Criticizing a Caricature (Pt. 2)

Linda was kind enough to reblog and respond to the 1st post of this title, but I didn’t views it as a counter so much as an entirely different criticism to replace the ones I’d already addressed. So this is a continuation of the original post, in that I believe the fresh criticism(s) of Donald Trump are also criticisms of a caricature, rather than of the  man himself. An alternate title to this post, part 2, could probably be something along the lines of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Misdiagnosis”… or something like that. It’s central to the concerns she raised, so that’d work.

“I’ve heard Mr. Trump speak on the issues of allowing people in to the country by way of more rigorous screening, and I agree, it’s something that needs to be handled. However. Donald Trump has proven himself to be a Narcissist of epic proportions. Anyone who has known a Narcissist and been manipulated by one, can attest to the fact that they are both untrustworthy and dangerous. Therefore, one must conclude that what Mr. Trump says now, may or may not be what he would carry out as president.”
~Linda G. Hill

I don’t mean to be a pain, I really don’t, but again I see a few flaws in reasoning.

The first being with the position that Trump suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder.

Accepting that at face value for the moment, it contradicts her previous concerns. Either he has this disorder and is not to be trusted, in which case all of her previous arguments and concerns fall apart, or he is to be trusted and implementing the policies she takes issue with is what makes him something to be concerned about, and I already addressed those in the previous post. Before, it was that his policy ideas were concerning, even disturbing. Now that I’ve addressed that aspect of it, they’re no longer the concern, from this new stand point… he himself is now the concern.

So that’s my first problem with it; it’s backtracking, a new angle to go at it with which to me is an admission that the previous arguments I took issue with simply don’t hold up.

Now, ignoring the contradictions to what she said before, we’re still left with an unfounded assertion on which she’s basing her position. In other words, another instance of criticizing something that’s not actually there. She says he’s a narcissist, and must mean it in the extreme (narcissistic personality disorder), but I say that’s more speculative fretting. She’s taking a justified opinion (that he has an ego) and taking it to an unfounded extreme. See, there’s a huge difference between having an ego, being a bit of a narcissist, and having a narcissistic personality disorder. Huge. The former, “a bit narcissistic” or “has an ego” are fair, but they only describe a personality characteristic that isn’t, in itself, damning in the least.

Really, you can call me a bit of a narcissist and I won’t say you’re wrong. I am. I have an ego too. None of that makes me untrustworthy though, certainly not by itself, and it doesn’t indicate I have a personality quirk extreme enough to be defined as a “disorder”. So in short, in lieu of the position she took on this before, is the all encompassing disorder criticism that casts everything about him in a bad light, and that is just as speculative and unfounded as the previous criticisms.

I simply don’t see any significant (or remotely definitive) evidence to support her assertion. Some people are a little egotistical, successful people even more so, and in many cases rightfully so.

After all, look at what someone like him has accomplished – in terms of name recognition and branding alone, never mind the actual projects that branding has been built on. That does not, in and of itself, meet the criteria of a personality disorder, and even if he did meet those criteria…

To me, the degree to which he’s succeeded throughout his life, the long life span his business empire has had so far and will presumably continue to have, wouldn’t have even been possible in the first place. That alone, the magnitude of success, brings her assertions of a personality disorder like the one she describes into question. Casts a lot of doubt on them imo. What person with that full on disorder could build or maintain a business, or a brand name, or anything else on the scale he has if he were really that narcissistic, that selfish, or that manipulative? Further…

“I urge you to research Narcissistic Personality Disorder, both for the sake of identifying Mr. Trump and for the event that you might meet one in person.”
~Linda G. Hill

This is a position I’ve encountered before, in fact it was a very popular line of argument against Trump in the early days of his campaign, the first few months, but it’s largely disappeared, and in my opinion it has done so because there’s no basis for it. It doesn’t hold up. Partially because of the reasons I’ve already pointed, but also, even if you disregard all of that you’re still stuck with this: most of the people who have tried to slap that label on him, that disorder, are not doctors.

They’re not psychiatrists. So while I can’t say definitively that he doesn’t meet the criteria, neither can anyone definitively say he does. Not even doctors, actually, because any good doctor worth his or her salt would know better than to think they can blindly make a diagnosis of that kind from afar. They don’t really know the person they’re trying to diagnose and cannot, unless they work with said person as a patient, make that determination honestly. Then, in addition to that, even if we do look at it from afar like we’re doing for this back and forth, I can make a pretty good case that he doesn’t meet the criteria, which I can clarify and elaborate further too, if needed.

“If we box ourselves up inside our own four walls with our family, and listen only to the radio to discover what is going on outside, we learn only what the radio tells us.”
~Linda G. Hill

The mistake here is that, again, it’s taken to extremes. Extremes that simply don’t apply, because having a wall on the border (for example) is not the same as staying in our houses, isolated, listening only to the radio. It’s the same as having walls for our house, with a door, with a lock, one that helps ensure intruders, burglars, vagrants, or whatever else can’t just walk right on through.

That doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house or that other people can’t come in. It just means it’s your house, and you get to have a say in who enters your home, and in how many people walk through that door. If you’ve listened to Trump, he’s specified that he wants people coming in (and wants people here able to travel abroad), has in fact said he wants a big, beautiful door in the wall, but that we need them to come in legally. Apparently there are millions of people who won’t if they don’t have to. Hence the need for a wall.

They can still come in, but we’ve got to know about them, they have to tell us who they are, do the paper work, and come across it the right way, with our awareness and permission. Right now, our border doesn’t allow for that; there’s no accountability, no stopping anyone who wants to come in, even if we might not want them here. Right now people can come across the border at will, from wherever they want to in the world, and we won’t know about it unless they want us too. Just look at how much drugs the cartels send over through there. In addition to all of that…

“Once we get out, we can plan to live side-by-side, and do what is best for our communities, and only then can we find the best way to defend ourselves if necessary, using the strength we have in numbers.”
~Linda G. Hill

This kind of thinking doesn’t work for me. I get that community is important, being a part of it, knowing who’s in it, etc. but I’m also an individualist. American ideals are built on the strength (and rights) of the individual, not on strength in numbers. Unity is important, sure, especially in the context of facing outside threats (or even in how we present ourselves to our allies, as a united front), but what about self reliance or personal responsibility or having the right to defend yourself on your own terms? What about how that applies to our nation in an international contexts? And what about the individuals coming over illegally? What about the cost?

Don’t we have a right to defend ourselves from that? Where’s the personal responsibility and the accountability for them? That goes back to the house metaphor too; are you going to let your neighbors (other countries) decide who you’re going to let into your house, or why, or how many people are allowed in it at any one time, or should that be up to you (the USA)? I say you.

If it’s your house it’s your call.

We have every right to determine who comes into our country, along with how many people come in at any given time. And we have a right to know who they are so we can reject the ones we don’t want. An example: if someone is a convicted murdered recently released (or escaped) from prison, do you want them in our house? No? Well what you’re saying is that’s too bad, that that’s not compassionate, and what about all the poor innocent ones with their doe eyes; but what I’m saying is that’s not okay, I don’t want the murderer living in my house. And if you don’t at the very least do the kind of thing Trump is advocating, you don’t get a say. My position, essentially, is that I think we should have a say.

This is our house, so it’s our call.

“When Jack talks about Cold War tactics in his post, he makes a very good point again. Except we have to come back to Mr. Trump’s untrustworthiness. Yes, he might be “just saying” he’ll wipe out the families of terrorists, but he might not. And if he does, then what? You can bet the terrorists will double their efforts.”
~Linda G. Hill

This is addressed in my position on her (speculative) diagnosis of a narcissistic personality disorder already. His untrustworthiness is a speculative assumption about him. There’s very little, if anything, to truly back that up. I can think of a few angles one could try to argue it from, but it would be grasping at straws, which I can illustrate if you anyone cares to attempt pointing out supporting evidence to support her reasoning in asserting that he has that disorder.

“Again, Jack makes a good point about putting a timetable on taking out the terrorists. But if it’s to be done, it has to be done right, no matter who does it.”
~Linda G. Hill

She didn’t define what she considers to be “done right”, but… very true. But who, exactly, is more likely to do it right than him? That’s really at the crux of it too in a lot of ways; even if I say, for the sake of argument, that half of what she’s saying is true, the alternatives to him are all worse. If you give me a specific candidate you think could do better, I can give you specifics on why they almost definitely wouldn’t, and I can thoroughly explain my reasoning and point out supporting evidence (mostly their own track record so far throughout their careers) that supports my reasoning. Hillary Clinton, Bernie, Cruz… pick any one you like and I’m pretty confident I can explain how they are less likely to do this (or much of anything else) “right”, if they would, in fact, do it at all. As far as I can tell, they all fall short of Trump in trustworthiness, competence, or both.

“And finally, Jack says that Mr. Trump is protecting American Muslims. I counter with this: he’s talking about sending every immigrant back to where they came from, and making them reapply for citizenship. Sending them back to war-torn countries is hardly protecting them.”
~Linda G. Hill

That is not an effective counter, for this reason: he’s talking about sending every illegal immigrant back to their country of origin, not every immigrant. That’s an important distinction. And specifically regarding the Syrian refugees, he would not be sending them back to a war zone.

Carson picked it up later and talked about it as if he said it first, but Trump was the first one to suggest a safe zone be constructed in or near their country. I’m guessing the Syrian’s here would be sent (and protected) there, rather than into the middle of a war zone. And with that, we wouldn’t need to be bringing them here in the first place, they’d already have somewhere to go. It would cost us a bit, but the argument is it would be more cost effective and more safe to do that instead of bringing them here. A number of the refugees who have been interviewed would actually prefer that too, instead of being transplanted into a new country with different weather and different cultures that many of them don’t want anything to do with anyways.

All in All…

I can’t help but see this as another example of criticizing a caricature, from start to finish. So is every other subsequent critical comment on the original post, which is illustrated clearly if you read the conversations between myself and those who commented to voice their disagreement. If you don’t think that’s the case, go read through the comments on Part 1 and decide for yourself.

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