- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dr. Allen Frances, former chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Duke University, exhibits all the symptoms of what Trumpsters like to call the “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” He despises the president and sees him as an existential threat to our very existence and even suggests that everyone who voted for the man is “crazy.”

He isn’t the first in his profession to use his position to condemn those with whom they disagree as evil, mentally ill or unfit. During the 1964 presidential campaign, some 1,800 psychiatrists put their name to an ad claiming that Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee, was mentally unfit to serve as president.

Goldwater sued, won and the American Psychiatric Association adopted what became known as the “Goldwater Rule,” which held it unethical for a psychiatric practitioner to “diagnose” someone they hadn’t personally seen or without their permission.

Dr. Frances didn’t violate the Goldwater Rule technically, at least as it relates to the president, although his interviewer, CNN’s Brian Stelter, invited him to do so. Instead, he claimed those who voted for Mr. Trump are the “crazy” ones while the president himself is evil. Without challenge from his interviewer, Dr. Frances claimed this president is to this century what Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin were to the last … the very personification of evil.

Many “progressives” in today’s world apparently believe that anyone with whom they disagree is not just wrong, but evil. This part of the “progressive” belief system is utterly anti-democratic and potentially dangerous to the very existence of a free society. The logical next step is that since those with whom they disagree represent an existential threat to the rest of us, they must be silenced, shamed, shunned or even jailed.

Dr. Frances disagrees with the president’s positions on climate change and tax policy and because of that disagreement he lumps the president in with the most murderous tyrants of the last century. The good doctor ranted over the weekend in a CNN interview that the president will before he leaves office be responsible for more death and suffering than all three tyrants — combined.

As any historian could tell Dr. Frances, that’s one heck of a lot of death and suffering. The three 20th century tyrants set out to kill more than 100 million people by shooting, gassing or starving those who stood in their way or who — like Europe’s Jews, Russia’s Kulaks and Ukraine’s nationalists — happened to be born into groups they wanted to wipe out. 

To suggest that Mr. Trump is as bad or worse not only unfairly maligns the president, it minimizes the enormity of the crimes of the three men who made the 20th century the bloodiest in history. 

The deaths the tyrants of the 20th century visited upon humanity were not the by-products of well-intentioned, but wrong-headed policies, but of a deep-seated desire to rid the world of millions of people. So, one has to assume that in the mind of the good doctor, lurks the suspicion that cutting taxes, for example, will not only result in millions of deaths, but that Mr. Trump wants to cut them precisely so people will die. 

One must assume, given the doctor’s charge that he would like the president and his henchmen brought to justice. Perhaps once those he supports regain power they could convene a Nuremberg-like tribunal to mete out appropriate sentences to Mr. Trump and those who he believes helped him kill so many. Many progressives would no doubt welcome such a spectacle and be excited by the possibility that criminals such as the president might end their lives at the end of a rope.

CNN invited Dr. Frances to appear precisely because he holds a psychiatric degree and hoped he would further the networks’ current narrative that Donald J. Trump is a raving maniac who must be driven from office and view the Twenty-Fifth Amendment as a means of ousting him as “unfit.” That isn’t likely to happen, so Mr. Stelter and his guests have to satisfy themselves by calling the president names and reminding those who actually voted for the man that they are as deplorable as Hillary Clinton claimed … and unhinged to boot.

It didn’t work in 2016 and it was the late Albert Einstein who some claim once observed that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” One wonders just who would qualify as crazy under that definition.

• David Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.

Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide