Saturday, August 24, 2019

Is Donald Trump Making America Crazy?

You would think that the mental health profession would be all-in for President Donald Trump. If we are to believe Matt Ford in The New Republic and Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, Trump is making us all crazy, mad, insane, depressed, anxious, stressed out and sick. You come away thinking that maybe he was put into office by the pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure a continuing market for their medications.

Naturally, both writers trot out the usual quantity of evidence to demonstrate their points. And yet, neither are, to my understanding, mental health professionals. Why this means that we should care about what they think about mental health issues escapes me.

Neither of these two uninformed authors cares at the least that the Trump presidency has been accompanied by increasingly hysterical shrill attacks on Trump. Why would we not want to say that the anguished masses are simply emulating the leftist dimwits who are filling the airways and the media with their cries of anguish? And why would we not attribute the increasing divisions that characterize American life to the inability of Democratic politicians to accept the results of the 2016 election, with decorum?

Still, Matt Ford is whining in his tea about the cruelty that Donald Trump is inflicting on those who have entered the country illegally. Very caring, very compassionate and very motherly... don't you think?

Is he suffering the same despair over the horrors that were visited on people in Iraq and Syria after President Obama walked away from those war zones… and left ISIS to do what it pleased? Did Matt Ford or Dahlia Lithwick shed the least tear for the gang rapes, the sex trafficking and the misery inflicted on Christians in Iraq and Syria? Did they become agitated over the executions of thousands of gays in Iran while Obama was sucking up to the ayatollahs? Or were they prostrate at the altar of the Great Obama, worshiping his brilliance and blaming it all on George W. Bush?

Dare we mention that shifting the blame, refusing to take any responsibility for one’s actions, for one’s failure to accept political reality and the results of democratic elections will make you deranged… regardless. Joining a Resistance movement that harkens back to World War II, suggests that you are out of touch with reality and that you have defined yourself as a disloyal opposition. Unhinged, to say the least. Pathetic and pitiful, to say the most.

So, the whiny left, being thoroughly in touch with its feminine side, is horrified at the prospect of taking risks, of competing in the world, of defending American interests. I am not going to tell you whether these competitive activities, of standing tall for American national pride, are being conducted as well as they might. If the Wall Street Journal editorial board believes that Trump is mishandling the trade war with China, we have a right to be skeptical.

And yet, restoring national pride, the national pride that Barack Obama did not believe to be his concern, would naturally contribute to the nation’s emotional well being. After all, the antidote for depression is not hope. It’s success and achievement. I would note again, to repeat myself, that when Obama disparaged America and refused to stand tall and proud for the nation, he demoralized the nation. Demoralizing the nation produced anger, as it naturally would.

The rather feeble thinkers noted here do not understand that Obama paved the way for Trump, that Obama laid down the predicate that made Trump reasonable, that without Obama we would have had no Trump. They ought to consider their own contributions to their own mental health, their failure to accept responsibility for their own hysterics and take a deep breath. Now, exhale... but not too much. All that carbon dioxide will pollute the planet and precipitate the oncoming climate apocalypse. Are they going to blame that on Trump too?

If you are making yourself crazy because you believe that the sky is falling, you have a problem. Even Barack Obama, who just bought a waterfront estate on Martha’s Vineyard, obviously does not believe that the rising ocean will drown it in ten years. If you think it will, it’s time to go back on your meds.

Anyway, to give the two authors their due, Ford is seriously agitated over the fact that Trump is wasting time. One does not know how he knows this. We do not know whether or not it’s a theory that is being trafficked by Trump or his detractors. Since Ford does not know any better, he takes it to be gospel truth.

It’s a bizarre accusation from someone who knows nothing about mental health. So, humor him:

Wasting time is a defining feature of Trump’s presidency. He is fairly adept at frittering away his own days, spending an indeterminate number of hours languishing in front of the television, simply to watch cable news coverage of himself so he can then offer comments about it on Twitter. But when it comes to wasting the time of everyone around him, the president is without peer. Trump’s haphazard style of governance forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should. All of this amounts to a tax of sorts on the national psyche—one that can never be repaid.

Human lives are bounded by time and attention. Every moment that’s spent focused on one thing can’t be spent another way. At a certain level, it’s not healthy to tabulate all of these expenses. In other circumstances, however, it’s unhealthy not to do so. I first started thinking about how Trump wastes Americans’ time two months after he took office. In the early morning of March 4, 2017, he sent a series of tweets alleging that former president Barack Obama “had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” before the election. “Nothing found,” Trump added. “This is McCarthyism!”

If I recall correctly, McCarthyism was about accusing American politicians and bureaucrats of being in collusion with Russia, or better, with the Soviet Union. As it happened, the American left has been selling the same conspiracy theory, theory that had no real merit, for years. For Trump to raise the issue does not feel overly exaggerated. Why has Ford not become deranged for having imbibed the swill that has just been definitively rejected by the sainted but not entirely coherent Robert Mueller. 

