The Progressives’ current dream — declaring Trump crazy and therefore unfit for office under the 25th Amendment — is a scary replay of a Soviet nightmare.
The latest Progressive idea for destroying Donald Trump is rely on the 25th Amendment. That’s the one that authorizing removing a president from office because he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Because Progressives do not like the way in which Trump is governing (I beg to differ), they’re trying to conflate that dislike with his being constitutionally unfit to serve.
The problem for the Progressives is that the American people are not getting on that bandwagon. Indeed, while they’re not always thrilled with Trump’s habit of seemingly saying whatever he thinks, they’re on board with his policies and plans. An even greater problem, as I’ll explain below, is that the Progressives are lapsing into dangerous political behavior last ascendant in the former Soviet Bloc.
The American people do not believe that a president is manifestly unfit to serve when he declares that he’s going to use his executive authority to build a border wall that Congress mandated in 2006. Since that time, the American people have seen how well Israel’s fence worked, not to keep people trapped inside a prison nation a la the Berlin Wall, but to keep bad people outside of a democratic nation. They’ve also seen the bad effects that uncontrolled immigration has had in Europe. And of course, here at home, many Americans are not thrilled when people who have no permission to be here in the first place get welfare, take jobs, fill up academic slots, weigh down the healthcare system, commit crimes, and cause accidents. Building a wall does not prove you’re unfit.
The American people do not believe that freezing federal wages and slowing hiring is a sign that the president is unfit to lead. They’ve noticed that the burgeoning federal bureaucracy, rather than improving their lives, has come to the point at which it’s a serious drag on economic growth and a threat to individual liberty. They’ve also noticed that federal employees, who are theoretically the people’s servants, have wages and benefits far in excess of those the taxpayers — their employers — often receive. Americans aren’t mad at most individual government employees — only those waging war on a democratically elected government– but they understand that the madness needs to stop.
The American people do not believe that taking a hard line with Iran is a sign that the president is unfit to lead. They did not like it when Obama conducted secret negotiations with Iran as a prelude to giving it billions of dollars to pursue its nuclear dreams. Obama’s promises to the country, they saw that giving in to Iran’s demands did not make it a nicer country desiring only harmony with the world’s nations. Instead, it doubled down on its verbal attacks against Israel and America and escalated its work on a specific type of nuclear missile to which Obama gave the green light — one capable of reaching Israel. Obama’s only demand was “don’t make one that hits Europe.”
The American people do not believe that realigning America with Israel is a problem. They like Israel. They respect the brave little democracy that stays true to its humanist ideals in the middle of a sink hole of Dark Ages ideology. They think a country that supports all people, regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, etc., is a better deal than those surrounding nations that have hatred written into their religion and their laws (but I repeat myself), so that they routinely brutalize women, execute gays, violently persecute all religions but their own, and have an unfortunate habit of producing terrorists who target the West. Americans were not happy when Obama’s last major act as president was to betray Israel at the UN.
The American people do not believe that the Supreme Court exists as a super-legislature, one that can pass or destroy laws without regard to either the constitution or voting constituents. They’re beginning to figure out that the Founders where right (of course) when they gave the legislatures, which are directly answerable to the voters, the right to enact laws, while reserving for federal courts, which do not directly answer to the people, the very limited right to determine whether those laws are constitutional or not, according to the Constitution as actually written. That’s why the American people were not outraged when Trump referred to “so-called” judges who encroach on the executive’s constitutional sphere without even bothering to cite to relevant statutes or to the constitution, and without any knowledge of the national security issues driving the policy. These aren’t judges; they’re activists in black robes — Trump gets it and so do the people. Neither are crazy.
The American people do not believe that a president is guilty of violating the First Amendment when he calls the media on its gross prejudice and dishonesty. They understand that violating the First Amendment involves things such as federal police storming media outlets, arresting reporters and their families, or (as is too common in Russia) killing reporters. It’s things like that which violate the First Amendment. The American people, having watched the American media foam at the mouth, hallucinate, and general compete with used-car salesmen and Congress for trustworthiness, think its a good thing when the President, who gives the media almost unlimited access to him, scolds them openly for lying about and slandering the presidency and his administration, which means the American people cannot rely upon them to be a true political watchdog.
The American people do not believe that a president cannot function in office when he says loudly and clearly that domestic and international Islam have a terrorism problem — and that they have an assimilation problem that sees them being very bad citizens indeed. From Pope Francis on down, the Left can say that there’s no connection between Islam and terrorism, but ordinary people know better. They fully understand that, while not all or even most Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists of late have been Muslims — and, moreover, Muslims who cite to chapter and verse in the Koran to justify their actions. They’re pretty sure it’s not only not crazy, but is in fact very sane to take steps to protect American people from an unstoppable influx of Muslims coming into America from the most terror-prone lands.
