Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Friday, May 12, 2017


I'm going to make a point that I don't fully believe in. Bear with me.

Trump has some sort of psychological problem. I obviously can't diagnose precisely what it is, and it would be unethical to do so if I could, but come on. The evidence is there for all to see.

Now here's the point. You can't interpret Trump's statements the way you might if he were psychologically normal (or just more psychologically normal).

In particular, we are accustomed to politicians who make their decisions in light of the truth. I don't mean that they tell the truth. I mean that they either tell the truth or tell artful lies. They lie in the shadow of the truth, so to speak.

Trump isn't like that. You can trick him into saying almost anything. And even unprompted, he often says batshit stuff with no regard to the truth.

Focus on that last part: with no regard to the truth. I don't just mean that he's untruthful. I mean that his statements are driven by impulses that don't reflect any consideration for the truth. He's in a frenzy and he'll say anything.

In these circumstances, it's very hard to interpret what he says, and I have to admit, grudgingly, that you have to be careful not to assume he's guilty just because his statements would (if made by a psychologically normal person) seem to imply it strongly.

I'll have more on this later. You shouldn't take this post as a defense of Trump or an argument that his statements are somehow acceptable. They're obviously not. But they are also not susceptible to our ordinary way of interpreting things, and we have to be careful for that reason.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relatedly, I read some article (which I did not independently fact check myself) describing a case where someone sued Trump for defamation and his lawyers claimed that the conditions of defamation were not met because the person could not expect reasonable people to make negative inferences about her character based on Trump’s statements. The reason for this being that Trump said so many blatantly untrue and contradictory things that a “reasonable person” as referenced in the law would disregard everything Trump said and not make inferences based on it. Essentially arguing that Trump was incapable of defaming someone.

12:43 PM  

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