A. Selections from
October 30, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 30,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 30, 2017
2. 4 Prescriptions for an Ailing Body Politic
3. Insect Armageddon
4. Chomsky: Imagine a World Without Neoliberals
Privatizing Everything in Sight
5. You Don't Need to Be
a Shrink To Understand
items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
This article is by Chris
Hedges on Truthdig.
It is also said that he "has his day off" and that today instead of a
new article by Hedges, we get a reprint of an article he published on
January 30, 2017, and that I reviewed on January
Well.... I republish the review I wrote then:
This starts as follows - and incidentally, there is a quite
long video interview with Chris Hedges here
that I strongly recommend you see:
Reality is under
confusion reigns. Truth and illusion have merged. Mental chaos makes it
hard to fathom what is happening. We feel trapped in a hall of mirrors.
Exposed lies are answered with other lies. The rational is countered
with the irrational. Cognitive dissonance prevails. We endure a
disquieting shame and even guilt. Tens of millions of Americans,
especially women, undocumented workers, Muslims and African-Americans,
suffer the acute anxiety of being pursued by a predator. All this is by
design. Demagogues always infect the governed with their own psychosis.
are several things here that I like
less, but the main one is the - indeed nearly universal - way of
speaking about "We",
"We", "We". I think that is a grammatical mistake; I think that
is a logical mistake; and indeed none of the above
applies to me.
And indeed it is quite likely
that I differ from most, and the
reasons I do are ethical,
and radical and go back to long before my birth in 1950: Both
of my parents had IQs over 130 and were sincere communists, and
remained so for 45 years; both were in the real resistance
against the Nazis; both were revolutionaries all their adult lives;
their parents, as well, were pretty radical leftists for a very
long time, for my mother's parents were anarchists, and
my father's father ended up as communist and was murdered in a German
concentration camp, of which my father survived over 3 years and 9
months, and got knighted, as a communist ,
namely for designing and partially building - together with other
former members of concentration camps - an exhibition about the dangers
of fascism, about
concencentration camps, and about
the resistance, that was very many times shown
in Holland in the 1960ies and 1970ies.
I do not
know of any family like mine, though there
must be some more, though probably not in Holland. 
Also, I have been a fairly
conscious radical ever since I was 8
- in 1958  - and realized that my parents were real
revolutionaries. It is true that I gave up Marxism and communism in
1970, and then also shifted most of my attention and interests to science rather
but it is also true that I remained a radical and have been one
always (as I found out in the sick and degenerate University of
Amsterdam, and as I found out
being forced to live above extremely noisy and quite
murderous and quite illegal drugsdealers that were protected
by the mayor of Amsterdam, by the aldermen of Amsterdam, by the
bureaucrats of Amsterdam, by the district attorneys of Amsterdam, and
by the City Police of Amsterdam: It seems I got no help whatsoever
for four successive years - from 1988 till the
beginning of 1992 - because in fact I protested against the enormous
illegal dealings in illegal drugs, that sold for 20 billion euros a
year every year since 1988, of which most or all
profited enormously. 
So no: I do not belong
to most "We"s and
"We"s also are proud that a man as obviously immoral
and wrong as I must be does not belong to their "We"s.
There is this about Trump and Company's incessant lying:
The lies fly out
of the White
House like flocks of pigeons: Donald Trump’s election victory was a
landslide. He had the largest inauguration crowds in American history.
Three million to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally.
Climate change is a hoax. Vaccines cause autism. Immigrants are
carriers of “[t]remendous
infectious disease.” The election was rigged—until it wasn’t. We
don’t know “who really knocked down” the World Trade Center. Torture
works. Mexico will pay for the wall. Conspiracy theories are fact.
Scientific facts are conspiracies. America will be great again.
Yes indeed - and this will
lead to great
problems, that also may cause a nuclear war.
