Greed Is Good?
the Counselor raises the stakes ...


Pure Konspiracy Korner here, complete with Donald Trump commentary and all the trimmings.  If that ain't your bag, move along.  Nothing to see here.  :- )


The "Greed" thread, two cubicles right, is loaded with wonderfully nuanced essays, is chock full of wit and wisdom.  One of the Think Tank's best.

Editor's Choice, though, goes to a defense lawyer who lives the trenches with disadvantaged men, watches them make self-destructive choices, and still has a great "largeness of heart" towards them.  Hopefully the Counselor will forgive Dr. D's audacity in providing annotations:


I think that greed is a loaded word.  It means something like ambition with bad motives.  (1) 

C.S. Lewis stated that there is a right and wrong manifestation for every personality trait. For example, a competititve person might get more things done but be cruel or prone to gambling.  A fearful person might not take enough risks but might be more prudent, and not take enough risks and so on.  (2)

What motives do professional athletes have?  Here's a list, not in any particular order:

1. Desire to dominate opponents;

2. Love of the game;

3. Love of artistry, desire to reach your own potential;

4. Gold;

5. Glory; 

6. Gals;

7. Sense of obligation to people paying for your contract;

Motives 2 and 7 are the only motives that are always good.  You can't enjoy the game too much, and you can't uphold your end of the bargain too much.  The player I see exemplifying these two motives is Robinson Cano.  He loves baseball. He plays stickball in his spare time in the DR.  He promotes the Mariners at every turn.  He spends his off season helping the Mariners general manager recruit free agents.  He spends time mentoring younger players.  He always supports the manager and general manager.  He helps the Mariners at the Dominican Republic school/ scouting facility.  When he needs surgery, he gets it done within two weeks of the end of the season so he can get a jump on rehab and be ready for the next year.  He is always in good physical condition, and he plays when he is sick and injured.  Kyle Seager is the same way.  (3)

Both of these guys have a greed to them as well.  Seager is particularly greedy for succcess.  In a tie game, you can see him become consumed by blood lust.  How many walk off line drives into the right field bleachers and off the wall does one man have to have?  If raking were a pathology, Seager would be clinical.  He is the proverbial gulper catfish of the fish tank.  His modus operandi is eating rivals headfirst, three RBI's at a time.  Bloodthirstiness is what we like about Seager, isn't it?  He lives to punish his opponents and click his heels after the latest splash fest.

That's why he has a $100 million dollars, while his UNC bash brother Dustin Ackley is almost out of baseball.  I get the sense that Seager doesn't care about his $100 million as much as he cares about his next three hit game.  (4)

I don't think that the love of money is as addicting to athletes as the love of the glory shot.  This is because: At some point, money becomes un motivating.  $252,000,000 doesn't buy you substantially more than $100,000,000.  You have your $5,000,000 mansion, your fleet of cars, your boat, a few cabins in various places and all the travel you can stomach, and that's all you want.  The price tag for a lifetime of decadence is about $15,000,000.  More than that, what's the point?  (5)

The guys who are extremely motivated by money are the ones who grew up dirt poor.  Marshawn Lynch only had one set of clothes, and not enough food to eat when he was growing up.  His mom was always broke.  Alex Rodriguez was raised in a single mom grinding poverty as well.  Robinson Cano grew up in grinding poverty.

For these guys, a record contract is important to them.  To them, money is precious, and getting paid what you are worth is a principle.  

Players from a middle class background, like Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager, are the ones willing to give the hometown discount. Note that they both grew up in a traditional home with a mom and dad and enough food.  Hernandez' parents own a trucking company.  He had his own bedroom growing up.  This isn't exactly the hard knock life of playing stickball in the dirt in the DR.  As a result, he doesn't really care whether he makes $175,000,000 or $225,000,000.  