And then Ford complains that Trump’s immigration policy is making him crazy. Apparently, the vision of migrants flooding over the border fills him with warm, fuzzy feelings. Trying to keep the country’s border intact causes him to scream hysterically:

Unfortunately, they pale in comparison to his reckless approach to policy-making. His hastily written executive order to enact a ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries in 2017 led to hours of chaos at U.S. airports before federal courts finally intervened. After multiple rewrites and more than a year of litigation, the Supreme Court upheld a narrower version of the measure last summer. It would become a recurring theme: Trump regularly announces bombastic moves on immigration, then leaves it to federal agencies, lawyers, and the courts to try to fashion some sort of order from the wreckage.

As for Lithwick, she too complains bitterly at the time and energy it takes her to follow Trump’s tweets. Dare I mention the obvious, if she is consuming herself following Trump’s tweets, then she has a serious problem. No one is forcing her to be obsessed with Trump. It’s a choice, one for which she ought at least to take a little responsibility. She likes Ford’s ideas, sadly enough:

Ford’s formulation is a useful way to think about the massive toll, in terms of time and energy stolen from Americans forced to pay attention to inane tweets and half-baked policy, this presidency has had on all of us. As Ford observes, Trump, himself an inveterate squanderer of time, is wasting all of ours: “Trump’s haphazard style of governance,” he writes, “forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should.” The problem is that we have no choice but to follow the inane tweets and oppose the half-baked policy. There are serious consequences that follow to transgender soldiers, DACA kids, green card holders, and, of course, families at the border when we don’t.

Better yet, Lithwick continues, Trump is making us, especially Latinos, physically ill. Why would she not, one muses, herself whether the generalized hysteria mounted by the anti-Trumpers not be contributing to this generalized malaise?

In the Washington Post, William Wan and Lindsey Bever write that “Researchers have begun to identify correlations between Trump’s election and worsening cardiovascular health, sleep problems, anxiety and stress, especially among Latinos in the United States.” In other words, it’s not just that Trump is wasting our time and mental space; he’s also making us physically ill.

Of course, Lithwick gets paid to follow American politics, especially the legal variety. And yet, we might suggest that she not take it all so personally, not become so emotionally involved in her work. The sky is not falling. The nation will not collapse in a heap because an illegal alien does not have a toothbrush. Time for Ford and Lithwick to take a deep breath and dial down the hysteria. It’s making people crazy. And, unless we are mental health professionals, we do not want that. 


trigger warning said...

"If we are to believe Matt Ford in The New Republic and Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, Trump is making us all crazy."

I believe them. It's patently true of Ford and Lithwick, and probably everybody they know. But I think "deranged" is a better descriptor. Crazy people can be sweetly crazy, like some British eccentrics.

Sam L. said...

tw, I don't believe them. America's good. The Left is full-gonzo nuts. Trump's not doing it to them; they're doing it to themselves due to lack of coping mechanisms. With the help and encouragement of the media.

Trump is not wasting my time thinking about him. Just like "Ahnold", he "pumps me up".

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

These people are whiny children.

This just in for Mr. Ford: Trump and his campaign were surveilled by the domestic opposition, using U.S. domestic and international intelligence assets, along with foreign intelligence partners. They did it by weaponizing the Department of Justice, which defrauded the FISA Court. President Obama was accountable for these U.S. intelligence assets. Yet no one accountable — at any level — is in prison. That’s nuts. I am amazed that said facts do not agitate Mr. Ford and people like him. Since they do not, perhaps Mr. Ford is a Russian asset, and should be surveilled the same way. I wonder how Mr. Ford would feel about that...

Enforcing existing immigration laws and securing the country from Islamists seems to be a problem for Mr. Ford. Wonder why?

Mr. Ford is clearly wasting his own time. Don’t like the way Trump says things? Turn it off! You have choices. You’re choosing to make yourself crazy. And by reporting in a state of insanity, you make a fool of yourself.

What I suspect is really driving the press crazy is that Trump uses Twitter to go over their heads, directly to the American people. This bypasses journalists’ duplicitous reporting and ideological interpretations. Because they’re too lazy to do any real work, they just emote about Trump’s tweets. Again, they’re making fools of themselves.

Poor Lithwick. Just think of what she otherwise could be doing. Please tell me who is forcing her to pay attention to Trump. And gosh golly, I’m sure most of us can’t worrying about all those “transgender soldiers,” too. What a joke.

If Donald Trump is making you physically ill, you have a problem. Deal with it. That’s what y’all said when Obamacare got passed. Too bad, so sad.

These hysterical people are making themselves mad with rage. It’s not healthy. Maybe they should go become forest firefighters in Brazil, and deal with a real problem. But that might be too much to ask of whiny children who just want to complain about the planet.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Trigger and Sam, I’m with you. These people are going nuts because to them they are living through an alien invasion. They’ve never seen nor heard these things before. Like Obama, they haven’t earned anything since college. They are ignorant people. Trump is beating them, and it is their reactions that are making them look like fools. It’s like using a laser pointer on a cat.

David Foster said...

Seems to me that a lot of people find Trump very upsetting because they can't relate to his thought and communication processes. He is not a sequential thinker, but rather an intuitive pattern thinker.