There is this about the current president of the USA:
Our new president,
with orange-tinted skin and hair that Penn Jillette has likened to
“cotton candy made of piss,” is, as Trump often reminds us, “very good
looking.” He has almost no intellectual accomplishments—he knows
little of history, politics, law, philosophy, art or governance—but
IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so
stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” And the mediocrities and
half-wits he has installed in his Cabinet have “by far the highest
IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”
It is an avalanche
Then there is this, with
which I tend to agree, indeed because I do not personally know
of any family like mine, of which I know there are more, but
only in very small minorities (and the main differences are ethical and intellectual
would be easier to
repulse if the problem was solely embodied in Trump. But even in the
face of a rising despotism, the Democratic Party refuses to denounce
the corporate forces that eviscerated our democracy and impoverished
the country. The neoliberal Trump demonizes Muslims, undocumented
workers and the media. The neoliberal Democratic Party demonizes Vladimir Putin
and FBI Director James Comey. No one speaks about the destructive force
of corporate power. The warring elites pit alternative
facts against alternative facts. All engage in demagoguery. We
will, I expect, be condemned to despotism by the venality of Trump and
the cowardice and dishonesty of the liberal class.
Yes, I agree
that "despotism" is a likely
consequence of (bolding added) "the
and dishonesty of the liberal class",
for I have been running into this cowardice and dishonesty in truly
massive forms in both Amsterdam and the
Amsterdam, where quasi- communists ruled with quasi social democrats,
all for their own financial and
career interests, and all
strong opponents of real science and of real truth,
for both real science and real truth were made impossible by political
especially - that ruled the quasi-communists and quasi
social democrats who ruled the University of Amsterdam with absolute
power from 1971 till 1995: It was totalitarian
sickness all these 25 years.
Then there is this on totalitarianism:
“Before they seize
establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements
conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the
needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer
imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the
never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human
beings and their expectations,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The
Origins of Totalitarianism.” “The force possessed by totalitarian
propaganda—before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to
prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome
quiet of an entirely imaginary world—lies in its ability to shut the
masses off from the real world.”
read quite a lot of Hannah Arendt, but
I was not much enlightened by it (and indeed bored by most, I
admit), though I suppose that the main reasons simply are that my
family was really leftist and in the real resistance,
Arendt was a Jewish intellectual who managed to escape Germamy before
she was arrested and gassed. And while I think she meant well,
I also think (and I am sorry, but that is what I think) she was neither
radical enough nor intelligent enough.
And indeed, I don't
quite agree with the ending of the above
quotation of Arendt, indeed simply because the fascists' "ability to shut the masses off from the real
world" was not due to the
excellency of the fascists' propaganda,
but to the average stupidity and ignorance of
great parts of the masses: If you can be taken in by fascist
propaganda, the least this means is that you are quite stupid and
ignorant or else very emotional and fanatic, and for most in the masses
is mostly the first. 
Among the consequences are these:
state, hostile or
indifferent to the plight of the citizens, has no emotional pull among
the public. It is often hated. Political candidates run not as
politicians but as celebrities. Campaigns eschew issues to make people
feel good about candidates and themselves. Ideas are irrelevant.
Emotional euphoria is paramount. The voter is only a prop in the
political theater. Politics is anti-politics. It is reality television.
Trump proved better at this game than his opponents. It is a game in
which fact and knowledge do not matter. Reality is what you create. We
were conditioned for a Trump.
except that I reject again the "We" and I also reject
the systematic non- mentioning of the root cause why Trumpian
propaganda works: Because the masses at which it is directed are mostly
stupid and ignorant.
There is considerably more in
the article, which is recommended because
it speaks the truth about Trump and his government, but it also seems
based on what I regard - after almost 50 years of running into
always the same - as a disregard or a denial of the main reason for
the success of the stupid and greedy and egoistic rightists: the stupidity and ignorance of
many of the leftists.
Prescriptions for an Ailing Body Politic
article is by Peter Coyote on AlterNet.  This
starts as follows:
In the daily
shotgun blasts of talking heads, who frame most issues into win-or-lose
dichotomies, it seems clear that as a nation we have failed to publicly
analyze some core problems with our version of democracy. The central
problem is that less than 50% of our citizens exercise their franchise
to vote. This silent protest about the futility of participating in
politics as they are currently organized and funded has a poisonous
corollary, allowing a dedicated minority to co-opt the political
process with slightly over 20% of the total possible vote.
and no, and I will only state my criticisms here:
percentages may not be wholly correct (e.g. some 55.5% of the Americans
voted in the presidential elections) but overall I agree that far fewer
of those entitled to vote do vote.
