Category Archives: Trump, Donald

The psychiatrist driven potty by Trump

Non compos mentis: Bandy Lee

Out of her tiny little mind

A totally unhinged colleague of Dalrymple’s in the profession of psychiatry called Bandy Lee has branded the American president a mass murderer. Dalrymple responds with the observation that while Donald J. Trump has certain deficiencies of character (don’t we all?) and is not, perhaps, the sort of person one would invite to dinner, he

has bombed no foreign countries; nor has he called out troops and instructed them to mow down citizens in the street. True, he is not an emollient man, but that is not the same as being a mass killer.

Trump has driven Lee nuts. She wants him locked up. She has tweeted about him something like 9,000 times. She is utterly obsessed by him. She

warned against the dangers he posed to the world from before his election, in the manner of old-fashioned preachers who used to warn their congregation of the eternal hellfire to come if they masturbated. (Physicians were more moderate. They warned only of blindness and mental debility.)

But Trump has let her down.

He has not blown the world up. Indeed, he has been rather isolationist, more eager to repatriate troops than to send them out to desert sands in the attempt to turn immemorial tyrannies into democracies. The number of American military deaths in the last four years has been lamentably low, from the point of view of Dr Lee’s predictions.

Of unsound mind

Argumentum ad Trumpum

You have only to associate an idea with Trump for it to be discredited

Dalrymple writes that

if an opinion can in some way be made to resemble Trump’s ideas, if only by taking it to its logical conclusion, no further refutation is necessary. It stands refuted.

He who resorts to the argumentum ad Trumpum argues

not with his brain but with his viscera. He so hates Trump that anything that could be remotely imputed to Trump renders it unworthy of further mental consideration.

The second-most powerful man in the world

Dalrymple on the argumentum ad Trumpum

Pronunciamento of the philosopher-shrinks

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 08.23.27An attempt to invalidate the political opinions and choices of opponents on spurious, potentially dictatorial, psychiatric grounds

Dalrymple points out that the assertion by a group of psychiatrists that Donald Trump is unfit psychiatrically to be president of the USA is

absurd and unethical.

It is

political prejudice masquerading as medical diagnosis and prognosis.

The psychiatrists

presumably take comfort in the unanimity of their opinion, as did the 100 German physicists who denounced relativity theory because Einstein was Jewish. If they had been right, said Einstein, one would have been enough.

Regarding the president’s paranoid style of thought, Dalrymple notes that

if Mr Trump did not believe that there were plots against him, if he were convinced that there were not, this would be delusional. For him blandly to say that he had no enemies in Congress, and that no members of Congress were meeting together to plan his downfall, would be a sign of madness, a loss of grasp of the most obvious reality.

The quack psychiatrists

must have a very unflattering view of the United States and its system of government—something like an electoral tinpot dictatorship—if they suppose that the fate of the country, indeed the world, rests upon the mental state of one man.

It seems, says Dalrymple, that they

would prefer the rule of philosopher-psychiatrists to that of people with psychiatric pathology (the vast majority of the population, if the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is to be believed).

The philosopher-shrinks believe in

a version of the basket-of-deplorables hypothesis. People who voted for or supported the president did not have a different opinion, they had an illness. Mr Trump is incapable for medical reasons of making a rational choice, and this applies to millions, tens of millions, of Americans.

Dalrymple points out that psychiatry

is not an exact science, and much of it—psychoanalysis, for example—is not a science at all. To leave the State to the discretion of psychiatrists is like leaving industrial policy to alchemists or public health policy to astrologers.

Educated voters for, and supporters of, Trump

are well aware of his character defects, which require no very great psychological acuity to descry, but prefer him to the alternatives for political and economic reasons.

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy

An American psychologist by the name of John Gartner argues that Donald Trump should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds:

We live in a pre-fascist society…The German psychiatric association said nothing during the rise of Hitler…We are facing a crisis that threatens to engulf the world in flames…Trump meets standards for commitment and should be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation, whether he wants to or not…The man is threatening to murder an entire country…We cannot call the authorities because the homicidal patient is the authorities.

Dalrymple notes that Gartner

displays no knowledge of or imaginative insight into what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship—his Jewishness notwithstanding—despite countless memoirs, academic books, and films attesting to and describing life under authoritarian rule. Such ignorance or lack of imagination is culpable. For an American to compare contemporary life in the USA, no doubt unsatisfactory as it is in many respects, with life in a fascist dictatorship is self-dramatising, self-pitying, and an insult to those millions who suffered or died under totalitarian dictatorships.

It is legitimate to oppose the government and to despise the person of the president;

it is another thing to claim jurisdiction over whether he should be entitled to be president and whether he ought to be removed by committal to a mental institution. In the Soviet Union, psychiatrists occupied the kind of commissarship that Gartner is appealing for.


shows an implicit contempt for US institutions and history if he thinks that the election of one allegedly unstable man can turn his country into a fascist dictatorship almost overnight.

He is

what Kraus said of psychoanalysis, a cause of the disease it pretends to cure. He believes that people who show instability, anger, paranoia, feelings of persecution, and cognitive confusion would and should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

Dalrymple suggests that Gartner read Chekhov’s 1892 short story Ward No. 6, in which Dr Ragin is committed to his own asylum.