I personally am more of a sequential thinker than Trump; for example, I found his "Art of the Deal" rather difficult & disconcerting to read, despite a strong professional interest in the topic...but I am enough of an intuitive pattern thinker to understand what he is doing. The majority of highly-credentialed people, most of whom are not very creative, seem unable to do this.

For example, Trump saw the connections among: China's aggressive trade practices, the crippling of much American manufacturing, high illegal immigration rates, and the opioid addiction epidemic. For others did.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Thanks, David Foster. You said it beautifully. And all personality systems, assessments and archetypes point to the reality of such intuitive people.

Sequential thinking types resist the intuitive pattern thinkers — as they always have. Sequential thinkers are the vanguard, they lead our institutions. They are the traditionalists, the bureaucracy, the critics, the investigators, the regulators, the professoriate. They collectively represent the conventional wisdom and maintain stability. THEY are the conservative center. They are the degreed, credentialed, licensed, trusted and acceptable. They are the “smart” and “intelligent” people. They excel in school, the high-IQ valedictorians laying claim to all meritocracy. They do well on standardized tests and attend elite colleges. And they are literally everywhere “important” people are found.

But such people have a low tolerance fir risk. They will almost never start a for-profit company or venture. Their convictions, actions and choices do not overcome conventional beliefs. They will go along to get along. They will follow the script. They will do as they are told. They will read from teleprompters.

Yet the intuitive are the entrepreneurs who make this country work, who are at the forefront of the “creative destruction” that makes our economy flourish. They build companies. They color outside the lines. They don’t take “NO” for an answer. They are the heart and soul of American free enterprise. And such Americans are not acceptable in totalitarian states like communist China.

Say whatever you want about Trump, but the guy has a deep history of getting complex real estate developments done. Real stuff — buildings, land development, true economic impact. Lots of dynamic factors and decisions. Most sequential thinkers would spontaneously combust under the pressure of it all. Trump has thrived in this kind of work for decades.

It is messy. And disruptive. And chaotic. Yet can anyone think of a different way to affect change and make new things come into being? No one wants to change! Yet entrepreneurs see opportunity, and set change in motion. Trump is an entrepreneurial thinker. Hillary Clinton is not. And we need disruptive, entrepreneurial thinking to address the threat from the communist Chinese.

opponents don’t follow, and he always leaves room to change his mind, What looks chaotic is actually well-reasoned — in the moment. Analytical types can’t track with it because they’re putting it all together, behind the curve of real time. It’s calculus versus arithmetic. The intuitive can’t move full steam ahead — and course-correct along the way.

It’s just a different way of approaching things, for all those phonies who claim to love, love, love diversity.

— Continued below —

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

— Continued from above —

I am an “intuitive pattern thinker,” as David Foster describes. I was raised by a “sequential thinker.” My father is a very sequential thinker — he’s a lawyer. In order to gain his approval, I had to explain my thoughts sequentially. It was often excruciating — it felt like I was merely “planking” my way to conclusions I was clear about long before I had to explain myself. So I don’t like the sequential thing, but I see it as a useful thing to get what I want. It’s part of the gig. So sequential thinkers think I make “broad generalizations” and “jump to conclusions,” while intuitive latter thinkers say “Get to the point!” It can be frustrating — like living between two worlds. Fortunately, I can operate in both.

I work with shall business entrepreneurs who are almost universally intuitive pattern thinkers. I get them, and they appreciate it. Most of my time is spent translating the “intuitive” to the “sequential.” The sequentials don’t get the leaps in thinking, and the intuitives think everyone is moving too slowly toward the inevitable,

I now see sequential and intuitive constructively. While I can sometimes view sequential thinking as a waste of time, I can also see intuitive thinking as radical. So here I am twixt-and-between. I find it’s very frustrating most of the time, but it’s very useful. I can play in both worlds.

This is why I think Trump is always three moves ahead. His

David Foster said...

Another thought, related to my earlier point...The writer Andre Maurois observed that people who are *intelligent but not in any way creative* tend to latch on to the intellectual systems created by others, and to apply those systems much more rigidly than their originators would have.

Anonymous said...

Bless all the commenters. I've been frustrated lately with all the people insisting there is absolutely no doubt about it, that PDT is an "S" (Meyers-Briggs) because he works with concrete things (so they believe. But he doesn't work with "building materials" and "building," he works with the concepts they bring about.)

It's so obvious that he is a visionary,one who sees patterns and the whole, and not one obsessed with the details. It's results he's after, not process. Yet all the professional and armchair scholars on the net insist -- no one ever says anything other -- that he is an ESFJ or, often, an ESTJ. (Even crazier.)

He's N, people. Whether you accept Meyers-Briggs or not, the idea that, because he works creating (there's a "tell" right there) REAL things, he is an S, which is a detail and sequential thinker, is nuts. That's not the meaning at all.

I think part of it has to do with a lot of MB people buying into the corporate media's "he's stupid" -- and they have a bias against both PDT and S people, so they put the two together. However, he is so far from the "pillar of the community, comfortable with the routine" ESFJ or the bureaucratic ESTJ, that I cannot believe they will not even consider they're wrong.