The American people do not believe that a president is insane when he notes that computer climate models are consistently wrong; that the so-called scientists promulgating these models need to rely upon fake data; that the green movement is corrupt; that European “green” initiatives (such as this, out of Germany) are proving disastrous, especially for people on middle- and lower-incomes; that the Obama administration wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on green cronies; and that the in-your-face activists and energy hogging celebrities such as alBore and Leo DiCaprio are all hypocrites. (This is my favorite post about the massive climate change scam.) Trump’s not crazy; he’s sensible.
Of course, from the Progressive viewpoint, it’s terrifying that all these stupid Americans in flyover country will not get with the program and accept what their betters in Blue enclaves believe:
It’s no coincidence that the most vocal outcry against President Trump’s measures have come from urban elites and the corporations that cater to them. It’s easy to spot the class divides in the scoffing at Andrew Puzder, CEO of the company behind Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, getting a cabinet position instead of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg who had been tipped for Treasury Secretary by Hillary.
If you live in the world of Facebook, Lyft, Netflix and Airbnb, crowding into airports shouting, “No Borders, No Nations, Stop The Deportations” makes sense. You don’t live in a country. You live in one of a number of interchangeable megacities or their bedroom communities. Patriotism is a foreign concept. You have no more attachment to America than you do to Friendster or MySpace. The nation state is an outdated system of social organization that is being replaced by more efficient systems of global governance. The only reason anyone would cling to nations or borders is racism.
The demographic most opposed to President Trump is not a racial minority, but a cultural elite.
This isn’t a revolution. The revolutions happened in June in the UK and in November in the US. Brexit and Trump were revolutions. The protests against them are a reaction.
They may have lost the November 2016 revolution, but these elites are not ready to surrender. Progressives began with aimless bleats about “impeachment” but (other than Sally Kohn) figured out this was a non-starter because Trump had not done anything impeachable. The obvious next step was to play the Hitler card, but that failed when Trump refused to act like Hitler. Next they tried the street protests card, but that fell apart with one too many vagina costumes and those scary jack-booted thugs swinging billy clubs. From there, the Progressives played the “Trump’s chaotic presidency” card, but that failed when it became apparent that Trump was rolling along very nicely, thank you; it was the Democrats creating the chaos with their cabinet slow-marches, their pretty-in-pink street marches, and their endless false news.
The Progressives have still another card in their deck, though, and it’s one that I find scary for historical reasons. Their latest line of attack is that, if the American people won’t reject the policies, the Progressives must make them reject the man. To that end, Progressives in the news media, in social media, and in the entertainment biz are arguing that Trump is clinically insane and that the only way to save this country is to use the 25th Amendment against him.
The following are just a handful of examples, ranging from wackadoodle Oregon Congress critters, to taxpayer-funded NPR (which is on Trump’s chopping block), to new media, to rabidly partisan psychiatric professionals who really ought to be stripped of their licenses:
As the last photo montage shows, while “Journolist” may be gone, the marching orders linger on. As an aside, it’s worth noting that Barack Obama also meets perfectly the criteria for malignant narcissist. A lot of people in leadership positions do. What matters is whether their malignancies stop short of murderous tyranny and whether they’re doing things you like or dislike.
Snarky asides, however, fail to address the real, and deeply troubling political behavior Progressives are displaying. If you’re a person of a certain age — by which I mean someone politically sentient before the Soviet Union’s fall — what’s happening here should be familiar and frightening: True to their socialist roots, America’s Progressive elites, and the downstream victim classes who have become dependent on their political largesse, are mimicking the Soviet practice of using psychiatric diagnoses for political advantage.
Wikipedia may be purging conservativism from its pages as fast as it can, but it hasn’t yet removed materials that criticize the old Soviet Union. That’s why I can offer you this nice Wikipedia summary of the very practice American Progressives are trying to resurrect here, with the profound irony that they’re using our Constitution to try to carry out their socialist political coup:
During the leadership of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, psychiatry was used to disable and remove from society political opponents (“dissidents”) who openly expressed beliefs that contradicted the official dogma. The term “philosophical intoxication”, for instance, was widely applied to the mental disorders diagnosed when people disagreed with the country’s Communist leaders and, by referring to the writings of the Founding Fathers of Marxism–Leninism—Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin—made them the target of criticism.
The “anti-Soviet” political behavior of some individuals — being outspoken in their opposition to the authorities, demonstrating for reform, and writing critical books — were defined simultaneously as criminal acts (e.g., a violation of Articles 70 or 190-1), symptoms of mental illness (e.g., “delusion of reformism”), and susceptible to a ready-made diagnosis (e.g., “sluggish schizophrenia“). Within the boundaries of the diagnostic category, the symptoms of pessimism, poor social adaptation and conflict with authorities were themselves sufficient for a formal diagnosis of “sluggish schizophrenia.”