The Seahawks example of a non-greedy player, Michael Bennett, (and Earl Thomas)  both had active and involved fathers and an apparently middle class background.  The greedy player, Kam Chancellor, grew up dirt poor with no dad.  (6)

Now there is such a thing as a person using conspicuous displays of wealth as a way to put down others, or make himself feel more important than others.  I'm thinking of Donald Trump.  He uses his inherited wealth to splash his name, and people that aren't as rich as he is are losers.  Boo and hiss all you want for this kind of money lust.  But, I think that the Donald's greed stems from a sense of inferiority or inadequacy.  I don't think that there have been any professional athlete that ever felt inferior or inadequate.  At least not enough to get pleasure out of putting down ordinary people.  To reach the bigs, they have already bested a 1,000 rivals.  They don't need to tell a twenty something business grad that he is fired.  (7)

There may be some bad motives in sports, but money lust is the only one that we aren't complicit in.  (8)  I want to see Seager hurt, humiliate and crush the Rangers.    I want to see Felix's next Orc stomping.  That's the main point of tuning in.  However, I think that the money motive is largely innocent or at least mitigated.  Cinderella has been burned by poverty, so now she has an unhealthy hoarding relationship with money.  This does not make her bad.  She just has some warts.  Don't begrudge Marshawn his Lambo or treat his greed the same as the Donald's.

Just noodlin'.


(8) I hadn't thought of that.  Will chew on it like a Great Dane on a cowhide bone.  Hopefully I won't feel as guilty after my Pokemon search for self-vindication.  Ego defenses?  Gotta Catch 'Em All.


(7) Feel free to use these comments to discuss Donald Trump, Gentle Reader.

James called his defining trait "narcissism."  Am not sure I'd agree with that word selection.  Ivanka said she watched him spend his life seeking out the downtrodden, one per day, and giving them a hand up to "feel like life could be great again."  Don Jr. says that Don Sr. listens as carefully to the recommendations of a cabinet finisher as he does to those of a bank president.  By all accounts his thirst for wise counsel, his ability to listen, is insatiable.  In a boardroom with $1 Billion at stake, I'm sure he's the calmest person in the room, and in a nuclear crisis I suspect he'd be the same.

In any case, he should get full credit for his service to women and the poor.  Have any of US taken as much TIME as Donald Trump has, to help the less fortunate?  Seriously, take a moment on that point.

True narcissism tends to be unconcerned with the problems of others.  Narcissists tend not to raise well-adjusted sons.  Misogynists tend not to raise self-assured, ambitious, and happy daughters.  Let's be accurate in our criticisms of others; there's plenty to criticize about Donald Trump that is fair.


But!  Donald Trump also gets credit for a truly sickening ego.  It takes a special kind of self-image to put your last name, in a huge melodramatic font, onto the front of a hotel.  And by any definition of greed, he is the personification.  Long after he had far more money, power and fame than any man could consume, he continued to pursue these things -- obsessively.  He is a caricature of himself when it comes to "greed."

My first impression is that obscene greed and ego, if tempered with authentic love and caring for his fellow man, does not make him a "despicable" person; it makes him unpleasant, which is different than evil.  The U.S.A. has had many unpleasant men as Presidents, as the Mariners had a very unpleasant starting pitcher who owned baseball.


This is ten degrees off subject, but it was just last week that I realized Donald Trump enjoys being hyper-provocative with his words.  He doesn't call President Obama "the founder of ISIS" because he's stupid; he does it knowing very well that it will cause an uproar.  He loves the uproar.  He doesn't just use it, politically; he wears the uproar like a drunken lampshade on his head.

Could a President do that?  I dunno.  I think it bears some consideration whether it would be good or bad, to have an American President who hollers like Teddy Roosevelt did, as opposed to one who believes that American deference will make the world a safer place.  It bears consideration.  

My own bias is that when you are dealing with Nazis or jihadists, Nicer does not equal Safer.  My vote, if crazy men want us dead, goes to Winston Churchill, not Neville Chamberlain.  But that's a debate in itself.


(6) I grew up so poor that my toys were gravel rocks in the motel driveway.  We had potted beef liver three times a week because it was 49c.  My brother and I were beaten by a psychopathic stepdad who woke us up out of sleep with a leather belt.  Despite that, I still choose not to throw bricks through the windows of police cars with the police inside the car, and have never stood before a judge answering for a felony.

We don't get high because we had no fathers; we get high because we enjoy being high.  We hurt people because we enjoy hurting people.  Any 12-step counselor will call us on that.

That said, when you get a defense attorney saying "these are the childhood backgrounds I see in ruined lives every day" it is very compelling, is it not?  Thank you very sincerely for the reminder, Mojo.