Second, I disagree
that "[t]he central
problem is that less than 50% of our citizens exercise their franchise
to vote": The central problem - in my view - is that
there are - both on the Left and the Right - far too
many people who may or may not vote but who are anyway marked by an
and a matching ignorance.
are the stupidity and the ignorance of at least half of the
Americans (namely the half with an IQ that is maximally 100 )
that allowed the few rich and their legal and their lying departments
"public relations") to take most of the power in the USA from the
hundreds of millions of the public and the voters.
Here is the first proposal of Coyote:
news should be non-profit subdivisions of their networks in return for
access to public airways.
Readers who did not mature
in the era of clear, useful, unadorned news reporting, delivered by
composed personalities like Huntley and Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow and
Walter Cronkite might be surprised to learn that there was once a
period in American television when the news hour was nearly universally
watched and trusted.
happen to be Dutch and
not American, and I also dislike propaganda, lies and stupidities so
much that I do not even have a TV since 1970 (for
nearly fifty years now!), which means that I cannot properly
judge this bit.
But I do make two
points: First, "the news in the USA" was probably a
lot better in the 1960ies. But second, this does not mean that
it was free from propaganda.
Then again, whatever the
real truth, it is also long ago, for since
the 1970s the news was replaced mostly by propaganda and
(that could replace the news again because many Americans were too stupid or too ignorant to see
In the 1970s and
‘80s those once sacred barriers eroded and collapsed. The unexpected
success of “60 Minutes” changed everything, most pertinently the nature
of American news broadcasts, which were transformed into entertainment
disguised as news. The public’s need to know was no longer relevant to
magazine-style reporting on dramatic events, scandals and closed-case
murders, that might be years old by broadcast time.
indeed - and besides
there were and are the enormous
amounts of lies, propaganda,
insults, degeneracies etc. that are spewed forth by the billions - mostly anonymous
- partakers in the a-social thieving and spying networks that are
Facebook, Twitter etc.:
today’s media landscape the networks are no longer the single source
for news. Cable TV, the internet, blogs, and assorted cranks churn out
reams of data, assertion and falsehoods to the degree that it is nearly
impossible to fight the tide of false information corrupting our public
dialogues. The "news" has simply become an issue of personal taste and
except that I once
more insist that people who are neither stupid nor ignorant (which
is, alas, a rather small minority) can find most of the
news - and this holds for Peter Coyote as well as for me (and
for everybody who is really intelligent).
There is also this, which unfortunately seems quite true to me:
One could make the
same argument about any number of issues from health care to industrial
waste. If we allow our airwaves and computers to be flooded with
propaganda and false information, we will be forced into subsidizing
the consequences of, say, our current president and the possibility
that his intemperate speech and distorted facts could produce a nuclear
And there is also this,
which is one of the first times I read this by somebody other
than myself (!!):
communications are the death of civility. It is so easy to hide behind
a fake name. When one remains unaccountable, and masked by
invisibility, civility dies. Why should people be allowed to bully,
cite unsourced information and offer opinions without a name?
and have a great distaste for anonymous opinions, that I mostly
acquired on Phoenix Rising, of which I was a member in the first five
months of 2010, and then left in very great distaste of the enormous
amounts of lies,
postures, and immoralities
I had seen from anonymous assholes.
Indeed, if the
people writing their lies and degeneracies
there, including the hunting away of some 5 quite intelligent
persons who tried to write the truth, and not because of
the truth, but because
the average idiot on Phoenix Rising - with (they
claim) headaches, enormous lack of energy, cognitive problems, and an
enormous lack of all scientific information - could not follow the arguments of the intelligent few,
would have printed their real names, then I could have hung
shame on my site.
But there is no defense
against the stupidities,
the lies, and the bullshit that
are spread by - it seems - billions of (anonymous) members of Facebook and other
thoroughly a-social media.