Trump’s finest hour

Donald Trump: patriotism, generosity and good sense

Reading in his morning newspaper that the General Assembly of the United Nations had greeted a short section of Donald Trump’s speech with laughter, Dalrymple’s esteem for the US president grows. The laughter, Dalrymple writes,

gave rise to Mr Trump’s finest moment. He took it in good part, admitted that he had not expected it, and said it was perfectly all right.

The moment

revealed something about world opposition to Mr Trump: that it is bogus or not deeply felt, and is pro forma.

Dalrymple asks:

  • Would the General Assembly have laughed disrespectfully at Mr Putin or Mr Xi, and would either of them have reacted in the same good-natured way if it had?
  • Did anyone laugh at Mr Obama’s fatuously grandiose claim that his election marked the beginning of healthcare in the United States and the healing of the planet, at least the equal in absurdity of anything said by Mr Trump?
  • Is Mr Trump’s slogan Make America great again any shallower than Mr Obama’s Yes we can?

Barack Obama: absurdity, grandiosity and fatuity

Dalrymple points out that Trump is held to a different standard; and anyone really believing the president was an incipient totalitarian dictator wouldn’t have laughed.

Trump’s speech offered

a more generous view of the world than that of most of his opponents. He called on the people of all countries to be patriotic, acknowledging that people of all countries had something to be patriotic about.

Trump’s was a vision of the world that was

far more genuinely multicultural and multipolar than those who believe in, or call for, a kind of European Union on a global scale, in which all cultures are ground into a food mixer from which a health-giving culture juice of universal rights (to healthcare, social security, etc.) will emerge.

The European Union monstrosity: an emergent bureaucratic tyranny

Trump’s view of patriotism certainly did not entail

the hatred of or disdain for, let alone enmity towards, other countries. What he said in essence was that he wanted a world of live and let live. He appeared to understand that a world government without borders would necessarily be a monstrous bureaucratic tyranny with no possible legitimacy.

To be sure, he simplified problems, but

to look to political speeches for subtle elucidation of knotty problems is like looking to tabloid newspapers for metaphysical insight.

‘Resistance’ is absurd, also dangerous

It is not necessary to be an unqualified admirer of Donald Trump, writes Dalrymple,

to know that comparisons of him with Adolf Hitler, which are not infrequent, are absurd.

It ascribes to him a degree of importance that he does not have.

You could only compare Mr Trump to Hitler if you had absolutely no faith in the American political system, and if you thought every last provision in the Constitution for restraints on power had been vitiated.

The word ‘resistance’, says Dalrymple,

is likewise absurd, but also dangerous. One opposes politicians, but one resists dictators. If the word ‘resistance’ is used for opposition to Mr Trump, then the impression is given, and presumably is intended to be given, that he is a dictator: and against a dictator, actions may justifiably be taken that are not justified against an ordinary politician.

The habit of using the word ‘resistance’ to mean opposition to policies that you don’t like

can become entrenched and will not remain confined to one’s own faction alone. Resistance sanctions violence, and so a society can tear itself apart without having experienced anything remotely to justify, or even explain, it.

The man who said he thought Trump’s policies were rational

In an H.M. Bateman moment, Dalrymple says he thinks Trump’s policies are rational:

  • It is rational for a country to seek control of who comes into it.
  • It is rational for a country to impose an economically advantageous tax régime.
  • It is rational for a country to abandon administrative obstacles to progress.

27 idiotic mental health ‘experts’

Dalrymple writes that The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (2017) is

principally an echo chamber for the thoughts and feelings of those who abominate Mr Trump.

The authors relay their political preferences rather than provide any independent or dispassionate knowledge.

Dalrymple’s chief objection to the book

is not so much its transgression of a rule of professional ethics, but its profound, though predictable, banality.

Psychological ‘diagnosis’ of this kind

amounts to little more than re-description of easily and publicly observable traits and conduct. Anyone reading the 360 pages of this book will probably come away with nothing new to him, no fact that he did not know before, and no opinion that he had not heard before.

The explanatory value of the diagnoses offered by the ‘experts’ is

virtually nil.

For example,

we know that Mr Trump has narcissistic personality disorder because he is narcissistic; he is narcissistic because he has narcissistic personality disorder. This is the kind of ‘explanation’ that Molière ridiculed: opium produces sleep because it has within it a dormitive property.

Trump, the book informs us,

lacks self-esteem. That is why he is so narcissistic. He is always trying desperately to compensate for his permanently damaged self-conception.

Of course, says Dalrymple,

if he were a morbidly shy and retiring man, the same lack of self-esteem would explain it. In effect, then, the same factor explains everything from the grossest exhibitionism to the most profound social withdrawal.

Trump, his fans and his foes on the couch

A psychiatrist writes

It is a discomfiting thought, notes Dalrymple, that

the very qualities that make Donald Trump so repellent a man even for many of those who voted for him should be the very qualities that others of his voters liked and admired. They liked him for his

  • crudity
  • vulgarity
  • boastfulness
  • insensitivity
  • shamelessness
  • ignorance

The still small voice within the orthodox

Yet, says the psychiatrist-essayist,

the vehemence directed against Mr Trump is, like his exaggerated self-regard, reaction formation. Except that in this case it is against an awareness that, in rejecting past orthodoxies, he is not only right but appeals to the still small voice within the orthodox themselves — the voice that tells them they were deluding themselves all along, or saying things that they knew not to be true but said nevertheless to establish their reputation as good, caring, generous-minded, liberal people.

The frenzy of their hatred for Mr Trump is

an inverted sign of their secret illicit agreement with him, which they repress by means of their continual insults.