(5) Just so!  Which is another C.S. Lewis quote, "$1M will buy any luxury that any man can truly enjoy."


(4) That's the idea I was looking for.  Russell Wilson cares more about throwing a TD pass than he cares about the NFL lifestyle.  That's it exactly.  He wants to win first, and look good / make money / marry starlets / become President second.

That's all we ask for from our athletes.  Care about winning first.  Then the evening's ballgame has a real soul to it.


(3) Didn't know about stickball in the D.R.  That is absolutely epic.  :- )  Now I like Robinson Cano way more.


(2) This concept from Lewis is a key building block towards humility.  For example, I'm not "precious" about my car; if somebody door-dings it I barely notice.  But then again, I've struggled with debt a lot of my life.  My sister is painfully "precious" about her belongings, but she's a working-class girl with $500,000 in the bank.

A "greedy" person like Donald Trump has many, many positive things associated.  In the book of Proverbs, the wisdom writer commanded us to live our lives with gusto.  Not in a passive, sad, woe-is-me way; go out and seize the day with 'elan.


(1) In court, I would smilingly put up a dictionary definition of the word and ask whether the dictionary is loaded.  :: big smile Mojo ::

But, to the broader point, yes, definitely.  We tend to apply the term "greed" to our enemies and the word "ambition" toward our friends.  Which is one more example of the nuance and wisdom the Counselor seems to give us with every opening statement.






Trump's sin is not being greedy.

It's refusing to honor the contracts he signs--'cabinet finishers to bank presidents'---by agreeing only to pay a fraction of what the contract says.  It's all a matter of record.  And if they balk?: "sue me."

He's not Teddy Roosevelt--he's Tony Soprano.  


I know very little about it.  It's a 'matter of record' that he has done some things that I wouldn't have done, but I don't know much about how his business ethics compare to, say, George Soros' or the Clinton Foundation's or anybody else's.  The business ethics of the Boeing Company are appalling to me also, but then I would make a cruddy CEO.  :- )  

Banks and other people with lots of money at stake are still very eager to enter into conventional business deals with Trump, and his employees seem to appreciate him.  How much that tells us, I'm not sure.

I do know that the New York Times made it 'a matter of record' that he treats women horribly, that he's racist, and etc., but on closer examination I didn't find those 'facts' very convincing.  One thing I am sure of, that most of the journalists who set the 'record' genuinely hate the man and are campaigning against him unapologetically.

Criticism of Trump in the media is healthy in principle.  But since the year 1900 there has been nobody as despised as Trump in the media.  Even Joe McCarthy received less vitriol than Trump gets.  The media is the one institution that the Founding Fathers put no check-and-balance on; they've got a responsibility they are not living up to.  The New York Times is supposed to let the voters decide, not "help" them go in the right direction.

Could very well be that he's truly an evil robber baron.  If so, that goes against him, as do Hillary's dealings with the Saudis.  But I would need an even-handed representation of his business record in order to compare him to Soros, Hillary, etc in a balanced way.  Would welcome more detail on it.

I appreciate the discussion.  If even the moderate denizens at SSI weren't able to discuss the election with each other, I would despair for where our country was going.


After you hack through the loaded terms and all-caps slurs with a machete, there were some fact-based data points that were interesting.  Have to say, I found this particular piece unconvincing, and isn't what I'd call 'a pretty good picture of Trump's career' regardless of its accuracy or inaccuracy. 

Wouldn't 'a pretty good picture of Trump's career' include both positive and negative things?

Would a pretty good picture of Hillary Clinton's career include positive and negative things?  Not sure how you would react to an analogous hit piece on Hillary, Diderot.

I'd like to hear a Jamesian-style, unemotional, delineation of Trump's ethical decisions on both sides of the balance ledger.  Not sure that guy would have been voir dire'd in court as a suitable witness.  ;- )

But then, that's part of the problem.  It's nearly impossible to find anybody who can bring themselves to be objective about either Trump or Clinton.


Let me be clear - I am not a Trump supporter, and I know my vote in WA State does not matter regardless. Further, I have no doubt the Hiliary will be the next President, so I have stopped paying attention to whatever says about this election.

