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Tags: trump | presidency | goldwater rule

Psychoanalysis of Executive Branch Is Dangerous for the Republic

Psychoanalysis of Executive Branch Is Dangerous for the Republic
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress, including Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) (L) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 11 January 2018 04:33 PM EST

The president has undergone many attacks from the media and has taken them in stride, but the most recent attack has larger implications than this presidency alone. Yale University professor and psychiatrist Dr. Brandy X. Lee’s recent analysis of the president’s mental health is not only a violation of the Goldwater rule, it’s a fundamental threat to the function of our society. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton, spoke to how this type of “psychiatrizing” of the president is “very dangerous.” I couldn’t agree more.

I agree not only because I’m a supporter of our president, I’m a supporter of having a stable society in which the leader of the executive branch isn’t undermined by unqualified analysis of his or her mental state. This doesn’t mean Dr. Brandy X. Lee is unqualified, but there is no way anyone can make a qualified statement to someone’s mental health if they don’t possess their medical records and haven’t personally assessed them. This is because someone’s public communication style may be significantly different than their intimate communication, and thus any analysis would be skewed. Also, there have been many public figures who on the surface showed no signs of mental or moral deterioration, only to have their transgressions exposed at a later date. Therefore, a person’s public, external appearance is not a good source from which to do a mental health analysis. Yet this is not the only reason this type of speculation is dangerous.

Throughout history, branding someone as “crazy” or mentally unstable has been a tool of dictators and tyrants to discredit and even detain political opponents. Supporting this type of public adjudication is dangerous for any politically concerned party. Imagine the standard it would set if someone were to begin an inquiry into the mental health of the commander in chief. The gloves would be off and we could expect every president from then on to be challenged on his or her mental capacity by their political opponents. One could see this devolving into challenges that are purely of a political nature rather than out of genuine concern or sound medicine.

Can you imagine the power that psychiatrists would hold if they were able to make external assessments of leaders and then use those assessments to remove them from office? We would essentially have a “clergy” class that would be the gatekeepers to any political positions. This would come with all the trappings that come from special interests having power, including corruption and deterioration of confidence in our system. Entertaining any external mental health assessment of a political leader is playing with fire that could burn the whole house down.

Additionally, imagine the two-way street that would open up if we started to take the analysis of these rouge psychiatrists seriously. It would inevitably draw the government into using similar tactics to discredit the media. One can imagine the FCC declaring certain members of the media as certified “crazy” in the name of consumer protection. They may even go as far as demanding that certain pundits be removed from their positions due to being “unfit to hold the position.” After all, they could argue that it’s not a violation of the First Amendment because they aren’t espousing their speech because they are actually crazy. See how this could become a slippery slope?

Ultimately, the press and psychiatrists need to stop this unethical practice of attempting to diagnose the president from the sidelines. It insults their profession by grasping at straws and worse it compromises our ability to have a functioning society where the commander in chief is judged on policy rather than assumptions and fabrications. A society that desires to take its legal and social structures seriously must assess whether or not their eagerness to jump on the psychoanalysis train is due to their political positions. Using this type of public evaluation of our political leaders is extremely dangerous, regardless of who’s in power.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Ultimately, the press and psychiatrists need to stop this unethical practice of attempting to diagnose the president from the sidelines.
trump, presidency, goldwater rule
Thursday, 11 January 2018 04:33 PM
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