Then there is this:
2. Public funding
What’s good for
the goose is good for the gander. If objective news reporting
contributes to the health and well being of the body politic and should
therefore be supported by taxpayers, it follows that political
elections ought to be paid for by taxpayers as well. What could be more
critical to public policy than weaning candidates from the 1/10th of 1%
of the nation’s wealthiest people currently paying for the majority of
both Democratic and Republican electoral campaigns?
the initial argument needs an additional premiss (that I agree
with) to be valid, but let that be. Then again, it seems to me that almost
every Senator and almost every member of Congress has been bought by
the richest (both Republicans and Democrats), indeed since
quite a long time, and I think that considerably more is needed -
like an economical collapse - to wrest the power from the very rich,
who can corrupt almost everbody with their billions.
funding, regulation and law should ensure that once in office, senators
and members of Congress be prohibited from accepting gifts, tickets to
events, extravagant speaking fees, junkets and every other form of
scantily clad bribery. Serving the nation is public service, not a
headstart for one’s retirement.
this to make the point that it seems to me as if the present situation
(for all but a few) is that serving the nation is a service that
makes the servants quite rich, and that will remain
so as long as the
rich have most of the power.
end of gerrymandering.
Both Democrats and
Republicans have colluded to rig election districts to favor their own
party members from the same political spectrum. This protects
reelection for over 90% of incumbents— a reelection rate rivaled by the
Soviet Union and tin-pot African countries.
is a lot
more in the article than I quote (indeed under any of its points), but
roughly the same applies to this as to the previous point: As long as
most of the members of Congress and most of the Senators are - gladly
and proudly - being paid by the few very rich, gerrymandering will
Then there is this:
Prohibiting corporations from spending their treasure to influence
public policy for the benefit of their shareholders.
Any American employee of
a corporation is free to vote and contribute politically as they will.
Why, however, do we allow corporations (fictional humans) to dedicate
their vast resources to alter public policy to serve their
shareholders, often at the expense of sound public policy? It may be
consistent with their fiduciary responsibilities, but such policies
distort and pose very real dangers to public life.
basic answer to
the question this paragraph poses is the "neoliberal" aka neofascist
Milton Friedman's "The only moral responsibility a CEO has is to make a
profit", indeed also if the profit requires the destruction
of the rights to a basic income, good earnings, job security, payable
health insurance etc. etc. for the billions
who are not billionaires: If an
American CEO - these days, to be sure, and thanks to Bill Clinton and
Robert Rubin - can increase the profits of his firm by
transporting it to India and making 30% more profit, then he - now -
may do so (and should do so, according to Milton Friedman's
"moral norms", and fuck you for all moral
responsibilities that do not amount to profit).
Then there is this:
These ills have come to
pass sheltered beneath the umbrella of privatized elections. It is not
an exaggeration to assert that virtually the entire Congress has been
conscripted as a concierge to corporate interests. Ending this
disenfranchisement of the majority by federal funding of elections
should address many such myriad problems.
quite agree with the
statement that "it is not
an exaggeration to assert that virtually the entire Congress has been
conscripted as a concierge to corporate interests" - but then what is the use
of Congress for democratic government?
Well, there is hardly
any democratic government left in the USA, and
that is your answer, or so it seems to me. (There is some remaining on
the state level and in the judiciary, is also true.)
This is the last bit:
changes like these, I perceive little chance of any consequential
change for the better in our public life. Such changes will have to be
fueled by public demand, since I cannot imagine a scenario where the
political class will voluntarily remove their snouts from the feeding
agree and go one step
further: Until the next major economic collapse - of the size
of the collapse of 1929 - these "core changes" will (very probably)
not happen, simply because the rich have had forty years to
redesign "American democracy" into the present neofascistic
- they say: "neoliberal" - schema.
Incidentally, this article - which I think is quite good - is signed as
follows (so to speak):
is a Zen Buddhist priest, a writer, and an actor.
Coyote give up
anarchism? I discovered Coyote's existence only in April of 2017, in
the context of the San
Francisco Diggers, and have since learned that he indeed is a Zen
Buddhist priest, and an actor, who also described himself as an
anarchist, which I think were three roles that are very
difficult to play more or less honestly.
I should add that my
interest in the San Francisco Diggers and
Coyote diminished rather a lot when I learned that most of the
Diggers, including Coyote, were hooked on hard drugs, that I myself
have always rejected.
But I probably will return at least one more time to the
Diggers and to Coyote, although I do not know when this will be.
