NYT Op-Ed Submission
A House that Trump Cannot Build
Most people have the sense that there’s something odd and out of joint when it comes to Donald Trump; but more than that, to a trained psychologists, he shows all the signs of being a sociopath. This is a mental disorder that baffles most onlookers because sociopaths display no clear sign of being mentally ill or “insane”—they wear what is called “a mask of sanity.” Outwardly they are often charming, personable, and charismatic—as well as bold and “cool under fire”—but, inwardly, they have a debilitating deficiency marked by: a) a lack of conscience, which does not allow them to morally govern their own behavior and causes them to disregard societal norms, laws, and restrictions; b) severe emotional impoverishment, which renders them unable to feel any depth of emotion such as love, empathy, pity, or remorse, and which only allows them to feel proto-emotions—“primitive responses to immediate needs”—such as anger and frustration; and c) extreme narcissism, which causes them to see people as objects and as having but one purpose—to serve their needs. Other sociopathic traits include pathological lying, an inflated sense of self-worth, impulsivity and risk-taking (with little concern for the consequences of their actions), proneness to boredom (with a very short attention span), indifference to the harm they inflicts on others, need for immediate satisfaction, and failure to admit error or take responsibility for their actions.
What allows a normal person to be supported and nourished and develop in a shared, connected, societal world—a conscience and a feeling nature—are wholly missing in the sociopath. This does not mean they cannot function in society—though many are unable to do this—it means that whatever they do, whatever they attain, it will never satisfy them, it will never fulfill them, it will never make them feel connected to other people or feel what it truly means to be a full human being. Thus they are forever on the outside, going through the motions of life—often quite convincingly—but never being truly alive.
One of the most disconcerting traits of the sociopath is their pathological lying. They lie like everyone else—perhaps to gain an advantage, manipulate, or cover-up a misdeed—and, as such, they are quite aware that they are lying. But at other times they lie without even knowing it; in their convoluted reasoning they often come to believe in a wholly fabricated reality, a reality constructed in a way to supports their worldview or what they think is “fair.” Then we come to an even more specific kind of sociopathic lying: they will lie even when they know they’re going to get caught in their lie. They will lie even when they have no reason to lie, when telling the truth might be more beneficial to them. (They lie in these situations because that's what they do, that gives them some sense of power, of putting one over you-which is more enjoyable and entertaining then just telling the truth; they have no conscience, no obligation whatsoever to telling the truth.) And an even more chilling type of lying is the “cold-blooded” lie where the sociopath is able to look you right in the face and lie, without flinching, when he knows that you know he’s lying. They're that brazen, that bold, that unconscience-able.
Now we might ask: If Donald Trump is indeed a sociopath does this mean he would make for a bad president? That depends on what you mean by “bad.” Unburdened by a conscience and lacking remorse he might be able to make bold decisions with relative ease, especially when human lives are at risk; and he is unlikely to be intimidated by anyone. Yet, due to his impulsive nature he might be too reactive, put too much emphasis on immediate results (over long-term strategies), and not fully consider the consequences of his actions. In addition, his emotional deficiency would impact his policies and decisions, all of which are likely to lack altruism, be void of compassion, disavow those in need, harm the environment, and be self-serving. (And if you believe that Donald Trump bombed a Syrian air base because he was moved by pictures of dying babies I’ve got some oceanfront property in Kansas you might be interested in.)
Furthermore, we might ask: If Donald Trump is a sociopath can he actually serve as president? That depends on what you mean by “serve.” A sociopath does not have the mental sufficiency to assume the true duties and responsibilities of the presidency; he views every critical task as a chore, as something he “cannot be bothered with.” He is able to act the part, appear presidential, and make rudimentary decisions (based on his existing store of knowledge) but he does not have the staying power, the long-range vision, or the mentality to deeply penetrate a complex issue—all capacities necessary to truly serve as president. To compensate for this lack President Trump must get other people to do the penetrating work of the presidency while he goes about looking presidential (and, seemingly, still campaigning for the presidency.) He must delegate this task to someone he can trust—and right now that appears to be Jared Kushner, whose only qualification is that he’s married to Ivanka Trump. Kushner is now the “eyes and ears” and will perhaps become the brains of the president (along with Ivanka). Others may be called in to help fill this vacancy but by all indications the presidential suite will remain unoccupied for the next four years.
