SOCIOPATH-IN-CHIEF?: Sociopaths are born and made!

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2020

The resistance and the pity:
Can the statistics we showed you yesterday possibly make any sense?

We refer to the statistics about the prevalence of sociopathy within our sprawling society.

When we think of "sociopaths," we may tend to think of the Hannibal Lecters—of the Hollywood version of the socio- or psychopath.

Such figures are the worst of the worst—the one in a couple of million. In conjunction with such figures, Hollywood will send Jodie Foster in to entertain us with one of our favorite entertainment hooks—the young or youngish woman subjected to maximum danger and fear.

So we entertain ourselves as we proceed on life's way. But according to the statistics we showed you, the typical "sociopath" in our midst really isn't one in a million.

In fairness, the studies we cited emerge from within the Deep State. Acknowledging that caveat, here are the data to which we refer—the data which are said to describe our real world:
In 1994, the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published (the DSM-IV)...Regarding sociopaths (the DSM uses the equivalent term Antisocial Personality Disorder or ASPD), it said that overall prevalence “in community samples is about 3% in males and 1% in females.”

Between 2001 and 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the largest study ever done regarding the prevalence of personality disorders in the United States...This study found that 6.2% of the general population would meet the criteria for [Narcissistic Personality Disorder] and 3.7% would meet the criteria for ASPD (5.5% male and 1.9% female).
Can those statistics possibly be accurate? They suggest that something like 3-6 percent of American males could be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. That's the technical diagnosis which translates to the informal term, sociopath.

Can any such statistic possibly be accurate? If so, what does it say about the our own understanding of the world in which we live?

If those statistics are basically accurate, they seem to mean that the typical "sociopath" isn't Hannibal Lecter. They mean that a type of disorder is around us in a way we may not have integrated into our general understanding of the world.

With those statistics in mind, is it possible that President Trump is, in fact, a "sociopath?" So Dr. Dodes seemed to say when he spoke with Lawrence O'Donnell on February 27.

Indeed, he even used the term "psychopathic" to describe the president's ongoing behavior! What's the difference between those two highly fraught terms? If you engage in a quick trip to Google, you'll meet an array of similar explanations—like this one.

Is President Trump a "sociopath?" We aren't qualified to offer such assessments.

Neither is Jennifer Senior, whose work we've often recommended, though we think she was very much on the right track when she seemed to say, in Monday's New York Times, that we need to drop our prissy attachment to ethical codes and start discussing "the president's cramped and disordered mind"—indeed, his "psychopathology."

Senior suggested a different, related diagnosis—Narcissistic Personality Disorder. At any rate, "Enough is enough," she correctly said. She seemed to say that it's time to discuss the possibility that the president is in the grip of a major disorder.

She seemed to say that it's time to discuss that possibility—that it's time to discuss it out loud.

In a rational world, that suggestion would make perfect sense. In our world, our upper-end press corps is about as likely to take that step as the cow is likely to jump over the moon.

In our world, our upper-end press corps is still giving this highly disordered man a chance to spew his monologues all across the nation every night of the week, in prime time.

MSNBC has started interrupting these performances to provide instant analysis and correction of facts. That said, we're very far from a world in which a discussion of the president's possible psychopathology will be undertaken within our upper-end press.

The cow is going to jump the moon before our press corps does that. And in fairness, if they tried to conduct that discussion, they would produce a huge fail.

At any rate, could 3-6 percent of American males actually be diagnosed in the manner described? Is the president in the grip of such a disorder? Does that explain his ongoing behavior?

As a culture, we're still in the Hannibal Lecter zone when it comes to such mental health concepts. We aren't real smart and we aren't very sharp, and we have a strange man in the White House.

We ourselves were told, long ago, that something like 3 percent of American adults could be diagnosed as sociopaths. The person who told us that was holding her copy of the DSM when she did.

We were surprised when we first heard that. That said, we aren't qualified to take the discussion further.

We are qualified to do this—to fire up the Google machine in search of the reported causes of this disorder. And sure enough:

At MentalHealth.gov—the site "provides one-stop access to U.S. government mental health and mental health problems information"—this brief explanation appears:
Causes

Cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. Genetic factors and environmental factors, such as child abuse, are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. People with an antisocial or alcoholic parent are at increased risk. Far more men than women are affected.
You'll find similar statements elsewhere. But according to that one brief statement, people afflicted with this disorder are both born and made.

Genetic factors may contribute. So may environmental factors, such as child abuse.

People with an antisocial parent are at increased risk. Is that because of some inheritance pattern, or is that because of the behavior to which the person will be subjected as a child?

We don't know the answer to that. But in this post at Psychology Today, Seth Meyers went into a bit more detail:
MEYERS (4/2/13): The sense of entitlement that comes with sociopathy is astonishing to those who abide by the social laws and conventions of our culture. Where does the entitlement come from? It stems from an underlying sense of rage. Sociopaths feel deeply angry and resentful underneath their often-charming exterior, and this rage fuels their sense that they have the right to act out in whichever way they happen to choose at the time...They are duplicity incarnate, with a polished self shown to the world and a covert, hidden self that has a rigid and calculating agenda: Assume the highest level of the social hierarchy and win, win, win.

[...]

In the media, I'm often asked what causes sociopathy. One of the most frequently asked questions is: "Are they born this way?" The truth is that we don't know. Stout (2005) sums up the research well, explaining that as much as 50 percent of the cause of sociopathy can be attributed to heritability, while the remaining percentage is a confusing and not-yet-understood mixture of environmental factors. (Notably, a history of childhood abuse among sociopaths is not always present.) Similarly, Ferguson (2010) conducted a meta-analysis and found that 56 percent of the variance in Antisocial Personality Disorder, the formal disorder of sociopathy, can be explained through genetic influences.
According to those assessments, sociopaths can be born and sociopaths can be made. Regarding the current subject, we will tell you this:

In our view, President Trump got a very bad break in life. He was born to a father with terrible values. As a newborn, that was the father to whom he was brought home.

Our tribe's assessments of President Trump often stress the financial advantage he gained from his male parent. We rarely discuss the massive deficit he may have inherited and/or may have ingested in the home.

Was he subjected to child abuse? We have no way of knowing. He was sent to military school at the age of 13. This may be a suggestion that something was already wrong.

We've suggested before that we should pity the child who was Donald Trump while opposing the actions of the man. We think our resistance would be more effective were it paired with a dollop of pity—with a tragic view of the world.

At the president's nightly gong show, our press corps sits supine before him. As we expect to discuss next week, they're rarely willing to challenge his ludicrous claims and his appalling behaviors.

Our press corps isn't going to discuss the possibility that he is unwell. Noe does a classic term of pity, Rosebud, ever seem to enter our minds when he observe his appalling behavior.

Was he mistreated as a child? Did he perhaps inherit a genetic tendency toward the described disorder?

We rarely ask such questions. Like the silence of the lambs who sit before him at his "briefings;" like our enjoyment of female endangerment before the likes of Hannibal Lecter; we'll suggest that this lack of curiosity may say some things about us.

One of our most honored films ends with one word: Rosebud. Even as we beg our journalists to take a more active approach to the adult's absurd misconduct, are we able to pity the child who went home to a disordered dad?

Fuller disclosure: We've often linked to this 1968 Dylan song. Dylan seemed to describe the values and conduct of the "sociopath" while recommending pity.

Is our president mentally ill? Does he actually "lack a conscience?"

Are such matters within his control? Does it make sense to wonder or care?

61 comments:

  1. I think discussions of the sort Somerby is suggesting here would be too subjective and therefore easily mocked and used as anecdotal evidence of liberal bias to be worth the effort.

    There are bigger fish the press isn't frying.

