Showing posts with label psychohistory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychohistory. Show all posts

June 9, 2023

Don't call Trump's behavior inexplicable, Digby, when you wondered about this you gave the reason twice in your column

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist

Heather "Digby" Parton is one of my three or four favorite columnists. She writes for Salon. Today she wrote:

The legal dominoes finally start to fall against Trump

Trump has lost the shield of the presidency that kept him safe for four years and the rule of law is coming for him

What I want to address here is just one word, emphasized below, in one sentence:

Trump has acted in inexplicably suspicious and self-defeating ways since he first ran for president in 2016. From calling on Russia to hack his rival's emails to his strange affinity for the worst dictators on the planet to his pathological lying about everything, Donald Trump has acted in ways that only cult members could excuse as normal.
Digby ends this paragraph writing that "Trump has acted in ways that only cult members could excuse as normal" which contradicts her saying the reasons for his behavior are inexplicable. They aren't inexplicable. Only cult members, who themselves aren't normal, think his actions are normal.

When I say normal in this context I mean mentally or psychologically normal. When I say I say abnormal II use it in the way it is used in abnormal psychology courses. I don't mean normal like, for example, saying that most professional basketball players are normally great if they make it into the pros while the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James are extraordinarily great, thus abnormal.

If I, who as a kid in when playing playground basketball game of HORSE, was so bad I think in my entire life probably only managed to sink one in 10 free throws, to go out for the basketball teams would be an inexplicable and self-defeating thing to do and especially humiliating considering the girls liked to watch the boys play. the 

Digby then goes on to express puzzlement by using the word "vexing" about the reasons he behaves in ultimately self-defeating ways:

This Mar-a-Lago case is especially vexing. When he decided to tell the government to go pound sand, he was not some naif who hadn't been in government before and didn't know the rules. He'd been president for four years by that time and knew very well that he was not supposed to keep classified documents at his beach club. And if they had been taken by accident in his chaotic move from the White House, he also knew very well that he should just give them back. But he refused, once again raising suspicions that he must be doing something nefarious with them. His behavior ever since then has done nothing to allay those concerns. Again, nobody normal would behave this way.
I highlighted several words above which provide the explanation. 

I propose that Digby and others flesh out such descriptions with modifiers, for example psychiatrically normal, or write things like no mentally stable person would act in ways that are so self-defeating.

I'd like to say I am writing this to bury the analysis of Trump once and for all since I've written about his psychiatric diagnosis so many times before. Between the minuscule contribution I've made to this body of work and what so many other mental health professionals have written I wouldn't be surprised if his personality has been analyzed by experts more than all other world leaders including Hitler, Lincoln, and Churchill.

Trump is now (see "Psychiatrists warn Trump's psychosis will grow as he becomes more desperate"), and Hitler was, a despot whose behavior many experts tried to understand though psychology Lincoln is said to have struggled with clinical depression . It has also be speculated that Churchill suffered from bouts of depression and mania. 


One of the most quoted sayings since Trump became a threat to democracy and mental health professionals began to write about how dangerous his psychopathology made him (a best selling book by mental health professionals was even titled "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump") was from "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu written in the 5th century BC. In it's various translations it means in essence that the best way to win at war is to know your enemy as well as you know yourself.


The best way to assure victory in a war or battle is to predict what your opponent will do before they do it. There are two way which work in tandem to do this. One is to look at past behavior as indices of future behavior and the other is to fully understand the personality of your opponent.


About the blog:

Here's a mystery. For unknown reasons all week the blog has had the largest percentage of readers logging on from Singapore. All I can think of is that this had something to do with this:

World's spy chiefs connect in secret conclave at Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting in Singapore


Perhaps this spy drama is a fantasy. There are expats from all over the world living in Singapore. Perhaps through word of mouth some of them have been following the blog. I'd appreciate anyone logging on from there comment and let me know who they are and how they discovered the blog, and what they think of it.



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