Despite the deep hole he’s in, Donald Trump could still win re-election, as we are constantly reminded. If he loses, some observers warn, there could be considerable trouble, even violent resistance. But perhaps the biggest problem facing us in the medium-to-long term is what happens if Trump loses. In particular, what do we do to undo Trumpism? Not just to counter the destruction Trump has wrought, but the decades-long preconditions that made his election possible, if not almost inevitable.
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To better understand the threat that Trump’s mental pathology poses, Random Lengths turned to Ian Hughes, a physicist, trained psychoanalyst and author of the 2018 book, Disordered Minds: How Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy, which describes how leaders with dangerous personality disorders — incapable of feeling the full range of normal human emotions — have repeatedly managed to build power bases largely comprised of similarly disordered supporters: Adolf Hitler’s Germany, Joseph Stalin’s Russia, Mao Zedong’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
This article appears on Random Lengths News. Continue reading here
This article was first published on Open Democracy Transformation.
Watching from Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the United States seems like a ‘Fall of the Soviet Union’ moment in history. The ‘Fall of America’ moment we are currently witnessing – with world-leading infection and mortality rates and a disastrous lack of federal leadership – is of a different nature. It can be understood, not as the end of a bad idea, but rather as the pyrrhic victory of a whole set of bad ideas long present in U.S. culture which have grown to define the country in the last few decades.
It is hard to look at this list of terrible ideas without seeing a nation in terminal decline. Looking on from Europe, Trumpism has revealed the U.S. as a place where such ideas never die, and his Presidency is a disaster because it is based on a coalition of people who passionately believe in them. Continue reading here.
In my review of Frank Dikotter’s new book How To Be A Dictator, I argue that history only makes sense if we understand the psychological pathology that underlies it, and our own propensity for partaking in such pathology. We need a clear-eyed understanding of history as a recurring series of monumental follies, led by cretins who duped or forced millions of us into humiliating childish submission. Only then can we hope to avoid the repetition. Read my review here
Raw Story spoke with Ian Hughes, Ph.D., author of “Disordered Minds,” which explores how a small proportion of people with dangerous personality disorders are responsible for most of the violence and greed that scars our world. He also contributed tto “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” edited by Bandy X. Lee. Read the interview on Raw Story here.
Two hypotheses – if true – would explain America’s alarming descent into bitter division and moral confusion.
The first hypothesis is that President Trump’s divisive behaviour is a result of a narcissistic disorder. There is plenty of evidence to support this hypothesis. Current estimates are that narcissistic personality disorder affects around 1% of the general population, meaning that there are over three million people in the United States with the disorder.
The second hypothesis is that this dangerous minority exercises a malign influence on society disproportionate to their numbers. If there is hope in our present situation, it lies in the fact that the current occupant of the White House is opening our eyes to the reality that individuals with dangerous personalities can plunge entire societies into division and moral confusion. Creating a collective understanding of this fundamental truth is the first essential step to recovery from the collective madness.
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With Donald Trump and Brexit mounting their daily assault on our senses, we could be forgiven for thinking that the world is having a nervous breakdown. Many readers will turn, therefore, to Jared Diamond’s new book Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change in the hope that it might ease our anxieties by showing us how countries have successfully navigated major upheavals in the past. Read my review in the Irish Times to see how reading Upheaval might even make your anxieties worse. Read here…