WELL, YES: Eliminating The Goldwater Rule Because Of Trump Will Damage The Mental Health Profession’s Credibility.

It can hardly be coincidence that President Trump’s election has sparked debates from certain members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) about eliminating the Goldwater Rule. The rule was the consequence of a 1964 article in Fact magazine that published the results of a survey they’d given 12,356 psychiatrists asking whether Sen. Barry Goldwater was fit to be president.

The response was modest, but telling. Of the 2,417 respondents, 1,189, or less than half (49 percent), affirmed Goldwater was indeed unfit for office. The survey was part of an exposé on the senator entitled, “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.”

Goldwater later sued the magazine editor Ralph Ginzburg for libel, and was awarded $75,000. It seems what some psychiatrists deemed a necessary call, nay, an obligation to diagnosis from afar, turned out to be libelous. In 1973 the APA remedied this embarrassing display of amateurism by adding section 7.3 to their “Principles of Medical Ethics,” now known as the Goldwater Rule.

A Google search (a lodestar for informational trends) lays out a timeline that shows almost to the day when substantive opposition to the rule started. A 2015 Vanity Fair article published shortly after Trump announced his candidacy showed where opponents were heading. Not unlike the Fact article a half century before, several therapists were interviewed about Trump’s mental fitness.

You’d think the psychiatric profession would be better attuned to its own self-destructive derangement syndrome, but no.