50. Trump, Torture, and Aging Inhibition

11 Mar

Former President Ronald Reagan sent the following to the U.S. Senate:

“… I transmit herewith the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Convention was adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984 … The United States signed it on April 18, 1988.”

All the GOP candidates and most other Republicans revere President Reagan. He, John McCain, most national leaders, the United Nations, a group of 43 retired U.S. Generals, and developed countries all over the world accept the prohibition of torture.

But Donald Trump, who would love to punch out rally protesters, thinks torture is desirable. Although he is energetic and talks really fast, this, and many other strange positions makes me wonder if, at the age of 69, some critical brain cells have deteriorated.  He is well into the range at which Alzheimer’s  can begin.

As I pondered Trump’s strange utterances, I remembered some research on aging and inhibition.  An internet search revealed several relevant medical and psychological studies.  Recent scientific research has shown that older people often lose their ability to inhibit speaking socially unacceptable ideas.  An example of one such study is:   https://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~uqwvonhi/vH&D.P&A.05.pdf.     (with many good references).  Although Trump can be excused for what he says under pressure, sad-to-say, it does reflect what he is actually thinking.  I also think that being extremely rich his entire life has shielded him from the realities that most of us have suffered — especially minority groups.  To really understand this, when Trump was confronted about his early family support, he remarked that it was only a “small loan” of a million dollars from his father.


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