I suspect that many readers of this blog also read Marcus Ranum over at stderr but just in case you don’t, I want to refer you to a post he made today that deals with something I too have been mulling over, and that is whether we are dealing with a president who is slowly, before our very eyes, showing signs of a cognitive degeneration and if so how best we should respond to it.
It is not recommended even for professionals in the field of mental health to make remote diagnoses of the cognitive state of people. It is hard to say when a person’s brain is malfunctioning because that would imply that we know what ‘normal’ brain functioning looks like. How do we distinguish between words and actions that are deliberately malevolent and those that are inadvertent, since all actions are the result of brain functions? This is the problem that confronts judges and juries when a defendant raises the insanity defense.
And of course, even if Trump has degenerative brain problem, it should not prevent us from harshly criticizing and mocking the actual policies he is setting in motion. But as Marcus says, it perhaps should make us more cautious about mocking his verbal misstatements. This is not easy to do since his actions are so hateful that one wants to throw the kitchen sink at him.
I do not listen to Donald Trump’s speeches or even his press conferences. The only glimpses I have of his speech are when short clips of them appear on the news or the comedy shows so the disturbing patterns that Marcus describes were not noticed by me.