Sunday, July 2, 2017

The left is attempting to abuse psychiatry to remove President Trump.

President Donald Trump's official picture. 

The left is attempting to invoke the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump. The 25th amendment deals with incapacitation of the president and if they were to succeed, Vice President Mike Pence would take over. The effort only has support of 24 house Democrats and even if the panel they could create were to recommend removal, VP Pence would still have to sign off on it, which is not likely to say the least. The attempt is doomed for failure but it raises some disturbing questions. 

It's obviously a stunt to cover up for how poorly the Democratic Party is doing right now, but there seems to be some support on the left in general for invoking the 25th amendment. As I write this, this is the number one trend on Twitter for me:

Why? Well somehow people on the left think that Donald Trump's Twitter actions somehow disqualify him from office. They think that arguing with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and posting things like the following tweet is evidence that he is mentally incapacitated... somehow. 

This is, quite frankly, wrong. First of all, it is professionally unethical to diagnose someone without actually meeting him. It's called the Goldwater rule and it was put into place after the sickening campaign against Barry Goldwater where the left called him insane. Goldwater won his libel case brought up against the author of the piece that targeted him and it's easy to see why. He didn't consent to have his mental state discussed and nobody actually had examined him. This rule is a very important one because even politicians deserve civil rights. Any Psychiatrist or doctor that is attempting to diagnose Trump without his consent and without meeting him are being incredibly unethical and should face sanctions.

Second, Trump has always had an active and outrageous Twitter account. He was famous for it even before he ran for president and has a long history of Twitter scuffles and posting funny memes. It's been established for years and years that Trump would do things like this on Twitter.  I would be more concerned if he suddenly stopped tweeting or he toned it down considerably because it would be out of charterer for him.

Third, Trump has some very obvious reasons for tweeting like this. It's a very rational and explainable action that has obvious benefits:

1. It allows him to control the narrative. Right now the top story everywhere is that tweet I posted above. The news media is covering very little else. This allows Trump to focus on accomplishing his goals and downplaying any bad news that may come up without having to worry about the media interfering. Any damage caused by these tweets are severely outweighed by this benefit.

2. It allows him to reach directly to his base without news media putting their spin on it. And his base loves him for it. The people that hate CNN love the message in his tweet and posting a meme that most likely originated on Reddit will endear him to his younger fans. Indeed, Trump is posting the same kind of things that Millennials and Generation Z do on their own Twitter accounts.

3. It makes the left look unhinged. Right now media bias and the Democratic Party is out of control and Trump has nothing to lose by fighting them and a lot to gain by making them upset. Whatever outrageous thing Trump tweets, the outrage from the left will be disproportionate. The massive hand-wringing and unjustified calls for impeachment over a funny meme or a spat with a media host doesn't make Trump look bad, it makes his critics look like they are losing it. There is always something to be said for making your enemies react emotionally and not rationally.

4. It's fun! There is a reason that people like to post stupid stuff on the internet. Everyone who has social media has posted something outrageous and funny at some point. Everyone understands that doing so is stress relief and there is something to be said for making people freak out over nothing. Indeed, instead of being evidence of Trump's mental health, he may be using Twitter to de-stress and entertain himself, which is good for his mental health! 

I think Trump's tweets are rational and explainable and isn't evidence of anything other than he knows what he is doing. He's having fun, reaching his supporters and making his enemies make mistakes. It is not evidence of declining mental health.

And that is what I am afraid of. The left seems to be implying that normal behavior and right wing political beliefs are signs of mental illness. Removing President Trump from office because of his tweets is a pipe dream but if it were to happen it would be a pretty obvious abuse of Psychiatry. Posting stupid stuff on Twitter isn't evidence of mental illness. If it was than everyone who uses the platform, including me, would count as mentally ill. Neither is having right wing political beliefs.

It's clear that certain elements of the left don't care about Donald Trump's actual mental health. They just want to use any tool available to them, including Psychiatry, to remove him. This echos the abuse of the science in other countries. Iran famously makes gay men transition into women since they don't tolerate homosexuality. The Soviet Union was even worse. It's abuses of Psychiatry are too deep and too numerous to list here, but Wikipedia has a good article on it here. Read it and be horrified.

Though the leftist outrage about Trump's psyche isn't much of a threat right now, indeed it shows weakness rather than strength, I do worry about what would happen if the precedent is set. I would hate for the winds to change and suddenly find an America where people on the right politically are accused of "sluggish schizophrenia" and institutionalized.

To be fair, the right is guilty of this as well. I have never been comfortable with those voices on the right that say "liberalism is a mental illness". I don't think we should ever medicalize  political disagreement. Hell, I am not even comfortable doing it with groups like ISIS. Doing things we disagree with isn't evidence of mental disorders. We should do whatever we can to keep it that way...

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