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Thursday, April 9, 2020


"Trump Derangement Syndrome"

Typically clever and sophisticated right-wing commentary.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing with real causes, behaviors, and perceptions. For more on the specifics, including how the term originated not for Trump but with George W. Bush, click here: ( LINK )  However, I feel like TDS is a lot like "Nazi", "facist", "libtard", or any other term sloppily applied to whatever target seems deserving of dismissive association to something generally considered bad. I have had arguments with people who have cavalierly tossed fascist around for anyone they didn't like, while having no clue as to what fascism actually means. ( LINK )  But, despite the term almost constantly misapplied today, fascism itself IS a real political ideology and real fascists have existed and still do.

I actually think this is pretty funny and not entirely detached from the truth. 

And just as with other pejoratives, I have seen both tribes launch their favorite catch-phrases at the other in their war over...................hmmmm, what IS the war over? I don't think it's land since we all occupy the same turf. And I don't think it's ideology, because when pressed the average person I talk to seems to have no great grasp of any particular personal ideology......other than just wanting to be able to live well, provide a better future for their children, and enjoy a fair share of contentment and reasonable amount of personal freedom. And just about everyone, regardless of their tribe color, seems to agree on that. So, what I believe it comes down to is simple tribal warfare. The blue warriors and red warriors are just fighting over the dictated ideologies of their tribal leaders and the anti-otherside propaganda fed to them by their tribe's primary news source. 

Maybe. At least certain news commentators would. But personally, I would be happy if he could just provide enough needed medical supplies for THIS crisis right now.

The problem with using "Trump Derangement Syndrome" as a dismissive tactic is that it reflects a kind of mutual derangement, a kind of 'derangement hypocrisy' in which each side accuses the other of being unhinged in some way. But there is a problem in dong this: by dismissing the person, you don't have to address their argument or accusation.  Or, if you do, it's only in the superficial reasoning of a child who when confronted with some misbehavior, retaliates with an accusation of his accuser's behavior rather than take responsibility for what he did. So this exchange:

Dad: "Son, I told you not to play ball in the house, and now you've broken a lamp!"

Son: "Yeah, but you said you were going to take me to the park and you didn't!"

....can be reduced to this:

Dad: "You are disobedient"

Son: "Yeah, but you are a liar."

Neither address the issues at hand which in this case are both actually true. The son did play ball in the house, and the father did break a promise. But when using derangement accusations, the problem worsens as there doesn't even need to be a discussion over the real issues at hand, because the argument has now been reduced to confronting not the issue but the accuser's inability to see the issue correctly. It would be as if the son in the previous example responded not with a counter-accusation but by telling the father that he is crazy, the window is not really broken, his irrational hatred towards his son only makes him think the window is broken. 'Don't believe what you see. Don't believe what you hear......believe what I tell you, or otherwise you might be deranged.'

A nice example of 'derangement hypocrisy' at work.

In a few of my past posts I have brought up certain issues, albeit coarsely, that have irritated me about Donald Trump. Each issue was something he actually said or did. None were hearsay or propaganda, even though there is certainly plenty of that around. No, these were direct actions....facts as it were.....(as if facts have any significance anymore). No one explained why the actions I found reprehensible were actually good things, but instead I was accused of TDS. Well, given my vehemence, I can see how I would be an easy target for such an accusation. But, as they say in the law, "truth is a defense".  If Trump was NOT a "Lying Shitbag" I would certainly be deranged to think he was. But his words and actions speak for themselves. As I've said before I don't need some right wing or left wing 'talking head' to do my thinking for me.

You can definitely toss religious leaders into that mix, George.

I also question the validity of substituting accusations of insanity for a serious debate on the issues at hand. Not only is this disingenuous on an intellectual level, but it is sullied by the mere fact that pro-Trumpers have delighted and bragged over the seeming success of the tactic of saying or doing things that drive the other side crazy. 

If your goal is to drive your opposition crazy rather than debate them, then how can you gloat over when they react? There truly is a grade-school meanness to this "I'm not touching you, is this bugging you? I'm not touching you"- style of conflict resolution.

I thought the whole point behind 'checks & balances' was for neither party to ever have to feel this that we as citizens never have to feel our president is out of control. 
ANY president from either party. When this system breaks down it is not irrational to be concerned.

Attacking sanity and ability to reason is muddy terrain for a tribe of idol-worshipers. I have posted this before, but take another look and tell me that the person or people behind this are sane:

Score one 'insanity point' for the Red Team.

In conclusion, while I recognize that TDS does exist and that there are definitely some for whom it accurately applies (I know one in particular that could well be the poster child for it.)  Becoming irate over statements and policies that violate not merely political ideologies, but the very essence of decency, is not the reaction of an unreasonable or deranged person. Rather it is the duty of someone who cares about our country, government, and people to call out such garbage for what it is. So don't evade the uncomfortable facts with Fox News catchphrases. If you disagree, state your case.....if you have one. Otherwise, unlike Cheech & Chong, I don't need to TASTE the dog shit to avoid stepping in it.

