The Scariest Book I Have Ever Read

I have just read the scariest book ever, and you should, too. The book is organized/edited by Brandy X. Lee, M. D. She is Assistant Clinical professor in Law and Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. In it, The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump, twenty-seven psychiatrists and mental health experts give their assessment of President Trump’s mental instability.

The book answers the question is President Donald Trump crazy like a fox or is he actually crazy — like hazardously crazy. Unfortunately the overwhelming consensus of the book is that Mr. Trump exhibits an extremely sick, uncontrollable and dangerous personality. Before moving into the heart of the Trump mind, let me first say a little something about Trump supporters.

Many ask how is it that such a bizarre and threatening personality as the Donald manages to retain a powerfully loyal following? The Simple answer is that within every society there are significant numbers of folks who are haters and bigots at heart, lapping up fear mongering either overtly or covertly as a core part of their personality. Among this ilk some are even more dangerous than President Trump, but most simply lean slightly in that destructive direction, and thus manage to mask over their true disposition when in polite society.

And since it has been said that hate is the most powerful of unifying agents, it underscores why, when Trump brags that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5thavenue, or whatever, and never lose a single supporter, it is quite true. For instance when I was in Berlin around 2002, having completed a tour of World War One and Two battlefields in Belgium, France and Germany, the cab driver taking my wife and me to the airport for our return fight to the United States, out of the blue, volunteered that his father still firmly believed that Adolf Hitler had been a great leader. His father, I suppose, was an unrepentant Nazi.

This portends that no matter what disaster Trump manages to bring to the United States and the World, I think it safe to say that, because some identify so strongly with his dangerous brand of xenophobia, in fifty years, if anyone is still around then, a few will continue to have an undying faith in him as having been a great leader.

When attempting to comment upon a public figure, mental health professionals face a rat’s nest of diametrically opposed ethical strictures. If they go one on one with a person they are limited by doctor patient confidentiality rules. They are in this case forbidden to publically divulge anything they have learned of the subject as patient.

Then there are professional association rules saying that they are prohibited from coming up with technical diagnoses for those they have not directly interviewed. Also, of course, if the person of their concern happens be a public office holder, the matter gets further complicated as they have wondered onto the grounds of political quicksand.

On the other hand it has been determined that mental health persons have a civic obligation to the public and law enforcement agencies to warn and report someone who they consider a threat to society at large. Those involved with the writing herein reviewed have obviously determined that their obligation to warn and report trumps (ha ha) all countervailing restraints.

Now as to the specific nature of Trump’s mental abnormalities, while there are slightly differing explanations to describe Trump’s irregular mental state, what all these evaluations have in common is a determination that he’s an extremely dangerous man, an unhinged man that resides in a post demanding the utmost in mental steadiness and sound judgment.

Unfortunately it has been determined by some of the world’s leading mental health experts that having Donald J. Trump as president of the most powerful nation on earth is sort of like putting an arsonist in charge of fire safety in a dynamite factory. Indeed, where the smallest spark can set off a humanity ending WWIII, Trump’s volcanic personality amounts to a human flamethrower in this regard.

Mental heath researchers Dr. Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword for one thing have concluded that Trump fits a personality type called unbridled present hedonism. There are three main time biases — past, present and future to this concept. In Trump’s case, as they have determined that he functions in the present bias, he is therefore “far less, or not at all, influenced by either past experience or future considerations.” With this in mind it is not difficult for any well-read person to understand that Trump would be lacking the kind of knowledge base upon which to make sound decisions. And thus we see the basis for those sophisticated advisors that once surrounded him calling him such choice names as “moron” or “idiot,”

His extreme present hedonism is what teenagers are mostly about. Adults who continue this normal teenage syndrome are believed to have suffered a childhood trauma. In Trump’s situation it was most likely when the father he revered banished him to military school. “Without therapy, the ability to mature emotionally beyond the age of trauma is difficult to impossible.” This would be in line with those critics that heap abuse upon him as being such a baby.

The bottom line when it comes to his extreme present hedonism is, in addition to always searching out the next cheap thrill (often with prostitutes), he “will say or do anything at any time for the purpose of self-aggrandizement…” He will also “shield himself from previous (usually negative perceived) activities, with no thought of the future effect of his actions.” One might shudder to think of the Donald playing with the nuclear codes with this impulse in mind.

The book gives lots of practical examples of Trump and others afflicted with similar Trump type mental deficiencies, but I have no desire to undercut the author’s ability to sell of books by detailed elaboration.

Moving on, the book denotes how extreme present hedonism bleeds into dehumanization, lying, misogyny, paranoia, racism and a generally narcissistic personality, again with plenty of storied instance. For example when Trump lied to folks at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama that, “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down…And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” the next day on TV, up against Trump’s insistence that he saw it, George Stephanopoulos told him “the police said that didn’t happen.”

The book talks about Trump’s trust deficit, his sociopathic tendencies, his malignant narcissism and his love for brutal dictators — Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein and quite clearly his good pal Vladimir Putin. One rather unique example in the book of Kim Jong-un’s viciousness was where, “He executed one general with a firing squad of antiaircraft missiles at close range.” This was a guy Trump said he had fallen in love with.

Yes, the Donald does not hesitate to publically indicate what he is really about. You can bank on it that whatever terrible things he foists upon others, it’s really himself he is describing. But in the case of him complimenting murderous dictators. he is also telling us what he longs to be.

Talk about murderous dictators, “When attention is called to the resemblance between Hitler and Trump, it tends to elicit a veritable storm of objection.” While it’s true that almost as soon as Hitler came to power in 1933 he commenced a rein of murderous terror and Trump as of yet has not, this does not mean that they are not brothers at heart. Fact is that only by America’s much more powerful institutions of democracy (which Trump derides as the “deep state”) is Trump restrained from unleashing his own sadistic brand of dictatorial instincts.

And with that lovely thought I will conclude this old man’s book report. Please get a copy for yourselves, and, no, I have no connection with the author or her contributors nor do I get a cut of the action. But to digress entirely, I do get a cut of my book, Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis. Please check that one out, also, maybe as a gift for a Civil War buff friend or relative.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store