This article is by The
Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
There is alarming new evidence
that insect populations worldwide are in rapid decline. As Prof. Dave
Goulson of the University of Sussex, a co-author of a new insect
it, we are “on course for ecological Armageddon” because “if we
lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.”
The study, which tracked flying insects collected in nature
preserves across Germany, found that in just 25 years, the total
biomass of these insects declined by an astonishing 76 percent. The
reasons for the decline are not entirely clear — and only flying
insects were collected, so the fate of crawling insects, for example,
is not known — but the scientists suspect two main culprits: the use of
pesticides and a lack of habitat in surrounding farmland.
say! And I
must add that I have been expecting things like this ever since
1972, when I first read "The Limits
to Growth" and concluded - in 1972 - that the more species are
killed, the more species will be killed, because of the
interference in very many feedback chains.
to Growth and the results of all other environmental actions are
well caught in the following statistic, that is one of the most
depressing I know:
That is, none of all the actions I have seen nor any of
all of the arguments that I have read seems to have made any
difference to the tripling of the number of human beings in the 67
years that I have lived.
This is the
ending of this article:
But we cannot survive in a world
without insects, as they are critical for pollinating our food and
are themselves a food source for many fish, birds and reptiles. Insects
are also nature’s scavengers and soil aerators.
There are proven steps that could be taken now to help stem
this decline. Buffer zones of wildflowers and native plants around
single-crop fields can help, as can agricultural practices that respect
and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides. Our
planet’s rapidly disappearing forests, wetlands and grasslands need to
be preserved and restored wherever possible. More research is also
needed to better understand why, where and what insects are
disappearing and how they can be saved. But one thing is already clear:
The fate of the world’s insects is inseparable from our own.
fast to "we cannot survive
in a world
without insects" - but
we have killed 3 out of 4 flying insects. The "proven steps
that could be taken now" may help a little bit, but no more than all
the environmental actions and arguments I have read the last 50 years.
is dying, and it made the technologies and the poisons that are killing
it (and most other animals) - and it also will continue
to use these
technologies and poisons as long as these profit the few rich.
Imagine a World Without Neoliberals Privatizing Everything in Sight
article is by C.J. Polychroniou on AlterNet and originally on Truthout.
Noam Chomsky: There
is indeed a wave of social resistance, more significant than in the
recent past -- though I'd hesitate about calling it "unprecedented."
Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the fact that in the domain of policy
formation and implementation, the right is ascendant, in fact some of
its harshest and most destructive elements [are rising].
Nor should we overlook a
crucial fact that has been evident for some time: The figure in charge,
though often ridiculed, has succeeded brilliantly in his goal of
occupying media and public attention while mobilizing a very loyal
popular base -- and one with sinister features, sometimes smacking of
totalitarianism, including adoration of The Leader. That goes beyond
the core of loyal Trump supporters.... [A majority of Republicans] favor shutting down or at
least fining the press if it presents "biased" or "false news" -- terms
that mean information rejected by The Leader, so we learn from polls
showing that by overwhelming margins, Republicans not only believe
Trump far more than the hated mainstream media, but even far more than
their own media organ, the extreme right Fox news. And half of
Republicans would back postponing the 2020 election if Trump calls for
I say, for I did not
know all of this, that I abbreviate as saying that the majority of the
Republicans now are anti-democratic totalitarians.
Here is some more:
The ultra-right is
spearheaded by Steve Bannon, one of the most dangerous figures in the
shiver-inducing array that has come to the fore in recent years. It has
the huge financial support of the Mercer family, along with ample media
outreach through Breitbart news, talk radio and the rest of the toxic
bubble in which loyalists trap themselves.
I agree. And there is
this on the real policy of the Republicans:
Whether by design, or
simply inertia, the Republican wrecking ball has been following a
two-level strategy. Trump keeps the spotlight on himself with one act
after another, assuming (correctly) that yesterday's antics will be
swept aside by today's. And at the same time, often beneath the
radar, the "respectable" Republican establishment chips away at
government programs that might be of benefit to the general population,
but not to their constituency of extreme wealth and corporate
power. They are systematically pursuing what Financial
Times economic correspondent Martin Wolf calls "pluto-populism," a
doctrine that imposes "policies that benefit plutocrats, justified by
Yes indeed (although
I like to add that this "pluto-populism"
works because there are so many stupid and ignorant people
in the USA ).
