that's a plausible concern for a variety of reasons. But if it pleases you to lose sleep over it, I won't stop you. Here are reasons why I don't think he's particularly dangerous:
  • He doesn't have a history of violence or physical aggression - offhanded comments about grabbing women's genitals aside, he hasn't, to my knowledge, been involved in any physical altercations, physical threats, or similar
  • He's known to be a bombastic loudmouth who fires off empty threats on a regular basis that he doesn't follow through on
  • Every other president has had the same potential for the same sort of danger that Trump has, so it's a matter of circumstance more than anything else

3) Does Trump have a mental health disorder?

Maybe. I'm not a psychiatrist, and neither is anyone else in this thread. Not a one of us is qualified to determine whether he actually has a disorder, or if he's just a serious ******* who has a constant spotlight highlighting every stupid, arrogant, or thoughtless thing he does. In my opinion, he certainly could be described as a narcissist in the colloquial sense, and a blowhard jerkwad in any sense. But I don't know that he meets a clinical definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder - I'm not qualified to judge (and neither is anyone in this thread, all I can do is read the checklist online, but I know that's not sufficient all by itself. And I have some skepticism regarding the small handful of professionals who have made a public diagnosis.

I do think it's clear that his cognitive function is declining. Again, I'm not a doctor, but a simple comparison of his speaking ability from 5 years ago to present seems to suggest that his ability to think clearly has declined. I can't really opine about the cause of that - it could simply be age, it could be stress, hell it could be a side effect of a drug taken for some health condition, it could be drug abuse or alcoholism, or any number of things. I can observe the symptoms, and that's about it.

He is, however, really bad at making decisions, in my opinion. So are a lot of other people, but he's in a position where the effect of those bad decisions is magnified. It's not a mental disorder by any means, but it is something to take into consideration.

4) Is Trump a good president?


He is really bad at making decisions, in my opinion. So are a lot of other people, but he's in a position where the effect of those bad decisions is magnified. That's something to take into consideration.

5) Is Trump the worst president ever?

I don't know, and won't know until well after the fact. He's probably in the top three. That's a question for history to answer

6) Should the 22 or so Mental Health Practitioners who have made public diagnoses be believed simply because they are professionals and their views coincide with mine?

No, I don't think they should. First off, it's a very small portion of Mental Health practitioners who have spoken out; it's a smaller portion of that field than we have for scientists disagreeing with APG. They might be right, sure, but at present the only reason to accept their conclusion is because it confirms our own biases. Given that Trump is sooooo strongly detested and hated by a large number of people, diagnoses of this sort should be suspect. In general, any situation that involves a negative conclusion as well as extremely strong emotions should be considered somewhat suspect.

Additionally, even if they are correct in this case, they're not following the appropriate standards for forming that diagnosis. Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have expressed the view that public diagnoses of political figures are inappropriate. The only organization that hasn't is the Psychoanalytic association (I forgot what it's called)... but they don't make diagnoses.

And even larger than the practice standards involved, is the ethical precedent created. I'm in full support of the views of these professionals being used to require a president to go through a psychological evaluation by a competent and objective professional. I think that makes good sense. I am completely opposed, however, to using the opinion of a very few people leaning on their authority as a wedge with which to remove a president in an extremely heated and partisan environment. Once it's been done with this president... the same can be done for any president in the future.

And no matter how much you or I might disagree with classifying Obama or Bush, or any prior president as having had a serious disorder... I'm fairly certain that there are at least 22 Mental Health practitioners out there who could use public appearances and behavior to make a case for narcissism, anti-social disorder, or any other number of mental disorders as it fit their own biases.

And I personally think that's a much larger threat to American democracy than anything Trump can do.
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Last edited by Emily's Cat; 17th July 2018 at 09:34 AM.
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