Trump, Derangement, and Trump Derangement

Donald Trump has reached the age of 70, raised a successful functional family, does not smoke, drink or have a substance abuse problem, and is a billiionaire [sic]. He has arguably met the criteria for stable function in the most cosmopolitan society = New York City. he [sic] has excelled at what he does. We should all have such a mental illness. it certainly is adaptive!

I’ve always seen Vox as a particularly malign influence on the world, because it has mastered the art of using faux-objectivity to push highly partisan views. This article exemplifies that: it brings in a psychiatrist from Yale SOM(!) to make a long series of reasonable-sounding statements that guide the reader to thinking that we should forcibly detain Trump for a mental health examination. The article’s cocktail of appeals to authority and progressive talking points guarantee that nonexpert readers will happily follow Lee to her conclusion.

Now, I’m a lowly fourth-year medical student at an institution with no particular claim to fame, so I’m not here to discuss diagnoses in psychiatry (my intended field) with anyone. Fortunately, we don’t need to talk about that. Simple common sense will suffice for this matter.

Lee begins the interview by arguing that Trump is entering a “mental health crisis,” as evidenced by “denying his own voice” on the Access Hollywood tapes, as well as the “sheer frequency of his Tweets,” including various “anti-Muslim videos.” She then calls for “an emergency evaluation [to] be done.”

To be clear, involuntary detention for emergency evaluation (a “Baker Act” in lay terms) can only be ordered for people likely to become injurious to themselves or others if not detained. For example, the relevant law for Washington D.C. states:

An accredited officer or agent of the Department of Mental Health of the District of Columbia, or an officer authorized to make arrests in the District of Columbia, or a physician or qualified psychologist of the person in question, who has reason to believe that a person is mentally ill and, because of the illness, is likely to injure himself or others if he is not immediately detained may, without a warrant, take the person into custody, transport him to a public or private hospital, or to the Department, and make application for his admission thereto for purposes of emergency observation and diagnosis. The application shall reveal the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody and the reasons therefor.

Being in a “mental health crisis” (whatever that even means), or “denying his own voice,” or high frequency tweeting, is thus irrelevant for the purposes of the law. Even less relevant is “laying a foundation for a violent culture,” or moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

And I will be blunt here: vis-a-vis psychiatry, it does not matter one iota what Trump says in a political context. Bolsonaro, Adityanath, and Duterte make Trump look quiet and genteel in comparison. That may be off-putting to Lee and Barclay, but the political world is a coarse and ugly place. Becoming coarser and uglier is a sign of adaptation, not pathology.

Lee seems to think that a foreign policy (possibly) leading to violence is enough to override such objections. This is odd, because I was not aware that involuntary detention laws, designed to deal with men announcing suicidal/homicidal intent or neglecting themselves into utter squalor, were actually applicable to geopolitical brinkmanship or foreign interventionism. Indeed, if we were to use the latter as criteria for detention, we could quite literally detain every single American president since at least 1945.

In her next response, Lee claims that

It would be hard to find a single psychiatrist, no matter of what political affiliation, who could confidently say Trump is not dangerous.

Since this cannot be proven or disproven, there’s nothing to say. What’s more interesting is what comes next.

I am sure there are some who feel unsure…and that is fine, since not everyone has devoted her 20-year career to studying, predicting, and preventing violence like I have.

This should be raising red flags in everyone’s mind. It wasn’t too long ago that “Dr. Death” made similar claims of his ability to predict future violence, often without even examining the patient, just as Lee has not examined Trump.

The psychiatric establishment considered his opinions little more than quackery. Paul Appelbaum, a University of Massachusetts psychiatry professor whose complaints ultimately led the APA to expel Grigson, complained that future behavior went well beyond what science can purport to know.

Psychiatry’s skill in predicting specific future behavior is unrelentingly poor. And it would be even worse when we realize that political expedience is muddying the waters of how we see Trump.