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  2. "Does it make sense to wonder or care?"

    No, dear Bob, your apparent obsession makes no sense whatsoever.

    It would make sense for you to worry about your own (easily observed from aside) mental quirks, those of your family, and perhaps of your priest (if you're a believer).

    The guy who's managing your country's economy and its foreign affairs, however, is judged by pragmatic results, dear Bob. The best economy in 60 years, no new wars (and winding down the old ones) - these are thing you should wonder and care about vis-a-vis Our Beloved Commander.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your right Mao from the point of view of an obsequious sycophant. The stock market was at an all time high - good for me and others, I'll say, but now it's down and who knows how far it will go. Fueled mostly by huge deficits, brought about by big tax cuts largely helping people who don't need help (did help me) and huge increases in defense spending. Have all the workers harmed by globalization* been significantly helped? (*also by a change in the way corporations work, i.e., maximize profits to get the price of shares up at the expense of workers). Are the new trade deals really significant?
      I don't know the answers, but I am always a skeptic, something you might try. The GOP was all in for getting into Iraq (if you disagreed you were a traitor), but Trump sounded like the Nation in castigating Bush for that fiasco, and I don't think he is anxious to start any new wars - but what's the deal with his Iran policy? Seems he has the same mindset that got us into Iraq (and opening up a big can of worms) with his approach to Iraq. And why do we have all those STUPID TWEETS all the time (capitalizion here to make my point more valid).

      Delete
    2. Like I said: the best economy in decades (nothing to do with with stock prices), and zero new wars, which is truly remarkable. Plus massive import tariffs and lower corporate taxes, which I consider positive, giving major competitive advantage to domestic producers.

      YMMV, obviously, but clearly this is what deserves to be analyzed and discussed, not any tweets or drooling over silly amateur 'psychiatry'.

      As for the tweets, I don't read them, but I can't imagine them being worse than the establishment zombie media. I figure in the goebbelsian media environment the tweets help The Commander. And that all there is to it.

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    3. Mao supports the HUGE tax break Trump gave to the Establishment.
      Knock me over with a feather.

      Delete
    4. Mao, I sure am no expert on the economy. (Someone, I think it was MacCauley, once called economics the "dismal science." I agree with that, except for the part that it's a science.) I don't know if the economy was (before this pandemic) the best in "decades." I don't rule out that the trend of economic improvement under Obama merely continued on its own, once Trump got in. To a large extent, I think any upgrade in the economy under Trump had more to do with giant tax cuts (esp. to wealthy) and giant increases in defense spending. I don't know to what extent the factory workers who lost their jobs when plants moved overseas have had their lot improved due to tariffs and lower corporate taxes. From what I hear, the coal industry has continued to decline. I could go on with various questions. I think the economy is very complex with a lot of variables. You do one thing that helps one group, it is usually at another group's expense (higher tariffs = higher prices and less exports of U.S. goods). NAFTA was primarily a GOP thing, most dems voted against it. Trump supporters by and large oppose dems not because they are "Globalists", but because they are commies; that's what Trump explicitly expresses. Where's his replacement for Obama care? (I heard him in the GOP debates claim that he would replace Obama care with something way better and at the same time way cheaper. Seems total BS).

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    5. You don't sound like you're interested in a discussion, but rather in parroting bullshit talking points promoting your zombie cult.

      For example:
      "NAFTA was primarily a GOP thing, most dems voted against it."

      By the same logic, freeing the slaves was a GOP thing. So what. NAFTA was implemented nearly 30 years ago, and it was opposed mostly by Ross Perot, who was neither.

      As for obamacare, I don't see how it was anything but an attempt to rescue the collapsing institution of medical mafia. I'll say: let it collapse, good riddance.

      As for your cult's bullshit caricatures of "Trump supporters", sorry, I don't care. Besides, it so happens that you zombies are much easier to caricaturize. You probably don't realize it, but in your bullshit war you already lost this battle.

