Monday, January 8, 2018

Should We Test Bandy Lee for a Psychiatric Disorder?

It would be sad if it were not dangerous. A group of fanatical psychiatrists, led by a young Yale assistant professor named Bandy Lee, want to have President Trump forcibly tested because they think he is dangerous. 

They do not say that he is mentally ill—they cannot say as much—but they are happy to offer their prophecies as sufficient grounds for testing him, declaring him incapacitated and removing him from office. They believe that they can use the 25th Amendment to do so, mostly because they do not understand the 25th Amendment… which was designed to remove presidents like Woodrow Wilson who suffered a stroke and could not perform his presidential duties.

The Lee-led movement makes psychiatrists look like politically motivated extremists who do not respect democratic elections and who must get their way—regardless. One might make a psychiatric diagnosis of psychiatrists who proclaim themselves to be experts in foreign and military policy when they know nothing about it.

Some eminent psychiatrists are concerned about the damage this campaign is doing to their profession. Among them Jeffrey Lieberman, Chair of the Psychiatry Department of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He wrote this to the New England Journal of Medicine:

Although moral and civic imperatives justify citizens’ speaking out against injustices of government and its leaders, that does not mean that psychiatrists can use their medical credentials to brand elected officials with neuropsychiatric diagnoses without sufficient evidence and appropriate circumstances. To do so undermines the profession’s integrity and credibility.

Psychiatry has made too many past missteps4 to engage in political partisanship disguised as patriotism — witness its collusion in Nazi eugenics policies, Soviet political repression, and involuntary confinement in mental hospitals of dissidents and religious groups in the People’s Republic of China. More than any other medical specialty, psychiatry is vulnerable to being exploited for partisan political purposes and for bypassing due process for establishing guilt, fault, and fact.

Bandy Lee and her cohorts are aligning themselves with the totalitarian dictatorships that produced unbelievable calamities in the twentieth century. Has she given any thought to the history of misusing psychiatry in order to promote political tyranny? Of course not. She is a woman of science.

Anyone has a right to criticize any political figure. But, Lee’s assessment of danger is based on her limited high-school level understanding of foreign policy and international diplomacy. She simply trots out radical talking points, like this one:

His trip to Asia brought a lot of ceremonial deference and customs of flattery that kept him doing better for a while. But that indicated a greater danger to us — that someone [was] that susceptible to fawning pointed to instability that would make him more volatile when he returned. And that’s exactly what happened.

Yes, indeed. Leaders of Asia, beginning with the leader of China, showed far more public respect to President Trump than they did for President Obama. Recall that the last time Obama visited China the airport authorities did not even bother to roll out an exit staircase. It was a gross humiliation, which, by Lee’s lights, would not make anyone dangerous. Anyway, treating a president and a nation with more respect counts as a bad sign for the idiot psychiatrist.

If that was not bad enough, Lee sees evidence of Trump’s derangement in his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

There’s everything in between: provoking our allies and alienating them, instigating civil conflict, and laying a foundation for a violent culture that could give way to epidemics of violence — not to mention poke a beehive in the Middle East by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. All of these actions are consistent with the pathological pattern he has already shown of resorting to violence the more he feels threatened.

Think about it, Trump provoked France to the point that he sat next to President Macron at Bastille Day celebrations last year-- as an honored guest. He has received the support of British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

As for the Jerusalem issue, in the anti-Semitic fever swamps that gave us Bandy Lee, it is dogmatic truth that we must fight for justice for the Palestinian terrorists. As for the Trump recognition of Jerusalem, I have often pointed out that the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates favored and supported the move, as did both chambers of the United States Congress. But, guess what, Bandy Lee knows more about Middle Eastern politics than do the leaders of Middle Eastern nations and the members of the United States Congress. Why would we not question her judgment,or even her sanity?

Dare we mention that she and her co-conspirators have no problem with American presidents who gave North Korea access to nuclear weapons or who gave Iran the right to develop nuclear weapons.

Bandy Lee is simply a brainless poser, who wants to advance an ideological agenda and who knows nothing about foreign policy. And she is so drunk with her own power that she proposes that the president of the United States be contained against his will and forced to undergo a psychiatric and neurological evaluation.

But, don’t call it a coup.

Those who most require an evaluation are the least likely to submit to one. That is the reason why in all 50 states we have not only the legal authority, but often the legal obligation, to contain someone even against their will when it’s an emergency.

So in an emergency, neither consent nor confidentiality requirements hold. Safety comes first. What we do in the case of danger is we contain the person, we remove them from access to weapons, and we do an urgent evaluation….

Surprisingly, many lawyer groups have actually volunteered, on their own, to file for a court paper to ensure that the security staff will cooperate with us. But we have declined, since this will really look like a coup, and while we are trying to prevent violence, we don’t wish to incite it through, say, an insurrection.

Should we not question the sanity of one Bandy Lee. She is calling for a coup while saying that she is not calling for a coup. And she says that she does not wish to incite an insurrection when she calling for a violation of the constitution that would surely produce one.

I have an idea. Bandy Lee has provided enough evidence that she is deranged. Perhaps we should have her removed from her office by force and have her tested for sanity. At the least, she has no relationship with reality.