[ In an upcoming post I will be addressing a topic inspired by Tomy concerning the relative benefits and pitfalls of unity versus division. Spoiler: neither is always good. ]


  1. I agree with most of this. I would parse this out a bit, however: "I don't think it's land since we all occupy the same turf. And I don't think it's ideology, because when pressed the average person I talk to seems to have no great grasp of any particular personal ideology......other than just wanting to be able to live well, provide a better future for their children, and enjoy a fair share of contentment and reasonable amount of personal freedom. And just about everyone, regardless of their tribe color, seems to agree on that." First, I think for some it is about land, in an abstract sense. There is a whole "blood and soil" thing on the far right both here and in Europe, which defines what it means to be a member of the tribe as occupying a certain area of land or having blood of a certain ethnicity. There is another way of thinking that defines being an American, or thinking that being an American is something worth being, based on having a shared set of values like a commitment to democracy, to a republican form of government, to individual rights, etc. I do think that there is a really basic division among our current citizens between those who adhere to America as a spot on a map with a certain demographic history and those who see it as a set of abstract but meaningful norms. For me, this difference is really highlighted by, interestingly, two Republicans and their debate over how to address terrorism. You had Dick Cheney, who I think it is very fair to say believed in the ends justify the means and that we had to protect "the homeland" even if we did things to do that violated our best view of ourselves. McCain, on the other hand, insisted that torture was simply inconsistent with who we are. So. both were committed to protecting "America," but one saw that as a set of boundaries, and the other as a set of principles.

    As for commitment to living well and having a fair share of the good life, I think there is, again, a basic division between those who want those things for themselves and those who want things things for themselves AND for others.

    1. Sadly I must say very similar thoughts were actually poking me like taunting demons as I wrote what I did, and I must admit I intentionally repressed them so as to make a larger and perhaps more dramatic point about where I feel the divisions originate. But you are not wrong. Your last line is something that is probably true that I am probably irrationally hoping isn't.

  2. Also, regarding the tribes and their primary "news" source, it's become critically important to separate the news and entertainment divisions of the preferred news sources. I listen to several Sunday news programs, and even though I'm a Democrat, I actually think Chris Wallace on Fox does the best job of holding dodging and weaving political guests' respective feet to the fire, whether that guest is a D or an R. You have to separate out the true news guys at Fox from their morning program who are just paid Trump fluffers and the misfits who populate their evening entertainment segments. On the other side, I like Chris Cuomo on CNN, but Don Lemon is just the same old unbalanced shit over and over and over. I also think it is telling that CNN is now under fire from Pence for only showing portions of Trumps daily briefings. What is so telling is not that they cut Trump. They didn't. They continue to cover the Trump portion, but drop Pence and some of the experts, even though it's Trump who uses that platform as a campaign rally and spews dangerous and misleading positions and advice. In other words, the "liberals" at CNN have dropped the substantive experts but continue to cover the theatrical spectacle.

    1. This just goes to show that there are independent thinkers and tribalists everywhere. The thing is to differentiate one from the other and when listening to something use the old adage of "take it from where it comes".

      We have already discussed the trouble with news media which was eloquently predicted by Edward R. Murrow. When 'news' became commercial rather than a public service, the pandering for ratings took off like a sprinter from the starting line. I tend to prefer listening to the actual person, politician, etc. speak live or at least in entirety rather than rely on what sound byte a network or talking head wishes to focus on while ignoring other points. Context is critical. And as human beings I like to think we have maintained the ability through experience in being able to discern when someone is speaking insincerely. And if not, at least we have fact-checkers.

    2. Regarding news as a public service, I wish NPR had a TV version.

    3. I suppose, but even NPR has covered things in a way I did not always like. But I guess a lot depends on which "NPR" station one is listening to. Some are not as news-heavy as others.

  3. Here's the point, we don't even have the same information sources.
    A small sampling of mine would be:
    A) Ann Althouse blog
    B) The Intercept
    D) The Conservative Treehouse
    E) The Major "news" networks of which, at the current time(and 5 years ago I would not have said this) I think Fox News is by far the most 'balanced' in its coverage of the President
    F) Reason
    G) Various legal blogs
    H) Kotaku In Action subreddit

    And various youtubers , an example:

    Now here's the thing. I no longer trust the big news networks and hence I often have to double check everything they say, esp when it comes to the President. They lie alot. Sometimes a direct lie. Sometimes by leaving things out. Or, often 'newspapers' like the New York Times will lie with a headline: The headline will promise something that is either not provided in the story or that SOMETIMES THE STORY ITSELF contradicts. The blog "Ethics Alarms" has listed dozens of times this happened. Sometimes, I've caught them myself.

