Thursday, August 04, 2016
More on the sociopathic narcissist
Both Mark Graber and Gerard Magliocca make important points. This is not a typical election, and one might expect recognition of that in a variety of ways, ranging from the topicality of our posts to unusual actions by civic worthies, including university presidents. One is seeing this in a number of newspapers that have already declared, strongly, against Donald Trump and explained why it simply makes no sense to engage in the charade of waiting to hear what the two candidates have to say before announcing, about two weeks before the vote, who the choice is. It is dangerous to pretend that Donald Trump is worth taking seriously for a single instant and that his campaign is entitled to the respect that one ordinary accords presidential nominees. Instead, as the Houston Chronicle put it last week:
Sandy: I'm really not interested in the least in reading about how bad Hillary Clinton is. You don't have to vote for her. Gary Johnson is available. The question is whether any reasonable person could really believe that the Donald Trump is not the individual described by the Houston Chronicle and Sen. Humphrey and that he is in fact qualified to be President of the United States with all of the powers that entails.
The question why YOU and the other professors here do not apply the same standards to Clinton as you do to Trump and conclude that a woman who is a demonstrated serial liar, corrupt influence peddler and felon is similarly disqualified to serve as POTUS?
You do not have to support the fascist Trump - and I most certainly do not - to see the double standard.
One critic suggests that he isn't Mussolini, merely Berlusconi. That may well be right, if one assumes that Trump is completely posturing in his so-called political views and all he wants to do is to add to what may-or-may-not be his fortune by using the powers of the presidency to line his pockets (and those of his children).
The evidence suggests as much.
Trump underwent an election year conversion from lifetime NYC progressive with a long history of employing foreign workers to service his businesses to a fascist populist scapegoating foreigners for our economic depression, suggesting that his presidential campaign is pure posturing.
Trump has always viewed politics as a profit center. The Donald has bought Democrat politicians (including the Clintons) for decades to grease the skids for his business projects. Trump's current campaign routinely funnels money to his businesses. Why would he treat the White House differently?
Trump and Clinton are flip sides of the same government corruption.
Is Trump a sociopath? Brian Leiter, at his blog "Leiter Reports," suggests that he suffers from a different mental illness (you'll have to visit the blog for the embedded links):
A propos this item, reader Mike G. calls my attention to the fact that a California congresswoman has called for Trump to undergo a psychiatric evaluation given that he displays all the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I was speaking the other day with a psychologist who also thought that Trump was a "textbook" case for this diagnosis, more so he thought than Anti-Social Personality Disorder (though the two are related). Pathological lying is a feature of both, as is lack of empathy and exploitation of others; the key difference, this psychologist thought, is that "sociopaths" tend to lay low, so as not to attract extra attention to their manipulation and exploitation of people, and that obviously isn't Trump....
"Gary Johnson is available."
Our resident independent/BB by verbiage is voting for that ticket. Another has suggested as a third option, he's credible. I think he would be a sane option but as part of "the Left," clearly I'm deranged. Another HC critic thinks he is too moderate/HC friendly. Jill Stein might be copacetic for him as a HC critic, if not for her general policy proposals.
Realistically, role playing games about the election being tossed to the House of Representatives aside, to be honest, it will likely practicably come down to a two person race. OTOH, you still can decide HC is better than Trump, not vote or vote third party on conscience grounds.
"The question is whether any reasonable person could really believe he is in fact qualified to be President of the United States with all of the powers that entails"
The implication seems to be "no" though at least one person here disagrees with you. Another in effect compares Trump with Obama, which to HIM is a "no" though ymmv.
You noted that people like Ryan might have poisoned their well by supporting Trump. This very well might be true to some extent. Cruz was crafty there but to me doesn't have the wide support to play his cards that well. Kasich might have helped himself but he didn't receive much support. OTOH, maybe a bland establishment type will be sought out. 2020 foresight will probably be guesstimates at this point.
I think what is being demonstrated here is that the gulf between elite culture and the general public has grown to catastrophic proportions. It isn't enough to have a heavy finger on the scale anymore, the prospect of not getting their choice in even one solitary election is viewed as a deal breaker, a signal that it's time to pull the kill switch on democracy. Democracy only being a tolerable system so long as you win.
So, it isn't enough to not like Trump's announced policies, doubt his sincerity, (What a novelty, a politician lying about what he'll do if elected.) think his manners crude. He has to be a sociopath. A sociopath. Who has he killed? Is he secretly a mobster? Maybe he runs Ponzi scams, and only pretends to have hotels and casinos? Has people accused of crimes to have an excuse to fire them? (Oh, wait, we're not supposed to discuss Hillary, forget I said that.)
Oh, no, that's not why he's a sociopath. He proposes to enforce immigration laws! He would deport people here illegally. Renegotiate trade treaties and military alliances. All things which were not so long ago the normal stuff of political debate.
What's going on here, I think, is that the elite are confronted, in Trump, with the possibility that all their gains, (Many ill-gotten.) are not necessarily irreversible. That they could lose ground, as well as gain it. That history isn't guaranteed to only go in one direction.
And the realization has you unhinged.
"why YOU and the other professors here do not apply the same standards to Clinton as you do to Trump and conclude that a woman who is a demonstrated serial liar, corrupt influence peddler and felon is similarly disqualified to serve as POTUS?"
The partisan fanatic can't help themselves, even blatantly ignoring what their host has asked of them. But let's remember, like most partisans, you find every major candidate on the other side to be a liar and corrupt, and you can no more prove Clinton a felon than you can she's a Martian.
"He would deport people here illegally"
Well, there have been some precedents of rounding up millions of people and putting them in camps being involved with fascism...
I think sociopath is too much myself, but I should note that sociopath doesn't mean a serial killer, it's someone who is marked by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one's goals. One can see where people get this idea about Trump. The guy became famous relishing telling people they were fired, he's said he has nothing to be sorry for, he's got an almost comical ego...
Except that the precedents of that nature, involving fascism, weren't deportation of people who were never legally in the country in the first place. Trump isn't proposing to put these people in camps, like the liberal hero FDR did to citizens, (Glad to see it admitted he was a fascist.) but only to return them to their own countries. Going back to Mexico is not a death sentence, it's not even a punishment. It's more like kicking out of your house somebody who broke in and started squatting in your living room.
I repeat, not so long ago, these sorts of policies were the normal stuff of politics, an America was not a fascist hell in the 50's. And they didn't stop being the normal stuff of politics because Americans rejected them.
It's more a case of our political class up and deciding that, the public be damned, the borders would be thrown open no matter what the citizenry wanted. Which is why amnesty is political poison even today, has to be accomplished by violating, not passing, laws.
In fact, our political class have decided, the public be damned concerning an ever growing number of topics. Well, guess what: The public didn't like it, and so we have Trump. And maybe they'll manage to weld the top back on the pressure cooker one more time.
The eventual explosion will just be all the bigger if they do.
Is Brett, with his conclusion:
"The eventual explosion will just be all the bigger if they do."
proposing armed revolution? But Brett's real problem is the changing demographics. See Charles Blow's NYTimes column today exposing Brett and his ilk.
Except that the precedents of that nature, involving fascism, weren't deportation of people who were never legally in the country in the first place.
The Nazis were very careful to pass laws (or what passed for laws in that system) making it illegal for Jews to reside in certain areas. They were then expelled in compliance with law.
Going back to Mexico is not a death sentence, it's not even a punishment.
It's not a punishment if you got here yesterday, but it is if you were brought here at the age of 2 and have known nothing else for your entire life. You'd certainly consider it "punishment" if you got deported, or if your wife did.
an America was not a fascist hell in the 50's.
Excluded middle. That doesn't mean it was a pleasant place for minorities (or women).
Brett, it's not logistically possible to simply return them to whatever border without some kind of internment. I'm not a big fan of immigration myself, but I think that part is true, and should trouble anyone.
Either way, there's going to be a real big federal government effort if this is to be done. I'd think you'd be against such things as a self-professed libertarian.
"That doesn't mean it was a pleasant place for minorities (or women)."
It's always interesting how consistently Brett and Bart really seem to miss this...
Brett is a self-professed "conservative."
He also supported a level of supermajority and state vetoes in the past that would repeatedly (as has occurred in recent years) stopped what "the public wants" which like his appeal to "democracy" (local gun regulations? not so much) is more nuanced than his rhetoric on face value.
This sort of thing, e.g., inhibited immigration reform where there was some bipartisan support; if Republicans was more open to compromise, it very well might have passed. Brett might not have thought it enough but it balanced various things and people in both parties supported it. And, the level this has been taken in recent years is problematic and people are upset. The conservative leaning authors of "Broken Branch" and other books argue Republicans are more at fault there.
