For several weeks, I have been talking to psychologists and psychiatrists about what drives the Prime Minister. One view emerged strongly: there appears to be something worryingly adrift in the mind of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, a man who doesn't really know who or what he is. More technically, he is diagnosed as a psychopathOliver James has made a career out of pretending that people of differing political views to his are certifiable.
Gordon Brown supposedly has a deep interest in US politics (he holidays in Cape Cod apparently), so he'll be aware of the infamous poll of psychiatrists in the 1964 election where over a thousand of them declared Barry Goldwater to be mentally unfit to be president. Some of the jargon laden 'diagnoses' are quite startling:
"Senator Barry Goldwater gives the superficial appearance of solidity, stability, and honesty. However, my impression is of a brittle, rigid personality structure, based on a soft-spoken continuous demand for power and authority and capable of either shattering like crystal glass or bolstering itself by the assumption of a paranoid stance and more power over others..."
"Goldwater suffers from a kind of social and political infantilism in his complete failure to grasp the economic and political realities of the modern world. Playing "cops and robbers" may seem like fun for the John Birchers and reactionaries who support him, but to put at the helm of our nation a bespectacled, grey-haired man with the social comprehension of a four-year-old (who solves problems by going "bang bang" at the bad guys) is as dangerous as putting a child of that age at the controls of a jet airliner."In fairness back in 1964 there was no scienceblogs.com where frustrated academics could express their ill informed opinions about matters unrelated to their areas of expertise.
However the fact that this sort of thing is still going on today suggests that something else is going on and I think it is down to the "Cracker" effect. A belief that rudimentary psychology is a shortcut to understanding important facts about someone's inner world on the basis of superficial behavioural clues.