Protocol precludes psychiatrists from expressing views on a person whom they have not consulted with. Here are some views that might throw some light on Donald Trump.
Erich Fromm was a distinguished psychoanalyst who wrote the kind of books we can follow in comfort. Here are some of his views.
The most dangerous result of narcissistic attachment is the distortion of judgment. The object of narcissistic attachment is thought to be valuable…not on the basis of an objective value judgment but because it is me or mine. Narcissistic value judgment is prejudiced and biased……
From Caligula and Nero to Stalin and Hitler we see their need to find believers, to transform reality so that it fits their narcissism, and to destroy all critics, is so intense and so desperate precisely because it is an attempt to prevent the outbreak of insanity. Paradoxically, the element of insanity in such leaders makes them also successful. It gives them that certainty and freedom from doubt which is so impressive to the average person.
(This is so true. It is as if their hero can fly – just like Icarus. You see it in lawyers. The most brash of them know no fear and they have invisible lines of attraction to clients of the same temperament.)
Concerning the pathology of group narcissism, the most obvious and frequent symptom, as in the case of individual narcissism, is a lack of objectivity and rational judgment. If one examines the judgment of the poor whites regarding blacks, or of the Nazis in regard to Jews, one can easily recognise the distorted character of their respective judgments. Little straws of truth are put together, but the whole which is thus formed consists of falsehoods and fabrications. If political actions are based on narcissistic self-glorifications, the lack of objectivity often leads to dis-astrous consequences.
Hannah Arendt was a political philosopher. She was fearfully bright. She wrote a book about totalitarianism.
It has always been true that the mob will greet deeds of violence with the admiring remark: ‘It may be mean but it is very clever.’ The disturbing factor in the success of totalitarianism is rather the true selflessness of its adherents…..the amazing fact is that neither is he [the follower] likely to waiver when the monster begins to devour its own children and not even if he becomes a victim of persecution himself….
The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rested largely on this genuine delight with which the former watched the latter destroy respectability…The object…was always to reveal official history as a joke, to demonstrate a sphere of secret influences of which the visible, traceable and known historical reality was only the outward façade erected explicitly to fool the people….the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition. Not Stalin’s and Hitler’s skill in the art of lying but the fact that they were able to organise the masses into a collective unit to back up their lies with impressive magnificence, exerted the fascination.
Practically speaking, the totalitarian ruler proceeds like a man who persistently insults another man until everybody knows that the latter is his enemy, so that he can, with some plausibility, go and kill him in self-defence. This certainly is a little crude, but it works – as everybody will know who has ever watched how certain successful careerists eliminate competitors.
This last is the most deadly. It is the response to Black Lives Matter of Trump and his tame followers in the press in this country. The sad truth is that people who go to extremes drive sensible people to do the same – in a reaction that they later blush for. I saw this in the early 80’s acting for Norm Gallagher and the BLF. They were so extreme that they drove judges to make remarks that they should not have made – like ‘What would your clients know about the reaction of reasonable people?’ – and they drove a state Labor government to enact a privative law that made Menzies’ bills on the Communist Party read like Psalm 23. On any view, Trump and his tamed props in Congress are extreme, and they are waiting on the Democrats to take the bait.
Wouldn’t that be deplorable?
The result is sadly nigh on inevitable – the triumph of the mob.