FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2020
Thoroughly baffled by Krugman: We're thoroughly baffled by the basic framework of Paul Krugman's new column.
First, though, an apparent mistake. In passing, Krugman says this about the pandemic:
"National death totals are still declining..."
We're afraid that's no longer true. As of this morning, the nationwide 7-day average has bumped up again.
As of this morning, we're averaging 576.7 deaths per day nationwide (July 3-July 9). We'd already dropped below that point as of June 23 (571.9, June 16-June 22).
The number continued to drop after that, inching down below 540. But now it seems to be moving back up again.
It seems clear that the decline has stopped. All that's left may be the size of what now seems to be the rise.
That's a minor if horrible point. We're baffled by Krugman's overall framework. Our bafflement starts with Krugman's headline, then continues with some points after that:
KRUGMAN (7/10/20): The Deadly Delusions of Mad King Donald
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more and more as if we’re all trapped on the Titanic—except that this time around the captain is a madman who insists on steering straight for the iceberg. And his crew is too cowardly to contradict him, let alone mutiny to save the passengers.
As he opens, Krugman refers to Trump as a madman. Also, as a "mad" king driven by "delusions."
Later, he refers to Trump's "pathologically inept response to the coronavirus." He refers to his "delusions" again, and once again calls him "mad."
Even as this psychological/psychiatric language floats around, Krugman never brooks the possibility that Trump really is delusional, mad or pathological, and not just in the metaphorical sense.
Trump's niece, Mary Trump, is a clinical psychologist. She has written a book in which she discusses Trump and his "high-functioning sociopath" father in psychiatric terms. But even with this new prompting, our journalists refuse to consider the possibility that the president is psychiatrically or psychologically ill in some literal sense.
It may be that this is a stricture imposed on columnists from above. But at some point, the refusal to brook an obvious possibility becomes almost as odd as Trump's relentless lunacy itself.
Is Donald J. Trump psychiatrically ill? The steadfast refusal to conduct that discussion is part of the era's madness.
Deaths are rising again, thanks to Trump. How did we get to this place?