We rise every morning in this apocalyptic now, touch our screens or jab at our remotes, and receive the incoming: 65,000 new cases a day, 139,000 deaths. The order of magnitude of our loss of human life and looming economic carnage is staggering: we have 4% of the world’s population, but over 25% of global deaths from Covid-19.
The international community is aghast at how America has responded to the crisis. We are viewed as a pitiful and failed state. For the 70% of Americans who live outside of the cult of the President, the current predicament is maddening, if not soul-crushing. We can’t help but lament ‘ Did it all have to unfold in this disastrous manner?’
The answer is “yes”.
Yes, it was inevitable that the President would display a shiftless and shambling response to the crisis; that he would be unable to collaborate with public health professionals and would subvert policy to divisive culture wars; and that he would take no responsibility for his dysfunctional leadership and the damage that flowed from it.
Inevitable because the President is at the mercy of a severe personality disorder that is defined by three unforgiving and unyielding traits: impulsivity, a drive to dominate others, and remorselessness.
Inevitable because the President, for the first time in his tenure, had to face a crisis that could not be spun, intimidated, vanquished by disinformation, or re-branded away. This crisis has laid bare the pathology of his personality disorder. One could be forgiven for thinking that, with the stakes so high he could have transcended the pull of these destructive traits. After all, it certainly would have been to his political advantage. But he was a fly caught in the web of his condition. We never had a chance.
How the President’s condition dictated our fate can be understood through the lens of these three ruinous traits.
Impulsivity is one of the core traits of psychopathy. It appears to be associated with an underlying brain abnormality, probably in the area of the prefrontal cortex that integrates reason with rapid-fire impulses. As a result, the psychopath is wired to be disinhibited, reckless, undisciplined, unruly, easily bored, disorganized and undependable.