      "I don't know to what extent the factory workers who lost their jobs when plants moved overseas have had their lot improved due to tariffs and lower corporate taxes."

      Well, I don't know the exact extent of it either.

      What I do know, however, is that as far as I'm concerned it's a move into the right direction. And moving into the right direction is sure preferable to moving into the opposite, wrong direction. That's all.

      Delete
    6. Mao loves the Establishment and Mao loves that Trump gave them a HUGE tax break. That's all.

      Delete
    7. Mao, I don't have a 'cult.' You are jumping to conclusions. My characterization of some Trump supporters as being more concerned with dems being commies, or socialists (or their alleged war on religion and the abortion issue), than about 'globalism' is based on simple observation, e.g., Fox News, posters on Fox News website - and this what Trump himself very often comes out with. I didn't say globalism wasn't an issue for some of them. What on earth did I say in my post that leads you characterize me as a "zombie?" What's the basis for claiming I'm engaged in a "bullshit war?" If I wanted to I could characterize you as an "irrational. dogmatic zealot" but I'll refrain from that for the time being. I thought I was trying to have a discussion, against all odds that you have any interest in one.

      Delete
    8. If you're so keen on observing politicians' rhetoric and their supporters on the internet, why don't you listen to your cult's McCarthyist drivel and read, for example, these comment threads right here? Care to characterize that shit?

      Delete
  3. We've suggested before that we should pity the child who was Donald Trump while opposing the actions of the man.

    Bob got one thing right: people should and will vote based on the actions of the man. Those of us who think his policies were effective will vote for 4 more years of them.

    BTW I have limited respect for the DSM. It's based on majority opinions more than science. The following may be myth of a faulty memory: I think I once read that at one time homosexuality was classified (or considered to be classified) as a mental illness. At a later time, prejudice against homosexuals was classified (or considered to be classified) as a mental illness.

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  4. Arguing with lefties about their favorite pastimes like astrology and psychobabble or gluten is a waste of time.

    No one can pretend to understand the mysteries of the universe so shouldn't be too hard on libs or fortune tellers. It's possible Trump being a gemini or a sociopath really should be credited as the secret to his greatness as a president.

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    1. I thought most of Trumps supporters are expecting the imminent rapture.

      Delete
    2. "favorite pastimes like astrology"

      Ronald Reagan had a White House astrologer. He was obsessed with astrology. Lefties are idiots because they believe in reason and rationality. Maybe you are afflicted with the same curse. Read Dostoevsky young child.

      Delete
  5. If anyone is a sociopath, I would imagine it is someone who argues that we should drop our prissy attachment to ethical codes.

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    1. Corby - Liberalism has been all about dropping ethical codes. You might not have noticed, because you might approve of the changes. Here are some examples of ethical beliefs that were dropped:

      -- marijuana is bad. Drug dealer are despicable.

      -- people with penises (what we used to call "boys") in the girls' bathrooms or girls' locker rooms is very bad.

      -- living on welfare is embarrassing and to be looked down on

      Delete
    2. Meh. Their only 'ethical code' is totalitarian hatred of anyone who is not impressed by their cult's talking points of the day.

      Delete
    3. David, you are confusing social traditions and rules with ethics. Ethics would say that you shouldn't break social rules. It doesn't dictate what those rules should be.

      Neither Hillary nor Obama favored legalization of pot.

      Is it an ethical issue when someone is born with genitalia of both sexes? How about when a boy has a circumcision accident? Is he still male or does he become female? Is biology a matter of ethics or ignorance?

      A sense of shame is a good thing no matter how much money you have. It tells you whether you are living in accordance with your own principles or not. Shaming someone over their social status or income when there was nothing they could do about it (for example, when laid off by a virus), strikes me as cruel, but it requires that the person in question adopt the views of the person looking down on them. I have no doubt that Trump has felt a sense of shame comparing himself with Manhattan society, as well he should given his slumlord wealth. Instead of working to become better, he has sought revenge against others for making him feel bad about himself. It is why he is such a mean old man. But if it rocks your boat to feel superior to welfare recipients, have at it.