And there is this by Robert
classic book Manias, Panics, and Crashes by the late
MIT economist Charles Kindleberger makes clear that, throughout the
history of capitalism, unregulated financial markets have persistently
produced instability and crises. The only deviation from this long-term
pattern occurred in the first 30 years after World War II, roughly from
1946-1975. The reason US and global financial markets were much more
stable over this 30-year period is that the markets were heavily
regulated then, through the Glass-Steagall regulatory system in the US,
and the Bretton Woods system globally. These regulatory systems were
enacted only in response to the disastrous Great Depression of the
1930s, which began with the 1929 Wall Street crash and which then
brought global capitalism to its knees.
I agree although I
like to add that a considerable part of the Bretton Woods system was due to John
Maynard Keynes, who was not at all a socialist.
There is much more in this
article, that is recommended.
Don't Need to Be a Shrink To Understand Trump's Mind
This article is by Michael Bader - "a psychologist and psychoanalyst"  - and it starts as follows:
that Donald Trump is mentally disturbed. His mental illness is hiding
in plain sight. Someone who can never admit a mistake or show remorse
or guilt is unbalanced. Someone who frequently brags and demeans others
is emotionally insecure and volatile. And someone who appears to lack
empathy invariably has something missing inside. No one has to go out
on a limb to know that these things are true.
yes and no: I
mostly agree with Bader, and this is also a quite good explanation
why Trump is insane, but
I should add here that (i) it seems to me that not "[e]verybody knows that Donald Trump is mentally
disturbed", and also that
(ii) the opinions on Trump's madness seem to be - mostly - divided
on party lines: For Republicans, Trump is almost ideal; for
non-Repblicans, Trump is incoherent, stupid, ignorant and also - quite
probably - mad.
Then again, since I am
also a psychologist, I did need only one
more or less reasonable exposition of the reasons that made many
psychologists and psychiatrists decide that Trump is insane, to
be convinced that they - very probably - are quite right. (And see March 14, 2016, if you are
Then there is this:
Instead, when I
say that “everybody knows” Trump is disturbed, I’m saying you don’t
need to be a trained psychiatrist or psychologist to believe that he is
riddled with extreme emotional conflicts that hamper his ability to be
a responsible leader. You just need some combination of common sense,
intuition and empathy. Most psychotherapists understand their clients
with just such tools. In this sense, analyzing Trump’s mind is almost
as easy for the lay person as for the so-called expert.
yes and no: I did
agree with the statement that "you don’t need to be a trained psychiatrist or psychologist
to believe that he is riddled with extreme emotional conflicts that
hamper his ability to be a responsible leader", but since I became convinced of that more than 1
1/2 years ago, while in those 1 1/2 years I have at most
one or two articles by journalists (of the more than hundred I view
every day) who agree with psychologists like myself or Bader, I
have become considerably more skeptical.
Either most journalists
don't read psychology or they don't understand
psychology or indeed they are lying and deceiving - although I also
agree with Bader that psychology is not physics or mathematics,
and should be mostly understandable, if explained, to most
Here are some of the reasons that mark Trump as a very odd man:
Given the huge
amount of information we have about Trump—his over 30,000 tweets,
biographies, long record of public life, frequent leaks about the inner
workings of the West Wing, etc.—certain common sense inferences about
his mental state are easy to make. For example, Trump seems
unable to tolerate guilt or remorse, refusing to ever admit a mistake
or failure. He never said anything sexist, his administration is never
chaotic, his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico scores a “10,”
and, naturally, he never said anything to insult a Gold Star widow or
give license to white supremacist groups after Charlottesville. Nothing
is ever his fault—ever.