The psychiatric incarceration of certain individuals was prompted by their attempts to emigrate, to distribute or possess prohibited documents or books, to participate in civil rights protests and demonstrations, and become involved in forbidden religious activities. The religious beliefs of prisoners, including those of well-educated former atheists who had become adherents of a religious faith, was considered to be a form of mental illness that required treatment. The KGB routinely sent dissenters to psychiatrists for diagnosing to avoid embarrassing publiс trials and to discredit dissidence as the product of ill minds. Highly classified government documents which have become available after the dissolution of the Soviet Union confirm that the authorities consciously used psychiatry as a tool to suppress dissent.
Psychiatry possesses an inherent capacity for abuse that is greater than in other areas of medicine. The diagnosis of mental disease can give the state license to detain persons against their will and insist upon therapy both in the interest of the detainee and in the broader interests of society. In addition, receiving a psychiatric diagnosis can in itself be regarded as oppressive. In a monolithic state, psychiatry can be used to bypass standard legal procedures for establishing guilt or innocence and allow political incarceration without the ordinary odium attaching to such political trials.
In the Soviet Union dissidents were often confined in the so-called psikhushka, or psychiatric wards. Psikhushka is the Russian ironic diminutive for “mental hospital”. One of the first psikhushkas was the Psychiatric Prison Hospital in the city of Kazan. In 1939 it was transferred to the control of the NKVD (the secret police and precursor of the KGB) on the orders of Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the NKVD. International human rights defenders such as Walter Reich have long recorded the methods by which Soviet psychiatrists in Psikhushka hospitals diagnosed schizophrenia in political dissenters. Western scholars examined no aspect of Soviet psychiatry as thoroughly as its involvement in the social control of political dissenters.
I want augment the paragraph, above, that begins “Psychiatry possesses an inherent capacity for abuse….” The Wikipedia article ties that into the fact that the state gives psychiatrists so much power. What the Wikipedia article does not mention is how fluid psychiatric diagnoses can be. A broken bone is a broken bone, but one psychiatrist’s histrionic personality disorder is another psychiatrist’s maladaptive neurotic response to external stimuli. Subject to a few very obvious problems, such as florid schizophrenia, psychiatry is the most subjective discipline in medicine.
Additionally, too many psychiatrists, even the ones who think themselves apolitical, tend to view every behavior in pathological terms. That’s why we suddenly have psychiatrists pretending that binary gender no longer exists and that gender is fluid, rather than acknowledging that a specific mental health issue manifests itself as gender confusion or unhappiness. If people with the mental health issue are functioning well, then it’s nobody’s problem but their own. Having a vocal segment of the American psychiatric community pretend, though, that scientific reality no longer exists puts the entire profession in disrepute.
We ordinary citizens understand that Trump is mentally sound and is blessed with the high-functioning manipulative and persuasive skills that Scott Adams began highlighting during the primary season. We also appreciate (or sometimes are put off by) the fact that his mental good health is paired with an external package that is dramatic, self-referential, and often speaks in an elliptical shorthand that is easy for self-styled intellectuals to mock. In this, we differ from the biased Progressive psychiatrist who, in true Soviet style, concludes that Trump’s perfectly reasonably political views are symptomatic of a psychiatric disorder so severe it triggers the 25th Amendment.
While it’s unlikely that Trump will end up in a psikhushka (political mental hospital), the Progressives are certain that if they bang the “he’s crazy” gong loudly enough (and they do have volume on their side), ordinary people will begin to get nervous that a crazy man’s index finger is so near the nuclear button. Indeed, they may get so nervous that, to be on the safe side, they too begin to agitate for a 25th Amendment review that will remove the “crazy” man from office and replace him with the sane, calm Mike Pence.
I happen to like Mike Pence a great deal and think very highly of him. I wouldn’t have a problem with him sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office one day. But I also think very highly of Donald Trump. Indeed, I think more highly of him with every passing day.
It takes Trump’s king-sized brass balls to give that glorious lecture to a media that has gone too far. It takes his serpentine, manipulative, persuasive mind to rejigger stagnant national and international chess boards, creating new opportunities to solve old problems. Lastly, I think that there’s an advantage to having a perceived crazy man in the White House.
During the Bush administration, when the elites and Europeans were whimpering fearfully about “cowboy” Bush and that red atomic button (not to be confused with Hillary’s groveling Russian “reset” button), I thought that keeping our enemies off-balance and a bit nervous was a good thing. I think so now too and I’m not alone. Sarah Hoyt made much the same point yesterday.
Pence’s placid calm may not be what we need to remedy a crazy world. A crazy world might just demand a somewhat crazy person, but one who nevertheless pursues a strong vision of sanity, peace, and freedom.