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    4. Caveat to deadrat -- I am not a philosopher, so if you want to quote a definition of ethics and tell others what it is, go to it. I am also not a lawyer, but someone yesterday asked what I (me, personally, not you) would do with a cake. I don't smoke pot, I don't sneer at the poor, and I don't care who uses which bathroom. You are welcome to fill in the details about whether any of that is ethical or not. Everything I write here is my opinion, not yours. Feel free to disagree.

      Delete
    5. Was it an ethical belief to look down on people on welfare? When? Why? Such a belief is insane.

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    6. @2:49
      When conservatives read “A Christmas Carol”, they think Scrooge at the beginning is the hero.

      Delete
    7. David is trolling.

      Delete
    8. @2:49 Was it an ethical belief to look down on people on welfare? When? Why?

      Based on Corby's comment, I'll withdraw the term "ethical". But, yes, when I was young many welfare recipients were unmarried mothers. Many looked down upon them for messing up their lives. Some even believed they were intentionally having illegitimate children in order to get more welfare money. The very word "illegitimate" shows that they were looked down on.

      Delete
    9. I am not a philosopher, so if you want to quote a definition of ethics and tell others what it is, go to it.

      No thanks.

      I am also not a lawyer, but someone yesterday asked what I (me, personally, not you) would do with a cake.

      And if you’d said that you, your own self, would personally decorate a cake with anything the customer asked, then fine. You make your choices as they align with your ethics. Sell your cake with racist taunts and choke on it too. Max nixt to me.

      (Notice that my response didn’t include a statement of what I’d do with a cake. Because who cares what I’d do?)

      But that’s not what you did. You lectured us on how jobs work and how the government works when it comes to discrimination at places of public accommodation. And you were wrong, and instead of just admitting that or revising your comment, you provide the excuse that you’re not a lawyer.

      Guess what? I’m not a lawyer either. And yet I know how discrimination law works. Go figure, eh? Take a guess as to why I know and you don’t when neither of us practices law.

      If you’d been informed, you could have demonstrated what a numpty your right-wing interlocutor was. Instead you just confirmed his uninformed judgment with your own. As I said at the time, please stop helping.

      Everything I write here is my opinion, not yours.

      Thank you, Professor Obvious.

      But you’ve touched on the problem. Everything you write is opinion, uninformed by facts (including the fact of what the blog owner writes) or critical analysis.

      Cue the response that I’m just a troll being mean to you in three, two, 1….

      Delete
    10. Machs nicht, as I've told you before. But who cares whether you write your German phonetically or the way the language is actually spelled, right?

      You know your discrimination law and I know how to write German -- different strokes for different folks, right?

      I think it is obvious what numpties all of you folks are (or are not, on occasion). My intention was not to help anyone else or to portray the "right" side of some argument. You can do that. Someone asked me if I cared what was written on a cake. I do not. It is just a cake and just frosting. I am offended by penis cakes at bachelorette parties, so I don't think my sense of offense should govern what people can buy at a bakery. No one asked me about the law and, as I said, I am not qualified to explain the law either. That was clear from the dialog (which you were not part of).

      Of course everything I write is opinion -- it is just you who thinks otherwise and who seems to believe I have to be right about everything or else I am a disappointment in your life. I've seen you be obstinately wrong, even when confronted by facts, so you are unqualified to cast that first stone yourself. And yes, you are mean to lots of people here. It is bad for our sense of community, but the whole point of this discussion is that some people just don't care about others.

      Delete
    11. Machs nicht, as I've told you before. But who cares whether you write your German phonetically or the way the language is actually spelled, right?