I agree with that, but
not quite with the following:
picture of Trump’s psychology can be simply and readily drawn by any
observer. This is a man who cannot tolerate feelings of
inferiority, helplessness, shame and/or guilt and reflexively and
compulsively responds to any inkling of these feelings by exaggerated
public displays of their opposite. People don’t need to defer to
so-called “experts” to know this.
reason that I don't
quite agree with Bader is not that I disagree with him on
Trump's psychology, but that I think that his "any observer" in order to draw the inferences Bader (and I)
regard as fairly self-evident should not be just "any
observer" (trained in - say - determining butterflies, or doing
physics, or doing chemistry) but should be "any psychologically
I am sorry this is so,
but I have been reading too many journalists who
simply fail to see what Bader and I see effortlessly -
but indeed we also are both trained psychologists (who both saw
quite a few disturbed persons).
Here is the explanation
by Bader why he thinks Trump is insane. I agree
and indeed made the same judgement back in March of 2016. This
is as well the best explanation I have read, although I will
have some remarks:
I totally agree but
there also are at least four problems involved in the above procedure:
When I argue
that Trump’s psychopathology is hiding in plain sight and that it is
easily discerned using common sense, I mean to argue that, while having
the imprimatur of mental health professionals’ diagnostic skills is
useful, it is not necessary for understanding Trump’s emotional life. A
professional might use a diagnostic label such as narcissistic
personality disorder to describe him, but the label doesn’t add much to
the notion, easily seen by lay people, that Trump inflates his power
and importance to cover up a deep-seated sense of inferiority and
insecurity. In fact, this latter insight tells us more about what makes
Trump tick than the label does.
As far as
diagnostic labeling of Trump is concerned, the diagnosis most often
used to describe him—narcissistic personality disorder—is easy for a
lay person to apply. You need only to refer to the bible of psychiatric
diagnosis, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder,
or DSM, and look up the label that most seems to fit—in this case, the
narcissistic personality—and read the criteria. The fourth edition of
the DSM says that someone has this disorder if he or she meets five of
the following seven criteria:
- Has a grandiose
sense of self-importance
- Is preoccupied with
fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty
- Believes that he is
“special” and unique and can only be understood by other
special or high status people
- Requires excessive
- Has a sense of
- Is interpersonally
qualifies. You just check the boxes and you have yourself a diagnosis.
The DSM-IV tells you that Trump suffers from 301.81, narcissistic
personality disorder. No inferences or speculations are required.
first is that the DSMs - all of them, at least since the DSM-III of
1980 - are both quite expensive and difficult to find (unless perhaps
you are quite close to a good university library).
Thus I only saw
the DSM-III during my study of psychology (that
did not comprise clinical psychology, which might have made a
difference) when I was shown the privately owned copy that a friend of
professor of psychology) had bought for himself.
The second problem is
that a major reason why the DSMs - there have
been, since 1980, the DSM-III, the DSM-IV, and the DSM 5 - were
unpopular in Dutch psychology is that they simply disagreed about its
status: Most psychologists I met simply said that it was
in their view.
I agree, and in
fact I think psychiatry (as professed by the
DSMs) is not a real science but a pseudoscience.
If you want to share
my reasons, you have to read (at least) this: DSM-5:
Question 1 of "The six
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis". (It is interesting and well-written
but not easy.)
The third problem is
that while the diagnoses of the DSMs are (since
1980) mostly fairly clear (which is not at all the same as:
scientifically warranted, but let that be, here and now) I do think
that any confident use of these diagnoses does require some
And the fourth problem
is why I agree with the diagnosis if I
disagree with the DSMs. My main reasons for that decision is that I
think the diagnosis does apply to Trump, while I do not
need any agreement with psychiatry to see and say that it does.
Also, it happens to be the case - unfortunately, in my view, but this
is an aside - that the DSMs are by far the most widely used
instrument to decide who is or is not psychologically disturbed.
Then there is this, that I also agree with:
So what’s all the
fuss about this thing called the Goldwater Rule, the ethical principle
passed in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association, ratified later
by the American Psychological Association, that enjoins mental health
professionals from offering a professional opinion about public figures
they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained
consent to discuss their mental health in
public statements? A recent book, Duty to Warn,
persuasively argues that there is a higher ethical principle that
supersedes the Goldwater Rule—namely, therapists’ responsibility to
protect potential victims from the harm posed by someone suffering from
an obvious mental illness. Twenty six mental health professionals show
in detail how Trump’s psychiatric illness poses just such a threat to
the public, rendering as morally suspect any refusal to warn people
about the danger posed by his disorder.
indeed, and this is again
a good summary, but I should add all of this also applied in 1973
that the reason that this was not seen until now (for the most
that the real reasons for the Goldwater Rule were financial:
cost the psychiatrists nothing to keep their judgements for themselves,
and since most are more interested in their own incomes than in
abstract rights of their patients, most agreed to the Goldwater Rule.
