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COMMENTARY: Donald Trump: Crazy as a Fox

Ever since November 8, an avalanche of accusations has been leveled by the Left against President Trump. Liberal mouthpieces and the mainstream media, angry as hell because their candidate lost, say that Trump is racist, bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and who knows what else. All these allegations are based on circumstantial evidence or someone’s opinion. None of the allegations bear any resemblance to the truth. All of the allegations appear to be driven by political ideology. One of the most disgraceful accusations is that Trump is the second coming of Adolf Hitler. When it originates with Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, or Paul Krugman, the accusation is easy to disregard. But now we have a new accuser who seems to have better credentials.

At a conference held at the Yale School of Medicine, psychotherapist Dr. John Gartner, formerly of Johns Hopkins University, said Trump is unfit to be president because of “dangerous mental illness.” Citing paranoia together with delusional and grandiose thinking, Gartner told fellow psychologists that they have an ethical duty to warn the public about Trump’s dangerous condition. On Jesse Watters’ Fox TV show, Gartner specifically compared Trump’s “malignant narcissism” to Hitler’s.

In a similar vein, New York University psychiatrist Dr. James Gilligan compared Trump with murderers and rapists. Gilligan claims he can recognize these people “a mile away,” and Trump is definitely one of them.

This entire line of attack is bogus for three reasons: (1) none of the accusers has analyzed Trump in the flesh; (2) other psychological professionals disagree; and (3) the attack is contradicted by the facts.

The statements against Trump violate the “Goldwater Rule,” part of the American Psychiatric Association’s code of ethics, which prohibits members from giving a professional opinion about a public figure they have not examined personally. Gartner doesn’t think that makes sense. He believes that opinions of others have more relevance than a personal psychiatric interview. In other words, he prefers to rely on hearsay and speculation. Yale University, wisely covering its behind, has attempted to distance itself from Gartner’s accusations: “The opinions presented at the conference did not represent those of the Department of Psychology or Yale University.”

The contrary viewpoint is expressed by Dr. Keith Ablow, a noted psychiatrist and Fox News contributor. Pointing to Trump’s phenomenal success both professionally and personally, Ablow argues that “Donald Trump is stone cold sane. Those who assert otherwise are political opportunists, or fools, or both.” Trump has many idiosyncrasies, notes Ablow, but they will all work to his advantage as president. Many geniuses are idiosyncratic, he says, and “we’ve got a genius in the oval office.” Ablow reminds us that Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi reportedly suffered from major depression or bipolar disorder. “Psychiatric illness,” Ablow says, “does not, a priori, disqualify a person from rendering extraordinary service to mankind.”

Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances, who wrote the criteria defining “narcissistic personality disorder,” sent a letter to the New York Times in which he says that Trump “may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill because he does not suffer from the stress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.”

Independent Journal Review reported the story of Inga Andrews, who grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany during Hitler’s reign. “Trump is not like Hitler,” she says. “Just because a leader wants order doesn’t mean they’re a dictator.” Comparing Trump to Hitler is pure propaganda, Andrews says. “All you have to do is read some books about that period to see how wrong that theory is.” Andrews may not be a psychiatrist, but her life experience lends credence to her viewpoint.

I would like to add my own reaction to the “Trump is crazy” accusations. First, I cannot help but think that many of the accusers are Democrats who attack Trump in support of their own left-wing political agenda. But there is another factor that should be taken into consideration. Psychiatry is arguably the least objective of all “scientific” fields. “The subjective nature of the psychiatric diagnosis has always been a problem,” according to New Statesman. The diagnosis of mental disorder is not the same as a legitimate medical diagnosis of a disease. Mental illness is determined by psychiatrists literally voting on what is and what is not a mental disorder. This is a political, not medical, process.

“‘Mental illness’ is terribly misleading,” says Dr. Allen Frances, “because the ‘mental disorders’ we diagnose are no more than descriptions of what clinicians observe people do or say.” Given the very nature of psychiatry, there will always be a difference of interpretation among practitioners. Jesse Watters did an admirable job of suggesting that Gartner might be the one who is paranoid. At the very least, the advice of Dr. Gartner and his friends ought to be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.

 

Copyright © 2017 Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.


Ed Brodow

Ed Brodow is a political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying America. www.brodow.com

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