The "liberal hero" comment (on race, e.g., he is well recognized as not) was trolling in part for reasons Mr. W. already said in the past to BP.
There is some "internment" today as people wait to be expelled, since the borders are not totally open [the supply of undocumented is aided and abetted by a range of things, including business interests] and Obama has received some complaints from the left there. And, beyond what Mark Field said, it is rather harsh for many to be expelled (including when families are divided -- an actress recently wrote a personal account here) including given the violence of the drug war in that country.
Finally, the problems of the past are apparent, and Sandy Levinson (who grew up in the South) being in his 70s is more aware of them more than some of us.
It's interesting to read the various accounts here since you get a sense where different people are coming from.
joe, I can't tell you how much your consistently thoughtful, measured contributions here are appreciated.
The sociopathic tendencies are more noticeable in his social media behavior than in any particular policy he's put forward. Brett is right that there's nothing new in the content--it's just the delivery (and the deliverer) that differs here. But every remark seems to be laden with self-obsession and paranoia. This observation is not made because of the content, but rather the disparity between the utterance and the context in which it is made. They are not rational responses if one is expecting Trump to behave like a regular politician; in Bourdieusian terms, his habitus doesn't seem to fit the field. (Clinton, on the other hand, fits the field almost to the point of embodying it.)
So what field does it fit? The hysteresis between politics-as-normal and politics-as-Trump enables him to configure his own political domain based on a deeply personal set of rules that resist the mastery of other potential actors. This reduction of politics to a single man is where I would start in drawing the line to fascism, as that may be the most obvious historical configuration where people permitted such behavior without quashing it for its audacity or, as Stephen Fry might suggest, simply laughing.
"Brett, it's not logistically possible to simply return them to whatever border without some kind of internment. I'm not a big fan of immigration myself, but I think that part is true, and should trouble anyone."
First, it's not "immigration", but "illegal immigration".
Second, there are very few laws indeed that can be enforced without some kind of internment. We call the camps "jails".
There is no particular reason why enforcing our immigration laws should require giant internment camps. At least 90% of the job could be accomplished simply by effective enforcement of laws against illegal immigrants being employed, instead of deliberately giving illegal immigrants work cards. And abolishing all the myriad policies that have been adopted to smooth the way for illegals, and aid them in not being caught.
We have a huge illegal immigrant population, not because our immigration laws couldn't have been enforced, but because one administration after another was deliberately not enforcing them.
Let's be clear about this: Why is this a result of non-enforcement, why were the actual laws not changed to permit this? Why informal amnesties by non-enforcement and issuance of illegal work cards?
Because at no time has public opinion agreed with what is being done. It's all been done in the teeth of massive public opposition. There is no greater example than illegal immigration of the breakdown of democracy in the US. The political class decided to elect a new people, and just went ahead and did it, no matter what the supposedly sovereign voting public wanted, for decades on end.
You think you can prove to people in a democracy that democracy is a sham, and not get somebody like Trump?
That's why I say that, while they might defeat Trump, weld the top down on the pressure cooker one more time, the result will only be something worse. They're not persuading anyone here. They're just proving that the system IS rigged, that American democracy is a sham. They're hoping for resignation. They'll probably get revolution.
And the system IS rigged. As soon as a candidate came along who promised to respond to public opinion, the whole system turned on him. Even now people like our host are gaming out ways to make the election not matter, if it doesn't go to their satisfaction. And you think it's outrageous for Trump to suggest the election might be stolen, even as you publicly discuss how to steal it?
As supposed "fascists" go, Trump is remarkably mild mannered. Almost all of the political violence this year has been committed by the Democrats, against Trump supporters. Trump's 'violence' has consisted of things like suggesting that, if his supporters see somebody about to throw something at the candidate, they deck him, and he'll pay their legal bills. Violence? This is the sort of thing security guards do, legally.
You want to see somebody worse than Trump? All you've got to do is prove to the people that Trump wasn't bad enough. That he was too mild mannered, too peaceful, too willing to work within the system. You'll get your fascist, and you'll deserve him.
"This sort of thing, e.g., inhibited immigration reform where there was some bipartisan support; if Republicans was more open to compromise, it very well might have passed."
Joe, do you understand why there isn't any compromise on this subject? Reagan was the last real effort at compromise. An amnesty for illegals already here, in return for effective border enforcement. That was the compromise, the deal.
