Unpicking Donald Trump’s psychopathology helps explain the toxic reality facing America – Euronews View

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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Review of Jared Diamond’s ‘Upheaval’ – How countries seldom learn from their past

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…

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The chaos of Trump and Brexit shows that democracy is not simply majority rule

Anger at neoliberalism’s broken promises has morphed on both sides of the Atlantic into vilification of immigrants and, in the hands of Donald Trump, into an almost daily display of hatred towards the poor. In both the US and UK, political leaders have emerged to scapegoat minorities as the cause of society’s ills and legitimise their truncated vision of democracy as majority rule as the solution.

This article on Euronews Vision warns that when, as Oscar Wilde warned, democracy comes to mean the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people, the worst is yet to come.

 

We are only human – Ian Hughes ponders the limits of what we can know

The article below was written quite a few years back when I was working as an atomic physicist. It still rings true today…

ABRAHAM PAIS relates in his biography of Niels Bohr that the renowned Danish
physicist once claimed to a friend: “I have made a great discovery, a very great
discovery. All that philosophers have ever written is pure drivel!” Continue reading

Living Well at Others’ Expense Book Review

My review of Stephan Lessenich’s great new book ‘Living Well at Others’ Expense’ appears in the Irish Times today. It is an insightful and challenging book in which he argues convincingly that global inequality is not simply the fault of the richest 1%. Instead, today’s model of global capitalism means that we are all complicit. Read my review here.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

Originally released in fall 2017, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump was a runaway bestseller. Alarmed Americans and international onlookers wanted to know: What is wrong with him? With eight new essays (including one by Ian Hughes, author of Disordered Minds), this new edition covers the dangerous ramifications of Trump’s unnatural state. It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.  Continue reading