And they say, “Yes.”
By Samuel Warde
This is particularly significant, as the letter itself states, because of the 1973 Goldwater Rule.
Since 1973, the American Psychiatric Association and its members have abided by a principle commonly known as “the Goldwater Rule,” which prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions on someone they have not personally evaluated. The rule is so named because of its association with an incident that took place during the 1964 presidential election. During that election, Fact magazine published a survey in which they queried some 12,356 psychiatrists on whether candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater, the GOP nominee, was psychologically fit to be president. A total of 2,417 of those queried responded, with 1,189 saying that Goldwater was unfit to assume the presidency.
Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. and current president of the American Psychiatric Association, is quoted on the website as stating: “Simply put, breaking the Goldwater Rule is irresponsible, potentially stigmatizing, and definitely unethical.”
The Letter to the Editor
The letter to the editor is attributed by The New York Times to Lance Dodes, M.D., and Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D. who are described as follows: “Dr. Dodes is a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schachter is a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association.”
In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.
Is Trump a Narcissist?
In November 2015 Vanity Fair published an article questioning Trump’s mental health entitled: “Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!“
Calling Trump “very easy to diagnose,” psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan told Vanity Fair that Trump “will do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.”
In the field we use clusters of personality disorders. Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one’s own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.
Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They’re uncomfortable with their own limitations. It’s not that they’re cut out to lie, it’s just that they can’t handle what’s real.
Samuel Warde is a writer, social and political activist, and all-around troublemaker.