      Max nixt isn’t German; it’s English slang adapted from the German, and I spell it that way deliberately. Much like “got mittens.”

      I am offended by penis cakes at bachelorette parties,….

      Ah, professor, Manchmal ist eine Zigarre nur eine Zigarre. How long have you had this aversion to penises in edible form? Tell me more about your childhood.

      No one asked me about the law….

      Yeah? Here’s what Anonymous on April 8, 2020 at 4:14 PM asked you:

      The exercise was to assume you are the baker who is instructed to decorate a cake with those words. Sounds like you think your government should force you to do it. Democrat, right?

      So, no. Someone asked you about the law, and you responded about the law, telling us when the government is involved (something to do with taxes) and how the government is involved (something about the right to cake messages).

      Do you not remember what you write or do you not understand it once you’re written it?

      Of course everything I write is opinion….

      Well, good. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to fixing it.

      [I]t is just you … who seems to believe I have to be right about everything or else I am a disappointment in your life.

      You don’t have to be right about everything. Being wrong is the human condition. You just have to be able to tell the difference between a fact and an opinion. It’s a fact that sales figures show that vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream; it’s your opinion if you think licorice is better than vanilla. See how that works?

      You’re a minor annoyance in my cyber-life. Why your cluelessness isn’t a disappointment to you is a mystery to me. Isn’t lack of insight and self-awareness a handicap in your field, professor?

      I've seen you be obstinately wrong, even when confronted by facts, so you are unqualified to cast that first stone yourself.

      When someone shows that I’m wrong on the facts, professor, I post a comment starting with the words “I stand corrected.” I’m certainly obstinate in sticking to my opinions and inferences. But you can’t find a single instance in which I refused to accept valid evidence that one of my factual claims was wrong. In any case, look up tu quoque to find out the strength of the argument you’re making, which is a species that I think you professional psychologists call deflection, no?

      It is bad for our sense of community, but the whole point of this discussion is that some people just don't care about others.

      Our community? This isn’t a community; it’s the comment section of a blog nobody reads. But it is bad for any community to fail to accept facts. It’s even worse to build a “sense of community” around falsehoods. If that’s not obvious to you, then circumspice.

      but the whole point of this discussion is that some people just don't care about others.

      While it’s true that I don’t give a shit about most people, that’s not what this discussion is about. It’s about your careless and uncaring attitude about accuracy.

      Sorry (he said insincerely).

      Delete
    12. You don't give a shit about most people but you do care about anonymous people online with uncaring attitudes? Do you know how insane you sound?

      Delete
    13. When I type Max Nixt into Google, the first and only thing that comes up is a Russian screen name from Kaliningrad. Nothing about American slang. Perhaps our deadrat is working on a Russian troll farm along with Mao?

      Delete
    14. Calling someone a Russia troll is just about the same thing as saying 'I am gullible and stupid, don't understand the world, have never researched the topic and have been propagandized by left wing media about Russian trolls"

      Delete
    15. David in CalApril 9, 2020 at 7:52 PM

      How very unchristian and callous of you. Your line of thinking back then was very illogical and insane. Very sad to hear that! Jesus weeps. Reagan started to demonize welfare though a highly orchestrated propaganda campaign in 1980. Maybe it was feeding into your insane biases and beliefs about the subject. They played you for a fool on that score. Still are sounds like.

      Delete
    16. "...and have been propagandized by left wing media"

      It's a cult. Extreme devotion, unshakeable faith, and unyielding sanctimony. Simple as that.

      Delete
    17. Of course the media is left wing.
      It's owned by corporations.
      Do you really think they'd throw-in with a right-wing that doesn't understand basic mathematics?
      What next? Giving corporations shit for having an accounting department?

      Delete
    18. You don't give a shit about most people but you do care about anonymous people online with uncaring attitudes? Do you know how insane you sound?

      Ferkrissakes, who are you? Corby herself or another corby?