With that said, from afar, it appears that the career politians who have screwed up America the past 20+ years are the ones against Trump, regardless of party. So to point to Romney, McCain or any other life long politician who could not win on the old ideas and exclusive club beliefs is a bit partisan in itself. Moreover, with the press clearly trying to elect Hiliary, the fate of our nation is set, and NO ONE on either side will be working to try to fix it, as the only thing the career politicians want to do is affix blame on the other guys for what went wrong.  

As Doc said, it would be interesting so see ANYONE in the media do a Pro & Con on each candidate that lasted 30 minutes each... there is plenty of ammo on both again both Pro & Con, to get a sense of who is worthy of being the next President. Unfortunately, I think we all know that neither is worthy... but again that is the state of politics in America.



Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, makes an interesting comparison to Trump. Both are successful businessmen at the highest levels, and as such are hard-nosed, sure of what they want, and relentless opportunists. But they have very different business personalities. To borrow from Dr. D’s delicious phrase, you won’t see Romney wearing anything, metaphorically or not, that could be said to resemble a lampshade.

Trump is a classic real estate developer who is very good at marketing (or shameless self-promotion, if you prefer). He actually builds things, like buildings, and creates brands, and he has managed businesses, in the trenches. But if you do business with him, keep your hand on your wallet. Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, after concluding an oil & gas deal very one-side in his favor, was reputed to have said, well, I could have gotten more, but I always like to leave a few feathers on the chicken. I don’t think Trump likes leaving any feathers.

Romney is a classic investment banker/leveraged buyout-private equity pirate who rode the lending-bubbles/regulatory/free trade waves that began in the 1980’s. He never built a business or managed one (his financial firm excepted). He used investment capital not his own plus debt on which he was never personally liable to acquire businesses, bleed them for as much cash as possible as quickly as possible, and get out. Matt Taibbi wrote an interesting article on Romney and his career at Bain Capital for Rolling Stone in 2012. The link is here:

Even if you discount Taibbi’s often vulgar, slash-to-the-bone style, the facts of his career show Romney was never about creating or saving American jobs or building companies. He was basically a parasite who extracted his profits without regard to the long-term health of his host. An economic term for this is a rent-seeker.

I don’t think of him as amoral or a criminal – everything he did was perfectly legal and in fact encouraged by tax rules and the investment regulatory climate (a shameful thing, really, but that is another topic). I do find it somewhat disingenuous of him to wrap himself in the flag of good old American capitalism – that gives truth to the old saw that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

So which business background would make for a better president? Between these two, Trump in a heartbeat. But of course, that is not the choice facing us in this election. I was hoping for someone a wee bit more inspirational that we could rally behind. Well, maybe next time.

aka MtGrizzly's picture

Here is the 'tell' about how Trump does business - the speakers at the GOP convention. Cruz aside, it was a non-stop love fest for Trump but did anyone notice that there was not one single business partner of Trump's on stage? Employees and children, yes. But not one concrete or steel or drywall contractor that has worked with him over the years stood up for him at the convention. Not one earth mover or plumbing contractor has stood up for him. There were two categories of business people on that stage - those that work for Trump and those that have never worked with him. Telling, that. 

I've said it time and again - Trump is a scorched earth negotiator. He'll fight dirty and hard for every deal point. It's a valid strategy but not one that gets a second deal with the same party. Nobody wants to do business with him twice. 


With a minor note that he could surely have found 'one' drywall guy to speak if he wanted to pay him to do so.

Wouldn't surprise me in the least if he viewed himself as a ruthless businessman, and there were more of his share of partners who viewed him as an unfair one.  That's a personal negative from my worldview, though am not sure I wouldn't prefer it to a President who felt apologetic about America's interests?

Like James said, the French Prime Minister looks out for France's interests.  For too long, Americans have been told that our nation should sacrifice on the altar of globalism, when personally I would rather the order be (1) America (2) humanitarian causes.

But the broad point, good on yer Grizzly.


Wow Doc!  That's really powerful.  I didn't know that you grew up grinding poverty poor.  I've noticed that people who had that happen, have very strong opinions about money, and a hoarding mentality.  For example, my grandma grew up in the depression, and her dad died of lead poisoning when she was young.  She had to go live with her aunt in poor conditions.  She kept everthing, saved everything, and was always conscious about money.