And only the amnesty happened. That's the history. A bargain was struck, and they broke their end of the deal.
You can't expect compromise once people know grand bargains will never be kept.
Even now, you could probably get a legal compromise, if only the pro-illegal immigrant side were willing to make one concession: Border security has to come first, not second. You could have gotten THAT compromise any time in the last ten years. But it never happened, and you know why:
They never meant to keep their side of the bargain, and any arrangement that requires them to actually fulfill their side of the deal to get what they want is a non-starter.
Compromise requires good faith, and there is none. Give it up, people already know the deal wouldn't be kept.
We disagree on what "real effort" means.
For instance, I think there was "real effort" to compromise on health care, including basing it on a free market approach over the "public option" etc. that Heritage suggested. Likewise, "real effort" was made to reach out to the other side over a span of a year. And, many amendments were made that Republicans signed on to, one or more probably ill-advised and hurting the cause. But, this was not accepted as such and we hear talk of "ramming down" etc. that shows again disagreement.
My understanding is that politics changed since Reagan and this included Republicans specifically (it isn't all one side, but again, "Broken Branch" by two conservative leaning experts to me is correct among others, including various non-Democrats with long expertise & practice in the field of government, in setting more responsibility on one side) not willing to agree especially when their general message is that the President is simply illegitimate. This was true since the 1990s. Again, you can cite some subset of liberals who think the other side is illegitimate but as a party they simply did not act that extremely.
It is not true "only the amnesty happened." That's b.s., a lack of respect of the truth. It's among other things tiresome to view things from my vantage point and watch the President et. al. get beef from BOTH SIDES here, including because of the number of people deported since "only the amnesty" didn't happen. This includes libertarian leaning law blogs citing how the Supreme Court of late tempered laws that the Obama Administration upheld regarding deporting even those aliens who committed relatively minor crimes, sometimes a long time ago.
Your concern for "border security" is duly noted though your framing of the issue shows (as usual) you see that thru the glass darkly. That means more than simply border security to you. Likewise, if that was so important it is unclear why so many forces, as I said, encourage undocumented immigration in various respects, including Republican supported business interests. The complexity there, not your usual singling out one side, is part of why this is so hard.
Republicans repeatedly show lack of good faith. Again, not saying the other side are angels, but a nuanced discussion of the situation is something you are something unable to handle. To be quite blunt about it. On balance, you are with them, even if given your druthers you would be some sort of anarchist. Deep down, maybe, you can look passed your blidners (when forced to do so, after three or four times, again, we see more nuance ... at times ... that moves past your usual rhetoric ... then it's back to "Clinton is a felon" sort of thing).
We don't have our druthers. You therefore quite honestly recently said you were a conservative.
The use of the term "illegal immigration" is interesting since according to people like Brett, we basically are all felons. In effect, lots of "illegal" things occur. For instance, Trump surely did various things against the law in the course of business. Ironically, this includes hiring undocumented people. Likewise, Talking Points Memo recently argued it is on balance likely true his own wife broke the law in the first years she was in this country.
But, we selectively here tell of "illegals" -- e.g., people readily use unlicensed plumbers etc. -- "illegals" -- and do not really see anything wrong with it. The plumbers aren't "illegals" to them, even though their very profession is doing something against the law. The legal terminology is so confused that even Rudy Giuliani has to remind people that we are dealing with civil regulations (people who can be deported, not put in jail), not criminal ones.
So, yes, I think "illegal" here confuses things and do not find it a bad thing not to (selectively) toss that word around. Plus, as a nation, we over the years were not sticklers for this sort of thing. Sen. Amy Kobluchar in her autobiography, e.g., discussed how a relative broke (not being a Latino, "bent" probably would be used) the rules in the early 20th Century in place to limit immigration. This goes back before we even became a nation -- the Brits tried to stop the immigration to the West, concerned about Native Americans. Regulations here led to a citation of an "abuse" in the Declaration of Independence.
The correct path here is complicated and there is a deep difference of opinion with even those concerned with immigration by their actions not seeing things in a black and white way. This includes as Mr. W. notes, even as someone more concerned with immigration coming in than me personally on a policy level (our differences make my respect for his analysis that much more), the burdens that will be in place even if warranted. This requires a person on the whole better on various levels than Trump has shown himself though I realize how a certain class of people find him appealing.
"And the system IS rigged. As soon as a candidate came along who promised to respond to public opinion, the whole system turned on him."
