Feb. 15th, 2017

Your reaction may be, "What! You have to ask?" but the Wall Street Journal printed a "Notable and Quotable" item by law professor and noted enemy of freedom of speech Eric Posner on the subject. Posner's first point is that Trump has run a business for decades without destroying it, and won the presidential election by disregarding the advice of many experienced, intelligent people; mentally unstable people do not do these things.

My reply is that howling mad people do not do these things, but hypomanic, paranoid, narcissistic, or otherwise messed up people sometimes do. There are plenty of historical examples. Oh, and keep Trump's business bankruptcies in mind along with his successes.

Secondly, Posner writes, "[Andrew] Sullivan thinks Trump is mentally unstable because Trump constantly tells easily verifiable lies. While Trump's mendaciousness is truly a Mount Everest or Grand Canyon of human psychology, it is not hard to understand. Many, many people exaggerate their accomplishments, blame their failures on others, and misrepresent reality in order to make themselves look better. This behavior is ubiquitous -- sometimes intentional, more often subconscious. In ordinary life, we tolerate it, mutely or not, hoping that we are not as bad as the person whose lies we are listening to."

This isn't entirely wrong either, but I reply that just because many people are guilty of a fault to some degree does not mean that we cannot call a man who displays an extreme degree of that fault mentally unstable and grossly unfit for public office. One can debate what, if anything, qualifies as mental illness, but there are, at the least, extreme degrees of jackassery and refusal to accept any reality contrary to one's wishes. Trump's ability to contradict what he himself said a short time before, without admitting a change of mind, and to maintain what he said despite facts to the contrary, shows a degree of instability.

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