I'm not sayin' that growing up grinding poor excuses someone for turning out criminal.  I'm just saying that I don't hold it against Bam Bam for holding out for every last cent that he can command.  The people who are paying him have probably never had canned beef liver for dinner as the main course.  When I grew up, my mom used to  regularly buy fresh beef liver for our cat.  That really hurts my feelings.  Sorry, Doc. 

If you don't mind me asking, how does growing up poor affect your present day outlook, if at all?

On Trump's character, I think we can agree to disagree.  I see the guy breaking bad at every opportunity.  Each time he comes to a fork in the road, I think he takes the worse road.  The only thing that I've heard about his interaction with tradesmen and cabinet makers is that he ripped hundreds of them off.  He's also been bankrupt four times.  You don't see him selling the palace to pay off burned creditors. (Edited to add: what Diderot said)  But, who knows, maybe he does have a heart of gold in there somewhere.  I'd be happy to be proven wrong about Trump.


It's very telling, if he allowed the ordinary middle class working man to suffer so that he could live three floors in Trump Tower.  I don't doubt that he has his rationalizations, but that is huge against him.  No argument at all.

Your judgment on Trump weighs heavily in my mind Mojician.  Thanks for that.


Growing up in a very weird childhood ... thanks for asking and thanks for the empathy!  The goal is to shrug it off, the things that happened when I was 10 years old.  Yesterday's gone; you focus on the present day's blessings.  I haven't exactly been burdened with Corrie Ten Boom's challenges, nor the challenges of a common family in the Philippines.

It's similar to doing a P90X workout or hitting the weight room at Seahawk headquarters; whatever today brings, a visit to the chemo clinic or an audit by the IRS, it's still just a work day set in front of you.  Today brings some nice things and some work to do.  There are antiemetics today and there is a Pokemon Go hunt with family and there is a Mariner game.  Hopefully before too long there is a reward in the afterlife.  DaddyO and I are kindred spirits :- )

Hope that's not TMI.  The last few years I've learned that it's bedrock truth, that gratitude (as opposed to grievances) is the key to mental health.

Keep it comin' Mojo.  Your experience in working with people in trouble is a source of great fascination and joy.  The more information the better.  And thanks for the empathy brother :- )




My brother and I both -- who are genetically unrelated to my mom -- turned out to be wasteful spenders.  Making up for lost time syndrome, I guess.  I'm kind of like the guy who grew up hungry and nowadays heads to the buffet every night, LOL.

I'd rather work three jobs and spend it on mezzanine tickets at Safeco and buy concessions wontonly, than work one job and have meatloaf at home.

Which causes me personally to sympathize with the idea that genes perhaps have more to do with indulgence-vs-conscientiousness than childhood environment.  But maybe not.  


"Gratitude as opposed to greivances." Oh yeah.

You know what follows as well or better than I, but my mind turns to "root of bitterness" in Heb 12:15 in context-- the whole book of Hebrews being an exhortation to persecuted and suffering people to fully appreciate the eternal value of what they have in Jesus. The sermon climaxes in v. 28, where the readers/hearers are told, "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken...") 

"Kindred spirits" -- It's amazing how a clear glimpse of the fleeting nature of our life changes your sense of everything. Among the changes, you become much more grateful for little things. You become much more grateful for important things like the people around you. You become much more grateful to your Creator and your Redeemer. You laugh more easily, you cry more easily. I could go on and on.

Hang in there, Doc. I was trading emails with a friend from my '20's who faces some serious health challenges. She assumed because of the encouraging words I sent her that I must be in some sort of "mountain top" place. I told her, no, it feels more like endurance than mountain top. But we be headed for da mountain top.

Fascinating about your family situation growing up. I LUUUUV stories of redemption. People face so many struggles. 

Arne's picture

The concept of Trump being a pure narcissist doesn't hold up to him maintaining his hair style despite all the ridicule of him for it. Narcissus-obsessed with his image-that's not Trump, unless he has such a high regard for himself he doesn't care or notice what others say about his appearance.


You would think that alone would guarantee a landslide against him.  Funny take on it, Arne, that nobody with hair like that could have much vanity...

Camille Paglia made the interesting statement that his hair reflects his almost weird connection with his MOTHER, who apparently wore her hair in a similar coiffeur.

