Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Why Donald Trump Is So Confidently Incompetent

As you may know, I have struggled for years to try to determine what makes Donald Trump tick.

And so far my diagnosis includes extreme narcissism with a touch of paranoia, possibly aggravated by early onset dementia.

But it seems I may have overlooked a critical psychological factor, the Dunning Kruger effect.

Which makes him more dangerous, than even I had imagined.

For it explains why so many of his advisers have given up and fled the White House, and it gives him the confidence of the incompetent. 

Even though President Trump’s statements are rife with errors, falsehoods or inaccuracies, he expresses great confidence in his aptitude. He says he does not read extensively because he solves problems “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had.” He has said in interviews he doesn’t read lengthy reports because “I already know exactly what it is.”

He has “the best words” and cites his “high levels of intelligence” in rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change. Decades ago, he said he could end the Cold War: “It would take an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles,” Trump told The Washington Post’s Lois Romano over dinner in 1984. “I think I know most of it anyway.”

Which explains so much about the way Trump operates.

Dunning-Kruger “offers an explanation for a kind of hubris,” said Steven Sloman, a cognitive psychologist at Brown University. “The fact is, that’s Trump in a nutshell. He’s a man with zero political skill who has no idea he has zero political skill. And it’s given him extreme confidence.”

But while some might consider Trump's condition comical, Dunning-Kruger can be deadly.

In 2017, former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch was sentenced to life in prison for maiming several patients. 

“His performance was pathetic,” one co-surgeon wrote about Duntsch after a botched spinal surgery, according to the Texas Observer. “He was functioning at a first- or second-year neurosurgical resident level but had no apparent insight into how bad his technique was.”

And since Trump is clearly a ticking time bomb...

And has access to the nuclear codes.

And since he is likely to take Robert Mueller's raid on the Oval Office badly...

Very badly.

I think we can all agree that the sooner he is impeached.

Or whatever.

The safer we'll all be.... 


  1. Anonymous12:24 AM

    It's clear the Founding Fathers never imagined the depravity of the modern GOP. The safety mechanism they installed in Art. 25 assumes that senior government officials care about what's best for the nation. Nobody imagined that a major political party would become nothing more than a gang of gutless grifters trying to stuff their pockets before the cops show up.

    1. Jackie Blue12:52 PM

      James Madison in Federalist #10 warns about the dangers of factions. But that would assume today's "originalists" have actually read the Constitution or its philosophical underpinnings and related documents. Even if they have, they don't really care, do U?


      What's going on with the GOP and its international offshoots (Bolsonaro, Orbรกn, Salvini, the incompetent Harper puppets in Canada like Ford, Kenney and Scheer who have no policy or platform either besides shitting on "others" for fun and profit) is what historian Timothy Snyder calls sadopopulism, or the 4chan generation calls "owning the libs." Adam Serwer in The Atlantic echoes the diagnosis of governance by tribal psychopathy: the cruelty is the point.

      Nowhere is this more evident than in a quote from a recent NYT article by a furloughed government employee disappointed that the leopards came to eat her face too:

      "He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting."

      Conservatives love to tout the specious notion that a liberal arts background (cf. "drama teacher") isn't worth a damn because it doesn't easily transition to "ROI". While at the same time complaining that kids on their iPhones don't know squat about America and its testaments to "liberty." (Perhaps they should read what John Adams had to say about the importance of well-rounded Renaissance education.) But the writings of the Founders are only a fraction of what ought to be looked at to fully comprehend these "interesting times" of a mentally challenged circus freak wrecking the country and terrorizing the villagers while his handlers loot the treasures and make a run for it. Perhaps Frankenstein would be more appropriate, or you might as well look back to ancient Rome and the sacking of the Vandals or delve into the scholars, witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust.

      "First they came for the Mexicans, then they came for the Muslims... and then they came for me."

      Martin Niemรถller must be rolling in his grave.