We rarely hear about any this from the press because they don’t understand Donald Trump’s mental disorder—and this is an excusable error since most psychologists are not so clear about it either. The press is waiting for Trump to act like a normal person or to become presidential but this is never going to happen: sociopaths are unable to profit from experience, or learn from their mistakes—because in their mind they never make a mistake!—or develop, or become “normal.” With every seemingly presidential act reporters such as Van Jones and now Fareed Zakaria are quick to pronounce: “Today Donald Trump became president.” These oft-repeated pronouncements beg the question: How many times can Donald Trump truly become president?” Unfortunately, due to his sociopathic mindset, the answer is “zero.”
@realDonaldTrump 27 Mar 2017 The Democrats will make a deal
with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds - not long.
Do not worry, we are in very good shape!
Question: Trump just “lost big” over repealing and replacing Obamacare, and some reporters were impressed with how graciously he took to defeat. Is that how you see it?
Trump does not feel that he lost big; in his overall strategy he sees it as a victory: He made a campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare—whatever that means. Recall that a sociopath feels no obligation to keep a promise or his side of any agreement; but, as a ploy, Trump made a hollow show that he intended to keep his campaign promise. He tried. It seems as though he did whatever he could (at least in the final few days before the bill failed). So, this failure is not his fault. Now he’s in “very good shape” because he has a whole bunch of people he can blame, including the Democrats, none of whom supported the bill. (Have you ever heard anything like that before?—blaming an opposing party when they were in the minority?)
Trump did not care about passing this bill; he had no real investment in it. I mean, what did it do for him? He has zero interest in helping people. So that was never his motivation. And that is why when it failed it was no big deal to him. This failure may work to his advantage. He has more people to get back at, more people to prove wrong. So, now the strategy is to have Obamacare fail (and to do everything he can, behind the scenes, to make sure that happens). As mentioned in our previous discussion, Trump’s motivation has nothing to do with helping people; his primary, sociopathic motivation is to get back at Obama, to destroy everything Obama. Obamacare is still in place, so this is not over; it's only over when Trumps “wins,” when he can finally say, “I told you so”—but to whom? To the Democrats? To all those people who can no longer afford health care?
When Trump says he’s going to let Obamacare fail, does he ever consider all the people who will be harmed, the human toll? Of course not. The suffering of other people is NEVER a consideration for a sociopath. His only considerations are proving himself right, increasing his influence and power, and destroying his enemies.
Trump’s ominous Tweet suggests a few things: He intends to be a winner over the Democrats; he wants to prove his power; he wants for them to come crawling back to him; he wants to show them who’s boss. Classic sociopath. Trump predicts that it will be “not long” before Obamacare folds. This suggests that he is doing everything he can to make it fold, and soon. Perhaps he intends to change the rules for insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, doctors, and/or take some clear action to undermine and help Obamacare to fail---thus serving his own sociopathic agenda and harming millions of poor people. He ends his Tweet with “Do not worry, we are in good shape!” Who is he telling not to worry?—the 12% of the population who supported the Republican bill or someone else? The America people? Or some vague and impersonal notion of "his supporters"? Again, whenever a sociopath says “we” you should plug in “I” if you want to know what he is truly saying. Thus he is assuring everyone: “Do not worry, I am in good shape!”
Obamacare now appears to be on the back burner. He could not topple it by sheer force and intimidation. Now he must enact a new long-term strategy of attrition to try and destroy it. But, as mentioned, a sociopath cannot follow through on long-term projects, but his vindictiveness knows no such bounds. So, what’s next? What other part of Obama’s legacy can Trump destroy today? How about Obama's effort to help the planet and stem global warming? Okay, let’s win there. Let’s overturn that. That might be a lot easier to repeal than Obamacare.