Indeed, Lee did not once raise the possibility that Trump may be acting how he acts for the sake of political advantage. This is odd, given that Trump has been a global media presence for decades, and he made a name for himself in the primary by being the man who rallies his base by doubling down instead of backing down. I would assume that “secondary gain” would be at the top of the proverbial differential for someone seeking to make sense of Trump’s actions, but it doesn’t seem to even enter Lee’s mind.

The remainder of the piece largely reiterates the first response and details the logistics of Lee’s future plans. The main item of interest is how many people are involved in this plot, and just how much groupthink is going on here.

It’s not surprising, given that psychiatry and the law are overwhelmingly Left-leaning professions, and political homogeneity engenders groupthink. But it has to stop, for our own interest if nothing else. Of all fields in medicine, psychiatry has always been treated with the most public suspicion. It does not help us if we take sides on viciously partisan issues with dubious (at best) legal or scientific backing for our actions. All that will happen is that we hemorrhage whatever good will the public previously had for us.



Apu and Political Narratives

There’s not really any way to spin this issue [ISIS] in favor of the Blue Tribe narrative. The Blue Tribe just has to grudgingly admit that maybe this is one of the few cases where their narrative breaks down. So their incentive is to try to minimize ISIS, to admit it exists and is bad and try to distract the conversation to other issues that support their chosen narrative more. That’s why you’ll never see the Blue Tribe gleefully cheering someone on as they call ISIS “savages”. It wouldn’t fit the script.

-Scott Alexander

I recently learned that Apu had come  into the limelight as a character considered “problematic.” All my readers know that I’m NOT a fan of social justice, and that I think it has nothing to offer in terms of Asian-American advancement. In fact, I see Asian involvement with social justice as analogous to feeding Churchill’s crocodile.

But this is one case where the Blue Tribe narrative has a point. Sure, I’ve seen people on the Red Tribe try to sink it. Their arguments go something like this.

This is a fair point. But the Blue Tribe’s riposte is stronger.

“There is a big difference between beating up on a fledgling immigrant community [remember that the Simpsons came out ~3 decades ago] and mocking a massive, established, century-old group [Italian-Americans] that is now barely even extant from the American whole.”

Or in SJW terms: “punching up vs. punching down.” For better or worse, this idea encompasses what humans intuitively understand about fair play and decency. And if you’ve been told incessantly to “do the accent” throughout your childhood (as I was), then it’s a no-brainer that you’ll go with the Blue Tribe. And I did, when I was a younger man. Compared to the Blue Tribe’s points, arguments like “X makes fun of everybody” look incomplete and facile at best, and downright malicious at worst.

Of course, I’m not a young man anymore. And I’ve seen where Blue Tribe logic leads: SJWS unironically telling you that mocking overweight, shy nerds is “punching up” solely because they are White guys. The logic around “punching up” (and “privilege”) quickly breaks down when confronted with real-world complexities, and that’s why we cannot use them as organizing principles for our lives.

What should we do then? Certainly, Apu is a case where the Blue Tribe has a point, but I’d rather not contribute to a world where we use “punching up” and “privilege” to determine our behavior, because the sequelae of that are worse than ten thousand Apus.

I made a similar point with regards to this.

When confronted with cases where the Blue Tribe has the home field advantage, the Red Tribe needs to get comfortable using the language of markets and capitalism. Would Apu be so troubling if The Simpsons came out in today’s balkanized media landscape? I doubt it. Then the plan forward is using the media market to resolve the matter, rather than using social (or worse, legal) coercion against comedians.

Will using this reasoning be a victory for the Red Tribe? No. Markets aren’t perfect. And furthermore, whether it’s global warming or The Simpsons, the issue still fits into a Blue Tribe world of oppressors and victims.

But when we posit a solution in the form of free markets, we demonstrate to people that we are here in good faith. Ignoring the issue (or mocking those who complain about it) means we hemorrhage whatever political capital we had, and we consign entire groups of people to being Blue Tribe footsoldiers.

