Mental Health Diagnosis As A Weapon

So, Kim Jong-un has now called Donald Trump, mentally deranged. This is not an informed diagnosis. It is an insult.

Of course, it is possible that this jibe came straight from the dictator's mind without any outside influence. However, I expect he deliberately chose to insult Trump with an accusation of insanity in order to draw on the increasingly vociferous "madness equals badness" campaign of many Democrat voters in the USA. The fact that Trump has already responded by calling Kim Jong-un "mad" proves that there is no possibility of nipping this slander of the mentally different in the bud. It is going to take those of us who are mad years to regain the small amount of ground we had made recently in getting people to realise we are people not monsters. That those people who are now denigrating the mad by comparing us to a rude, misogynist bully of an egotist (as opposed to egomaniac) were only a few weeks ago filling their Facebook pages with the assertion that "black lives matter" and, only a couple of years ago, demanding that same gender couples should be regarded as no different to opposite gender couples, is incredibly sad. It means they have no integrity, no depth to their philosophy and no moral consistency.

When I was a kid one of the worst insults in our vocabulary was the word "spastic." This was a medical term used to describe people with cerebral palsy. It was never meant to mean anything degrading. In fact, three parents of afflicted children had set up the Spastics Society as recently as 1952. However, throughout the U.K. children (and, no doubt, many adults) had eagerly stolen the word, imbued it with negative values and added it to the slang in vogue at the time.

This use of disability as insult could also be very localised. There was a boarding school for children with cerebral palsy in a village close to where I lived. The village was called Hinwick and so the hippest name-callers called anyone they considered mentally subnormal "Hinwicks" (hinnicks).

Those who are currently employing mental health diagnosis as a weapon in their attempt to overturn the result of the last presidential election in America are no different to those vile children in small town England fifty years ago. Those children demonised the "lepers" of their time by using a medical condition as a denigrating insult. Many adults in America (and now further afield) are using mental illness in the same way. That they justify their name calling with the claim that they are only trying to save the world makes the whole thing even more embarrassing as they are just adding disingenuity to their hypocrisy.

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