Arne's picture

Corporate moguls don't strike me as being the type to look in the mirror and preen. Even the celebrity ones, like Mark Cuban, Jobs, Gates, Warren Buffett, do not come across as vain in that way. I believe the explanation Jobs gave for his turtlenecks was that having a standard set of clothes gave him more time to do more important things.


Every 4th-level and above I've ever met, was the type who'd kill his grandmother for a better quarterly spreadsheet.  The way they look has been beside the point to them.

To a certain extent I wonder how many Americans have ever met a VP in a F-500 company.  It would provide context on Trump's "hardness," I'll bet.

aka MtGrizzly's picture

Oh, the hair is the perfect reflection of his vanity. Remember, he's a Manhattan playboy that has enjoyed going on Howard Stern and bragging about all the <cencored> that he was getting. He's had scalp reduction surgery to reduce the bald spot and when that turned out poorly, he went with that weird hair plug/toupee/combover/weave thing that he has going on. He's proud that it takes him an hour to get his hair in place every day and talks about it frequently.

It's likely that he spends more time on his hair every day than Hillary. To him, that muppet on his head is better than being bald. That's about as far as the thought process goes. 


Sometimes I pay a little too much attention to readers who *dislike* this material, and forget about the readers who get a lot out of it.  And the latter is who I should be thinking about.  After posting the "Here there be monsters" yard arms at the top, of course.

Thanks Tuner!


I only rarely pop my head up as a result.  But I do enjoy examining this Trump phenomenon, and I've been thinking an inordinate amount about family lately.  Doesn't make for a lot of good chatroom fodder, unfortunately.

I am looking forward to seeing Russell & Co. take the field this year.  I hope the interest for the 'hawks is as strong 'round these parts as it has been; I'm looking forward to some engagement on that front :-)


In three words....pure gold Jeff.  Of course it's gold amongst the other gold, but those words will go into a family devotional later tonight for our kiddos benefit (15, 13 and 10).

Always a choice.  Always.

Jpax's picture

I agree with gratitude being a powerful guiding principal to live by.

I also grew up grinding poverty poor.  I had to laugh at the 'toys were gravel rocks' comment because I was in the same situation (wow, this rock looks kind of like a bulldozer if you squint hard enough, etc.).  Ate a lot of crackers and tomato soup, vegetables from the garden, etc.  In addition to the rocks, we used a lot of sticks as toys, also.

My parents were from the Depression era, so had it even worse.  I was told that when you are that poor, you tend to grow up with one of two attitudes:

1)  I will save (or hoard) so I will never be poor again.


2)  I will spend freely while I have money in order to enjoy life while I can.

I personnally tend to be a 'Saver' but have found I don't need many material things to make me truly happy.

Very thoughtful article, loved reading it.  The Trump information also jives with everything I have heard and read.  Although I may like some of his policies or statements, I absolutely cannot stand his dealings with craftsmen, contractors and subcontractors.  I was a Construction Project Manager and can tell you that there are a Lot of ethical people in the business who mare very professional and who also abhor Trump's 'business practices'.  Some even going so far as to quickly paying their subcontractors and tradesmen, knowing how many people actually do live on the edge and quick payments really help.





the way he wallowed in the "You're Fired" comment on Apprentice speaks to that, probably.

I doubt that the site would stand up under a similar discussion of the accusations against Hillary, though.  :- )   


Always glad to see the Konspiracy Korner make an appearance. 

A psychologist friend of mine averred that Trump meets the classic diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. I called her on it, and she produced the following from a large tome on her bookshelf. “Diagnostic criteria for… Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3) believes that he is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his expectations

(6) is interpersonally exploitive, i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes."

As I look at this list and think about how Trump presents himself, I have to remind myself that this is to diagnose a disorder, not just eccentricities or odd behavior. To rise to the level of a disorder, it would seem to me the behavior would have to be so extreme as to not allow the person to function effectively with anyone who is not an enabler. Trump may exhibit some or all of these tendencies, but are they extreme enough to rise to the level of a clinical personality disorder? I hope not.

The diagnostic text goes on to warn: "Many highly successful individuals display personality traits that might be considered narcissistic. Only when these traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and persisting, and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do they constitute Narcissictic Personality Disorder.