    2. Hi Jackie...I read that Serwer article and I agree with it completely. The behaviour of right wingers in the U.S. and Canada can only be explained by that perverse philosophy. It is deliberate cruelty and it seems to give them some kind of rush. I used to believe that love is the answer, but now I believe that before we get to that place, the Cons of this world need to get a stiff dose of their own medicine...☠

  2. Anonymous12:42 AM

    Just saw Trump's address to the nation and was struck once again at how sedate(Ritalin?) Donnie is when reading from a teleprompter. For his sake he best remember this behavior in the future when he's speaking from a prisoner's box.
    It may very well be the Dunning-Kruger Effect or his IQ deprived rallies where he would get cheered for the most absurd things he could muster. He enables them and they enable him or better yet, The Dumb and Dumber Effect.
    Regardless of whatever condition may be afflicting Trump's tortured mind, I believe that the generals of the DOD have checks and balances in place to counter Trump's worst inclinations. They will be the first to know if an enemy has launched their missiles and if retaliation is the only option.
    I think that after 2 years of the Trump Circus, complete with clowns, guffaws and many hijinks, the only nuclear option he has is how many seconds it would take to warm up his day old Big Macs in the microwave.

    1. Anonymous8:28 AM

      Someone certainly slammed the brakes hard on his announced immediate troop withdrawal from Syria.

    2. Hi JD ....I watched Trump's speech, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how short it was. As for its content, Jennifer Rubin called it a "nothingburger" and Rick Wilson compared it to a wet fart. Like you I was struck by how dull Trump can be when reading from a Teleprompter. But maybe it's just as David Frum wrote, because Trump is now caught between a rock and a hard place, and what we are seeing is a man who knows he is defeated...

    3. HI RT....yes, it's very strange. It seems that the super hawk Bolton was able to convince Trump to retreat from his position, even if he was left looking like an idiot. All of which might be cause for celebration, except that if Bolton really does have Trump on a string, we're all in trouble...

  3. Jackie Blue12:28 PM

    Why is it always women who issue these warnings about abusive madmen with dangerous hubris, and nobody listens until it's too late.

    Nobody listened to Hillary Clinton, of course. But nobody listened either to Margaret Trudeau.


    For every war that could have been avoided, there was a Cassandra trying to prevent it before it's too late. Beware of Trojan jackasses bearing grift is all I can say.

    Kim Campbell is right, perhaps in a Freudian way. He really is a motherfucker.

    1. Anonymous2:48 PM

      After giving birth to three boys in quick succession, the beauty dubbed ‘‘Maggie T.’’ smoked marijuana while under the watch of Mounties, ate peyote before giving a speech in Venezuela and left her husband to party at Studio 54 in New York. The Trudeaus eventually divorced. According to Margaret’s own account, she had affairs with Teddy Kennedy, Ryan O’Neal and at least one Rolling Stone and she ended up in a mental institution! Immoral living will kill you.

    2. Jackie Blue4:34 PM

      And rehabilitated herself for an untreated mental illness, that culminated with a nervous breakdown following the death of her son and ex-husband within two years of each other. An illness she continues to speak out bravely about, in hopes of fighting the undeserved stigma and shame.

      Word to the (un)wise: "Slut-shaming" of women and policing their behavior, language, etc. as an excuse to discredit them won't be tolerated anymore. We see you and we're done apologizing. Sorry not sorry. Margaret is right. Kim is right. Hillary is right. Donald is unhinged, he's deplorable, and he's a pendejo jabroni motherfucker.

    3. I vote with Jackie Blue, oh so true. women are the first to recognize the crazes, because if we didn't we might have been dead. Those who learnt to recognize the enemy, survived and passed their knowledge on to their children. Its that simply, why women know and most men don't.

    4. Hi Jackie...the reason is simple. Women have better judgement than men, if more women were running this planet we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

    5. Hi anon 2:48pm...Margaret Trudeau suffered from a mental illness that went untreated for years. Her condition had nothing to do with morality. She was always a sweet human being, and once she received the help she needed, she became a wonderful advocate for the rights of the mentally ill, and dare I say, a much better person than you appear to be...

  4. John B.8:11 PM

    If the asset is to be acquired, it must be pursued. It’s not a passive exercise.