What do you mean it's rigged? Are people supposed to like him or it's proof something is rigged? He won the primary, there were no convention sheenanigans. I don't see evidence the elections are going to be held unfairly. Lots of people in the press and academe don't like him, but they're not required to are they, otherwise it's rigged?
Yes, I would say that qualifies as the system being rigged.
While there's a formal process, and Sandy has been discussing how to rig it to deny Trump the office of the Presidency even if he wins the election, there's also an informal process. And it has it's rules, even if they're not enforceable in court.
The very people attacking Trump now from the Republican party are people who would, in races past, tell the people who'd lost the primary that they had an obligation to get over it, and support the winner. And we can see how much they thought this was an actual obligation now.
I wouldn't say this is totally unprecedented, a few members of Congress have gotten this treatment. Ron Paul would routinely have the party put up challengers against him in the primaries. But even there, once the primary was over, they accepted that Ron was the candidate. It is very close to unheard of for a major party to repudiate the winner of it's primary to this degree.
The informal part of the election process has been very much rigged this year to try to assure Hillary wins. Given the level of derangement among Trump's opponents, I will not be the least bit shocked to see Republicans cooperating with the Democrats in rigging the actual election outcome, too.
Speaking of rigging the process. I'm not impressed with this year's LP ticket, but the exclusion of them from the debates is still an offense against democracy.
You've got a rather narrow definition of the word, yourself. I suppose you wouldn't call it rigging the process if every media outlet agreed to treat Trump the way third party candidates are treated, and just not cover his campaign? From a 1st amendment standpoint, they'd be entitled to do it.
It's a Gödel's incompleteness thing; The formal rules of any contest never cover everything, you can always rig a competition by violating the unstated rules. Doesn't make it any less rigging.
Brett, Trump acts in an unusually unprofessional manner, so of course many professionals are put off at the idea of him being President. That's hardly 'rigging' anything. He's also quite an asshole to people, so there's that. I mean, when GOPers disagree with him he's quite nasty and personal back. That's hardly their fault.
To me, "rigging" means actually fixing the result. What you're talking about is the ordinary process of democracy, in which one candidate is simply very unpopular with a wide spectrum of voters and part or all of the party establishment. You've seen this happen at least 3 times in your lifetime: Goldwater, McGovern, Mondale.
As for "not covering" Trump, I suspect that at this point it would be to his advantage. But the last thing in the world Trump has suffered from in this campaign is lack of coverage.
"the system of ropes, cables, or chains employed to support a ship's masts (standing rigging) and to control or set the yards and sails"
Huh. Doesn't seem applicable.
Seriously, Brett provides a link to a court ruling. Not sure what "rigging" is supposed to be involved there. The rule there provides a floor before inviting a candidate to the debates. Who should be invited to the debates? For instance, Roseanne Barr received over 67K votes in the 2012 presidential election. Was it "rigged" not to invite her to the debates?
And, it is not like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein is not getting any media. Still, all these "unstated rules" do get confusing. So, maybe I'm missing something.
What's rigged is that sailboat Brett is adrift in trying to pass under his Lego bridge to nowhere in Brett's search for a way to change the changing demographics.
BTW, I'm open to a system where at least one debate has minor candidates, but part of the problem here is that the people as a whole don't care enough. It's like if 1% of a legislature wants something to be discussed and there is a minimum threshold before the body opens it up for debate. It is not really "rigged" if such a threshold is in place.
Cf. how the political parties changed convention rules to have more diversity because the people put pressure on them. Given the nature of Trump and the desire for a third way this election, perhaps enough pressure will be put by October that Clinton will deem it in her interest to take part in a wider debate. It is in Trump's best interest to divide the time (with Jill Stein likely to open up some double-team action) though if it involves many 1-1 debates, net, it might not be in his interest.
And only the amnesty happened. That's the history. A bargain was struck, and they broke their end of the deal.
"Based on DHS’s data, (Table 39: Aliens Removed and Returned, FY 1892-2012) his cumulative numbers since taking office show Obama has removed a total of 1,974,688 people and returned 1,609,055 others. There have been more returns than removals only in FY 2009 and 2010. Moreover, comparing across administrations is not wise given the changes in law and counting procedures."
from a column by Anna O. Law, the Herbert Kurz Associate Professor of Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties at CUNY Brooklyn College. She is the author of The Immigration Battle in American Courts.
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