Have had a lot of experience with NPD and BPD.  I agree with your judgment exactly:  that Trump displays about half of those traits, but the ones he misses on, make NPB pretty unlikely from my standpoint.

Nobody here has talked about how self-assured and well-adjusted his daughters are, and why his very likeable sons think he is an Olympic deity.  Every mom and dad knows that you cannot fake good kids - that your adult children are huge commentaries on you as a person.

Every single person I've counseled who manifested NPD and BPD had very dysfunctional families.  Without any exception.  ALMOST without exception, a person with NPD or BPD has most of his family members who can't stand to be in the same room with him.

I have to say, in good nature ... if a person is desperate to minimize Don Jr. and Ivanka, that they are too emotional about the situation to judge Trump even-handedly.

For me it's a poker tell, whether a person responds to Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka by waving them off, rather than simply acknowledging them as a big plus for him.  Donald Trump's kids are better-adjusted than mine are; how 'bout you other mommies and daddies?

I don't say it proves he's a great guy.  If he called and invited me to dinner, I would flatly decline to go.  Would like to see points made on both sides of Trump's ledger, though.


"Every mom and dad knows that you cannot fake good kids - that your adult children are huge commentaries on you as a person."

Beautifully put, Doc.

As a father of four, that was what most struck me as different about the RNC and DNC this year: the truly profound testament that Trump's children presented on that stage.  Even the 'weakest' of the public performances by his kids was better than I could hope to do, and it really resonated around our household regarding our own work raising our kids.

Forget about Trump's out-maneuvering of the media and his opponents at pretty much every turn; forget about his frighteningly effective takeover of the Republican Party (at least temporarily); and forget about the fact that he's had policy papers up on his website throughout the campaign which calmly and clearly elucidate his plans for the USA while he seemingly goes out of his way to offend people in order to draw eyeballs to those papers.  Focus on the family for a moment and listen to them extoll their father's virtues, paying extra attention to their expressions and body language while they do so.  I'm no expert in body language, but I was well-and-truly moved by his family's comportment at the RNC and found little reason not to take it at, essentially, face value.

In the end, isn't one's family legacy the single most important thing he or she leaves behind?  Intellectual legacy is a lottery, much like modern sports stardom: some philosophers with great ideas get enshrined in human consciousness, while thousands of less-known but equally profound thinkers disappear in history's wake.  Producing a family like Trump's--ESPECIALLY when you consider that the children come from three different mothers--is, in my view, nothing short of breathtaking in terms of what it suggests about Trump's character as a father.  It would have been impressive enough to produce a family like that with a fully committed life partner, but to produce five different children with three different women and see how impressive they are as people in their own right is more than a little humbling to this particular father.

You can't gloss over the fact that he seems to trade in his wives about as often as most of us trade in our cars, but you also can't ignore that he's still on good terms with his ex-wives.  Seems to me that somewhere in there is a valuable lesson for modern society, but I'm insufficient to the task of finding it just now.

And then there are the grandchildren.  His two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, have eight children between them (five and three, respectively).  Again, this is a testament to SOMETHING significant in Donald Trump's family values and core belief system, and I'm pretty sure it would be hard to spin whatever that is as a negative.

As far as his policies, I've wanted to get up in arms about some of them.  But the more I read his policy papers and the more I see just how distorted his statements are when the media presents them, the more I see just how much this guy *seems* to care about the things he's been talking about for literally DECADES (immigration, foreign trade, local manufacturing jobs, inept politicians ruining our economy, etc..).  Of course it could all be as his critics claim: that he's a glorified carnival barker who's pulling the ultimate branding job for himself with one of the greatest magic acts in history.

I've tried to find evidence to support that narrative and have come up blank.  Your mileage may vary, but every time I get mad about something Trump 'said,' I take to the internet, find the transcript or video of the statement in question, after which lo and behold his words and their context are nothing like they've been represented.  Honestly, that *might* be enough for me to vote for the guy.  When you're riling up EVERYONE except a core constituency of the commoners, you're probably onto something profound (just as Barack Obama was onto something profound with his 'Change We Can Believe In' narrative, which garnered 95% and 93% of the African American vote in 2008 and 2012, respectively).

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