    From: “The Fifth Risk”, by Michael Lewis, Norton (2018)

    “If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview. …

    “[I]f you are seeking to preserve a certain worldview, it actually helps to gut science. Trump’s budget, like the social forces behind it is powered by a perverse desire – to remain ignorant. Donald Trump didn’t invent this desire. He was just its ultimate expression.”

    I like it that way too.

    1. Hi John...I can see where denial might come in handy. Like eating too much, and not exercising enough, and still thinking I'm going to be in shape for the judo tournament next month. And of course when it comes to climate change it helps if you're going to be dead when the planet catches fire. But whether in my case, or in Trump's case, the day of reckoning will come....

  5. It will be almost impossible to impeach dtrump and in my opinion the Democrats just ought not to try. they will waste too much time. They can work around him. He maybe incompetent, but that is not an impeachable offense. he may be an idiot, a foul mouthed braggart, but none of that is impeachable.

    Americans need to have a look at how they elect their Presidents and their Gerrymandering. They need to take the massive amount of money out of politics.

    I've met people like dtrump. They will always be there in our world and the best we can hope for is that people educate themselves so they don't elect idiots. Of course that might be difficult. Look at what Brazil just elected.

    1. Ha ! Just look at Canada, at our idiot PM Justin Trudeau.

      BTW, Trump rocks, I'd trade JT anyday.

  6. Hi e.a.f....I'm impressed by your celestial calm. Do you practice yoga or meditation. Or do you have a drug you can recommend?๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’Š Seriously though, I hear what you're saying, but the stakes are too high to not give Trump a rough time. Remember it was the threat of impeachment that got Nixon to resign. If the pressure is cranked up I'm pretty sure Trump will do the same thing...

  7. No, its not drugs. Its living on the Wet/West Coast of British Columbia. Been there seen it all. Politics in B.C. is truly an education, a wild west show, a money laundering capital, etc. and I've been watching it since the 1950s.

    There is a great deal of difference between Nixon and Trump and the Republican party of then and now. Nixon was a smart man. Some ethical issues, but, smart. He saw the writing on the wall and exited stage right. He was able to re construct his career and was fairly well respected for the work he did later. Now dtrump is another case. He's an ego maniac and most likely has had mental health issues since he was a child. We need to remember his father shipped him off to boarding school because he was so disruptive within the family unit. His father then tried to manage him and his public image.

    The Republican Party back then, although having its own faults, did have a core. that has gone today. its the money and the quest for power. the current members of the Republican party don't have the moral standards or even the instinct for self preservation that the Republican party had back in the day.

    Oh, I don't practice yoga or meditation. its too much work. Its too much like exercise. Haven't turned a wheel in over 20 years and just sit and look at the cedar and fir trees in the yard. A shot of B & B in the morning coffee doesn't hurt either.

    My concern is if people spend a lot of time trying to impeach Trump other things will slip by and other legislation will not be passed. Even if the Senate doesn't pass it the Democrats need to be seen doing real work. If the legislation doesn't come into effect, in 2020, they can squarely blame the republicans. If the democrats can't demonstrate they tried, they will not be returned to office in the numbers they have now.

    The big difference between now and then is, we didn't have social media. We didn't have Fox new, CNN, or MSNBC, none of which do anything to improve the situation in the U.S.A. they offer news, but its not really. We hve re runs of the decades, the travelling foodie who killed himself, etc. So how does that provide meaningful information to American citizens? We will hear snipets of what is happening to children and adults in the concentration camps, but nothing of any substance. there are American bloggers who do an excellent job of investigating, but it doesn't get out enough.

    No in my opinion, the best thing to do is ignore Trump. Pelosi has it right. they might however be better off to take a younger person to the podium with them to create the new leadership. Pelosi is great at what she does and she might want to leave Schumer at home. You see, she isn't getting any younger and could exit stage left, leaving a huge vacumn in the party. she needs to groom the next female to take her place.

    1. Anonymous6:32 PM

      Hi e.a.f.
      Yes, most women seem to have species preservation genetics that males seem to lack. Prefer my shot of B&B in the evening after a cold winters day!