I’ll never take hugging, closeness or compassionate touching for granted again! … Part 10

A Plague will bring out the best, the beasts, and the not so brilliant…

Notes from In-house exile: Taking Notes on the Plagues Teachable Moments.

April 11, 2020

“…Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone…” — W. H. Auden

There are just too many unbelievably unhelpful stories… The NYPD had to enforce distancing regulation at a beauty supply store yesterday! Can we all agree to give ourselves a ‘Covid-19 Beauty Pass’ for the duration of the stay-home-stay-safe quarantine period? And Gov. Cuomo could you please issue an executive order declaring every New Yorker as Beautiful for the duration of the crises(and then we can go back to that: “In the eyes of the beholder” thing)! My goodness…

Yesterday, because I am a chronic learner (or a glutton for intellectual punishment), I painfully watched the entire 2-hour White House Covid-19 briefing/update yesterday. Trump spent the majority of those two-hours bashing an assortment of ‘enemies’ (including past presidents) along with a long, rambling and sometimes incoherent hour blaming the Chinese for everything except the war of 1812. I kept saying to myself, who (what kind of person) would think that this type of behavior and presentation is appropriate from a national leader during a moment of national crisis? Which leads me to my next point…

I tried to imagine really hard, as to what is in the minds and hearts of the 40, 60 or whatever percent of Americans who are approving of his behavior. The present historical situation is only helpful in this sense. After reading the biographies of people like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot; one essential question that insist on being heard: “In each case the leader is in every clinical sense of the word obviously dangerously insane; and so, why are so many people willing to follow his evil and destructive leadership?
Normally, I would default to my favorite: ‘lack of education’ as the reason position; but in the case of Hitler, Germany (like America today) was an intellectual center of learning, STEM, theology, and the creative arts. And further, Trump’s 40-60% of ‘approving’ Americans can’t all be be people whose education ended after the first grade.

No I think Trump has figured “it” out; “It” being the social-psychopathology of ‘bad-acting’ social movements.
It’s the ugly bullying of various groups and individuals; the bigoted attacks on people of color like the Chinese, that endears him to people who are somehow disconnected from our evolved ability to make intellectual, moral and empathetic decisions.

Fake praise won’t cure the ‘Mad King’, and it won’t save us; we need science.

I understand (and actually have some sympathy for) the “Jedi Mind Trick Thing” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General is trying to use on Donald Trump: Praise the ‘Mad King’ so as to limit the amount of damage he can inflict. Dr. Fauci and Gov. Cuomo continue trying to use this same technique daily; and for the most part they are unsuccessful; e.g. Trump keeps holding daily press conferences where he undermines them by providing dangerously bad, wrong and counter-scientific advice to the public.

But the problem with the ‘mad king’ praising and fawning approach, is that basically it does not work; (just ask Jeff Sessions) because (1) No amount of contrived complimenting will cure the king of his mental depravity affliction; that ‘cure’ will require the use of psychotherapy and the removal from a position where he can inflict his psychopathological urges on other people. (2) Faux effusive flattering for deeds not done or done badly, also won’t cure his loyal rabid followers and supporters, (and there are many of them in America; if we are to believe recent polls), of their fervent belief that he has, and is continuing to do a good leadership job in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

If Fox news and other right-wing talking/public communication sources can cite the WHO’s chief , Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (who by the way is a brilliant scholar), as proof that Trump is “doing a good job”; then the majority of those 60% approving citizens who elected him primarily to fight to save white privilege and not a virus, are going to run with every anti-scientific idea he spews at his press conferences, thus making all of us less safe (e.g. like the ‘Easter opening date’ that he has ‘forced’ the Coronavirus to end its deadly work).

History (and the reason we study it in K-12 schools) is a great teacher here. And as many in the past have painfully learned; that living under a crazed and unethical leader like a Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot, means that the ‘worshiping’ method, offered sincerely or insincerely, of a narcissistic lunatic, only buys you time, not a cure. The problem with the Covid-19 virus is that time is an important variable in its ability to do great harm and damage; or, hopefully in time through good scientific thinking and practices, be stopped from doing that damage.

Civil leadership in a great health crises requires both an ethical and wise human being to be ‘in-charge’. Someone who will manage both time, and the finding, by deferring to the expertise of others, the cure for the crisis. This must be done by taking (and sticking to) a path of morality, compassion, civility, comity, science and reason.

A ‘mad king personality’ does not have the emotional and intellectual capacity to engage in those essential good leadership thinking and applicative tooling skills. And so, no amount of strategically cute, undeserved and disingenuous exalting homage heaped on a mad king’s head, will ultimately stop him from doing great harm to large numbers of people; including his most ardent and delusional followers.