The Rebel Statue Debate Masks a Conversation on American Nationalism

So for a while now, the Rebel Statue Debate has centered on the merits and demerits of the Rebel leaders and generals, and whether there’s anything that would distinguish them from people like Washington, Jefferson, Columbus, or Genghis Khan. Conservatives link the Rebels to the American pantheon, while Liberals draw lines between the two. Radicals want to burn everything down, Rebel or not.

As you no doubt expect, I’m sympathetic to the conservative argument. It’s obviously anachronistic to vilify 1860s slaveholders by 2010s standards. But it’s also anachronistic to use, as Gordon-Reed does, “building America” as a yardstick by which to judge people. Aside from being a nebulous, politicized term, why is that relevant in a time when people were loyal to local communities and states as opposed to a centralized, unitary government?

But this post is not about whether or not the Rebels were evil, and ultimately, that’s not what the Rebel Statue Debate is about. Aside from Buchanan’s article above, I think a recent article from Dreher, also found in The American Conservative, arrives close to the mark. Dreher, quoting Booth, presents:

those of you who think that a Confederate flag honors Southern heritage, or who think that Confederate monuments honor valiant men and are an important part of our history — you don’t get to decide what those symbols mean to our culture.

Note that culture is singular. This is key.

Booth sees one unified American culture, as a battleground that we fight over, one where the winner takes all. If the Left wins (as it has), then the Rebel Statues are bastions of hate, and Dixie should accept its idols being defaced and torn down. If the Right wins, then the Rebel Statues are reflections of glories past, and Blacks and Lefties have no grounds to call them hateful.

It’s an Voice vs. Exit problem, and Booth sees Voice as the only valid path forward. Under that assumption, his argument is absolutely correct.

But when Dreher is the loudest voice (so to speak) on the Right in support of Exit, I find it very curious that he presents, without critique, Booth’s argument based on Voice. Because Dreher doesn’t accept the premises of Voice for a minute. Dreher openly acknowledges that Christians lost the Culture War, but should retreat into cultural, ideological fortresses, which he calls the Benedict Option.

And I slowly realized that that’s what this debate comes down to. Along with the Religious Right, Dixie lost the Culture War. At this point, Dixie has zero chance of winning a grand Kulturkampf against Upper East Side culture brokers, and it does not even appear to be attempting that battle. So the question is, should Dixie have a Benedict Option?

(Don’t be fooled by polls that show a majority that favors the Rebel Statues staying up. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and right now, radicals are defacing and tearing down all kinds of statues-Rebel or otherwise-with utter impunity)

In the piece linked above, Buchanan writes:

We have condemned and renounced the scarlet sins of the men who made America and embraced diversity, inclusivity and equality….Our new America is to be a land where all races, tribes, creeds and cultures congregate, all are treated equally, and all move ever closer to an equality of results through the regular redistribution of opportunity, wealth and power…We are going to become “the first universal nation.”

In this video, Murray makes the point more forcefully (39:40):

So our politicians say, ‘What are British values’? Well, they’re about tolerance…and being nice…and being decent…and being diverse, of course. That’s necessarily wide, because you’re trying to encompass everyone you now have in your country, but it’s shallow….It answers none of the questions that we as people, as human beings, and as souls ask…The culture says nothing to you.

Five decades after the 1965 immigration act, we’ve got a panoply of incredibly disparate people from around the world. The only way to bring them together in a shared culture is to give that culture breadth, but not depth. Aside from Ed Sheeran songs and Cappucinos, the only way to generate that breadth is by using generic liberal politics as a substitute for a genuine, deep-seated culture.

Obviously, liberals find Dixie’s history and heritage particularly problematic, to use their parlance. And they find Exit in general problematic: they are even ambivalent on Leftist Exit. These two fact all but guarantee that the Left will assault Dixie’s heritage, seeking to defeat it and see the South subsumed into to the “first universal nation.”

The Rebel Statue Debate thus becomes a microcosm of a larger debate on nationalism vs. particularism, on Voice vs. Exit.