    There is no way to convince you (short of writing a book and you wouldn't read it so it would be a waste of time anyway) of why I voted for Trump and why I will do so again (though I will say the Democrats are not a choice the past two elections) but it isn't because I think he never lies or agree with ALL his policies or anything like that. We just live in different information worlds: I don't rely on soundbites from the big 3 or 4 plus a few headlines from the 3 or 4 national papers of record (Post, Times, LA paper one or two others) to get my news. No, I don't live in the same information world as you and I think you are massively mislead about a great many things (not all to do with Trump.) Nope, I'm not a climate change skeptic or denier, No, I'm not an antivaxer, no I've never been a fan of Alex Jones. But what I will never forget is that one side decided to call me and mine Nazi's , deploreables, racists, and a whole slew of other slurs for exercising our right to vote in a purported Democracy. And you've never apologized for that, nor made your party apologize for that. I wish it was otherwise, but I consider major parts of the Democratic party to be my ENEMIES. And there is no bridging that divide.

    1. Welcome, Clarence. I don't believe I've heard from you before. before responding in any depth I do want to ask to whom your comment is addressed? It reads as if you are responding to Dan, but it is not placed as a response to him. Kindly let me know and if the comment is intended as a response to my post or his comments and I will write back accordingly. Thanks.

    2. I would suggest you go back and look at KD's post from a couple of weeks ago, with it's very long list of insults, some blatantly racist, thrown at Obama and Obama voters. Then, cry me a river about being called deplorable, which for the record Hillary said applied to *some* Trump voters, yet so many of you seem to just naturally assume it was directed at you. Why is that? For the record I have good friends who voted for Trump, and we can have a great time arguing about politics over a beer and have an honest exchange of views on policy. But, none of them even try to defend what Trump has done to diminish the office of the presidency or to defend who he is as a person. I actually totally understand people who think he is right on certain policies, including things like fundamentally resetting our economic relationship with China. I agree with him on that, even if I think tariffs are a particularly dumb way to deal with it. What I don't have any respect for, however, are the people who claimed to be conservatives before Trump and had one set of supposed beliefs, and now believe the exact opposite because those things are what Trump believes. And, by the way, I have the same contempt for the lunatic fringe of the "progressive" movement as I have for the MAGA hat wearing wing of the Trump base.

      What I have a problem with is this "You called me nasty names" bullshit coming from people who spent two presidential terms calling Obama nasty names and devoting months and months of Congressional investigatory time and millions of taxpayer dollars "investigating" things like Benghazi and calling Clinton complicit in murders. I'm perfectly happy to have a debate with you about the issues that you say you absorb from your alternative information sources. I read from a wide range of sources myself, from left to right, and with my favorite being The Economist, which is about as balanced a news source as one can hope to find and, is actually considered "conservative" by British political standards. But, given the level of attacks that your side leveled at Obama and Hillary for the entirety of the Obama presidency, and that you proudly elected a birther who's made dog whistling on race an art form and who cannot go a day without posting a juvenile tweet calling an opponent a nasty name, I have zero sympathy for the whiny ass "you all owe me a personal apology" crap. In fact, it's pretty ironic that your argument that "you guys," i.e. everyone who didn't vote for Trump, owe "you and yours" an apology for things we never said and did, sounds almost exactly like the insistences of the social justice warriors calling for reparations, group apologies, for racial injustices committed by others 150 years ago.

    3. Dan: Do you think perhaps there's such a thing as "tribal-vision" that only allows each "tribe" to see things as either all red or all blue? It's like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park whose vision is based on movement. LOL Stand still and you're invisible. For this crowd, unless you have a viewpoint that is either all red or all blue, you can't be recognized. You become something that has to be either "us" or "them". I mean, how many times have we gone through explaining this?

      Redster: "You just criticized Trump, so you must be one of those woke, Democrats who voted for Hilary!"

      Me: "No. Not a Democrat, and I didn't vote for her. Haven't voted for a Democrat presidential candidate in decades. Also I think extreme PC culture and "wokeness" is nonsense. But, Trump IS indeed an incompetent, narcissistic, unread, inarticulate, Lying Shitbag."

      Redster: "You.... hate ....Trump......but you didn't vote for .....Hilary.....>gears whirring< have..... liberal views, but you also have...... conservative ones..........>head twitches< does not compute. It ....does..... not ........compute......>smoke billows from ears< .....Norman, coordinate."

    4. Exactly. The big question for guys like you and me is, what do you do in a two-tribal system when you don't want to do the initiation ritual for either one of them? Why can't a third tribe emerge for those who aren't Bible-thumping immigrant haters but who also want to tell the PC cry babies to leave their safe zones and "man up"? It's not like the big L Libertarians are an alternative with their extreme platform positions like jury service is involuntary servitude banned by the 13th Amendment. Why can't their be a party for people who are too economically prudent for the Democrats and think we really do need a few controls on immigration, but who are too live-and-let-live and inclusive for the current iteration of the Republican party.

      And, btw, if she were 20 years younger I'd still want to sleep with Hillary.

    5. Dan: The lack of a moderate third party is indeed worrisome. As you know, I tried the small "L" libertarian route only to feel let down there too. It is quite possible that this is all beyond repair.

      (I saw your deleted comment and thought it interesting. Why did you delete it?)

  4. Fascinating discussion to which I have nothing to add. But a most worthy read.

    1. Thanks, Tomy. I will be addressing the issue you inspired this upcoming week.