(Blog author note: before you read the following post, I ask readers to think hard what defines antisocial behaviors to you. If it solely means common criminals who commit theft, assaults, arson, murder, then I sense you are minimizing the scope of the element of antisocial. What is worse to you, a person who robs and murders another on the street, or, a person who embezzles millions and forces a company to close, robbing hundreds of jobs, but no one dies that day? I am a big fan of the Bram Stoker line, “there are worse things than death”. That is part of the point readers consider here.)
Not exactly the kind of title to a post one would expect to read at a site that desires professional and ethical integrity, right? But, after what I have witnessed these past few months into this new year regarding the role of governments state and federal, much less what we as the country went through during this past election cycle, I genuinely think there is a mental health perspective to this country’s political system that is profoundly detrimental and disruptive.
Just to note a few disclaimers before I write further: first, I am a registered independent voter in my state, and have only voted for a candidate in either majority party just once, for Clinton in 1992, and profoundly regret the vote to this day, because I have no respect for cheaters nor liars. Second, I believe that representation is earned and should not be a given, and have grown to profoundly despise incumbency in any position in government, because the adage “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is frank, brutal truth. Third, I know it is fairly inappropriate to comment about a person’s possible mental health perspective, because speculation is at least somewhat irresponsible of a clinician.
And as last dislaimer, I have given thought to why I am addressing antisocial issues here when I have said in prior posts that there is no place for antisocial personality disorder in the realm of mental health care, and I am not backing off on that position now. My point here is consistent, and that is antisocial disorders, and even traits as a lesser of the evils (pun intended), can’t be helped, but they need to be identified. That said, not speaking out when silence only runs the risk of aiding and abetting negative and disruptive behaviors and agendas, I’ll take the risk to hope there is more benefit than harm in proceeding. So, my agenda here is to give just one mental health provider’s opinion about politicians, and will use Barack Obama specifically as an example, because I think it needs asked.
The above noted, why am I being potentially irresponsible and commenting about mental health diagnosis in people I don’t know nor treat, much less politicians and about our President? Well, I come from the philosophy that the behaviors and actions of a group start with who is perceived and reacted to as the leader. Thus, if we as a country, a culture, a society are to be defined and potentially judged, where better to start? Yes, with the President, who I will label hereon as Current Occupant of the White House, i.e. COWH. I’m being consistent here, that is what I called George W Bush as well previously.
So, here I go, hopefully with something to gain by offering this speculative position. Even if I am wrong at the end of the day, it is just an opinion. God knows more reliable and appropriate pundits will have said worse than what I note now.
Where to start? Let’s look at the definition of what meets the DSM 4TR definition of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), via what is hopefully seen as an impartial site to copy from, Wikepedia:
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
- failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
- deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
- impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
- irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
- reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
- consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
- lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
B) The individual is at least age 18 years.
C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
The individual must be at least 18 years of age to be diagnosed with this disorder (Criterion B), but those diagnosed with ASPD as adults were commonly diagnosed with conduct disorder as children. The prevalence of this disorder is 3% in males and 1% from females, as stated in the DSM IV-TR
Ok, so if you give any validation to what is claimed by psychiatric research and appraisal as the definition, what are valid as TRAITS, i.e. what fits (note I have not called the COWH a personality disorder in this post) ? It is obvious to say I cannot conclude what are patterns since age 15, because (1) I have never know this man nor have any factual information to know where he came from (and how interesting much of his background remains elusive and ill defined TO THIS DAY, forget about where he was born), and (2) disregard for and violation of rights of others can be interpreted differently per perspective, so I can only go by what I have seen since he became COWH. That said, he doesn’t show overt signs of respect with anyone who disagrees with him, especially since winning a second term. Some in his own party have said publically he isn’t a real nice, engaging guy.
But, I believe people are consistent, and someone doesn’t rise up the ladder of political hierarchy and become miraculously different once they achieve higher office. Nah, let’s be honest, there has to be a baseline high level of narcissism, at the very least, to be in elected office, especially to stay in it for long periods of time, so that is a fair position. And my working hypothesis between what is narcissism versus antisocial is that Narcissists do not actively nor intentionally cross lines to endanger and disregard others without considering how it impacts on the Narcissist. That can’t be said about the Antisocial, as defined above!
Now, let’s go to the 7 following descriptors, shall we?
As far as the rest of the definition, I can’t comment on a history of conduct disorder, and doubt any issues with schizophrenia or mania. I would even offer as a questionable exception, do all antisocial people start out with Conduct Disorder traits/diagnosis? I feel not true for all. But, what is my point? What can we possibly gain from having leaders like the President if they exhibit covert, much less those who reveal overt, antisocial qualities that just endanger us? As the adage says so eloquently, when good men lie silent, evil thrives, so I write about it in a post because I think it is a poor reflection of this country to tolerate antisocial characteristics in leaders, period. Whether it is President, Governor, Senator, Congressman, any elected official for that matter, leadership and the potential to affect a large group of people with choices and decisions and have the proclivity to be antisocial is unacceptable.
But, can we do anything about it, if my opinion has any credibility? Nah, we are screwed, especially if the electorate as a majority maintain a level of ignorance, superficiality, and lack of investment for real change. But I would say this, again as an independent thinker and citizen who demands accountability and integrity in leadership, partially because it is expected of me as a physician and psychiatrist: if our leaders show no regard or concern for the citizenry that put them in office, they should not be tolerated nor excused.
So where to conclude with a post of this potential volatility? I just want to raise the question: do we have leadership that is far from invested in the general well being of the majority of citizens? Whether it be Democrats or Republicans, we have to be more demanding of people who are looking out FOR us, not TO GET us. As examples to show how brazen our COWH has become, here are two facts that bother me to legitimately raise the question does the COWH has the potential to do much harm: First, this issue with his use of drones, while for now outside the U.S., let me be the first to hypothesize this, based on the movie “Eagle Eye” and how the US is increasingly killing people for now outside our borders without firm cause and irrefutable assessment: healthy people do not order the deaths of others without sizeable pause and trepidation. The COWH seems to be involved with ordering it without much hesitation of late, and as the linked article below notes, is hiding it with more brash intent.
The second, which really prompted me to publish this post today(which I first drafted over 4 weeks ago but held off until now after reading the following two links) is this: trying to crush opposition simply for the fact that they dissent and do not cater and cower to the antisocial’s agenda and policies:
Again, is this what you expect and support of your leadership? If you do, then I think you have come full circle for what this country fought against over 236 years ago and are now accepting without dissent. We really do have yet again taxation without representation. And blind loyalty is exactly that, not seeing the truth and what can be seriously harmed from lack of accountability could be devastating.
So, I look forward to comments that will take me to task. But, as you challenge me for what comes across as a brash and ill informed political commentary, just be sure to ask yourselves this at the same time: if you don’t question authority, are you at peace with being subjugated, if not enslaved!? I am not!
Just my opinion.