This is from the end of the article:
professionals surely have a duty to warn and have access to an enormous
amount of information upon which to diagnose Trump. But the truth of
the matter is that lay people—all of us, in fact—do not need
specialized experts to tell us what we can plainly see.
I think this is
a quite good article, that is strongly recommended, although I
don't quite agree that "we" "do not need specialized experts to tell us what we can
plainly see": I think we
do, unfortunately indeed.
I have now been saying since
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
a communist" is quite meaningful: Communists, although the
whole Dutch Communist Party went into the Resistance on May 15, 1940,
in which many of its members acted quite heroically, and some 2000
Communists were murdered by the Nazis, did not get any
knighthoods since 1945.
Some did after the Dutch Communist Party was extinguished in
1991, but to the best of my knowledge my father was the only one to get
one before 1991, indeed in 1980, which is also the year he died.
I do not pretend to understand the reasons for either, though
it is possible my father got a knighthood for organizing and
designing much of the exhibition (which was quite good) without it
being known then he was a communist (although he was one since 1935,
and had been briefly in the highest regions of the Dutch CP, around
And again I am sorry, simply because this is
a fact, and what I am sorry for is that I do not know any other family
like mine. Then again, I do know of quite a few families, also in
Holland, some members of which did behave heroically in WW II. (But not
with a father, a mother, and a grandfather in the resistance, with a
father and a grandfather in concentration camps for resisting, and with
also two anarchist grandparents).
 In fact,
I recall both the day and the event, and in fact I was 7 (though nearly
It was on May 1, 1958, when my father unrolled the red flag to hang it
on the balcony, in order to commemorate the Day of Labor (which fell on
May 1). We then talked, also about the fact that very few did this
then, and that talk connected quite a few things for me that I had not
understood as well before.
I am stating the facts as I know them,
which includes the facts that (i) I do not know that the
politicians of the Dutch Labor Party were as corrupt as I say they
were, but (ii) this is the only rational explanation for very
many refusals I received from the City of Amsterdam to do anything
for me, in spite of the fact that I complained about being threatened
with murder, being kept for years out of sleep by enormous
noise, about their illegality, about their dealing not only in hashish
and marijuana but being arrested with 2 kilos of heroine and 1 kilo of
cocaine - absolutely nothing could move absolutely anyone
for the City or the law in Amsterdam to do anything whatsoever
whatever I said or wrote.
And I do know that the only way to get at the truth
drugscorrupted Holland is to arrest most politicians, and have them
tortured. I think this would deliver a lot of information, but I am
an opponent of torturing people (also if I detest them as much as I do
the politicians of the Dutch Labor Party).
They are ethical
both of my parents and three out of four of my grandparents were
genuine radicals, most for all their lives; they are intellectual
because both of my parents and all my grandparents very
probably had IQs over 130, as my brother and I do; and these
differences count simply because differences in beauty, in
in sports, and in singing also count, whereas these ethical and
intellectual differences are both more important and rarer than being
somewhat beatiful or running very fast.
 I am sorry, but I think this is
true and has been consistently neglected in everything that I
have read the last four years.
 There is more on Peter Coyote in
Nederlog here and here and here
 It is a fact that IQ are designed in such a way
that half of humanity has an IQ that is maximally 100, and half of
humanity has an IQ over 100. If you believe that the lower half is
intelligent or knowledgeable then you must have a considerably lower IQ
than I have.
Maybe I should - once again - explain why I am so much occupied with
stupidity and ignorance:
I codified my ethical standards in 1984 as follows:
Don't be MAD,
by which I meant: Don't be Mean, don't be Angry, don't be
Dishonest; don't be Stupid, don't be Ignorant, and don't be Negligent.
 This is merely to register that (i) I am a Dutch
psychologist but not a psycho-analyst, and that (ii) the combination
strikes me as a bit odd, but this may be due to my Dutch education.