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The New ‘Mental Health’ Standard: Can We Apply It to Neo-Malthusians? (Romm, Hansen, Ehrlich, etc.)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 21, 2017

“‘An inability to tolerate views different’? ‘Rage reactions’? Can we apply this mental health standard to Joe Romm and James Hansen, not to mention Paul Ehrlich in his diatribes against Julian Simon?”

“This is ironic to those of us who have encountered angry neo-Malthusians trying to wake us up to the coming food famine (1960s warnings), resource famine (1970s warnings), and, most recently, climate alarmism. Does this standard apply to them as it does to all things Trump?”

I have resubscribed to the New York Times. I received a 50 percent discount, and with Trump’s upset win in November I wanted to better understand what the intellectual/media elite were thinking. (And the answer is … they still don’t get it.)

In the Letters section of February 14th edition, I encountered “Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump.” The lead letter from 35 mental health professions read (in its entirety):

To the Editor:

Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.

Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.


Dr. Dodes is a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schachter is a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association. The letter was also signed by 33 other psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

“An inability to tolerate views different from his own”? “Rage reactions”? “A profound inability to emphasize”? How interesting!

Can we apply this standard to the bombastic Joe Romm (Center for American Progress) … the angry climate scientist James Hansen … and Paul Ehrlich regarding Julian Simon.

Consider these examples.

Joe Romm wrote this to me in an email exchange (Ken Green wrote about Romm’s wider transgressions here):

“Please desist, sociopath. The majority of Americans do not think climate science is exaggerated, but the majority of conservatives and Republicans do. That is thanks to sociopaths like you.”

– Joe Romm. Email communication to Robert Bradley, May 6, 2009.

And James Hansen has publicly complained (here and here):

“CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation if we pass on a runaway climate to our children.”

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

And some decades ago, Paul Ehrlich insulted his rival Julian Simon in every which way. As I summarized:

For three decades, Paul Ehrlich (1932- ), a biologist at Stanford University, has been the arch foe of Julian Simon’s views of natural resource scarcity, population growth, and the future human condition. Ehrlich’s dissatisfaction with Simon carried over to the personal realm.

He likened Simon to “an imbecile,” a “flat earther,” and a “fringe character.” As late as 1991 Paul and Anne Ehrlich belittled Simon as “an economist specializing in mail-order marketing.” Only in their 1996 book did the Ehrlichs refer to Simon by his professional affiliation—Professor of Business Administration at the University of Maryland. [1]


It is interesting how the Progressive Left has all of a sudden become infatuated with Fake News, Alternative Facts, and other sins of Postmodernism (a Progressive notion, by the way).

This is ironic to those of us who have encountered angry neo-Malthusians in the service of ‘waking us up’ to the alleged perils of food famine (1960s), resource famine (1970s), and, most recently, climate alarmism. Does this standard apply to them as it does to all things Trump?

This appears to be just another double standard of Left Progressivism. On the other hand, the invectives against Trump may be backfiring, as suggests a recent Times piece, Are Liberals Helping Trump?. [2]


[1] See Simon’s summary of Ehrlich’s vendetta in “The Special Case of Paul Ehrlich,” The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. 604–609.

[2] In “Are Liberals Helping Trump?, author Sabrina Tavernise, a national correspondent for the New York Times, wrote: “‘The name calling from the left is crazy,’ said Bryce Youngquist [of] … a liberal enclave where admitting you voted for Mr. Trump is a little like saying in the 1950s that you were gay. ‘They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people’.”


  1. J Tross  

    “…an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions…”
    This applies with more certitude to a particular former President just recently retired.


  2. John W. Garrett  

    If you haven’t seen it, I commend it to your attention:

    “Are Climate Alarmists Glassy-Eyed Cultists?”
    by Francis Menton (The Manhattan Contrarian)


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