Have you noticed, the great psychiatrists who are horrified about Donald Trump have nothing to say about the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot up a group of Congressional Republicans playing softball. And they have nothing to say about the Bernie Sanders supporter who assaulted Sen. Rand Paul on his front lawn. Did they see that their own rants were promoting violence?


trigger warning said...

As Proglodyte American mental health professionals drift ever-further toward the Soviet model of political psychiatric treatment, I admit confusion about the following diagnostic data relevant to a recent President:

* Abandoned by uninvolved, possibly bigamous, alcoholic father
* Abandoned by stepfather
* Abandoned by mother, foisted off on grandparents
* Foisted off by grandparents to radical bisexual Communist pornographer, probable pedophile, and "poet"
* Youthful drug user and possible dealer
* Only President to insist on secret educational transcripts
* Distinction as first Harvard Law Review president with zero published legal scholarship
* Career fabulist exploiting alleged foreign birth to enhance book sales
* Unexplained transition to "inactive" Bar license status following brief, unremarkable legal career
* Close personal/professional affiliation with confessed, violent American terrorist
* Close personal/"religious" affiliation with extreme Black Liberation Theology zealot

'Twould seem to me that's a big enough pile of psychofodder to keep a team of long-distance shrinks occupied for the remainder of the century.

Sam L. said...

Long-distance head-shrinking is a mug's game. These people are muggers.
"The Lee-led movement makes psychiatrists look like politically motivated extremists who do not respect democratic elections and who must get their way—regardless." Which it does, because they are. "... not to mention poke a beehive in the Middle East by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital." And yet, no sign of the bees being angry. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Methinks she missed something.

Why is it that psychiatrists only consider Republicans of questionable sanity? Monomania on the psychiatrist's part?

Anonymous said...

So the "mental health" gambit has pushed the "russian collusion" story off the front headlines. Me thinks they doth protest too much.


Anonymous said...

Another reason not take most of these people seriously. Years ago I used to read "Psychology Today." It started out with the laudable goal of making psychology more understandable to the average person. Over the years it began to shift to the left, more than one would normally expect, to the point it became rather New Agist, whats happen now and political. I am not surprised that psychology as a profession has produce the misguided people it has. If just these two examples were the end of it one might forgive them, but it is not.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

They’re all poets, TW.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

“Deranged”? You are so judgmental, Stuart. You meanie.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Here is another great take on this issue:

It’s remarkable how people become OBSESSED with this concept of the self. And I mean OBSESSED. Such professionals claim to be committed to healing of the “self,” but are they? Does the practitioner’s approach the reality the human person that sits opposite?

Is it legitimate? Moral? Ethical? Are such distinctions legitimate? Who says so?

The SELF does create problems in other dimensions of the human experience. Indeed, in Catholic theology, its obsessive preoccupation is the source of sin.

As my Mother used to say: “Me, me, me... is dull, dull, dull...”

No doubt. These people over-educate and over-credential themselves to justify their own self-obsession, and then turn it into a mental pathos worthy of ontological certitude.

It’s madness! Or, on a professional level, projection. Who’s policing the risk of projection at the university where TENURE is the highest goal/aspiration? And the guarantee of lifelong employment?

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: I have an idea. Bandy Lee has provided enough evidence that she is deranged. Perhaps we should have her removed from her office by force and have her tested for sanity. At the least, she has no relationship with reality.

Certainly president Trump forces many of us rethink what "mental illness" means or should mean. And anyone who purposely speak and act outside of social norms (of a given circle) will look mentally ill to people who would claim they'd never act that way.

Does it mean "People who see the world through a different frame than me?" or "People who threaten my world view?" If so the world is certainly full of crazy people no matter what you believe. And this is the predicament comic Scott Adams suggests were're in.

Or like if your world view is conservative and "Marriage is between a man and a woman", then anyone who tries to break that and suggest two men or two women can be married looks mentally ill. Or if gay marriage is now been "normalized", then we have the next big crazy, transgenderism that says gender identity is fluid, and not dependent upon our binary chromosomal facts.

On Monday David Brooks questioned the declining sanity of the anti-Trumpers, falling into their own echo chamber, and he offers some solid evident the opposition needs to calm down and keep things in perspective.

Donald Trump himself perhaps questioned the sanity of his followers when he asserted "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters" and while not clearly true, Trump himself was surprised by this. It's like Gandhi was claimed to say "There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader."

All populism itself might be a form of mental illness, like any mob mentality driven by only partially unconscious motives. But it seems to be one that has the possibility of bringing necessary topics of public discussion back on the table, even if its initial expressions start as chaos and noise that signify nothing except resentful rage against those in power.

A good populist leader ought to be able to ground that resentment into something besides just finding scapegoats to blame, but politics doesn't clearly demand we go deeper than blame.

On more substantial grounds, Republicans have decided larger federal deficits will stimulate economic growth in the short term. We're a country that has thrived on short-term thinking, so "try anything" isn't a bad approach when we don't know what we're doing.

Anonymous said...

AO: Your sanity is always in question.

It was so good while you were away.