      I don’t give a shit about most people, and I don’t care about anyone’s online “attitude.” I spend some of my time in cyberspace examining commenters’ arguments as presented at this blog.

      Is that a waste of time? Sure. But it’s my time to waste as I see fit.

      Is it insane? No more insane than reading the comments of someone you think sounds insane, getting his position 180 degrees wrong, and writing your own response.

      Delete
    19. Calling someone a Russia troll is just about the same thing as saying 'I am gullible and stupid....

      I choose to think of Corby's comment as just a product of her delicate sense of humor. Or deflection, as I like to call it.

      Delete
  6. "They mean that a type of disorder is around us in a way we may not have integrated into our general understanding of the world."

    This is silly. We don't think about sociopaths or psychopaths or people with anti-social personality disorder, but we do recognize that there are criminals among us and that there are unethical people who don't care much about hurting others (we call some of them crooks, some users, some capitalists, others robber barons) and we understand that there is genuine evil in the world. All of that represents a coming to terms with the presence of that 3-6% of people who are wired differently and don't care whether they hurt others.

    The common cold has been with us for a long time, even if people didn't know that it was caused by a type of corona virus. You don't need to know the technical name for something in order to incorporate it into your everyday frame of reference and understand that it exists in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  7. “Is President Trump a "sociopath?" We aren't qualified to offer such assessments.

    Neither is Jennifer Senior”

    And yet Somerby constructs an entire series of posts upon the assumption that such an assessment is for all intents and purposes true, ie that Trump is psychologically damaged, that he had daddy issues, that therefore he is somehow not at fault for his actions and he deserves pity.

    All I know for sure is what Trump does and says, not what his hidden psychological issues might be. And that’s precisely because I know *I am not qualified to make an assessment of the inner workings of Trump’s brain or what his relationship with his father might have been.*

    Even if you grant that Trump is some kind of sociopath, in what way is “pity” warranted? He isn’t some homeless man wandering the streets shouting obscenities to the air, or randomly stabbing passers-by; he’s the most powerful man in the country.

    And the thing that to me is most important: he was put in this position by millions of voters who like what he is, he is enabled by a right wing media that feeds him talking points and defends every 180 degree turn his lies take, by a political party like that in Wisconsin that is willing to put voters’ lives in jeopardy rather than give up power. Does Somerby believe that Trump didn’t seek this out and engineer the current state of affairs to his advantage?

    Do we pity all these people too, the Hannitys and Robin Vos’? These people show no pity whatsoever, and they laugh at Somerby’s.

    I suggest that pity is farcical under the current circumstances.

    To draw an example: Not that Trump is Hitler, but: it’s probable that Hitler was a “sociopath” with daddy issues. Does that mean the Allies should have entertained the notion that those six million Jews sent to the gas chambers weren’t his “fault”? Did Hitler deserve their pity? What does pity even mean in this context?

    ReplyDelete
  8. "She seemed to say that it's time to discuss the possibility that the president is in the grip of a major disorder."

    Personality disorders are not "major" disorders. All people have personality. All people can be classified according to the checklists in the DSM. Many people fit into multiple categories. Their personalities don't rise to the level of being a disorder unless and until they experience dysfunction and/or are distressed by problems arising from their personality. Even then, it is not a "major" disorder in the sense that bipolar or mood disorders are, schizophrenia, developmental disorders, and so on. Calling it a major disorder because society is having major problems with Trump, is a misuse of diagnostic terms.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Somerby thinks Trump deserves pity. So does everyone in this world, because there is no even-handedness or fairness in genetics, early experience, social expectations, societal laws, or economic opportunity. Yet we are all expected to do the best we can with what we have. No pity.

    Why do people reject pity? Why do they work hard to avoid receiving it? Because it represents a public, visible failure to cope. It shames us because we are expected to do better, no matter what our circumstances. We don't owe anyone pity -- we owe them help, support, sharing, a hand with their efforts to cope.