So why do I favor the Rebel Statues staying up? Because

  1. Liberal nationalism has a shaky foundation at best.
  2. Right now, we have no machinery for Exit built.

On Point 1: building a shared national story isn’t something you can do with a few years of progressive social media campaigns. It takes time and effort lasting decades. It requires shutting down cults of ethnicity rather than subsidizing them with tax dollars.

And it gets a lot harder, perhaps impossible, when you have large groups with innately different aggregate traits that you have to put together.

Not dissuaded yet? Now remember that not only are our groups saliently different from one another, but in the South, they’ve set themselves against each other for centuries.

I try to be optimistic, but I just see no way for the nationalist project to succeed in America, let alone the South.

On Point 2: to be honest, I’m not inherently bothered about Black communities tearing down statues and renaming streets of men they dislike. Indeed, a similar thing happened in Poland after the Great War.

The reason I oppose the Rebel Statue destruction now is that currently, Dixie has no options for Exit. It can’t build its own communities and be left in peace. Until that happens, it would be an unjust, indeed imperial, act to destroy Dixie’s statues.

How to Talk about Human Biodiversity

This is probably the most controversial topic around, but I’ve successfully managed to redpill multiple friends on the idea of human biodiversity (HBD). In coming years, new genetic evidence will likely vindicate most tenets of HBD, so I think it is time to start preparing ourselves to have that conversation.

I freely acknowledge that I have an inherent advantage in talking about this: I am a brown man, and society doesn’t police my crimethink as aggressively as it polices that of Whites. Nevertheless, I think the ideas here have some applicability to everyone who wants to talk about HBD.

1. Picking Your Targets

“It’s about sizing up your mark, lad. The way they walk, what they’re wearing. It’s a dead give-away”

-Brynjolf, TES V, Skyrim

I recommend you focus on Right-leaning people, particularly those who have a degree of interest in dissident right views like nationalism or paleolibertarianism (I lean towards the latter). That’s the easiest target.

Surprisingly, I think the next best targets for HBD conversations are heterodox Left-leaning people. These people lived in close ideological proximity to, but ultimately rejected, the SJW memeplex. That makes them more open to new information, and I think if phrased correctly, a fraction would be open to ideas about human biodiversity.

The worst possible targets are orthodox leftists. The SJW memeplex about how White privilege dooms the world is a self-reinforcing narrative that closes them off to new information. More bad targets include establishment conservatives. While they reject the SJW memeplex, they are studiously opposed to any thought of race…which makes our job very difficult.

2. Choosing a Line of Attack

It’s best if you stay away from hot-button topics like the innate Black-White IQ gap. As soon as people hear this, the majority will do what they’ve been propagandized to do, and will shut down.

I recommend you pick a kind of esoteric topic to start. For example, you can bring up Steve Sailer’s discussion on how cousin marriage impacts Iraq, makes it a society organized completely differently than ours, and makes Western democracy a non-starter there. Most (sane) people agree that the Iraq invasion was a bad idea, and they may be interested in explanations for why it failed.

Of course, the topics you can bring up will differ from society to society. In America, I could talk about how founder effects and subsequent selection created Indian castes and subcastes as we know them, and likely affected mental phenotypes as well. In India, I would be murdered for bringing up the topic.

3. Providing Solutions

“You kids joke about Viagra, but it was a big deal. It made it ok to talk about erectile dysfunction, it brought it out of the shadows. And that helped a lot of people.”

-Professor of Urology at my medical school

Humans don’t like being blackpilled (so to speak). If you want people to accept your points, you need to provide solutions alongside them.

They don’t have to be perfect solutions. For example, antipsychotics aren’t great at treating schizophrenics. But they work to a degree, and once typical antipsychotics were invented in the late 1950s, that made the deinstitutionalization movement of the next few decades possible.

One solution I would have for America is a shift to educational tracking and vocational schools, similar to what Germany does (though thanks to Diversity Inc, Germany may be moving away from this). We should emphasize that regardless of the IQs of groups or individuals, people can be productive contributors to society, even if things won’t end up perfectly equal in the end.

It’s not perfect, but as explained above, the solution doesn’t have to be perfect.