You can’t govern by id

Having coined Bush Derangement Syndrome more than a decade ago, I feel authorized to weigh in on its most recent offshoot. What distinguishes Trump Derangement Syndrome is not just general hysteria about the subject, but additionally the inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences on the one hand and signs of psychic pathology on the other.

Take President Trump’s climate-change decision. The hyperbole that met his withdrawal from the Paris agreement — a traitorous act of war against the American people, America just resigned as leader of the free world, etc. — was astonishing, though hardly unusual, this being Trump.

What the critics don’t seem to recognize is that the Paris agreement itself was a huge failure. It contained no uniform commitments and no enforcement provisions. Sure, the whole world signed. But onto what? A voluntary set of vaporous promises. China pledged to “achieve the peaking of [carbon dioxide] emissions around 2030.” Meaning that they rise for another 13 years.

The rationale, I suppose, is that developing countries like India and China should be given a pass because the West had a two-century head start on industrialization. Having coined Bush Derangement Syndrome more than a decade ago, I feel authorized to weigh in on its most recent offshoot. What distinguishes Trump Derangement Syndrome is not just general hysteria about the subject, but additionally the inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences on the one hand and signs of psychic pathology on the other.

Take President Trump’s climate-change decision. The hyperbole that met his withdrawal from the Paris agreement — a traitorous act of war against the American people, America just resigned as leader of the free world, etc. — was astonishing, though hardly unusual, this being Trump.

What the critics don’t seem to recognize is that the Paris agreement itself was a huge failure. It contained no uniform commitments and no enforcement provisions. Sure, the whole world signed. But onto what? A voluntary set of vaporous promises. China pledged to “achieve the peaking of [carbon dioxide] emissions around 2030.” Meaning that they rise for another 13 years.

The rationale, I suppose, is that developing countries like India and China should be given a pass because the West had a two-century head start on industrialization.