    I don't want to offer Trump any sort of hand toward his goals that I do not agree with. What he wants is not good for me or anyone I know, not being rich. I will help support mutual goals of combating this virus, and similar goals that help our country (rare as those are with Trump).

    When Somerby says we should pity Trump, what he probably means is that we should stop giving him a hard time about the bad things he is doing (out of his hard knock life). I don't think that follows at all. Further, by withholding feedback about his actions, he has no opportunity to learn to do better (if he is capable of it). So of what use would pity be? It would certainly make those of us doing the pitying feel superior, but that would infuriate both Trump (if he knew) and those who support Trump, who identify with him, who don't see anything wrong with him. It would alienate all those Others, who Somerby is so solicitous of. What is the point of angering The Others? It would again, make them cling to Trump harder, renew their efforts to reelect Trump, rally the troops. If I were a more cynical person (by birth or because of my life experiences), I would suspect that this is Somerby's actual purpose when he calls on us to pity Trump.

    When someone is developmentally unfit, other members of a species tend to avoid the unfit one. They shun him, exclude him. This is protective, a survival mechanism. If we are going to pity Trump, I think the most appropriate response to him is to shun him, exclude him, drive him from the herd, since he will otherwise bring the rest of us down with him. He is dangerous. That is the more appropriate response, in my opinion. That is what follows from pity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A psychopath is a predator: "give it to me because I said so."

    A sociopath views life as a game. "Give it to me because you said so."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not exactly, you have these reversed. Here is a good description of how psychology researchers view these two terms:

      https://psychcentral.com/blog/differences-between-a-psychopath-vs-sociopath/

      Delete
    2. I can restate it as "Weaker psychopath" and "Stronger psychopath" because the lack of empathy is true in both personalities I've seen.

      Delete
    3. Read the description at psychcentral. The difference is the genetic predisposition (psychopath) compared to the formative early experiences (sociopath).

      Delete
    4. Jake both descriptions I gave fit into psychopath. I'm not arguing the point you think I'm arguing.

      Delete
  11. "Specific behaviors affected by social communication disorder depend on the individual’s age, his or her expected stage of development (see ASHA’s resource on social communication benchmarks [PDF]), and the communication context. Some examples of behaviors affected by social communication disorder include

    using appropriate greetings;
    changing language and communication style based on setting or partner;
    telling and understanding stories;
    engaging in conversation (e.g., initiating or entering a conversation, maintaining the topic, taking turns);
    repairing communication breakdowns (e.g., rephrasing when misunderstood);
    using appropriate verbal (e.g., prosodic) and nonverbal (e.g., gestures) signals to regulate an interaction;
    interpreting the verbal and nonverbal signals of others during an interaction
    understanding ambiguous or figurative language;
    understanding information not explicitly stated (inferring); and
    making and keeping close friendships.

    https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934980&section=Signs_and_Symptoms

    ReplyDelete
  12. “Additional disclosure: In our view, it will fall to today's 9-year-old kids to rebuild our intellectual culture. It's said that the Irish saved civilization. It seems to us that our 9-year-old children will have to follow suit.

    In afternoon posts like these, we've been starting to describe one way they might start.

    We're pursuing this subject because it's interesting—because it isn't stupendously dumb.”

    Don’t forget about the not stupendously dumb programming, please.



    ReplyDelete
  13. The only way you could claim that Trump isn’t at fault for his lies or boorish behavior is if he had some truly debilitating mental condition, like paranoid schizophrenia or severe dementia. A simple personality disorder is not sufficient.

    Disorders, like Antisocial Personality Disorder, are not typically treated as exculpatory in courts of law, nor do they generate sympathy and lighter sentences from judges.

    Why then does Somerby even mention the notion of fault and pity with Trump?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because he wants Trump not only unelectable, but banished from any subsequently favorable populist “vanquished hero” narrative.

      That alright with you?

      Delete
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